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Going off the deep end: Sarah Lawrence students smear IHS for "links to hate group"

Linked (ahem) via the Loathsome-Leftist Leiter's blog, a coalition of minority students (not the marginalized conservative student minority, mind you, but ethnic minorities) have made a list of demands of their administrators.  Contained in the list of demands is this:

Reject Funding or Involvement from the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch-Affiliated Organizations
From 2010-2017, Sarah Lawrence accepted $89,500 from the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation. Professor Sam Abrams is an alumnus of the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University (GMU), of which Charles Koch has served as chairman of the board for almost four decades. The IHS is linked to the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group that proudly “dared go to Charlottesville in August 2017” for the infamous white supremacist demonstration that resulted in the murder of 32-year-old anti-racist protester Heather Heyer. With this company, it is unsurprising that the Koch brothers wield their corporate influence to fight against free speech and progress, as documented by activists including the group Transparent GMU and news publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post. The fact that Sarah Lawrence utilizes money from the Charles Koch Foundation, at best, demonstrates a passive condoning of the violent ideology of the Koch brothers and their efforts to maintain the institutionalization of oppression against marginalized people. Accepting such money completely violates SLC’s “progressive” values and displays a gross indifference towards the suffering of marginalized students and faculty. Sarah Lawrence must confront how the presence of Sam Abrams, an anti-queer, misogynist, and racist who actively targets queer people, women, and people of color and is an alumnus of an institute with direct ties to a neo-Confederate hate group, affects the safety and wellbeing of marginalized students. Additionally, Sarah Lawrence will forfeit donations and interactions from the Charles Koch Foundation and never hire alumni from the League of the South-aligned Institute for Human Studies in the future.

So IHS is not just "linked to" a SPLC-designated 'hate group', but also aligned with it, according to these students.

You know, IHS, an organization well-known to libertarians such as myself?  These know-it-all students now want to lump it in with League of the South.  So I did a little investigating, starting with the very link they provided above.  Here's what it says:

LEAGUE OF THE SOUTHAs recently as Spring 2017, the founder of the League of the South Institute and its successor the Abbeville Institute, Donald Livingston, lectured in George Mason University’s economics department as part of an IHS sponsored “Invisible Hand Seminar.”  
The LOS became increasingly militant between being founded in 1994 and being listed as a hate-group in 2000. Livingston served on the IHS Academic Review Committee for a period including 1996-1999. This committee reviews applicants for “Humane Studies” Fellowships, which were originally “Claude R. Lambe Fellowships,” because they were founded and funded by the (Koch family operated) Claude R. Lambe Foundation. These fellowships were considerable, $18,000 per academic year in 2000 (up from $12,000 in 1999).
LOS founding member Thomas Woods lists himself as the recipient of “two Humane Studies Fellowships and a Claude R. Lambe Fellowship from the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.”
LOS and Mises Institute co-founder, Joseph Stromberg, served many years as an associate editor of the IHS publication, Literature of Liberty. 
Thomas DiLorenzo, was an affiliated scholar at the League of the South Institute, is currently affiliated with their spin-off organization, the Abbeville Institute, and is Mises Institute “faculty.”  DiLorenzo was also a professor in George Mason University’s economics department, and did policy work for Charles Koch’s Cato Institute.
So the nature of the "link" is that certain people who are involved with IHS were also involved with LOS.  If I understand this correctly, if someone does work in some academic area that IHS finds of use for its purpose, but that someone is involved in another, unsavory organization, that means IHS is is thereby "linked" if not "aligned" with the unsavory organization.

Does this sound like a commonsense sort of association to make?

Donald Livingston, the first name listed above, is a Philosophy professor at Emory University.  Whatever views he holds, they're probably no more "out there" than those of another Emory U. Philosophy professor, George Yancy, whom I've discussed before on this blog, and who holds the view that "white America is racist."  Anyway, Livingston disassociated himself from LOS, as mentioned at the very SPLC webpage I linked above:

Within days of the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes in New York City and Washington, D.C., [Michael] Hill [LOS's leader] suggested that the attacks were deserved, “the natural fruits of a regime committed to multiculturalism and diversity.” This did not go over well, provoking an exodus of members. Perhaps the most significant blow of all came with the resignation of Donald Livingston as head of the Institute for the Study of Southern Culture and History, the “educational arm” of the LOS, which runs workshops and disseminates books and pamphlets. A professor of philosophy at Emory University, Livingston told the Report that he was put off by the group’s racism and other “political baggage.” 
So much for the "link/alignment" between IHS and LOS via Livingston.

How about the next name mentioned, Thomas Woods?  Here's his story about that.  Still think it's all fine and good to "link" him to LOS much less link IHS to LOS via him?

How about Thomas DiLorenzo?  His association with LOS is covered at his wikipedia page.  There is a wiki-footnoted link to an article in which DiLorenzo addresses the LOS topic head-on.  His assessment of LOS is markedly at odds with that of the SPLC; he is very much under the impression, for the various reasons he gives, that "the League of the South advocates peace and prosperity in the tradition of a George Washington or a Thomas Jefferson."

(Washington and Jefferson are directly and incontrovertibly linked to slavery by being slave owners.  They also managed to be key figures in founding a nation the founding principles of which certify slavery as an abhorrence.  So their record is rather mixed in this regard.  This can hardly mean that praising Washington and Jefferson for their role in the nation's founding, etc., can mean praise for their slave ownership, and it would be ludicrous to "link" someone to praise for slavery by praising these men on other grounds.  But the IHS-LOS "link" looks suspiciously like just such a smeary way of going about things.)

Let's say that SPLC is right that LOS is a hate group and DiLorenzo is wrong that it's an innocuous Washington-and-Jefferson-like group in its stated principles.  That makes DiLorenzo wrong, not a hater or supporter of haters.

The IHS-LOS "link" here strikes me as tenuous and smeary.

Anyway, I also happen to have first-hand experience with IHS, having attended an IHS seminar in 1999 (in Charlottesville, VA, as it happens), and detected not a whiff of racism, white supremacism or any such ugliness.  (The seminar faculty I specifically remember being exposed to were James M. Buchanan, Jeremy Shearmur, and David Schmidtz.)  But what do I know....

Being mainly "associated" myself with the Randian/Objectivist strain of free market or libertarian thought (note: Rand by and large rejected the "libertarian" label for "radical for capitalism"), and hence with Rand's views on racism, I am not intimately familiar with the "Southern" strand that coalesced around Lew Rockwell (and hence Rothbard) and Ron Paul, and the Mises Institute (headquartered in Auburn, AL), but I am aware of the charges against Rockwell and Paul as to racist dog whistles that appeared in Paul's newsletters back in the day.  In that context I'd like to say the following:

Racism in whatever form is fucking idiotic, ugly, vicious, mean, base, evil, obscene, moronic.  There should be no tolerance for it or excusing it.  A real philosopher judges people on the content of their character, i.e., as individuals with moral agency, not on the basis of the other Cs listed on the cover of Kwame Appiah's Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity, i.e.: country, color, class, culture, creed.  Whatever these other things say about an individual's identity, they are not fundamental in the way character is.  The most effective route to eradicating racism is moral, i.e., philosophical education, beginning at as young an age as feasible.

This makes me receptive as far as it goes to the voices of minorities who find themselves marginalized in American society.  And I'm also repulsed by voices (on the left or the right, or elsewhere) that seek in some fashion or other to make it about race or other such non-fundamental factors in how we judge or treat people.  And what I "demand" to see from any pro-free-market organization that understands the moral grounds for the free society is an explicit repudiation of racism in whatever form.  The IHS (e.g.) should make it a matter of unequivocal policy that those associating with racist outfits are not welcome to be involved with IHS.

(How to determine whether something or someone counts as a racist is not always easy to determine, but there are commonsense guidelines for that sort of thing.  If someone touts "the achievements of white civilization," they are making a collectivistic rather than individualistic assessment based on skin color when non-skin-color factors serve the explanatory role.  Aristotle's being a student of Plato (who was in turn a student of Socrates) makes for a much better explanation for what contributed to his success as a philosopher, than his supposed skin color.  For instance.  And even if there were incontrovertible scientific evidence of un-erasable differences in IQ between races, what the fuck does that have to do with judging based on moral character?  What the fuck would that have to do with exercising the appropriate form of love (Christian or otherwise) and/or benevolence toward fellow humans (or creatures of God)?  etc.)

Here's how political ideology enters into it: the views espoused by many minority figures in this country these days are infected by thought-viruses of leftism, and so when a 'person of color' says this or that leftism-infused idea about race/class/oppression in America, I am repulsed by the leftist aspect.  I don't love or respect leftists qua leftists; I think they are destructive (whether intentionally or not) to civilized values; when its comes to assessing the merits of Rand's ideas, they are loathsome losers.  When it comes to free market ideas and thinkers, they have an overweening tendency toward intellectually lazy caricatures and smears.  I find their treatment overall of Charles Murray, primarily on the basis of his Bell Curve work, repulsive and vicious.  They fundamentally mischaracterize the capitalist system.  They place far too much emphasis on the political over the philosophical.  Especially the leftists of today go out of their way to decontextualize and assume the worst about any statement coming from a rightist with even vaguely remotely racial connotations; they refuse serious dialogue with rightist opponents about their tendency to ascribe racist views, motivations, biases, and so on to those opponents.  (If there ever were a serious dialogue between Ta-Nehisi Coates and rightists instead of with other leftists only, I haven't detected any evidence of it.)

Even if there is good evidence that President Trump is a racist, the vast majority of the "evidence" they produce is tenuous, decontextualized (e.g., they elide to whom Trump was referring by the "fine people on both sides" during the deadly Charlottesville clash), the-worst-assuming, etc.  (I've already said that there is a low-to-medium probability, on the basis of the solid evidence that's available, that Trump is racist - at minimum in regard to unconscious biases - but to treat it like a slam-dunk no-brainer is to be epistemically negligent, which so many leftists today are.  It's a lot like treating Hillary Clinton as preferable to Trump as some kind of no-brainer, when it isn't.)

So when I say that black leftists are loathsome morons, it's not in virtue of skin color that I say it, but in virtue of their leftism.  And when I say that I find black conservatives (e.g., Candace Owens) to be much more endearing than black leftists, it's because of their conservatism and/or libertarianism.  I find it pathetic how the left, half a century after the Civil Rights movement, engages in mental gymnastics to blame systemic racism predominantly for the gap in socioeconomic status between 'white America' and 'black America' that persists to this day.  How about the failure of leftist social policies to succeed in their intended aims - or, indeed, to be counterproductive to those aims?  How about the fact that it's lefties and Dems who've mostly been in charge of the schools and big cities this whole time?  Leftist ideology by its nature refuses to account for those factors, so they place a lot of explanatory burden on systemic racism.  Perhaps if leftist intellectuals hadn't dropped the ball so fucking badly on the whole socialism thing, they'd have more credibility than what they actually deserve here.

It's due to the influence of those same leftist intellectuals that campus leftists (minorities or otherwise) speak and behave as they do.  Smear the Kochs and IHS?  Sure, it's the sort of thing that leftist intellectuals do, with the complicity of fellow leftist intellectuals.  Smear conservatives who promote 'bourgeois values' as white supremacists, while rejecting dialogue?  Yep.  Hate on capitalism without serious dialogue with its defenders?  That too.  Eschew the need for a diversity of ideas to properly challenge leftist orthodoxy?  Check.  All those "demands" made of Sarah Lawrence's administration?  Emboldened by the example set by the leftist professors, writers, and agitators.

Which is to say, that it's the left as a whole that's been going off the deep end.  What caused this slide into degeneracy?  The failure of leftist ideas to pan out in the real world, combined with a doubling-down by adherents to leftist ideas, combined with an echo-chamber effect.  It's not all that hard to figure out, really.  It's a telltale sign of degeneracy when the left today is debating the alternatives of "democratic socialism" vs. some less extreme ("center-left") variant of "progressive" thought, when the eminently strong libertarian alternative has been around for some decades now (and the wisdom that is contained in conservative thought is likewise being ignored).

(This is not to say that there isn't good evidence of some amount of (ugly, evil) systemic racism, which might even be disentangled from the effects of socioeconomic gaps.  But leftists, who just really can't help themselves, have gone over the top with this theme, flouting common sense.  In fact, the phrase "narcissism of small differences" comes to mind; applied here, it's the idea that if levels of racism were reduced in society to level x, the left would find a way to magnify x in inverse proportion and to increase its demands ever more shrilly for the required corrections.  The idea that racism in America is currently as bad or worse than it was half a century ago isn't something that would be taken seriously, assuming common sense, but could you tell that from the tone of criticism coming from the left nowadays?  Could you tell based on the Sarah Lawrence students' list of demands?  Could you tell that from how lefties/Dems/"progs" comment on what the Trump presidency says about America and/or those who voted for him, as though (again, flouting common sense) it's mainly about racism, xenophobia, etc. - and having nothing to do with how repelled non-leftist Americans are by the leftist/Dem/"prog" alternative in its current form?...)

Besides, if we really are to go down the path that leftists are going down these days, in "linking" mainstream thinkers and organizations with hate groups, what can we make of the "link" between Barack Obama and anti-semitism?


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