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Get Back, Honky Cow!

So, a student at Brown University wrote a column for the student newspaper raising the question of whether peoples of the ancient Near East, and later Europe, came to dominate the world because they developed agricultural methods, including animal domestication, that fed their people better, and led them to evolve, in time, into stronger, more resilient people. He wrote:

Regardless of whether or not fiscal economy actually arose with the advent of agriculture, the jaw-dropping complexity of the early civilizations of the Near East (with their writing, numerical system, codes of law, urban social stratification, royalty and careful records of transactions) must give a modern historian pause. Non-farming specialists began to work with local metals, manufacture weapons (forged ever better under the pressures of social conflict), produce technological elements of science, art and music and sow the seeds of philosophy, organized religion and government. It is amazing what ancient humans could accomplish once they were consistently able to feed themselves energy-rich food.

Where is all this going? It is the strong who trample the weak, the rich who trample the poor. Societies that can produce the most food of the highest quality in the widest variety of situations can logically field a military, support a monarchy or sail around the world. Colonialism simply allows those who come from a history of being well-fed enough to let experimentation happen, conquering those who have not had that luck.

Thus, whenever I see a white college student, reeking of privilege, I recall the coincidence (or causal relationship) between white physical features and animal agriculture. It is still a question whether or not evolution endowed Eurasians with skills utilized to capitalize on the good luck of livestock animals, or whether Eurasian features just happen to be a poor man’s clue to agricultural history.

Not felicitously phrased, but the point is certainly debatable. Unless you are at Brown University. Look what happened next:

A trio of Brown University leaders are urging an informed campus discussion of issues raised by the publication of two racially charged opinion columns in the Brown Daily Herald.

In a letter to the faculty, Provost Richard M. Locke, President Christina Paxson and Executive Vice President Russell Carey said “many members” of the university community found the columns “deeply offensive.”

Locke, Paxson and Carey called for conversations on race, gender, campus culture and climate and related topics guided by academic leaders of an institution “committed to research, education and service.”

In an editor’s note in the Wednesday newspaper, the Herald apologized for having published opinion columns by Brown student M. Dzhali Maier.

The Herald said “The white privilege of cows,” published Oct. 5, relied on the incorrect notion that biological differences exist between races. And “Columbian Exchange Day,” published Oct. 6, said Native Americans should be thankful for colonialism, according to the editor’s note.

The newspaper said it would review the editorial processes that allowed the publication of “deeply hurtful” and “racist” material.

Fourteen organizations and 81 individuals wrote a letter of objection to the newspaper editorial board.

Is this a university, or a game park for neurotics and people on the verge of a nervous breakdown? When a column in a student newspaper sparks a campus freakout of this magnitude, something is very, very wrong. How can any kind of open inquiry happen in that kind of atmosphere?

Here’s an evolutionary thought for you: I wish bears would eat these morons. One day, historians will look back on this era of American intellectual history and puzzle intensely.

UPDATE: Reason magazine reports that the campus newspaper at Wesleyan has seen its funding slashed after it published a column from a conservative student mildly critical of the Black Lives Matter movement. Campus SJWs demanded that the student government defund the paper, and said they were going to destroy copies of it. More:

These activities were an explicit threat to The Argus: run different material—material that doesn’t offend the sensibilities of liberals—or else.

Now, it appears the student government is taking action. On Sunday, the Wesleyan Student Assembly affirmed a resolution to restructure how The Argus is funded. The resolution is complicated, but it would substantially decrease The Argus’s printing budget; money saved this way would be put toward stipends for writers at various campus publications that don’t publish as frequently as The Argus. The WSA claims the purpose of the resolution is to “reduce paper waste,” by printing The Argus less frequently.

The exact details haven’t been hammered out yet, but Argus editors expect their funding to be cut by $15,000.

Isn’t that perfect? They mask their sniveling cowardice by calling it an act of environmental consciousness.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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