If the UW seeks to root out long-ago racism, try exhuming your progressive professors

It is a forest fire, this Inquisition-like obsession with race, and the conflagration will consume all before it reaches Peshtigo.

While Mayor Soglin knocks down anodyne memorials to long-dead foot soldiers, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank vows to autopsy student organizations for past links to the Ku Klux Klan.

Chas Van HiseHer team of spelunkers better include an archeologist because we’re talking the early 1920s. It’s an interesting story (due credit to Pat Schneider of The Capital Times) because the roster included actor Fredric March, Thomas Brittingham Jr., co-founder of WARF, and Philip Falk, Madison schools superintendent during the 1950s. An elementary school is named for him.

Interesting also because there is some doubt as to how closely their group was connected to the real, cross-burning Klan. Maybe Blank’s raiders will bring closure to this obscure chapter.

Hiding in plain sight, however, is the sainted Progressive Movement, which Birthed for the Nation the hallowed Wisconsin Idea on the very campus Professor Blank chancels.

Anyone who was schooled with this state’s borders is taught to reverence Progressivism and its progenitors, particularly the sainted La Follettes. Nothing is more hagiographic than the featured article in the 1995-96 Blue Book of Wisconsin government. The movement accomplished much that is good and lasting: restricted work hours, oversight of utilities, compensation for worker industrial accident victims, unemployed workers insurance. They also devised the legislature’s service bureaus: reference, audit, and finance.

Here is what John Nichols and the Progressive magazine wants to disappear down the memory hole: much of the progressive movement was core racist. True, its racism was more refined than the tobacco road rednecks exemplified by the likes of Pitchfork Ben Tillman. Call it racism with peer review and footnotes.

Woodrow Wilson, a fan of Birth of a Nation, told his Atlantic Monthly readers that the freed slaves and their descendants were unprepared for freedom.

African-Americans were “unpracticed in liberty, unschooled in self control, never sobered by the discipline of self support, never established in any habit of prudence … insolent and aggressive, sick of work, (and) covetous of pleasure.”

We learn this from Princeton University economics professor Thomas C. Leonard, who blew the covers off The Wisconsin Idea in the Autumn 2016 edition of Wisconsin Public Research Institute’s magazine. He quotes Edward A. Ross, UW sociologist from 1906-’37:

“One man, one vote does not make Sambo equal to Socrates.”

Richard T. Ely, UW professor and director of the School of Economics, Political Science and History from 1892-1925, pronounced:

“Negroes are for the most part grownup children, and should be treated as such.”

Since Madison’s mayor is a student of the Civil War, the sainted UW economist John R. Commons (1904-’33) had this to say about that conflict:

“By the cataclysm of a war in which it took no part, this race (blacks), after many thousand years of savagery, was suddenly let loose into the liberty of citizenship and the electoral suffrage.”

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, for another, was an early eugenicist so as “to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.” She promoted her book, Woman and the New Race, to the Ku Klux Klan’s auxiliary.

“Inspired by the slogan ‘sterilization or racial disaster,’” Leonard writes, “Wisconsin passed a forcible sterilization law in 1913 with the support of the University of Wisconsin’s most influential scholars, including President Charles Van Hise and Edward A. Ross. The WPRI article is excerpted from Leonard’s book, Illiberal Reformers, published by Princeton University Press.

“The Wisconsin men were not egalitarians. They were frank elitists who applauded the Progressive Era plunge in voter participation and openly advocated voter quality over voter quantity. So long as the United States was plagued with inferior races and classes, Commons said, it could not be a democracy at all, only an oligarchy disguised as one. It was high time, Ely said, to abandon the outmoded 18th-century doctrine that all men were equal as a false and pernicious doctrine. Ross, likewise, granted that democracy had once made sense, but no more. The new industrial economy demanded the leadership of “superior men,” he said.

Progressives exalted social engineering, they believed in Rule by Experts. Social scientists like themselves would replace political parties. In that they gave birth to today’s Nanny State. They were the intellectual cousins of Marxists, idealistic and arrogant and — to be charitable — prisoners of their times.

Sort of like the 140 sleeping at Confederates Rest.

 

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About David Blaska

Madison WI
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18 Responses to If the UW seeks to root out long-ago racism, try exhuming your progressive professors

  1. Sarah Smith says:

    Hagiographic. Thank you for supplementing my already Charles Krauthammer-lite vocabulary, Mr. Blaska!

    Like

  2. Dave, not B says:

    Liberals keep claiming some magical reversal of the parties that caused democrats to assume the cause of blacks after Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, with little help from the left. If democrats are that easily swayed, I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell them. Maybe Nichols would be interested. I would not let the UW run their own investigation. They’ll bury anything they find or somehow blame it on Republicans.

    Like

    • Meade says:

      Well now that is not only well put, but disturbingly true.

      Like

    • AnonyBob says:

      That’s right. And the “Southern Strategy” is magical thinking.

      Like

      • Meade says:

        Appealing to racial resentments is always wrong no matter who does it. I’m glad we agree. Sadly, the Democratic Party has 200 years of doing it. Shameful.

        Like

    • Gary L. Kriewald says:

      Or more likely rename the Frederic March Theater and the Porter Butts Gallery (after Chancellor Blank delivers the requisite public apology and promises more funds to expand the African American Studies Program). I have no problem with the UW exploring this dark little corner of UW history; in fact, a year ago, I proposed to the Wisconsin Alumni Magazine that they do an article on the history of minstrel clubs at UW-Madison (I came across an entry in the 1915 yearbook that devoted several pages to the club, along with some photos and captions that would elicit yelps of horror from today’s administrators.) Needless to say, my proposal was rejected. My real misgiving is how the UW will react to the findings of this study. In any case, we can be sure it will include another spasm of pious breast-beating from the PC crowd.

      Like

  3. Brandon Tober says:

    I wonder how many people mentioned is this article embraced Darwin’s naturalistic worldview of the preservation of the favored race?

    Like

  4. I live under a rock says:

    I was hanging out with a friend in a coffee shop this past weekend. We live in a deep blue city. No Nazis here, at least real ones. We overheard a patron say to the barista “There are Nazis out there, it’s terrible. Sometimes I’m afraid to go out.” Then, a man sitting beside them said “I can’t believe there is so much hate. Boston… blah, blah, blah.” My friend and I shook our heads. No one cared about Nazis a year ago, except emotionally invested SJW types who spend most of their lives online harassing people, kind of like Nazis. Nazis hounding Nazis, the irony. Then I read that the SPLC is threatening trolls. Trolls… people who talk shit in comment sections.

    We really are in the midst of a moral panic started by people who have very fragile sensibilities. These people spent 10s of thousands of man hours in attempts to flush out Nazis in Boston. They didn’t flush out a single one. The elite are grossly overblowing the influence of the Alt-Right, and the snowflakes keep buying it. Why are they so scared of a bunch of shit-posters and trolls? Get a life, turn off your phone for 5 minutes. Because that’s really the only place you’ll see a lot of Nazis.

    Like

  5. Let'emRest@ConfederateRest says:

    David, I’m glad to know you’re poking Soglin and the council on the Confederate Rest matter. In thinking it over, it seems to me that Soglin just doesn’t like service veterans, period. I can’t really tell that he’s acting any differently now toward the civil war confederates than he did toward me and the other Vietnam war veterans when we came home to Madison. I’m sure he would gladly desecrate a Vietnam veteran memorial (if we had one) just as readily as one from the civil war.

    Like

  6. Tom Paine says:

    Perhaps a few readers might enjoy reading a different interpretation about Confederate memorials. Even Clinton, Bush and Obama sent wreaths to the Confederate Memorial in Arlington, a statute which has the approval of the US Congress. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_Memorial_(Arlington_National_Cemetery)

    Then again, Wiki’s entry above doesn’t lend much support to the ideological orthodoxy of comrade Soglin.

    Like

    • Gary L. Kriewald says:

      I wonder if our illustrious mayor knows about this outrage.If not, they’d better break the news gently–wouldn’t want to give the old guy a coronary. Then again ….

      Like

  7. Pingback: Our mayor loves Fidel Castro but finds “viciousness” in memorial to defeated dead | Stately Blaska Manor

  8. crowbar says:

    It’s simply amazing that a bunch of vigilante shit-talking blog commenters have scared the establishment as much as they have. You know you live in an upside-down time when real people, real families, real professionals, support free speech more staunchly than a media that relies on FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTIONS TO STAY IN BUSINESS.

    Speech is the right from which all other rights flow. Without speech we cannot voice grievances, we cannot protect our other rights. Without speech we cannot lift the veil on propaganda and lies, we cannot examine or reason. Attacking the right of speech is not merely an act of silencing but an act of stripping people of the ability to think, to render stupid.

    The current establishment lie:

    “freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences”

    As a matter of fact, freedom of speech means nothing if it does not come with freedom from consequences. The only acceptable response to argument is counter-argument. The right of speech is essential to maintaining social equality within a community. Without it, concentrated power is free to enslave those beneath it. Balance is paramount in a pluralistic society. If people wish to disassociate with one another over a difference of views, that is permissible and natural. If a group hears the speech of one person and chooses to ignore him, that is permissible and natural. But when groups of people choose to punish a speaker or speakers, or large corporations choose to take away his voice in public venues, then there is an imbalance that is plainly evil. The right not to hear speech is easily exercised, but it cannot extend to the right to force others not to hear it, or it becomes tyrannical.

    Like

    • Batman says:

      Thank you crowbar.
      Keep going.

      Like

    • Gary L. Kriewald says:

      The current alt-left lie: Free speech is nothing but a construct of the white patriarchy, designed to maintain the oppression of women and minorities. This lie has already gained considerable traction on college campuses and will, in time, with the aid of the mainstream media, become part of the liberal gospel.

      Like

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