Anarchy and nihilism. Mural at the University of Virginia. Photo credit: Ann McLean
by Scott S. Powell and Ann McLean
The United States is under a cultural and ideological attack that threatens its continuity and survival more than at any previous time in the 239-year history of the nation. And since the leaders of this attack think strategically, it should come as no surprise that Virginia would be in the crosshairs of a new kind of battle to transform America.
Virginia is the key state that gave birth to the United States, and this state has more historical sites than any other — approximately 130 in all. Yorktown and Appomattox Courthouse, both in Virginia, were the sites of the final battles of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Thus, America-haters know that if the history and culture of Virginia can be denigrated and rewritten, the rest of the country will be easier to take down.
Four of the first five U.S. presidents came from Virginia. George Washington, who led the Continental Army to victory in the War of Independence, would become the first president. Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence, became the third president. James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, drafted the Constitution. James Monroe, the fifth and last president among the Founding Fathers, was the brave 18-year-old volunteer soldier holding the American flag in Emanuel Leutze’s famous 1850 painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” sitting in the boat right behind resolute commander-in-chief Washington. Continue reading
The Jefferson-Madison Library in Charlottesville. Photo credit: NBC29.
by Ann McLean
From the first comment of “Don’t burn our past!” a June 27th public hearing to discuss striking the names of the two Founding Fathers from the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library turned into verbal fireworks.
Two camps quickly formed. The first five speakers defended Mr. Jefferson, who most realize needs no defense given his revolutionary proclamation that “all men are created equal,” endowed by God with the inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This clarion call inspired freedom throughout the Western world and now around the globe.
“It was Jefferson who pushed to free all people,” said one speaker.
“Mr. Jefferson loved books,” said another. “His books began this library in 1823.”
Yet another noted, “The enemies of Jefferson may not realize it, but they would have no rights at all if Jefferson’s ideas were discarded, as they have been time and time again in world history by regimes led by people like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and now Putin. Jefferson’s ideas were truly inspired by God.” Continue reading
Displaying dangerous fascistic tendencies… Photo credit: DailySIgnal
by Ann Mclean
Want more evidence that the University of Virginia has become an impermeable thought bubble where people can say the craziest things without fear of contradiction? Consider this: Two University of Virginia professors —Manuela Achilles and Kyrill Kunakhovich — taught a history course this spring that portrays American conservatives as fascists. They weren’t being hyperbolic. They really meant it.
In their analysis, the wellspring of fascism is not worship of the all-powerful, totalitarian state — which conservatives totally reject — but the traditional American virtues of family and patriotism.
I first learned of this class from a young friend of mine. Here is her description:
Recently, I enrolled in a fascism class thinking it would be a great way to weed through the constant accusations that politicians make about who is fascist and who is not. The class started out great. We studied Hitler and Mussolini and other fascisms in Europe, then moved to Asia to look at Japanism, but the more the course progressed, the more I was confused about what fascism actually is. My professors chose to leave fascism undefined and allow each student to come to their own conclusion. That seems pretty reasonable, right? I thought so, too. Continue reading
Risa Goluboff, dean of the University of Virginia Law School
by Ann McLean
Earlier this week UVA Today touted the addition of 17 high-profile professors — packed with former U.S. Supreme Court clerks, Rhodes Scholars, and even a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship genius grant recipient — to the University of Virginia Law School.
“Our new and incoming faculty are either already academic superstars or superstars in the making,” said Dean Risa Goluboff. They are “highly influential voices in their fields whose scholarship will have an impact at UVA Law, both inside and outside of the classroom, and well beyond it.”
The law school’s run of prestigious hires, who include nine women and seven “people of color,” have sparked envious praise on Twitter, gushes the article, written by Eric Williamson, associate director of communications for the law school. “I feel like they must be amassing this incredibly all star faculty for a reason,” one woman is quoted as tweeting. “A new Marvel series? Avengers: Endgame 2?”
The article omitted one salient fact of interest to the broader UVa community — there is no intellectual diversity in the group. Every new hire tilts to the left ideologically. There’s not a conservative among them. Continue reading
by Ann McLean
Who does not love “The Nutcracker” performance by the Richmond Ballet at Christmas? The beautiful costumes and magnificent stage sets, the grace of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara, the drama of the Mouse King and the delightful vision of the prince and princess traveling in the sleigh together, are visions many look forward to experiencing. White tulle tutus, dancers on “point,” a hand held just so…a lift, a twirl, a gracefully held arm… the precision and careful movements of classical ballet transport the viewer out of the mundane to a place where the human spirit can soar with possibility.
Human potential — a vision of the goodness and promise of mankind — is on view with classical ballet. Viewers can enjoy the vocabulary of the practiced movements, beautiful set designs, and the carefully choreographed arrangements. Classical ballet is a transformative experience. Nothing quite heals from the drudgery of a long winter like the ballet, especially when combined with the musical arrangements and skill of Pytor Tchaikovsky.
So, it was with tulle and tutus in mind that I attended the Ballet’s February 18th Studio Series performance. After nearly a year of COVID restrictions, social distancing, masking diktats, sheltering at home, and disappointingly small Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, I needed the ballet. The fall production had, sadly, featured only one “classical” piece — but that magnificent opening dance had lingered in my memory for months. The contemporary pieces, though athletic and skillfully performed, did not transport the spirit in the same way. Continue reading