Clarity on Campus

“In front of the wall, full of holes by the bullets, tied to posts, the agonizing corpses remained, soaked in blood and paralyzed in indescribable positions, spastic hands, painful expressions of shock, unhinged jaws, a hole where an eye used to be before. Some of the bodies had the skulls destroyed and exposed brains due to the last shot.”

This account ought to be enough to repulse any humane individual from the idea that an image of Guevara is worthy of our college’s walls. But let’s leave his murderous activities aside for a moment and ask why it is they are being deemed excusable. Not every past leader enjoys the same degree of mercy. John C. Calhoun’s powerful arguments in support of nullification and states’ rights are no longer seriously considered because of his record of defending the institution of slavery. Prescient warnings by segregationists about the permanently revolutionary nature of civil rights movement politics are viewed as morally bankrupt. Why, then, is the murder of six hundred people a matter of less concern in this particular instance of historical judgment?

It is not simply that Guevara is an inspiring example of resistance to oppression and exploitation. If that were the case, a much longer and more impressive list of anti-authoritarian right-wingers would suddenly become eligible for veneration. But members of the intellectual right are routinely disrespected and vilified in academia, and never receive the sort of kudos reserved for ardent leftists who preach some variety of Marxism.

Those are excerpts from an editorial I happened upon, written by Evan McLaren criticizing the proposed inclusion of che in a campus mural at Kenyon College. I was so impressed with both his writing, and his moral clarity I tracked down his email address and wrote to him. He graciously replied and gave me permission to share his response.

At this stage I believe the mural is going ahead, but whether it will contain Che is unsure. I don’t think any group is sponsoring the mural officially; instead, students who live in our campus’ multicultural center came up with the idea themselves. Their plan appears to consist of a mural featuring several figures in the left-wing social justice movement . . . I recall hearing Nelson Mandela mentioned as another candidate. My guess is they’ll react to criticism by painting the mural but leaving Che out of it.

My only other observation is that Kenyon’s activist class is dedicated to honoring the gods of “diversity” and sex/gender “rights.” They express horror whenever someone suggests that “insensitive” people should be allowed “to say what they want.” (Apparently school and state administrators are supposed to judge who is “insensitive” and silence them.) But, of course, they made no public objection to the idea of a Che celebration. Their hypocrisy is so perfect it almost seems deliberate. Best, Evan

Read the rest of Evans wonderful editorial at The Kenyon Collegian.

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