There hasn’t been much to add to this topic in a while but today I came across a short film about what happened at Evergreen State College. This features interviews with Bret Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying interspersed with video clips. Some of these clips you’ve probably seen before, but even if you’ve followed this story closely you probably haven’t seen all of them.
The first part of this was published back in January. It sets the stage for what was happening at Evergreen before things exploded onto the national stage. It covers the push for “equity” introduced under the school’s new president George Bridges and includes lots of talk about white privilege and the need for reform. What it really boiled down to, Weinstein explains, was a provision in the contracts of faculty members requiring them to reflect on their own racism as part of their annual evaluations.
Weinstein argued this was a terrible idea and urged that it not be adopted, but it was adopted anyway by an overwhelming vote. Afterward, three people told Weinstein they didn’t feel comfortable voting their conscience. Despite his efforts to launch a real conversation about the equity proposals, what actually got launched was the equity canoe, a metaphor for everyone getting on board with the plan.
Part two picks up by talking about Naima Lowe, one of the professors who was driving a lot of the behavior on campus. To some degree, the explosion of this story nationally was based on a conflict between the worldview advocated and passed on to students by Naima Lowe and the one advocated by Bret Weinstein. That conflict culminated in the debate over the Day of Absence. Ultimately, both professors wound up leaving the school with financial settlements.
About two-thirds of the way through this there is a clip I don’t think I’d seen before showing some of the student protesters negotiating with the administration and president Bridges. What they are asking for is for Weinstein to be ousted for failing to get on board with the revolution. President Bridges offers a half-hearted defense of free speech making it sound like a burden. One of the students even says that it seems the professors of the sciences are causing the most problems so maybe the school needs to focus on “adjusting those teachers.” Bridges seems to be on board with this saying his plan is to “Bring ’em in, train ’em, and if they don’t get it sanction ’em.” I found this chilling. They’re discussing political re-education and, if that fails, using raw power to punish dissent. This is the logic of an authoritarian police state.
Finally, the other impression this film generates is how emotionally-driven all of this seems to be. This isn’t about debate or discussion of ideas. It’s a dogma, a religious impulse in political clothing. It’s a thuggish stifling of dissent disguised as a move toward equity. It’s the left’s totalitarian impulse writ small. I know a lot of people think this got too much attention. I still think it hasn’t gotten enough.
Here’s part two of the film which was released today. The third and final part will be released soon: