It's time to shine a light on the cult-like practices of modern academia

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A dark, shadowy figure emerges from the forest and the séance begins. The figure slowly walks up to a massive podium and screeches out an unintelligible verse of gibberish phrases to an audience of similarly-clad figures. They screech back the gibberish phrases in perfect echoes.

The grisly procession continues. Lean in a bit closer. What are they saying?

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The dark, shadowy figure screeches:

“Authoritarian efforts such as these can justify racial, class, and sexual policing that disciplines forms of kinship and homemaking—including same-sex, multi-generational, or other nonnormative households—that deviate from established nuclear family norms... By substituting their ideology for years of assiduous research, they impose their will in the name of a 'science' that is without factual support."

What does the gibberish mean?! It's indecipherable!

Thus spoke the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), a century-old association staple of academia.

The AAUP released the statement as part of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the Committee on Women in the Academic Profession, which is the most academic title for a committee ever.

The statement is an outright sneer at President Trump, but it is also a sneer at traditional values—well, not just traditional values, values that were accepted just a year ago. Specifically, the association makes a point to attack the definition of gender as biological, arguing that it has been “thoroughly discredited by over fifty years of feminist, trans, queer, and critical race research and by lived experience."

Academia has become a powerful anti-religion religion, and we're shipping our children off, willingly, to become prey to a cult.

Yeah, let's trust feminist, trans, queer and critical race research. No obvious agenda there. The AAUP's statement is the latest example of rampant cult-like behavior in academia. Academia has become a powerful anti-religion religion, and we're shipping our children off, willingly, to become prey to a cult.

But, what's fueling this bizarre séance is blind self-importance? Academics cherish themselves and their ideas. Hence the cloaks and weird rituals. So all we need to do is turn on the lights in the classrooms, to keep them in check a little, and remind them that we're not paying them to practice witchcraft.

Avenatti bails on 2020 presidential run, leaving Biden as 'most qualified' — really?

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon

Well, that de-escalated quickly. Michael Avenatti, lawyer of Stormy Daniels, announced he will not run for president in 2020 after all. That takes the number of Democrats planning to challenge Trump down to around 724.

In a statement, Avenatti said he would still run, but he decided not to out of respect for his family's “concerns." He didn't list their concerns, but said:

“We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one."

Speaking of — if you've been wondering who's the most qualified person in America to be president, wonder no more. It's former vice president Joe Biden.

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How do we know? Because ol' Joe told us so, at a book tour stop in Montana. The 76-year-old says he'll make a decision about a 2020 bid within the next two months, which is campaign-speak for “I'm definitely running, so get out your checkbooks."

Biden admitted:

“I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth."

Yeah, about that… the first time Biden ran for president, in 1987, he was actually pulling ahead of the Democratic pack until his campaign got snagged on plagiarism. He got caught lifting entire sections of a speech by Neil Kinnock, a British Labor Party candidate who ran for Prime Minister and lost to Margaret Thatcher. It wasn't just the fact that Biden copied exact sections of Kinnock's speech, he also stole biographical facts from Kinnock's life and tried to pass them off as his own — like saying his ancestors were coal miners.

The most qualified person in the country to be president? Maybe in the mind of Joe Biden.

Perhaps in the pre-Internet era, Biden thought he could get away with it. But he didn't. An adviser for Michael Dukakis' campaign saw a tape of Kinnock's speech and put together a side-by-side comparison video of Biden's plagiarizing, then sent the tape to the New York Times. As reporters dug further into the story, they found that Biden had also lifted large portions of speeches by Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

Those revelations led Biden to admit he got an “F" for a course in law school after he plagiarized five pages for a term paper. Biden was caught in more lies about his academic credentials and enough embarrassments mounted that he finally withdrew from the race.

The most qualified person in the country to be president? Maybe in the mind of Joe Biden.

Saturday Night Live writer Nimesh Patel, an Emmy-nominated comedian, is the latest victim in campus culture's wacky game. Patel is the first Indian-American writer for SNL, so by the usual standards of identity politics, he should be safe. Not the case. All of the rules went out the window when he was performing a stand-up comedy set for an event called "cultureSHOCK: Reclaim" at Columbia University hosted by the Asian American Alliance.

He joked that being gay cannot be a choice because “no one looks in the mirror and thinks, 'this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.'"

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For one, that's less of a joke and more of a statement. It's exactly the kind of safe, pro-LGBT statement that you would think campus feminists and trans activists would squeal with glee to hear.

According to Columbia's school paper, student organizers, offended by Patel's joke, rushed the stage 30 minutes into the set and told Patel that he needed to finish his set and say a few closing remarks.

Patel argued that his jokes were not offensive, and that they were actually much-needed insights into the real world. He also made it clear that he stands in solidarity with the Asian American Alliance.

They still cut his microphone off and booted him off stage.

Patel hasn't commented on the uproar, but here are a few comments from people who were in the audience:

The Columbia Spectator quoted three students who were in the audience. One of them said:

“The message they were trying to send with the event was opposite to the jokes he was making, and using people's ethnicity as the crux of his jokes could be funny but still offensive... He definitely wasn't the most crass comedian I've ever heard but for the event it was inappropriate."

Another student said:

“I really dislike when people who are older say that our generation needs to be exposed to the real world. Obviously the world is not a safe space but just accepting that it's not and continuing to perpetuate the un-safeness of it… is saying that it can't be changed," said Jao. “When older generations say you need to stop being so sensitive, it's like undermining what our generation is trying to do in accepting others and making it safer."

The radical version of leftism that has overtaken college campuses... will eat their own without thinking twice.

The third student wasn't bothered by the jokes:

“While what some of the things that he said might have been a bit provoking to some of the audience, as someone who watches comedy a lot, none of them were jokes that I hadn't heard before and none of them were jokes that elicited such a response in my experience."

The third student is a little ray of hope in all of this, but I'm afraid that people like her are increasingly outnumbered and unwilling to speak up.

The jokes were clearly not racist or homophobic. If anything, they seem to have been designed to pander to overly sensitive campus activists who all too often cry “racist" and “homophobic" and all their other insults.

It just goes to show that the left, particularly the radical version of leftism that has overtaken college campuses, will stop at nothing to push its postmodern narrative. They'll spare nobody. And they will eat their own without thinking twice.

Forbes recently described student loan debt as the $1.5 trillion crisis, adding that "Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category - behind only mortgage debt - and higher than both credit cards and auto loans," which is affecting 44 million borrowers in the U.S.

There's also the cultural effect that college is having, the indoctrination that young people are being subjected to. More and more powerful people are recognizing that college as an institution is a problem.

Last Friday, Peter Thiel gave a keynote speech at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Collegiate Network editors' conference. He told a roomful of 100 students:

Universities today are as corrupt as the Catholic Church of 500 years ago. At some point, if it's 100 to zero, you start to suspect you're in North Korea. Does the unanimity mean you've gotten to the truth, or does it mean you're in a totalitarian state. We have this illusion that all sorts of important decisions have been decided.

He added:

We are not on the losing side of history. The other side is on the losing side. The reformation is going to happen, and it won't come from within, but from the outside.

Thiel has worked actively to bring about the change that he's talking about here. The lawsuit he led against Gawker helped topple their empire of filth and lowest-level journalism. He has also created The Thiel Fellowship, which "gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom. The idea that we are on the losing side is a form of psychological warfare."

We're not on the losing side. Not in the slightest.

And he's right. We're not on the losing side. Not in the slightest. We're on the up-and-up. Things are only going to get better from here.

Farewell 41


America's 41st president, George H.W. Bush, died late Friday evening. He was 94.

Bush Sr. has been called the most successful one-term president in U.S. history. A bit of a back-handed compliment maybe, but it's probably true. The Cold War ended on his watch – the Berlin wall fell, and the Soviet Union dissolved. Bush skillfully navigated the choppy waters of that massive reshuffling of the world order. He signed treaties with Gorbachev mandating historic reductions in nuclear and chemical weapons. In 1990, he put together a 28-nation coalition that expelled Saddam Hussein's troops from Kuwait. The American-led ground war in Iraq lasted just over four days.

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Americans usually like their presidents a lot more once they've left office. This was especially true of Bush. Following eight years of the "great communicator," Ronald Reagan, Americans found George Bush rather bland. He was accused of being out of touch and having no domestic agenda as the economy slumped mid-way through his presidency. He didn't exactly send thrills up the legs of conservatives either. He wasn't the guy for pushing ideological agendas. Yet, America would come to miss the sense of calm and normalcy that he brought to the White House.

George Bush's four years in office were the calm before the partisan storm. His presidency marked the end of an era. He was our last president to have served in World War II. By the time the 1992 election rolled around, the shifting political winds seemed to catch Bush by surprise. The telling sign that he didn't appreciate the rising cool-factor of his '92 challenger, Bill Clinton, came during one of their debates when Bush seemed bored and at one point even checked his watch. It was as if America was checking its watch too and realized after twelve straight years of Republicans in the White House, maybe it was time to give this young draft-dodger from Arkansas a chance.

Sometimes, we don't appreciate what we've got 'til it's gone.

By today's standards, Bush was way overqualified to become president. He had been a congressman from Texas, ambassador to the UN, chairman of the RNC, U.S. envoy to China, director of the CIA, and Vice President. Despite his accomplishments, he declined to write the traditional presidential memoir because he thought it would be unseemly to write about himself.

Bush's calm sincerity and genuine modesty seem like such a throwback now. With his passing, it makes you wonder whether we'll ever see a president like him again. He wasn't perfect, nor was he a saint. But he was a gentleman, he loved his country, and he served it well.

At the end of his first year as president, Bush wrote in his diary, "I'm certainly not seen as visionary, but I hope I'm seen as steady and prudent and able."

Sometimes, we don't appreciate what we've got 'til it's gone.