What do you think about a guy who goes around writing things like this? Recalling, as you read, Jesus and the Lord God and the Holy Ghost are one:
Now we may glimpse the vast sweep of the condemnation of sodomy as leveled in Leviticus. “You shall not lie down with a man as with a woman,” says the Lord, for “it is to’evah,” typically translated as “an abomination.” But the word and its near relations in Hebrew suggest three things: going badly astray, that is, wandering to your confusion and ruin; repugnant filth, as of excrement and loathsome disease; and idol-worship, with its combination of the bizarre and the disgusting—think of Moloch and the charred little ones. To lie with a man as with a woman is to engage in unreality, un-creation; it is like fouling yourself with excrement, or like eating filth not meant for food; it is like falling in adoration of the idols that are tohu w’vohu, waste and void, like the emptiness of the world before God said, “Let there be light.”
The reminder about the Trinity was to show that Jesus, who is one with the Lord God, said some fairly, well, merciless things to say about certain acts, things the modern world would rather not hear about. Rather, the world doesn’t mind hearing things like this, or like anything, so much as has an intense dislike knowing there are actual people who believe these words.
Anthony Esolen, the author of the passage, believes the words. Diverse words, too, given their variance with the spirit of the day. And we all love diversity, don’t we?
Well, there’s diversity, as in Webster’s “multiplicity of difference; multiformity; variance”, fine things all (up to a point). And then there’s Diversity, as in rigid strict mandatory unbending ruthless quota-bearing uniformity. Capital-D Diversity is the not so much the idol of the age, but a blunt instrument of political power.
Esolen penned an essay on the Big D, which was given by its editors the appropriate title “My College Succumbed to the Totalitarian Diversity Cult“. His college is the ostensibly Catholic Providence College. In it he asked:
Is not diversity as it is now preached a solvent for any culture? That is, supposing that the people of a tribe in the interior of Brazil are compelled to accept cultural diversity for its own sake, rather than merely adopting and adapting this or that beneficent feature of another culture (something that people have always done), will that not mean that their own culture must eventually vanish, or be reduced to the superficialities of food and dress?
Is not diversity, as currently promoted, at odds with the foundational diversity built into the nature of the human race, the diversity of male and female, to be resolved most dynamically and creatively in the union of man and woman in marriage?
These were the beginnings of the questions and intelligent comments. And the start of his troubles.
You know what happened. A brace of brats filled their diapers and went bawling to the Providence President who, befitting his sober and stately and priestly office, promptly capitulated. Perhaps he couldn’t deal with the stink. Or perhaps he felt it his duty to toss, albeit softly, Esolen to the baying mob, this being the default and reflexive action of college presidents everywhere since the Sixties.
That’s the briefest summary. Read about the full hilarity here and here. Don’t miss the petulance of the Faculty, which is circulating the petition and document “Breaking the Silence“. It begins:
As PC Faculty, we pledge to break the silence around systemic racism and discrimination on Providence College’s campus. While we vigorously support free expression, recent publications on the part of PC faculty have involved racist, xenophobic, misogynist, homophobic, and religiously chauvinist statements.
The poor bloated pink-faced Faculty! I can’t speak for the reader, but my awareness has just been raised. No Siberian gulag came close to the horrors present at Providence. It’s worse than you might have thought. In Siberia, Stalin & Co. at least let dissidents forage for scraps of pine bark to eat. At Providence, that pestilential hotbed of racism and X-phobia, people have to pay some $60,000 per annum for the privilege to be abused—and that figure includes room and board. I wonder if they have meatless Fridays. Skip it.
“All Faculty, Briggs? Come now. There must be some Traditionalist Reactionaries remaining who haven’t self-emasculated and who defend poor Esolen.”
We know of one. A female creature (as Mike Royko would have said) by the name of Holly Taylor Coolman, who teaches theology. She gave an interview at Crux where she wondered aloud about the diminishing Catholic identify at Providence. About the row she said, “Our campus has seen increasing frustrations in the last few years, and I came to feel that a big blow-up was almost inevitable.” Asked if the disruption was between secularists and Catholics, she answered:
Not exactly. Another group immediately involved here are some of the people who tend to fall on the margins in our community-and also those supporting them. They have serious concerns about systemic forms of exclusion. (And here, too, are a number of concerns that I myself share.)
They can see, for example, that Providence College’s 100-year history includes almost nothing of the African-American experience, or of Hispanic culture and tradition. In the last few years, the college has made a concerted effort to recruit more students, faculty, and staff from underrepresented groups, but frankly, it hasn’t always succeeded in offering needed support once they arrive.
Coolwoman is right. A diligent search reveals no history of Hottentots, Maori, or Samoans at Providence. Damn few Finns and Latvians, neither. About horse lovers and other underrepresented groups, a count cannot be easily discovered, but it’s good money these folks were shunned.
But then, you didn’t see a lot of Irish learning to click in the Kalahari, an observed and undeniable fact which can only be, so Diversity theory assures, the result of systematic exclusion and racism. Probably sexism, homophobia, and every other manner of intellectual vice, too.
After all, should not a black man amble up to Providence to learn all about being black in the current climate instead of reading Shakespeare, Newton, Newman, Thucydides, Dante (translated by Esolen), Euclid, et cetera? Is not college about finding others who share your identify and reveling in that identity, however limited in place or time it is, making others acutely aware of that identity, and making that identity the sole basis and purpose of your life, and not about learning the best that was thought and said?
Esolen doesn’t think so. That fine gentleman is aware that you don’t need to go to college to know what you already know or believe what you already believe and can’t be talked out of. If all you care about is “social justice”, skip college, go right into “activism”, or stare at your identity in a reflection at the lake like that Greek fellow, and save yourself, or your parents, a bundle.
Problem is, Esolen is surrounded by social justice warriors who, though they lack in intellect, fortitude, and cleverness, are great in number and abound in indefatigable self-righteousness. The strain of defending Truth and Commonsense might be getting to him. This we gather from his recent essay in The Catholic Thing. Pardon the extensive quote.
Because of recent events at the school where I teach, Providence College, I have come to see that the winning side of the so-called culture wars has no interest in rational or equable conversation about the neuralgic issues of our time. I use the word interest advisedly. They have nothing to gain by it.
We can ask, till we are exhausted from asking, what they mean by “marriage,” if the thing is not rooted in the fundamental biology of the human race, and exactly what justifies any boundaries at all wherewith they suppose they can limit the definition. If man and man, why not man and woman and woman?…
It won’t matter. The aim was never rational coherence, or even a concern for the common good. The aim was power: to get what they wanted, to keep it, and to crush those who would question their right to it.
So they have the power now, power gained not by argument, whereof there has been very little, but by a combination of political force, mass media sentimentalism, public lassitude, and an anti-culture of licentiousness and the neglect of children.
Why bother to argue?…
Why indeed? Arguing only exposes you as an enemy of The People, and targets you as problem that must be dealt with—as Esolen learned with his Diversity essay. Argument and question are taken as political attacks, which, in a sense, they are. The Faculty who have surrendered to the World “are by nature no better and no worse than anyone else. It’s just that they have, whether they acknowledge it or not, exchanged the God of heaven for a god of prestige and power. Politics is the god.”
As long as you possess the “right” politics, you are like the pagan who has secured divine favor by the “right” sacrificial rituals.
You may then do as you please. You may, for example, go out of your way to ruin reputations and careers and turn families upside down; all justified, all for the good of the “cause.”
It is obvious our friend needs cheering up. What practical things can we do to help?
Pray, for one. It is still and always the best weapon. If you’re up for more earthly activities, you can buy his books. His Dante is excellent, and his The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization is great fun. There are many more.
Bonus Embattled conservative professor refuses to be silenced: ‘They did not kill the lion’.