Oklahoma Wesleyan President Everett Piper joined Dan & Amy to discuss crybullies on campus and the way to return academia to something resembling the free marketplaces of ideas and institutions of higher learning they were conceived to be.
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Dan Proft: Dan and Amy, what is up! Well, a couple of things are up. It’s time to talk about college campuses a bit. I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Amy Jacobson: A naughty and nice list? Dan Proft: And the good news isn’t great news, it’s marginally good news, and we’re going to talk about the culture on campuses, the totalitarian culture on campuses, with perhaps the last sensible university president in the country, Doctor Everett Piper, Oklahoma Wesleyan, which is one of the few schools we can go. We’ll talk to him in a minute. But update, we like to close the loop on stories. Remember Yale last year? This girl – and I want to have these names remembered, because her performance on campus should follow her the rest of her life – Jerelyn Luther. This was the student who berated the head of the college, the residential college, in which he lived, to husband and wife professors at Yale – Nicholas and Erika Christakis. Nicholas was the president of Silliman College on the campus of Yale, and this is the treatment they got from Jerry Lynn Luther because she didn’t like the Halloween costume memo that Nicholas Christakis sent out. Nicholas Christakis: The exception is that other people have rights too, not just you. Speaker 2: Walk away. Speaker 3: He doesn’t deserve to be lessened. Jerry Lynn Luther: Be quiet. As your position of master it’s your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students that live in Silliman. You have not done that. Sending out that e-mail, that was against your position as master. Do you understand that? Nicholas Christakis: No, I don’t agree with that. Jerry Lynn Luther: Then why the fuck did you accept the position? Who the fuck hired you? You should step down. If that is what you think about being co-master, you should step down. It that is what you think about being a master you should step down! It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here. You are not doing that! Nicholas Christakis: You’re supposed to be our advocate. Dan Proft: That’s a little flavor from Jerry Lynn Luther. That’s Yale, one of the best universities in the country, reportedly. Well, purportedly better. Amy Jacobson: I couldn’t have controlled myself. Dan Proft: So they’re stepping down and returning to their academic work, but he won’t be the head of Silliman College. And then, our friend, Milo Yiannopoulos, we had on the show last week. Amy Jacobson: Oh, yeah, Milo, crazy Milo. Dan Proft: From Breitbart, who got his speech shut down at DePaul, here in Chicago, and then Father Holtschneider, who is the president of the university, and a disgrace to academia, to Catholicism and to a free society. Amy Jacobson: And why, remind people what he did, what he said. Dan Proft: Because in his letter in response to what had happened on campus with students shutting down Yiannopoulos’ speech, Holtschneider append a response that was posted on the university’s website – he was in France at the time with some members of the board of trustees – and he said that the speech shouldn’t have been shut down, but then he went on to tick down all of the areas of disagreements he has with Milo Yiannopoulos, which is fine; then he said – they were in Normandy, part of the trip to France – he said, “Look at the graves at Normandy, I am reminded that our students are the same age as many of the men who died here, and like them the soldiers who stormed Omaha beach and freed Europe from Nazism, like them ,our students at DePaul”, and he was referring to those that shut down the event, “are trying to fight for a better world”. So when you see the video online – and this goes for all you DePaul alumns, all you DePaul donors, all you DePaul undergrads, or parents who are thinking of sending their kids to DePaul, one of these catholic institutions for Catholics who hate Catholicism, just understand that Father Holtschneider, when he sees people screaming and threatening a speaker with violence and shutting down an event on the campus, when he sees that, he sees in his mind the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan”. That’s the lunacy that has infected college campuses across the nation. Well, now the other side of this – this is fascinating – Doctor Shu-Ju Cheng, who goes by the first name Ada, posted a copy of an email she apparently sent to university President Holtschneider on Facebook, she’s with the Sociology department, she writes in her letter, To believe that universities are simply neutral platforms for ‘equal’ exchanges of ideas, the so-called free speech rooted in the market ideology, is delusional,” she wrote. According to Cheng, “that positional objectivity ends up reinforcing the exact inequalities and dominant ideologies upon which this institution is built. It is a hypocrisy to believe that one can promote diversity without tackling the racism that underlines all educational institutions”, and she resigned her professorship at DePaul. So that’s the modest good news. Milo Yiannopoulos treated the news of Professor Cheng’s resignation saying, “Splendid, I told you I was winning; one down, the rest of American educational establishment to go”. Good grief, what we have wrought. For more on this, somebody who lives the fight every day, he is Dr. Everett Piper, friend of the show; we’ve had him on before. The president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University and the author of the new book, “Why I am a ‘Liberal’ and other conservative ideas”, Dr. Piper, thanks for joining us again, appreciate it. Everett Piper: My pleasure, thanks for having me. Dan Proft: So you wrote this op-ed a while ago – last year, maybe – about higher, the title, “This is not a daycare, it’s a university” and kind of spiraled in popularity because of exactly what students and parents are witnessing on college campuses like DePaul and Yale. So how are you developing what you wrote in that op-ed with this book offering. Everett Piper: The title of the op-ed, as you just described it, was “This is not a daycare, it’s a university”, as if my response to this nonsense. Looks like the people are losing their minds in the academy today. I’m going to quote Romans 1, from the apostle Paul. “We’ve been given over to a reprobate mind, we’ve exchanged the truth of God for a lie”. We can’t think clearly any longer to the point where we’re celebrating ideological fascism on the campus rather than intellectual freedom. In other words, if you don’t submit, if you don’t comply, if you don’t become one of us, and if you don’t think like we do, we will expel you, we will silence you; we will scream at you and we will shout you down and we’ll ask for you to lose your job, because you are not part of the group. And that’s what you heard in the students screaming at Yale, and that’s what you see across the land. And the irony is the Liberal Arts Institution was established to do what? Let’s go back 1000 years to Oxford. The Liberal Arts Institution was established to educate a freeman and a freewoman in a free culture within a free government and a free society with liberty and liberation; that’s what the word liberal meant; was liberty, liberation, not fascism. And that’s the context for academic freedom. It’s in the words of Christ, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Not your opinion, not your power, not your pout, but the truth shall set you free, and I’ll take a breath here after I’ve said this. These kids demanding their safe spaces; that’s not what the Academy is for. Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t here to make you feel safe. Oklahoma Wesleyan is here to challenge you, to confront you. You know, there was a time when a good sermon was supposed to make you feel unfaith and a sense of guilt. It was intended to make you confess your sins and not point at everybody else and blame them for their. Amy Jacobson: Yeah, and to inspire change, but who started the safe spaces? How did this all begin? Everett Piper: I would argue it goes back to – let met answer it this way – Richard Weaver wrote a book in 1948. Dan Proft: “Ideas have consequences”. Everett Piper: There you go, and what was his point? Ideas have consequences. Good ideas, good culture, good behavior, good kids, good community, good church, good government. Bad idea’s the opposite. We’ve been inculcating lousy ideas for generations. Let’s go back 40-50-60 years, put whatever time date you want on it. We’ve been teaching lousy ideas, why should we be surprised that when we teach narcissism and self-absorption decade after decade, that we’ve got narcissists and self-absorbed children that are screaming at us in our schools today. Again, college isn’t supposed to make you feel comfortable. It’s supposed to confront you, you’re supposed to grow, and that’s why I entitled my piece “This is not a daycare, it’s a university”. I want to confront you so you can mature. I’m not going to cuddle you in your selfishness and make you feel comfortable. Truth will be the context of your education here; not your opinion and not mine. [Pope Paul? 00:09:28] and Mao and Robespierre and all the desperate of history had opinions, and it didn’t end well. Truth sets us free. Dan Proft: Well, and here’s the thing, Shelby Steele wrote about this too, in particular in the 60’, when he was a radical leftist, one of those undergrads storming administrative offices and staging students, and what he discovered was that at the leadership level in the universities they’re not really serious about what they say they believe, and so if you push them on this free marketplace of ideas, if you demand, as we see happening now, they’ll fold, and so it seems to me that weakness is provocative, and the left has figured that out, and now we’ve got leftists in academia at every level, lording over the system. But they come from a tradition where you’re supposed to yield to force, and so now they’re yielding to force as well. Everett Piper: Well, it’s the duplicity of the left, the duplicity of post-modernity; I listen to my academic peers actually say what I’m going to say right now. “I can’t tolerate your intolerance. I hate you hate people. I’m sure that nothing is sure. I know that nothing can be known and I’m absolutely confident there are no absolutes”. This is the nonsense of the Academy today, and I run a Christian liberal arts institution that is boldly and unapologetically conservative; a conservative institution that conserves the prime tested truths of God. Ironically enough, I’ve got more liberty to have a robust intellectual exchange, a good argument, if you will, at Oklahoma Wesleyan, than I would ever have at a progressive left to center institution, because it’s not your power or mine that’s going to referee the game; it’s truth. In other words, your opinions or mine don’t matter. Students’ opinions don’t matter because truth should be the measuring rod outside of those things being measured. G.K Chesterton told us, “When you get rid of the big laws of God you don’t get liberty, but rather thousands and thousands of little laws that fill the basket”. And don’t we see that today? Kids on the street, kids on the campus, desperate, if you will, arguing for tyranny rather than tolerance. They want to shut down and not be tolerable of anything they find intolerable. The duplicity of the left is ruling the roost, if you will, and that’s what we have in the academy and in the courts and in our culture right now. The only solution to this is to go back to what Chesterton said. Ten simple laws, if you will, give us liberty. You thousands and my thousands of little laws give us more bondage. Dan Proft: He’s Doctor Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, the author of the new book, “Why I am a ‘Liberal’” – I assume you mean that in the classical sense – “and other conservative ideas”. That’s the end, Dr. Piper, where you just said the solution is to go back to God’s laws, the big laws, if you will. So how do we get from here to there? Everett Piper: Well, I was on the O’Reilly Factor on this whole issue and I’ve bemoaned to the problem, because he coaxed me to, for about a minute or two, and then he said, “Okay, Dr. Piper, you’ve told us what the problem is, now what’s the solution?” Well, here’s the solution, folks, this is very simple. Stop sending your kids off to these institutions that teach this problem. Identify an institution that’s going to teach things that are right and just and real. Identify an institution that believes in the truth, and that you pursue it, and that’s what education is about. Not just send them off to some place that celebrates power and opinion. Send them to institutions that believe in liberty and not fascism. Send them to a place that believes in the big laws, not the thousands upon thousands of little laws. Stop sending your kids to institutions that teach this nonsense. Dan Proft: Send your kids to Oklahoma Wesleyan University. He is Doctor Everett Piper, the President of the aforesaid institution and the author of the book, “Why I am a ‘Liberal’ and other conservative ideas”. Dr. Piper, thanks as always for joining us; appreciate it. Everett Piper: Blessings. Bye bye.