“Hey, hey, ho, ho! Western culture’s got to go!” That was the Stanford University students’ chant led by the Reverend Jesse Jackson in 1987. It was the beginning of the idea to do away with teaching students a standard Western culture, as it had been taught in American schools forever. Sadly, this assault was mostly successful. Stanford repealed its longstanding Western Civilization requirement to institute a more “inclusive” curriculum that focused on multiculturalism, gender identity and race.
Western Civilization courses typically cover: the Roman and Greek worlds; the emergence of Christianity; the development of European thought, science and economic development; the Renaissance; the Age of Exploration; the Enlightenment; and modernity. The course is often taught in two semesters, divided at the end of the medieval era. Critics like Jesse Jackson have long argued that Western Civilization requirements are Eurocentric and are implicitly racist.
Today on a national level, Western Civilization requirements are mostly absent from university curricula. In the early 1990s, liberal icon Arthur Schlesinger went to the New York Times to bemoan the narrowing of the college curriculum, noting that “students could graduate from 78 percent of American colleges and universities without taking a course in the history of Western Civilization.”
The stark results of a 2011 report by the National Association of Scholars confirmed what Schlesinger said. Of the 50 elite institutions studied, all had Western Civilization requirements in 1964 – by 2010, few did. Even worse, only 32 percent offered a Western Civilization course even as an option for undergraduates.
The continuing abandonment of all things Western has grown steadily through the years and today can be witnessed in the culture of speech codes, trigger warnings, safe zones and grievance on many campuses today. It helps explain the tearing down of national Civil War monuments in the South. This movement is not only erasing history, it attempts to erase Western Civilization entirely.
Beginning with Stanford, the movement has seeped into most all of our public schools, universities and colleges, and has become a growing part of our national media, including popular music, movies, television and the press. Discarding the values and traditions of the West and embracing race, gender, and multiculturalism instead, it has now been ingrained into at least two generations of American students.
A violent offshoot of this mentality is Antifa, black-hooded fascist anarchists, who have been rioting and destroying property in cities across America lately. They readily admit to hating Trump, and since they can’t get to him, they have been taking it out on Trump supporters. Peaceful pro-Trump marches, such as the one a few weeks ago in Berkeley have been broken up with violent attacks by Antifa.
And now, the latest anti-Western action has taken aim at Christopher Columbus. Statues of Columbus have been desecrated or torn down entirely in many places around the country this year. New York mayor Bill DeBlassio has said he is considering calling for the removal of the statue of Columbus from Columbus Circle in Manhattan.
Think about all the places in our country named after Columbus (including that little town in Ohio and Washington, D.C.). Do we change all those names?
Naturally, if there is any liberal bandwagon to jump on, you can depend on the good old Los Angeles City Council. They voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day recently. L.A. isn’t the first city to do this, just the largest so far.
Columbus Day is recognized by the U.S. government as a federal holiday, but L.A. doesn’t have to go along with any federal laws, regulations or holidays it doesn’t happen to agree with (think “sanctuary city”), so erasing Christopher Columbus’ name is no problem.
“It is a huge error to blame Christopher Columbus the man for (genocide) at all,” Patrick Korten, a board member of the National Christopher Columbus Association said. “He bore no responsibility for it and, as a matter of fact, if you do the slightest little bit of history on the man and read his diaries, and what was said about him following the years of the discovery, it is clear that Columbus personally had great affection for the indigenous people he encountered and went out of his way to order his men not to abuse them in any fashion.”
But that doesn’t matter. Columbus represents white European expansion and Western thought and he too must be despised and if at all possible, erased from history.
Today they tear down Robert E. Lee and Christopher Columbus. Tomorrow, it’s anybody’s guess what will be done away with. Washington? Jefferson? Why not just put a match to the entire U.S. Constitution and start from scratch since it was written by a bunch of white European men.
Greg Crosby is a writer and cartoonist and former executive at the Walt Disney Company.