I received the following e-mail today from an alumnus of the United States Military Academy at West Point. I am redacting the reader’s name to protect privacy:
I hate to pile on to the theme of academics at prominent universities attempting to shut down intellectual inquiry in the name of anti racism, but this is another example of the trend that needs some wider exposure. The Left wing mob is coming for the service academies, and by extension, our nation’s very ability to defend itself from external enemies. As a West Point graduate (class of 2017) and a longtime reader of your blog, I thought I should bring this to your attention as yet another example of the madness that is afflicting our country’s elite classes.
This letter needs some background explanation. It’s not like the Princeton Putsch that you described. The faculty at West Point are probably the most conservative of any public university in the country. I can attest to the academic openness and respect for free debate during my time at the school (2013-2017). The student body is (or was) generally conservative in an institutional sense. They are not right-wing fire-breathers. Cadets were pretty evenly divided about Donald Trump’s election. From what I could observe, so were the faculty. The Academy’s response to the unrest that has torn the United States apart in the last few months–spearheaded, I might add, by Lieutenant General Darryl Williams, the Academy’s first black Superintendent–was measured and appropriate for the amount of division in our country. This is not an attempt by people currently in power to shut down debate by other academics.
It is quite the opposite. It is an effort by young leaders in the United States Army to force the Academy to bow to the Woke Cult and make the Anti-Racism the central feature of the Academy’s curriculum. This policy statement was apparently drafted by a group of recent Academy graduates (classes of 2018 and 2019). These graduates all came from the top tier of the ranks of the Academy’s cadet leaders. Two recent valedictorians and First Captains signed this manifesto. (Other past First Captains include Douglas MacArthur, John J. Pershing, and William C. Westmoreland.) The other cadets all held high-ranking positions within the Corps of Cadets. They are the cream of the crop of the Army’s future leaders, the guys and gals that will become generals one day and will be expected to lead America’s sons and daughters in combat.
Their actions are akin to those of the Red Guards in Maoist China. They are agitating to tear the Academy apart from the ground up and reorient its mission around Anti-Racism. The fact that our country’s future leaders believe in this nonsense is a sign that our military is in trouble, and cannot be relied upon either to defend our country or to safeguard the interests of all Americans in the performance of their duties.
I don’t expect you to read this entire document or understand completely what’s going on here, but the plain English of it is easy enough for everyone to understand. Even so, I’ll add in a few notes for context on this document.
I knew some of these cadets personally and professionally in the performance of my duties, but not well enough to be able to speculate about their motives. The document is filled with concrete policy proposals to address what its authors see as a major problem at West Point. The effect of these policy proposals is to cede control of the Academy’s entire curriculum from the ground up to black cadets in the name of Anti-Racism. It is replete with so-called ‘examples’ of racism at the Academy, but most fall apart on close inspection. Minimally they do not substantiate the charge that West Point needs to be fundamentally reformed to address it. I interpret most of these anecdotes as pure innuendo and hearsay, totally devoid of context, and not indicative of an institutional problem (they were nearly all sourced from an online anonymous survey). They would not pass muster for any journalist attempting to investigate them. It is filled with buzzwords about ‘heteronormativity’, ‘Protestants’, ‘imperialism’, ‘Christianity,’ ‘white supremacy’, ‘Black bodies,’ and the like. I doubt that the writers of this document know anything at all about any of these things, but of course that will not abate their righteousness in pursuit of their holy cause.
This document as a whole constitutes wholesale moral blackmail of the Academy, its graduates, and its present-day leadership. It consists almost entirely of a recitation of black grievances against whites, with a few token gestures to ‘Latinx’ and ‘Asian’ minorities, but nothing more, probably because it didn’t occur to the writers of this document that there might be more to American history than their single-minded focus on racism. I should note that the Academy is currently led by a black man (LTG Williams, himself a graduate with many years of honorable service) and that the Corps of Cadets itself has been led by black people (Simone Askew in 2018 and EJ Coleman in 2016) twice in the last five years. Black cadets are represented at the Academy in greater numbers than their proportion of the population. Of course, none of this is enough for the Woke Mob.