Victor Davis Hanson: The Death Of The Old Left-Wing Mythologies

The one-eyed Jack of the American Left has been flipped over, and what has turned up proves frightening. The hand they are holding is a complete bust…



he current radical and often violent protests on mostly blue-state, supposedly elite campuses have exposed in toxic fashion what the Left has become. And yet, in a paradoxical fashion, the campus insanity has finally offered the nation some moral clarity.

What’s surprising is not that the demonstrators are violent and nihilist, but that they are, on the one hand, so openly and crudely anti-Semitic, racist and anti-American. Yet on the other hand, so passive-aggressive, narcissistic and weepy.

Nevertheless, the antics of the campus cry-bullies have exploded myths that were for so long foisted on the American people by the leftist politicos and the media.

1. Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic: We have been lectured ad nauseam that hating Israel has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. The last month has blown up that old shibboleth for good. The left makes no distinction in their eliminationist chants between Israel and Jews. “Go back to Poland” is a homonym for “From the River to the Sea.” Both are shorthand for eliminating Jews—aside from the explicit threats to kill Jews and occasional praise for Hitler and the Final Solution.

When pro-Hamas thugs chase Jews into libraries, block their entrances on campus, and scream “beat the Jew” as they hit piñatas, they do not first ask Jews whether they support Israel—because they could care less. For the Islamist Middle Easterner on a student visa or green card and his useful American student, it is enough that their targets are Jewish—period.

Remember, the protests started on October 7, not on October 27, when the IDF went into Gaza. At that point, campus and street protests merely changed from euphoric triumphalism on the news that Hamas had slaughtered, decapitated, mutilated, raped, or kidnapped hundreds of Jews (“exhilarated,” a Cornell professor gushed of the carnage), to furor and violence. So after three weeks of celebrating dead Jews, the street protests grew furious only when the IDF finally began fighting back and destroying Hamas, even as its terrorists cowardly hid beneath mosques, hospitals, and schools to ensure enough collateral damage to incite pro-Hamas Western throngs.

2. Pro-Palestinian/Pro-Hamas: The Left also blew up the ancient pretense that being “pro-Palestine” was not “pro-Hamas.” But the campus and street demonstrations now make no distinction between the two. The calls for the destruction of Israel and “death to America” come right out of the Hamas credo. Hamas (and Hezbollah as well) logos and flags are easy to find among the protestors. Interviews with the protesters repeatedly reveal massive support for Hamas, to the extent of staging lessons in hand-to-hand combat.

Polls in the Middle East still show strong Gazan support for their one-election/one-time Hamas autocracy. Apparently, any anger that Gazans bear toward Hamas for destroying the peace on October 7, wrecking their state, and getting civilians killed by using them as human shields is outweighed by the plus side on their ledger of the murder of 1200 Jewish civilians. In other words, the campus protests promote the fascistic, terrorist Hamas clique because of, not despite, its murder of Jewish civilians.

3. Elite Universities: The Ivy League, the premier UC campuses, Stanford, MIT and others that considered themselves coveted brands that guaranteed elites their envisioned lucrative career trajectories are sadly becoming the stuff of jest. Ivy-League identification is in a CNN/Bud Lite/Disney freefall. America is getting a bellyful of mollycoddled students’ hatred of Jews, contempt for cops, janitors, and maintenance workers of the middle class, and the racist drivel they shout at African-American law enforcement. At George Washington University, a faculty member, Zein El-Amine, in racist fashion, smeared visiting African-American congressman Byron Donalds (R-Fl) as an “Uncle Tom,” a “bastard,” and a “race traitor.”

The protesting students, in their interviews with the toadish media, sound ignorant and arrogant. As wannabe Bolsheviks, they destroy property and vandalize classrooms and university facilities. The UCLA campus, like the buildings at Columbia and Portland State, was left a fetid mess after the students were cleared out. But then, as helicoptered children, they expect food delivery and catering to fuel their gluten-free nihilism and hoi polloi to clean up after them. Is the message something like, “As we trash your campus buildings, can you please send in some vegan dishes to fuel our destructiveness?”

The moment students speak to cameras, they become reflections of the ongoing wastage of the universities by political indoctrination of the faculty and DEI admissions that dropped the SAT and ignored the comparative high school GPA ranking. Half the shouting student body could not find the Jordan River on a map, define Transjordan, or know that Jews have been in “Palestine” for two millennia prior to the arrival of nomadic Arab invaders.

Universities quietly accept that most of their current students are not qualified to take the very courses these campuses used to brag as proof of their preeminence.

Such ignorance on elite campuses explains the grade inflation of 60-80 percent A’s, new gut classes, and watered-down existing courses. We are learning that at our “elite” campus, roughly a third of undergraduate and graduate students are full-paying foreign students on student visas. Most immigrants arrive from illiberal regimes with generous state funding and are the tip of the spear, fomenting violence and screaming venom at their hosts. They expect exemption from the consequences of their lawlessness and yet seem to harbor nothing but contempt for the accommodating, naïve leniency of universities.

Still, these foreign students’ trademark is, for all their campus braggadocio, abject fright that they might be expelled, deported, and thus have to return to the very Middle East medievalism they now praise from a safe distance.

Add up these days of embarrassing campus rage and Hamas pawns and fronts, and parents and employers are quietly concluding that elite campuses are becoming sources of mediocrity, not prestige, well apart from the violence and the likelihood that classes and graduations can be cancelled at any moment to appease violent protestors. Good students may increasingly avoid these often disturbing places and forego investing $90,000 a year to ensure their own sons and daughters will return home unrecognizable.

4. The Left-wing Democrat Base: The old idea that Antifa, BLM, the Squad, the Obamas, the green extremists, the radical transgendered, and the Hamas/Hezbollah, anti-Semitic base threatened the Democrat Party has been exposed as a sort of fraud. No major Democrat politicians, Joe Biden, especially, can simply condemn the anti-Semitic violence and hate speech— constituting 99 percent of the protestors’ creed—without citing the mythic danger of Islamophobia, of which there is little sign on these campuses. In other words, Democrats would rather airbrush anti-Semitism with moral equivalence blather than dare suggest the pro-Palestinian movement is anti-Semitic.

So the violence at universities continues because left-wing faculty, left-wing administrators, left-wing mayors and city governments, and left-wing governors in these blue states and cities sympathize with the students. They are beginning to clamp down not because of the venomous and overt Jew hatred but because the media optics are terrible.

Their campuses have been turned into trash dumps, analogous to homeless camps—or much worse, given pampered rich kids battle blue-collar police on the premise that injuring cops won’t earn them any jail time, but more likely a campus cachet.

Democrats are terrified the entire revelatory circus will get Trump reelected. The Democrat Party is the Squad. Biden is the most radical president of the last half-century. He and his associates in the Senate want to replace the elected government of Israel; they favor Iran over the moderate Arab regimes. DEI, ESG, abortion on demand, radical transgenderism, open borders, and reparations have now become mainstream Democrat agendas.

5. Immigration Is Our Strength: It always has been, and can be again. But the Left has misused immigration, legal and illegal, to create new constituencies that too often identify as victims, arrive with claims against their host, and see little need to quickly assimilate.

So in 2024, America has reached an impasse. Nearly 15 percent of the population was not born in the U.S., perhaps over 50 million residents, illegal aliens, and citizens—a record in both percentages and numbers. But the melting-pot’s task of integrating and assimilating newcomers has been all but disappeared, replaced by tribalism, salad-bowl separatism and convenient and careerist venom expressed at their hosts.

Most immigrants, legal and illegal, now arrive from anti-American and illiberal regimes in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Upon arrival, too many sense American self-loathing and the left’s Marxist binaries of oppressor/oppressed, and thus find victimhood a convenient entry to the American rat race.

Sometimes the failure of both massive illegal and legal immigration is expressed by illegal aliens critiquing their free hotels and food in New York; sometimes with immigrants in Dearborn, led no less by the “Al-Quds Committee, Detroit” chanting “Death to America:” sometimes by Middle Eastern student and opportunistic activists barricading Jewish students in the library at the Cooper Union and banging on the doors screaming anti-Israel expletives—or yet another international soccer match between the U.S. and Mexico, held in Las Vegas or Los Angeles, disrupted and eventually cancelled due to unruly pro-Mexico fans (either illegal aliens, green-card holders, or U.S. citizens), screaming homophobic taunts at American players, supposedly their fellow citizens or fellow residents.

We are now well beyond the dangers of open borders, ten million illegal aliens arriving since the Biden inauguration, or 100,000 fentanyl deaths facilitated by an open border. There are nearly one million foreign students residing in the US, most of them unvetted. At the most recent violent protests, flag burnings, anti-Semitic rantings, and hate America fests, many Middle East students are at the center, assured their lawbreaking is exempt, and claiming they deserve entry into DEI intersectional victimhood.

We need an immigration timeout. That would mean an end to open borders and illegal immigration, but also a reduction of legal immigration to somewhere around 250,000 diverse, self-supporting, educated, and pro-American immigrants admitted on meritocratic criteria who can be quickly integrated into the U.S. body politic.

Joe Biden recently insulted India and Japan as “xenophobic” and said that “they don’t want immigrants.” Some in those libeled nations retorted that if our chaotic open border, 100,000 fentanyl deaths, two million illegal entries a year, and fifty million recent immigrants are the American exemplars, now expressed with daily illegal immigrant violence and campuses hijacked by Hamas agendas, they want no part of it.

In sum, the disastrous last year of the Biden presidency has ripped off the Left’s disingenuous veneer. On matters of the Middle East, most protestors on American soil do not distinguish hating Israel from hating Jews. They are unapologetically pro-Hamas, not just pro-Palestinian but pro-terrorist. And the Democrat Party seems fine with all that.

Americans, thanks to the anti-Semitic takeover of their “elite campuses,” realize these prestige universities are by any fair measure no longer hallowed, but rather dens of mediocrity, spoiled and entitled students and faculty, hatred of Jews, disdain for the working class, and home to thousands of racist, foreign students who despise the United States, but not to the degree of returning to their own homelands.

As for the new Democrat Party, it cannot simply condemn anti-Semitism without its wishy-washy tic of citing both-sides “Islamophobia.” In truth, its racial obsessions have now reached full fruition with endemic anti-Semitism, the ultimate expression of a racist DEI industry that sought victimhood and thus found it could spew hatred with impunity.

Finally, the Biden Administration has destroyed all support for open borders by welcoming in ten million illegal aliens, shrugging off 100,000 American deaths from imported Mexican fentanyl, and hosting thousands of anti-Semitic, racist Middle East students.

The one-eyed Jack of the American Left has been flipped over, and what has turned up proves frightening. ✪


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