Campus Identity Politics Will Kill The Classics
The alt right is now threatening the classics, according to Mark Zuckerberg’s sister.
No, the amorphous online movement that is slowly becoming synonymous with white nationalism isn’t a menace to the classical canon because they want schools to stop teaching it — it’s due to their deep interest in reading Homer, Plato and Plutarch.
That’s the logic behind Donna Zuckerberg’s recent post on the Eidolon website. Zuckerberg is a classicist who understands her field of study no longer generates as much interest as it did in centuries past. But she’s horrified that people she hates are reviving interest in her favorite subject because the alt right — like pretty much all who studied classics in the past — see Greco-Roman antiquity as the foundation for western civilization.
That notion is “a slippery slope to white supremacy,” according to Zuckerberg, and professional classicists should forcefully lecture interested minds that the Greco-Roman tradition should not be studied for any reasons pertaining to western civilization.
Instead, it should be studied for other, totally undefined reasons that somehow includes modern left-wing obsessions.
Zuckerberg’s argument implies that the only people who should be talking about classics are those with doctorates in the field and conform to left-wing orthodoxy. She also conflates anyone who sees the great books as the pillars of western culture with the white nationalists of the alt right. She spends most of one paragraph attacking conservative scholar Victor Davis Hanson for his criticism of how leftist academic interests ruin the study of the Greco-Roman canon.
Zuckerberg expresses the hope that if classicists “fight back” against Donald Trump and the alt right and emphasize how the field now focuses primarily on diversity, they can keep the academic discipline right-wing free and in the good esteem of the intelligentsia.
Unfortunately for her, the classics has a much bigger problem than the alt right reading its most popular works. No matter how much Zuckerberg professes the field’s new-found interest in identity politics, it’s still pretty much entirely about elite white men, as she herself admits.
That makes it ripe for the chopping block by the campus Left.
Read the rest at The Daily Caller.