Bureaucracy vs. Hoppe

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by Paul Gottfried by Paul Gottfried

Whatever defenses of Hans Hermann Hoppe against the forces of PC I have thus far seen all make valid points but also give a slightly misleading impression, that universities have raised "nondiscrimination" to their highest value, which is where the chief problem in this situation lies. If universities had been less interested in what Hoppe’s accuser praises as the "sexual revolution," then academic administrators might be turning to other objects of concern, particularly defending "academic freedom." The University of Nevada administration has sided with a lesbian activist, who accused Hans of hateful speech, because universities just happen to prefer nondiscrimination to intellectual freedom. If the faculties would change their minds tomorrow, then the right sorts of values might come into favor and some future Hans would be spared the indignity that this one has had to endure.

Allow me to respond to this argument that it is only partially true. While universities plainly gravitate toward the multicultural Left, they nonetheless do not act independently of the administrative state in carrying out their policies. They do exactly what the Department of Justice and various congressional agencies and their multitudinous staffs expect university officials to do. At my college I know administrators who are personally conservative but talk up affirmative action night and day, because their jobs require them to keep the government off everyone’s back, by preaching "diversity." Governmental guidelines mandate the practice of nondiscrimination not only by recruiting "minorities" but also by creating a "non-hostile work environment" once these designated victims arrive. A scrappy jurist at the University of Texas, Lino A. Graglia, has published extensively on the path leading from governmentally mandated nondiscrimination and minority recruitment to the suppression of academic freedom, in the name of "protecting" the feelings of those who have been recruited. The same path became a fast track since Title Nine was introduced in 1978 under President Carter, to "protect" female workers against male discrimination and harassment. Is it surprising that such protection, which Hoppe’s accuser correctly understands as trumping academic freedom in higher education, has become the academic highest value? The accuser is dealing with political reality when she claims to be representing "cherished ideals" before which academic freedom has no standing. Such freedom "must be squashed at all costs" when it interferes with the higher multicultural Good. The "democratic" managerial state has made this so, and it would remain that way whether or not a power-hungry lesbian had gone after a conscientious economist last year on clearly manufactured charges. It also makes no difference in terms of the possibility for mischief whatever Professor Hoppe said or did not say. His accuser, who has government agencies on her side, can call him a bigot and harasser and the burden of proof falls on him. What we are describing is not a choice of values but the jackboot of public administration, which has been rendered more fearsome by the empowerment of self-proclaimed victims.

Clearly this comes as no surprise to my good friend, who is entangled in this mess and is a controversial critic of the democratic welfare state. If anything, Hans understates the utter vileness of what he criticizes, a regime that not only strips us of property to enrich itself and practices immigration flooding at the expense of unwilling property owners but also destroys once established freedom by appealing to sensitivity and "anti-fascism." What may be the ultimate embarrassment about trying to get out of this bureaucratically induced quandary is the need to ask help from the meddlesome, grasping regime that has caused it. One has to pretend that one’s First Amendment right had been compromised by independent agents. One then appeals to a court to misinterpret the First Amendment, by pretending that it is the federal government’s power to use that amendment against the states and state schools, which are doing the bidding of the Feds. One petitions the guilty to ask for succor against those they’ve unleashed against us. As Hans and I would both agree, it is one more illustration of how the democratic deity has failed decent people.

February 14, 2005

Paul Gottfried [send him mail] is Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and author of, most recently, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt.

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