Tag Archives: James A. Bacon

If at First You Don’t Succeed….

We’ve been getting feedback from readers wishing to attend the April 25 George Will speech in Charlottesville who have been unable to register. They clicked on the link only to find that the event, accessible through EventBrite, has “sold out.”

Nothing sells out that fast, not even free tickets to hear George Will. Our informed speculation is that malign bots cruise the Internet for conservative speakers, scrape the names and email addresses of conservatives listed in national organizations, and then auto-register them to the event… which they know nothing about and have no plan to attend. The purpose of feeding fake names, of course, is to ensure that nobody shows up.

Reprehensible. But not unexpected. Such are the tactics of those who despise us and excuse any behavior.

If you tried unsuccessfully to register, please try again. EventBrite is working the problem. Meanwhile, we have cleared out some of the obviously fake registrations. Don’t let the bots beat you.


Woke Liberalism Is a Dead End for African Americans

by James A. Bacon

Earlier this month the Isle of Wight School Board passed a resolution declaring, “There is no systemic racism or bigotry perpetuated by the United States or any governmental entity.”

Timothy Sullivan, a former president of William & Mary, James W. Dyke, a former state Secretary of Education, and Alvin J. Schexnider, president of Thomas Nelson Community College, took exception to the statement. In a column published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, they noted that Isle of Wight was a leader in the 1950s-era Massive Resistance to school desegregation, and proceeded to draw a straight line to Virginia schools that are “racially isolated and underserved” today.

Part of the remedy to segregation, the authors argue, is teaching about slavery, segregation, and racism in Virginia schools.

We believe the entirety of Virginia’s history must finally be addressed in our curriculum so that our children understand that intentional racism and discrimination have detrimentally affected all aspects of Virginia life, from opportunities for education, advancement and the concomitant accumulation of wealth resulting in the average Black family’s wealth being one-eighth the average white family’s, to the physical and mental health of generations of children, both Black and white.

A proper teaching of racism, they argue, will “[prepare] our students and our future workforce to function effectively in a global economy that is multiethnic and multicultural.”

The op-ed is dismaying in so many ways. Continue reading

Who Are the Real Fascists?

Bad things happen to fascists like Mussolini and… Matt Walsh?

by James A. Bacon

A familiar tactic of the left has come to Virginia: accuse your enemy of being fascist… while acting like a fascist yourself.

A movement has surfaced to disinvite conservative journalist Matt Walsh from Washington & Lee University on the grounds, according to a petition signed by more than 600 students and faculty members, that his words “represent a very real threat of physical violence against trans and nonbinary people specifically, but also to all women, queer people, and people of color.”

Walsh, who has billed himself “Transphobe of the Year,” has written extensively about the excesses of the transgender movement, focusing particular attention on the dangers of “gender-affirming” hormonal treatments and sex-change surgery. Following Walsh’s accusations that Boston Children’s Hospital was “mutilating” children through surgery, the petition charges, the hospital said its workers were harassed and faced threats of violence.

Adding fuel to the controversy, Blake Ramsey, a student and former vice president of the W&L Democratic Party, posted on Instagram an image of the hanging of Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The caption read, “Because Matt Walsh is now apparently speaking at this school, I thought I would post an important reminder of what happens to fascists.” Continue reading

Recruitment, Training and the Otieno Tragedy

Image taken from video: Deputies remove Irvo Otieno’s body from his room.

by James A. Bacon

Earlier this month, five Memphis police officers were charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols, a young Black man, after severely beating him during a traffic stop. Predictably, the mainstream media framed the story as an example of systemic racism in policing, even though all five police officers also were Black. Somehow, it was argued, the Black officers had internalized the culture of White supremacy.

Heather MacDonald with the Manhattan Institute offered a different interpretation. The officers ignored protocol for traffic stops. They failed to follow the chain of command. They issued contradictory orders. They botched the deployment of a taser and pepper spray. They ignored strict orders not to strike a suspect in the head unless he poses an imminent threat. None of this has anything to do with racism, she wrote, and everything to do with deficiencies in recruitment and training.

A similar incident has occurred in Virginia. Although it has not generated the same level of attention, it raises many of the same issues. Second-degree murder charges have been filed against seven Henrico County sheriff deputies and three hospital workers for the beating death of a mentally ill patient, Irvo Otieno, at Central State Hospital. The violence seems less motivated by maliciousness than incompetence but, whatever the case, the force was excessive. Continue reading

Who Runs UVa? Part II

Yeah, yeah, another UVa post. Think of it this way: the governance issues at UVa are similar to those of every public university in Virginia.

by James A. Bacon

In past posts The Jefferson Council has highlighted a recently published screed, “We’re Pissed Off; You Should Be Too,” that criticizes the governance structure of the University of Virginia. Among other grievances voiced, the authors note that state government provides only 11% of the funding for UVa’s academic division, yet the state controls the appointment of 100% of the board seats. The governance structure should be more “democratic,” they contend. Students and faculty should be given voting seats on the board.

“Currently, the BOV oversees 28,361 employees, as well as 23,721 undergraduate and graduate students. There are only 3 ways a BOV member can be removed, and none of them involve us,” laments the tract. [Emphasis in the original.] “The only apparatuses that have power over the BOV are other BOV members and the governor.”

Message to UVa lefties: the Board of Visitors is accountable to the citizens of Virginia — not you. You are employees, not owners. The Commonwealth of Virginia owns UVa, and the governance structure is designed to serve the citizenry, not university employees. Continue reading

Marion Smith: a Thinker-Activist with a Global Perspective

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In The Jefferson Council’s meeting on April 4th, you will hear how the Council is fighting for free speech and intellectual diversity at the University of Virginia, and how our struggle is just one front in a nationwide alumni rebellion to reclaim America’s universities from the left. From Marion Smith, president of the Common Sense Society, you’ll hear how the crusade to restore American universities is part of an even larger war of the woke on Western Civilization.

As president of the Common Sense Society, which is dedicated to the defense of liberty, prosperity and beauty, Smith believes that ideas matter. He has recruited an all-star roster of conservative intellectuals – of whom a previous Jefferson Council speaker, Douglas Murray, is just one – in the defense of our way of life. A liberty-loving doppelgänger of George Soros, he has built an international organization with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Hungary.

In his address to The Jefferson Council, “American universities and the battle for Western civilization,” Smith will make the case that nothing less than democracy, market capitalism, and Enlightenment thought is at stake.

Click to view the full program.

Click to see the speakers’ biographies.

And click here to register.

Glenn Loury Highlights Jefferson Council Event

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Glenn Loury

Glenn Loury is one of the foremost African-American intellectuals in the country. No, actually, that’s selling him short. He’s one of the foremost intellectuals – period — in America. As an economics professor at Brown University, an author, a columnist, a podcaster, and a self-described “liberal who has been mugged by reality,” he has emerged as a leading conservative voice in the debate over Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

I saw Loury in action at an American Council of Trustees and Alumni event last year, and I can tell you, he is phenomenal. DEI in higher education, he charges, makes African-American students think of themselves as victims, deprives them of agency, and induces passivity and fragility. He also makes the case for Black patriotism. Black people, he says, are blessed to be Americans.

That’s not to say America is perfect. Persistent racial inequality is real, he says. But the higher-ed panaceas of “anti-racism” and DEI are grievously flawed.

As the keynote speaker of The Jefferson Council’s April 4 annual meeting, Loury will explain what’s wrong with DEI, suggest what can be done about it, and stand up for the founding fathers, the American Constitution, and the American democratic system that has created unparalleled opportunity for Blacks in the 21st century. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Social Breakdown Update

Every so often you might read some uplifting story in the news — a woman is rescued from a burning car, a charity raises money to buy Christmas toys for homeless tots — that makes you feel better about the world. Don’t be gulled. We live in the wealthiest society with the highest level of education and the most advanced technology the world has ever seen. Yet things are getting worse! Signs of the times pulled from today’s headlines:

Virginia sees highest number of babies born with syphilis in several decades. Reports WAVY-TV: The number of syphilis cases in Virginia has rebounded to the highest level in years.  The rate among women has surged 159% between 2013 and 2021, which drives up the rate of syphilis in newborns.  The Virginia Department of Health reported 20 cases of congenital syphilis last year, the highest number in three decades. Up to 40% are born stillborn or die from the infection. Survivors can have deformed bones, an enlarged liver, blindness or deafness.

Meanwhile, the death rate of American kids is skyrocketing. Deaths of American kids spiked 205% between 2019 and 2020, the result of increased car wrecks, shootings and drug overdoses, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. According to Virginia Commonwealth University researcher Steven Woolf , even poisonings are up. Woolf said he has not seen an increase like this in his career. “This is a red flashing light. We need to understand the causes and address them immediately to protect our children.” Motor vehicle fatalities remain the highest cause of childhood death, but homicides and suicides are catching up. Continue reading

Who Really Runs UVa?

by James A. Bacon

Earlier this month, an anonymous group distributed a pamphlet, “We’re Pissed Off: You Should Be, Too,” on the University of Virginia grounds that issued a broadside against the university’s governance structure. Although Board of Visitors member Bert Ellis was the primary object of their ire, the authors criticized the Board generally as “an undemocratic institution.”

“Seventeen people who are appointed by the State, which only provides 11% of UVA’s academic division’s funds, are deciding where 100% of it goes as the BOV gets the final say over approval of the annual budget,” states the pamphlet. “The Board of Visitors (BOV) as an institution is inherently undemocratic. It does not have enough checks and balances put into place to protect students, as well as faculty, staff, and UVA’s administration.”

This is a useful conversation to have. From the student’s or graduate student’s perspective, I suppose, the Board does seem undemocratic. Board members are appointed by Virginia’s governor. Neither students nor faculty get to vote on who serves on the board. But, then, the taxpayers of Virginia don’t get a direct vote either. Neither do parents paying tuition. Neither do alumni who collectively contribute as much to UVa’s funding as the Commonwealth of Virginia does. (Philanthropy and endowment income have surpassed state contributions as a revenue source.)

UVa, like other higher-ed institutions, is a strange beast. Its rules of governance are unlike those of government, or corporations, or charitable organizations. UVa is more like a feudal institution. It has an academic division and a healthcare division. The academic division has 13 colleges and schools, each with its own dean and varying degrees of autonomy and philanthropic funding. Students have a significant role in self governance. So do faculty. Affiliated with the university is a bewildering assemblage of autonomous groups that carry out important functions, each with their own boards.

Nominally, the Board of Visitors governs this feudal kingdom. But in reality it does not exercise much power. It is easily manipulated by the administration. This is not unique to UVa or a rap on President Jim Ryan. It’s the way almost all universities work. Continue reading

Lords of the Lie

by James A. Bacon

I never imagined it possible to exceed the vitriol heaped upon University of Virginia board member Bert Ellis over the past few months. I thought for sure that the nastiness would die down. I was naive. Yesterday the Democratic Party of Virginia labeled him a “eugenicist” — an advocate of the philosophy of sterilizing the genetically unfit. The philosophy was adopted by racists to purge the gene pool of Jews, Blacks, Roma and other groups deemed undesirable. In so doing, the attack groups Ellis with the worst racists of history.

The charge appears in a press release lambasting Governor Glenn Youngkin’s education policy, primarily in K-12 education. While most of the criticisms were tendentious and wrong-headed, at least they were directed toward Youngkin’s policies and actions. But in Ellis’ case, the Democratic Party of Virginia engaged in a vicious personal attack with zero factual foundation. Indeed, the DPV elevated previous libels of Ellis as a “White supremacist” to new heights of malice.

Here is what the press release says.

Appointment of a Eugenicist to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors Continue reading

Virginians Ship Another 22 Ambulances to Ukraine

Departing from Harrisonburg, a convoy of 22 ambulances arrived at the Port of Baltimore this morning and boarded a cargo ship bound for Ukraine. In total now, non-profit Ukraine Focus, founded by former USAID official Brock Bierman, has shipped 112 of the life-saving vehicles to Ukrainian medics on the frontlines of Russia’s aggression.

Ukraine Focus estimates that each ambulance will save the lives of up to 200 soldiers per month. (Due to Russian targeting and theft of ambulances on the battlefield, however, the average lifespan of an ambulance in Ukraine these days is only 30 to 60 days.)

Find out more about Ukraine Focus here.


“Anti-Racism” in Action: Fairfax Schools Edition

by James A. Bacon

Do you have an 8th grader who wants to go to college? Does he or she fall into one of several marginalized groups, including Black or Hispanic racial/ethnic identity? If so, Fairfax County has a special College Partnership Program to help.

Although the program apparently allows Whites and Asian students to participate if they qualify as an English learner, first-in-family to attend college, economically disadvantaged, or having a learning disability, only Blacks and Hispanics are entitled on the basis of their race to participate.

Enterprising journalist/crusader Asra Nomani has the story here. Nomani engages in slight overreach by stating that Asian-American students are “excluded.” But the Fairfax County criteria are clearly racist. Blacks and Hispanics are granted a race-based privilege not given Whites and Asians. Continue reading

Empty Gesture? UVa Board Endorses Diversity of Thought.

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors did more than endorse free speech on university campuses Friday when it voted to adopt a Council of Presidents statement on free speech: it endorsed the principle of viewpoint diversity.

In 2021 the Board had embraced a 2021 statement on free speech by a commission appointed by President James Ryan. But that statement alluded only vaguely to the value of “exposure to a range of ideas.” If the ideas discussed at UVa consisted only of different strains of leftism, the declaration on free speech wouldn’t amount to much.

The statement of the Council of Presidents, which was crafted at the request of Governor Glenn Youngkin, made it clear that the exercise of free speech and the diversity of ideas are intertwined, and it implied that a wide range of ideas should be encouraged. [My emphasis added below.]

As presidents of Virginia’s public colleges and universities, we unequivocally support free expression and viewpoint diversity on our campuses. Free expression is the fundamental basis for both academic freedom and for effective teaching and learning inside and outside the classroom. Our member universities and colleges are bound to uphold the First Amendment. We are committed to promoting this constitutional freedom through robust statements and policies that are formulated through shared governance processes and through actions that reflect and reinforce this core foundation of education. We value a scholarly environment that is supported by a diversity of research and intellectual perspectives among our faculty and staff. We pledge to promote and uphold inclusivity, academic freedom, free expression, and an environment that promotes civil discourse across differences. We will protect these principles when others seek to restrict them.

Ryan told the board that he wants the Council of Presidents statement to “inform what we do at UVa.”

The challenge for Ryan and Provost Ian Baucom will be implementing those principles in an institution marked by a left/right ideological imbalance of roughly ten-to-one; in which a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion bureaucracy suffuses university policies with a leftist understanding of “equity” and requires employees to express their views of DEI in “diversity statements”; and in which many students and the faculty self-censor for fear of igniting a social media storm, sparking social ostracism, or suffering administrative punishment. Continue reading

Bacon Meme of the Day

Ceaser Crosses the Rubicon, Refuses to Give DEI Loyalty Oath

Jim Ceaser

by James A. Bacon

Jim Ceaser runs the Program for Constitutionalism and Democracy at the University of Virginia, which provides civic education on American ideas in politics and political economy. The courses are unusual these days in surveying the thought of mostly dead White men: from Aristotle and Montesquieu to Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville. The courses are remarkable also in giving equal time – in many instances even more than equal time — to thinkers most people today consider conservative and who, he believes, receive less attention than they merit.

Ceaser is a fully tenured professor, which provides significant protections against being fired. As for the program he directs, which reaches a large number of students, all of the funding comes from private donors and foundations from outside the university. Having started teaching in 1975, he’s reached retirement age.

If not cancel-proof, he is cancel-resistant. That makes it easier for him to refuse to fill out questions in a “peer review evaluation form” that probe his thinking about Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

The form requires faculty members to describe their teaching, advising, research and service activities in the previous year. For each of those topics, faculty are told to describe their efforts on behalf of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. For example: Continue reading