Much evil may be committed in the name of “justice” or “equality” or, ironically, “freedom.”
All of us believe in some version of those precepts. Thus, to oppose a strain of totalitarianism that gallops into town under a banner bearing the name of so noble an ideal would make one a monstrous bigot.
And, as we all know, being branded a bigot (or, worse, finding oneself on the dreaded “wrong side of history”) is a fate worse than death for any self-respecting progressive, much less for those weak-kneed souls who fear the wrath of social-media slacktivists.
Since “totalitarianism” is far too nonspecific to describe this precise phenomenon, let’s call it “totalitolerance.”
The news Monday that Missouri President Tim Wolfe had resigned, followed shortly by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin’s own resignation, marked another curious case of campus “justice.”
Wolfe’s hand was forced by a growing backlash over several reported racial incidents, the most striking and recent of which was the smearing of human feces in the shape of a swastika in a bathroom at a residence hall, an event I’m grateful took place long after I had settled on a fantasy football team name for 2015.
To be clear, Wolfe’s “fireable offense” was the unforgivable infraction of insufficient sensitivity. A large number of students and many in the faculty felt that Wolfe had not been strong enough in his response to the racially-charged events of recent months, particularly in the context of the university’s history.
After all, as the Washington Post article on the racial tension at the school helpfully notes, Missouri “was a slave state.”
Although, to be fair, that probably wasn’t entirely Wolfe’s fault.
For his part, Loftin had condemned the racist acts. That didn’t spare him the same fate that befell Wolfe. He, too, was faced with the prospect of enormous pressure to leave his position. Like Wolfe, he capitulated.