Many moons ago ABC’s Sam Donaldson compared the French and American Revolutions—implying that the two events were historical twins. Even then I knew enough history to conclude that this simplistic equation was bogus.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know just how wrongheaded the comparison was until I read Ann Coulter’s recent book “Demonic”—in particular the chapters about the slaughter of over half a million souls that occurred in France from 1789 to 1794. (By comparison, the religion-steeped American Revolution had about 20,000 casualties—half disease-related—and none of the mob-inspired butchery that was common in France.)
Coulter contends that the details and philosophical motivation for this bestial continental bloodbath aren’t more widely known because France’s statist revolution was compatible with the beliefs and propaganda methods of modern leftists. American universities, of course, are seminaries for such ideas, and attachment to these dogmas is so fervent that prominent conservatives on campus are often, in mob-like fashion, shouted down or even, on occasion, assaulted.
Coulter notes that neither Cornell (in 2010-2011) nor UCLA had courses specifically on the French Revolution. I can add that none of my numerous graduate courses in intellectual history came close to presenting the depths of atheistic depravity exhibited in Coulter’s chapters on the revolution and Terror.
I perused UCSD’s offerings on the topic and found a single course taught by a professor whose primary interests are gender and labor relations. The absence of student reviews on the web suggests that the course (buried deep in the university’s multicultural offerings) didn’t light anyone’s fire.
Coulter also observes (as David Horowitz did earlier in his book, “The Professors”) that many violent radicals from the 60s ensconced themselves in positions in higher education —among them Obama associates and former “Weathermen” Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
In California Coulter mentions former Black Panther Angela Davis (long time Professor at UC Santa Cruz) and Ron (Maulana) Karenga. Karenga, a former 60s radical and inventor of Kwanzaa, was able to go from prison for physically assaulting two women to Chairman of Black Studies at Cal State Long Beach in a mere fourteen years. That’s quite a tenure track.
Throw in the fact that UC-system employees were candidate Obama’s number one source of funds in 2008 (contributing $1.64 million or 50 times the amount given to McCain) and you have several exhibits favoring Coulter’s thesis that modern leftists often try to achieve their goals not by rational argument but by the exclusion of opposing views.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ recent “go to hell” condemnation of Tea Party Americans further reinforces Coulter’s point about the left’s mob-baiting mentality.