If You Love Anti-American Riots, Thank Our Universities

Rioters who hate America are not an accident; they are the fruition of decades of ideological indoctrination at our universities. While Marxism was increasingly repudiated around the world by countries that had suffered and failed under communist rule, professors in Western universities enthusiastically took up the destructive system, breathing life into its rotting corpse.

Many professors arriving in universities in the 1970s and 1980s grew up in or inherited the counterculture of the 1960s. Those who got high, dropped out, and then failed at subsistence farming dropped back into academia and decided never to leave. But their revolutionary fervor would not be lost; rather, it would reshape academia into its own image. Two of my colleagues—yes, I could name names—in the small anthropology department in which I taught for fifty years declared proudly that they were communists. Two others preferred to call themselves Marxists. One colleague in political science was a rabid enthusiast for communist Albania, until it fell, and then became the champion of communist North Korea. Later, most social scientists and humanities teachers adopted “postcolonial theory,” a Marxist-Leninist view that all of the evil in the world, from the days of Adam and Eve up to today, was entirely the result of Western colonialism.

Marxists, communists, and their fellow travelers never could sell the bourgeois vs. proletariat class conflict to Americans or Canadians, all of whom preferred to think of themselves as middle-class. But when the socialists added identity politics to class conflict, they hit pay-dirt, pure gold! The conflict was no longer between economic classes, but between gender classes, racial classes, and sexuality classes. The Marxist class conflict model proved perfect for feminists, racial activists, and sexuality activists to claim victimhood status and to denounce their alleged opponents as ruthless oppressors. And so was born the “patriarchy” crushing innocent females, “white supremacists” murdering harmless people of color, and “heteronormal” dictators forcing gays, lesbians, and transgenders into locked closets.

These new identity Marxists were quickly indulged within departments of women’s studies and feminist & gender studies; departments of black studies, Hispanic studies, and ethnic studies; and departments of queer studies and transgender studies. The mandate of these departments was propaganda and indoctrination on behalf of the favored sex, race, or sexuality. Aided by nihilistic, postmodern epistemology, the belief in truth and the academic search for truth were thrown out and replaced with identity-based “knowledge,” because “each person has her own truth.” Alleged experience and emotion now trump research, evidence, and logic.

A series of identity Marxist lies became the center of teaching and publication in the social sciences and humanities. Let us begin with the fourth-wave feminist lie that North Americans live in a “rape culture.” Feminists in anthropology and other fields taught their students that they live in a rape culture, and the students absorbed it as if it were mother’s milk. You might have thought that anthropologists have some idea what a culture is, but apparently feministanthropologists, which means just about all anthropologists, seem to have fallen into ideologically induced amnesia. Let us remind ourselves what culture is: culture is a set of conventional beliefs, values, and practices. To say that we have a “rape culture” would mean that we believe rape to be a good thing, that we teach our children to rape, and we reward rape, just as we regard reading as a good thing, teach our children to read, and reward success at reading (or at least used to). But we do not regard rape as a good thing, do not teach our children to rape, and do not reward rape, but rather punish it. So this feminist assertion is an outright lie. This is not rocket science, but feminist professors ignored our cultural reality in order to scare impressionable young women, who were becoming lax now that most feminist goals had been achieved, back into the security of the feminist camp.

The black studies lie, publicized with great effect by Black Lives Matter, is that black men are murdered every day by police, and that no black boy on the way to school or black man driving to work is safe from being murdered. If one is even slightly interested in facts and evidence, then it is clear that there is no empirical basis to this statement. There are around forty million African Americans, of which around twenty million are male. There are around fifty million contacts between police annually. In 2019, 1,004 individuals were killed by police using lethal force. Of those killed, 158 were black. Of those 158, all but ten were armed, but of those ten, six attacked the police. But even if we count the unarmed counterfactually as non-threatening, the percentage of unarmed male blacks killed is .00005% of all black males.

Sadly, many blacks were murdered, but not by police: in 2018, 2,925 African Americans were murdered; 2,600, or 89%, were murdered by other African Americans. By comparison to deaths in encounters with police, in 2006, 2,704 blacks were killed in auto accidents. In 2018, 6,088 African Americans died of opioid overdoses. The facts could not be clearer: the miniscule risk of death that African Americans face from police was far exceeded by the much greater dangers of being murdered by other African Americans, by being killed in a car accident, or by drug overdose. This does not excuse any unjust police killing, and citizens of any race must be treated fairly by police. Any policeman who unjustly kills a citizen must be held accountable. But the racist exaggeration of the threat to African Americans by police is dishonest and destructive. In the latest survey about public safety, 67% of African Americans said that they were afraid that the criticism of police would lead to a shortage of law enforcement and reduce public safety in their community.

Just as feminists have claimed that gender has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with socialization to societal norms, so too LGB, and especially T (transgenders), claim that they are victims of oppressive, “heterosexist” norms, that they have a right to be whatever they say they are, and that other people must obey instructions about their identity. These folks might not like it, but biology is inherent to their lives, and they cannot escape it. Across all cultures, women’s brains, skills, and preferences are different from men’s. Males have been built with XY genes, and females with XX. While men can take on whatever identity they desire, and may demand chemical and surgical adjustments, they will always be XY and can never be women; women can dress and act like men, but they will always be XX and can never be men. It is a lie to claim that identity can trump biological reality. Much pressure has been put on the public, often by governments and other organizations, to validate the fantasies of individual identity, a highly coercive and counter-rational demand.

The upshot of these Marxist identity-conflict campaigns is the cancelation of academic values in favor of “social justice,” which is operationally defined as special preferences and benefits to preferred categories of people. The rationale for “social justice” is also counterfactual: it claims that any difference in outcome of members of various census categories is the result of discrimination. For example, if females are “underrepresented” in the sciences, it is alleged that they are victims of discrimination; if African Americans have weak College Board scores, it is alleged that they’ve suffered the same. The possibilities are endless.

The supposed discrimination is taken as proven by unequal outcomes, when in fact most of the differences in outcome are explained by other factors, such as choice, given that females in droves avoid “hard” sciences in favor of social sciences and humanities, and that family structure and culture, for example, one parent families, differs from group to group. So too with the alleged “income gap” between males and females, which is mostly explained by the fact that men work more hours, days, and years than women. A particularly ugly consequence of the discrimination assumption is that the prominence of East Asian Americans in medical professions and fields can then be attributed to (imaginary) discrimination in their favor, just as the Nobel Prizes for Jews can be discounted as (imaginary) discrimination on their behalf. The reality is that for decades there has been official systemic discrimination, called “affirmative action,” in favor of females, African Americans, Hispanics, and LGBTs, with alleged oppressors sidelined for belonging to the wrong categories.

But it goes far beyond this. America and the West generally are identified as collective oppressors of these gender, racial, and sexuality “victims,” and are thus vilified as evil and requiring complete destruction, to be replaced by LGBT, feminist, indigenous, Muslim governance, priorities, and rules, including literature, art, and science by members of victim categories. Our university professors teach, and our students learn, that America, Canada, and the West are hateful, with a hateful oppressive history, and only oppression as their legacy. What they teach and learn is that only a revolution that totally transforms America and the West can redeem them. And our university graduates have taken to the streets to riot in favor of this “social justice” revolution.

No one has done a survey yet of the educational attainment of street rioters during this spring of discontent. Perhaps the looters and burners were less ideological than college graduates, although the two who threw Molotov cocktails at police were law school graduates. But of those attacking police and pulling down every historical statue in America—the Confederates and the abolitionists, the generals and the presidents, the explorers, the feminists, and the soldiers—I would wager that a large majority are university graduates, doing what they have been taught to do. We can thank our universities for that.

Philip Carl Salzman is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at McGill University.

Image: Public Domain


  • Philip Carl Salzman

    Philip Carl Salzman is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Past President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

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12 thoughts on “If You Love Anti-American Riots, Thank Our Universities

  1. Yes, but Prof. Salzman does not go far enough…does not go deep enough into the morass which is Left Progressive dogma.

    He tells us, “The upshot of these Marxist identity-conflict campaigns is the cancellation of academic values in favor of “social justice.” This is true, but beyond that – much more fundamental — the upshot of Marxist Identitarian Politics is the cancellation of Reality itself, the rejection entire of the notion of Objective Truth.

    The Idiots at Pomona, back in 2017, as they dismissed their President’s plea for free speech summarized this Post-Modern idiocy quite nicely, (Please forgive the long quote): “Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples. The idea that there is a single truth–’the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples.”

    What Leftist Cancel Culture truly seeks to cancel is Civilization itself (fruit of the poisoned tree which is Enlightenment Reason).

    Prof. Salzman tells us, in all sincerity, clinging to the notion that there a true and discoverable reality beneath the language Progressives deploy to describe it, that ‘we do not inhabit a rape culture’ because we do not believe rape is a good thing…we do not teach rape…nor do we reward rape. But he is wrong. By the lights of the Rape Epidemiologists, the True Believers in “1 in 5” (sometimes “1 in 4”), we indeed do all of those things and more.

    Like ‘Critical Race Theory’, Critical Rape Theory would proclaim that the entirety of the West sits atop two thousand years of ‘rape’ history, every rapist appropriately rewarded (after all, whose names are in the history books?!). The truly radical Feminazi declares, and I quote (https://witchwind.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/piv-is-always-rape-ok/), “Just to recall a basic fact: Intercourse/PIV is always rape, plain and simple.” Andrea Dworkin agreed, “The normal f*** by a normal man is taken to be an act of invasion and ownership undertaken in a mode of predation.” Heterosexual sex, in other words, is rape – by definition. And this world which surrounds us, as Mephistopheles to Faust, “Why this is Rape Culture, nor are we out of it.”

    The Professor, quite reasonably, call our attention to the Black murder rate (which is actually about 8X the White murder rate)….but he significantly understates the numbers. In fact, in 2018 there were 16K murders in the nation…an estimated 8300 Black. Our inner cities are war zones and every weekend there are more young dead Black men, piled on some bloody corner. 52% of our murders are committed by that 3% of our population. And yet, per BLM and the raging mob, the problem is not the Black on Black Holocaust occurring nightly, rather it is the fact (in 2019) that 10 unarmed Black men were killed by the Police.

    850,000 law officers….investing 1.8B labor hours….protecting 330M of us…from 16M criminal acts (1.2M of which are violent) every year….and yet the ‘problem’for the Left is ‘Racist Police who regularly hunt & kill Blacks’. This nightmare fantasy is somehow demonstrated by the fact that an police/innocent killing occurs .00001% of the time. (and I might have left out a zero or two). We’re told Black Lives Matter when the reality tallied daily is that they obviously don’t – at least to the BLM’ers and their ilk who wish to defund the very people who are the only ones trying to stop the killing.

    Yeah, let’s defund them…then see what happens.

    What we are dealing with here is not Academic Dialogue exercised as part of an unending search for Truth. It is not reasonable political/philosophical contention to be decided by reason and logic. No. What we see in every part of this insanity is Secular Religious Fanaticism: Revealed Truth as spouted by the Four-Headed God, Diversity-Inclusivity-Equality-Social Justice. And what the Fanatic believes above everything else is that the World can and should be Perfect. As Obama put it, “I am confident we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth.”

    What prevents Perfection – according to the True Believer – is (per Pomona) the “Euro-West, the United States, and all its Progeny”. What prevents Perfection, in other words, is Us (those who Disagree….who object and point to Facts and highlight Reality, and say, “Wait a minute, that’s not true at all!)

    To Prof. Salzman’s point: it used to be that our Universities (at least in Myth & Legend) could be counted upon to pull us back to Reality…to emphasize Truth…to reject Fanaticism…and insist on rigor and scientific method in service of Knowledge. Now they serve only as Priests and Acolytes…eager to enable the required human sacrifice to achieve that Bergeonesque (per Vonnegut) Perfect Equality.

    As with any Religious Inquisition, heretics are not to be debated, they are to be condemned and cancelled. Preferrably with an entertaining auto-da-fe. Long past time we wake-up to that chilling fact.

  2. Great article. I agree wholeheartedly. The left intends to destroy our country.
    Who woulda thought that we had a “rape culture?” Not me.
    I love this site. Keep up the good work.

  3. “In 2019, 1,004 individuals were killed by police using lethal force. Of those killed, 158 were black”.

    The article links to Statista.com, which shows that there were 235 black individuals killed by police in 2019.

    The number of 158 individuals killed by police in 2019 is actually for Hispanic individuals.

  4. Regarding this specifically: “No one has done a survey yet of the educational attainment of street rioters during this spring of discontent. Perhaps the looters and burners were less ideological than college graduates, although the two who threw Molotov cocktails at police were law school graduates. … I would wager that a large majority are university graduates, doing what they have been taught to do.”

    It was observed elsewhere (can’t find the link) that about 10% of the rioters believe in “the cause” and about 90% just think rioting is cool. For young while males especially, I’m willing to bet this is pretty much true (in essence, if not perhaps literally). That doesn’t invalidate or even conflict with the article — it is a complementary phenomenon, which afflicts both the college educated and those who are not. But that is a subject for another time.

  5. I agree with pretty much everything that is said here, but the author I think makes one mistake: the “Marxist” worldview (for lack of a better term) is indeed racist and sexist. So it’s not much a stretch to say that those who inhabit it do live in (for example) a “rape culture”. Yes, we — the non-Marxists — don’t encourage rape and we punish it, but they don’t, unless it’s done by someone dislike in ideological grounds. Witness how many women in that crowd publicly stated they support Biden whether he’s guilty of rape or not. That’s a current example, and I could go on and on, but the tolerance of that crowd for the sexual abuse of women by powerful men is well established.

    Similarly with racism — here again, Biden’s old-school racism is well known, and he gets a pass. Black Americans have been oppressed by the systemic racism of the Democratic party for many decades (over a century, when Jim Crow and the Democrats opposition to the Civil Rights movement is taken into account).

    So from the point of view of people within this sphere — who are essentially captive — these views reflect their experience. Their leaders however — by keeping them captive, uninformed, ignorant, and uneducated — have been able to convince them that the outside their sphere, things are worse. Hence the proliferation of “grievance” studies to both inflame their rage at the “Other” while allowing them to let off some steam and ensure they don’t “wander off the reservation”.

    While this is all a bit peripheral to the larger point, that universities are indeed instilling these attitudes in students and general, and largely we have them (the universities) to thank for the current mess, I think it’s important to recognize that oppressive behavior of the Marxists and their leaders in the communities they dominate gives these destructive behaviors an impetus they would not otherwise have.

    In essence, it can be said that these Marxists are generating outrage through their own racist, sexist and abusive behavior, and then channeling it to attack those who disagree with them.

    Understanding that seems to me to be important to combating them. So instead of arguing (for instance) that there in no rape culture and citing why not, it’s probably more effective to say (truthfully): Yes, you’re right. You do live in a rape culture. Why don’t you leave it and come over to our side and see what it’s like to be respected, not abused.

  6. ” In 2018, 6,088 African Americans died of opioid overdoses”

    And at least three times that many were saved by police officers administering Narcan.

    That’s being lost in all of this — the purportedly racist police officers are going out and doing their level best to SAVE Black Lives.

    And yes, our current foolishness is what universal access to higher education has wrought. Perhaps it is time for us to reconsider the value of higher education….

  7. “But of those attacking police and pulling down every historical statue in America […] I would wager that a large majority are university graduates, doing what they have been taught to do.”

    I, instead, would wager not. It maybe was true by the 60’s (or earlier), but since then, they had succeeded in their venture and now we are all taught since little kids by school and it’s reinforced 24/7 by any TV show, series, movie, news, internet site, book, etc.

    1. Rick Jenkins, I read Ms Metivier’s article, and it was infuriating. She’s just another academic joke whose IQ wasn’t high enough for STEM.

      This item was especially enraging:

      “Follow transparent procedures for removing faculty, staff and students who are found to be perpetuating discrimination, hate and/or bias on and off campus.”

      These orcs are utterly unfamiliar with what freedom of expression really means. Metivier has no place in higher education. She is not intelligent enough.

    2. Thank you so much for including the link. Like others I’ve stopped reading Inside Higher Ed. What you shared was both horrific and disgusting….and underlines the severity of the problem we (and all our children and grandchildren) face.

      Change a few words here and there and it could easily be a copy/paste from a Goebbel’s directive.

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