The culture of “social activism” seen around Oxford is manufactured rot, a silencing of reason, run by a minority of radicals that fearmonger the majority into pretending to agree.
I have no doubt that simply speaking out against these progressive activists, a term that has become so self-righteous it’s laughable, will lead to outrage against this piece. The Daily Mississippian is littered with people searching desperately to find racism to be upset about, and look hard for it. And when they can’t find it, they make it up. See the opinion article published by the DM: “We all need racial sensitivity training.” No steps to inform the entire campus? Are you ignoring the dozen or so historical contextualization plaques around campus? Or the statue of James Meredith in front of the most frequently visited buildings on campus?
Not a semester goes by without an explosion of public outcry against a perceived social injustice on our campus. The vast majority turn out to be slanderous attempts at glory by childish ideologues patting themselves on the back for attempting to destroy the reputation of people who disagree.
Take, for example, the scapegoating of Ed Meek: a gracious and generous philanthropist for the university who, within minutes of posting a vague criticism of Oxford’s party culture, was accused of being a racist (though exonerated by Ole Miss faculty. See: professor Smith’s “Dr. Meek brought calm and reason to conflicts”).
Or, the “marches” to advocate for the removal of a statue memorializing the men who died, though for an immoral cause, for Oxford. There’s also the weak-spined, unanimous decision by the Associated Student Body Senate and Faculty Senate to remove it. This is sweeping unpleasant history under the rug because we’re afraid to face it (frighteningly, that might make us unable to learn from it).
The statue represents an unflinching resolve to face and accept the ugliness of our history, not to take pride in it.
There are countless examples of these opportunistic outrages, carried out by a tiny minority of self-righteous and resentful zealots. Ole Miss students are pressured through these public shaming events to be involved in the cause of the week (or in the extremists’ opinion, weak). Not participating in these events brands one as the bigoted and ignorant enemy (God forbid you have a different perspective). Dissent is no longer allowed.
Participating can gain one the prestigious title of woke (read: mindless follower).
These movements have become degrading to minorities. Progressives (read: Regressives) act as though historically oppressed groups need to be placed on a pedestal, protected and coddled by whining victimizers instead of treated as neighbors, equals.
Displays of pity for “oppressed” groups have inspired fraudulent behavior in the centrist majority. Donning the guise of caring immensely about every perceived sensitivity of those with different skin colors (all they seem to see), instead of looking for concrete problems to solve. Being outspoken or honest about one’s opinion leads to incredible reputational damage or physical violence (See: Andy Ngo, Berkeley Antifa Riots, Portland Antifa Riots).
No hate on the left indeed.
It is concerning to see so many convinced of their superiority for their underdeveloped stances on topics that are never challenged by others. And clearly, it is dangerous. You want to debate the left’s ideas? They want you to hurt.
The current trend of preference falsification (People lie about preferences that differ from what they genuinely want to appear more socially acceptable) will implode as the harsh truths of reality pierce through the lies of the self-perceived champions of the downtrodden (many of whom have known nothing but privilege in their lives). Or, more simply: if you keep sweeping dirt under the carpet, there will be more dirt than carpet, and no one will be fooled.
In a culture of lies and facades, the truth has never been more valuable. Sit across from those who you disagree with and consider that they know something you don’t. May the best ideas win.
Josh Baker is a senior economics and mathematics major from Houston, Texas.