by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Charles Cooke of National Review Online focuses his attention on the recent testimony on Capitol Hill from presidents of elite universities. The presidents attracted criticism for their bungled responses to questions about free speech and antisemitism.
As Ivy League universities deal with the backlash after their presidents’ recent congressional testimonies, NR senior editor Charles C. W. Cooke argued … that the entire episode has been clarifying.
“It’s not,” Cooke said, “that those who want free speech on college campuses want an exception made for Israel. It’s that the answers that were given to Elise Stefanik made it clear in the plainest possible way that the whole thing is Calvinball.”
There is a “double standard” being held by these administrators, Cooke stressed. “In Congress,” he said, “those three administrators — and I call them that deliberately, because that’s what they are, they’re not academics or scholars — the three administrators made it about as obvious as they could that they did not believe a word of what they were saying. And they did not believe a word of what they had said prior to that hearing either.”
Cooke claimed that “this is why it’s been so devastating. It’s really difficult to illustrate to people how deep the rot goes, but Stefanik did it.”
“The other reason that it was so effective,” Cooke said, “was that in so many contexts now, even the slightest hint of offense or opprobrium yields . . . long statements. . . . But none of the three administrators who were being interviewed did that. . . . There was no grand and sesquipedalian expression of solidarity. They retreated into abstractions that they don’t actually believe in.”
“It made it clear that this whole edifice is rotten . . . and really is ultimately just a weapon to use against the people that they dislike.”