Far more than an occasionally salacious story of a comic strip

Fascinating bit of comic book history in this past weekend’s WSJ Bookshelf.  I had no idea the character did a 180 when her creator died and editorial control passed to a new publisher who hated the idea of female equality, and then another 180 with the arrival of Ms. magazine.

How the magic lasso originated in the creator’s mind is a fun little tidbit too.

indexWonder Woman for President

A brainy Amazon. A Nazi-fighting feminist. A single gal. How Wonder Woman went from saving the world to searching for a husband. A review of ‘The Secret History of Wonder Woman,’ by Jill Lepore.

By Carol Tavris
Oct. 24, 2014 4:04 p.m. ET

Wonder Woman is the most popular female superhero of all time. Created in 1941, “beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules and swifter than Mercury,” she was an Amazon who came to America to fight for peace, justice and women’s rights, sacrificing immortality for the love of her rescued pilot Steve Trevor. “Her gods were female, and so were her curses,” Jill Lepore reminds us. “Great Hera!” she would exclaim. “Suffering Sappho!” Poor Steve was forever begging her to marry him, but she had villains to conquer in America and fascists to combat abroad.

Ms. Lepore’s lively, surprising and occasionally salacious history is far more than the story of a comic strip. The author, a professor of history at Harvard, places Wonder Woman squarely in the story of women’s rights in America—a cycle of rights won, lost and endlessly fought for again. Like many illuminating histories, this one shows how issues we debate today were under contention just as vigorously decades ago, including birth control, sex education, the ways in which women can combine work and family, and the effects of “violent entertainment” on children. “The tragedy of feminism in the twentieth century is the way its history seemed to be forever disappearing,” Ms. Lepore writes. Her superb narrative brings that history vividly into the present, weaving individual lives into the sweeping changes of the century.

Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston, an intermittently employed psychologist who regarded her as “psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.” Marston, born in 1893, had been strongly influenced by the suffragist, feminist and birth-control movements that were gaining momentum in the early 1900s and 1910s. “Wonder Woman is no ordinary comic-book character because Marston was no ordinary man and his family was no ordinary family,” writes Ms. Lepore. That’s for sure. Marston’s first major claim to fame, in 1915, was as inventor of the earliest lie detector, which measured systolic blood pressure; lies and deception became his professional and personal trademark.

Marston kept his private life secret, and—well, no wonder. He lived with his wife, Elizabeth Holloway; his lover, Olive Byrne; his four children (two by each woman); and intermittently with another lover, Marjorie Wilkes Huntley. All were advocates for women’s equality, free love and contraception. After Marston died in 1947, Olive and Elizabeth continued to live together until Olive died in 1990, at 86; Elizabeth died in 1993, at 100. They had lived together 64 years.

Marston arrived at Harvard in 1911, where he joined the Harvard Men’s League for Woman Suffrage. Told by university officials that they could invite a female speaker only if she was opposed to female suffrage, the League rebelled and invited the British suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst. Pankhurst and her fellow protesters had been sent to prison for chaining themselves to a fence outside 10 Downing Street in London. Marston was enthralled by hearing Pankhurst speak. “He never forgot Emmeline Pankhurst and her shackles, either,” Ms. Lepore notes. Wonder Woman would have only one weakness: She loses her strength if a man binds her in chains.

While Marston was at Harvard, his childhood friend Elizabeth Holloway attended Mount Holyoke. (“Holloway” and “Holyoke” inspired Holliday College, where Wonder Woman attended lectures by antifeminist professors like Professor Manly and Dr. Psycho.) The couple constantly shared ideas, plans and projects. They married after graduation and went to separate law schools (the “dumb bunnies” at Harvard wouldn’t accept women, Holloway grumbled).

Marston was “awesomely cocky,” Ms. Lepore observes, offering his services in lie detection to the government, the military and law enforcement. But he was invariably spurned. Yet it was his effort to be accepted as an expert witness in lie detection, in the 1923 case of Frye v. United States, that became the basis of the Frye standard for the admission of scientific evidence. The judge ruled that “science has not sufficiently developed detection of deception by blood pressure to make it a useable instrument in a court of law.” Marston was crushed, but he would have revenge later on—when, in one comic book, a judge expresses his gratitude to Wonder Woman for using her magic lasso, which makes anyone caught in it tell the truth.

Ms. Lepore devotes many pages to the influence on Marston and Holloway of Margaret Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, both of whom had been imprisoned for breaking laws against promoting birth control. Ethel went on a hunger strike and was the first woman in the country to be subjected to forced feeding. She was brave but had no patience for motherhood, abandoning her two toddlers to her in-laws. The daughter, Olive, never forgave her.

How does the Sanger story lead to Wonder Woman? Margaret Sanger married a millionaire who paid for her niece Olive’s education at Tufts, where Olive took a class that Marston taught. They became lovers, and after her graduation Marston gave Holloway a choice: If she didn’t let Olive live with them, he would leave her. Holloway walked out but soon returned. She agreed to the arrangement but wanted something too: He could have his mistress; she would have the freedom to pursue a career. And Olive, who yearned for a family to ease the loneliness of her mother’s abandonment, would raise the children. Talk about solving women’s work-family dilemma!

The threesome lived and worked together, cheerfully blurring the credits of who wrote what among their books, papers and ideas for Wonder Woman. Holloway was often the only one bringing in a steady income. But no outsider knew about this arrangement, and the adults kept secrets within the family as well. Olive invented a “husband” who had fathered her two sons before conveniently dying; the children did not learn the truth for decades. When she made up a wedding date for her “marriage,” she began wearing a pair of wide-banded bracelets she never took off—perhaps her equivalent of a wedding ring. Wonder Woman would wear the same ones.

Superman debuted in 1938, Batman in 1939, and soon children all over America were devouring comic books. Grown-ups worried. Comic books would “spawn only a generation of Storm Troopers,” predicted poet Stanley Kunitz. Time ran a story: “Are Comics Fascist?” Marston, interviewed by his lover Olive for Family Circle magazine, reassured readers that comics were pure wish fulfillment. The threat of torture is harmless, he said; if the heroine is tied to the stake, everyone knows the hero will rescue her.

Because of his reassuring position on comics, Marston became the consulting psychologist for DC Comics, home to Superman and Batman, and he convinced the publisher it was time for a female superhero to counter the “comics’ worst offense . . . their bloodcurdling masculinity.” (“In some versions of the story,” notes Ms. Lepore, “this was Holloway’s idea.”) An editor and artist were brought on board; Marston began writing. His editor was 24-year-old Sheldon Mayer, who had already worked in comics for years. “I hope you’ll call me up about any changes in the story, names, costumes or subject-matter,” Marston said to Mayer. “That’s your business. But let that theme [of feminism] alone, or drop the project.”

Wonder Woman was an immediate hit with boys as well as girls, leading every issue of DC’s Sensation Comics, which also included a four-page centerfold called “Wonder Women of History’”—biographies of exceptional women such as Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Madame Curie, Abigail Adams and Sacagawea. This insert was even distributed to public schools. Throughout the war, Wonder Woman, like her mortal counterparts, labored heroically for the cause. In a 1944 comic, she loses her strength and in a moment of weakness agrees to marry Steve. “[W]on’t you please let me be your secretary? . . . I’m ready to be your docile little wife!” she cries, bowing before him. But this turns out to have been a bad dream, from which she at last awakes. And then she goes back to work, saving the world.

At least until the war was over. In 1944, Marston was stricken with polio; he died of cancer in 1947. A new editor pushed out Holloway, who had hoped to maintain the character that she and Marston had created and nurtured. The new editor hated feminism and opposed female equality. He immediately abandoned the “Wonder Women of History” feature, replacing it with a series about weddings.

In the 1950s, many superheroes didn’t survive peacetime, giving way first to science-fiction and horror titles and then being subjected to the new moral codes, which emerged from a renewed panic that comics were harming children. “Wonder Woman grew weaker every year,” Ms. Lepore writes. She became a babysitter, a romance editor, a model, a movie star. Now she wanted desperately to marry Steve. She, like the millions of American women who had worked during the war, went home to become a wife.

In 1963, the Equal Pay act was passed.

In 1965, the Supreme Court declared contraception bans unconstitutional.

In 1972, Ms. magazine published its premiere issue, with Wonder Woman on the cover. She was back. The rest, as they say, is history.

—Ms. Tavris, a social psychologist, is the author of “The Mismeasure of Woman” (1992).

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a Sunni Mesopotamian wasteland masquerading as a caliphate

VDH offers some next steps in Ruins of the Middle East:

At this late date, amid the ruins of the last half-century’s foreign policy from Libya and Egypt to Syria, Iraq, and Iran, the U.S. should hunker down and distance itself from its enemies and grow closer to its few remaining friends. We need to arm the Kurds, and help them to save what is left of Kurdish Syria. We should inform Erdogan that either he joins the fight against ISIS or we will welcome a large and autonomous Kurdistan and would prefer that Turkeyleave NATO, as it should have long ago. We should forget the “peace process” and recognize that Hamas is an existential enemy of America and almost all our friends, and instead encourage an alignment of Egypt, the Kurds, Jordan, Israel, and a few of  the saner Gulf States against both ISIS and the new and soon-to-be-nuclear Iranian Axis.

A final note. In this period of fluid jihadism and changing alliances, we should make it extremely difficult for anyone from most Middle Eastern countries (except the few friendly nations mentioned above) to receive a visa to reside in the U.S., a first step in reminding the region that its cheap anti-Americanism has at least a few consequences. And just because ISIS is primordial does not mean that Assad and Iran are not medieval. They are not our friends just because they are enemies of our enemies; they simply remain our enemies squabbling with other enemies.

The present chaos of the Middle East was caused by our withdrawal from Iraq and a widespread sense that the U.S. had forfeited its old responsibilities and interests, and was either on the side of the Arab Spring Islamists or indifferent to those who opposed them. Tragically, while order may soon return, it is likely to be as a sort of Cold War standoff between a pro-Russian, pro-Chinese — and very nuclear – Iranian bloc, and a Sunni Mesopotamian wasteland masquerading as a caliphate, run by beheaders and fueled by petrodollars, with assistance from Turkey and freelancing Wahhabi royals from the Gulf.

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Apocalypse Soonish

“Today’s apocalyptic prophecies perform the function that such predictions always have: to organize people around a cause, to impose order on them, to wring money out of the flock, and to grossly oversimplify enormously complex problems.”

So says Kevin D. Williamson in Apocalypse Soonish.  Long-ish excerpt follows.  I love this guy’s brain/writing/sense of humor.  “The End Times roll on.”  Heh heh.

I have neither the expertise nor the inclination to relitigate the ups and downs of the climate-change debate, which rivals the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in its tediousness and intractability. But even if we set aside the criticism of the skeptics, including the best-informed of them, and limit ourselves to the projections of the more enthusiastic true believers, there is not much to justify the apocalyptic tone generally associated with the issue. The International Panel on Climate Change, for example, predicts that the costs of adapting to global warming will amount to a couple of points of global economic product a century from now. Obviously, some places will suffer more than others, but if the IPCC model is correct, then we are talking about a burden, not an apocalypse.

Benjamin Strauss, who revels in the prolix title of “vice president for climate impacts and director of the program on sea-level rise” for Climate Central, “an independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the American public,” early this summer published an article about the possible effects on American cities of rising sea levels induced by climate change. He reports that in New York City, the U.S. city “most threatened in the long run” in terms of the total number of people living in areas less than ten feet above sea level, some 700,000 people might be forced to find new homes — a century or so hence. That is about 8.3 percent of New York City’s population: not a trivial figure, but not the silence in heaven accompanying the opening of the seventh seal, either. There are a great many things that might induce 700,000 New Yorkers to choose different places of residence over the next century — say, the reelection of Bill de Blasio. Indeed, New York lost 10.1 percent of its population in a single decade not long ago, during the years from 1970 to 1980. Bad governance, failing schools, and a city wage tax caused Philadelphia to lose 28 percent of its population in half a century. People move around. Again, not an outcome that we would desire, ceteris paribus, but not the Four Horsemen, either.

We generally talk about climate change in terms of what’s expected to happen over the next century, but even that may be precipitate. According to Rob Painting, a true believer who writes for Skeptical Science, a website specifically dedicated to debunking climate-change skepticism, the response of the Greenland ice sheet to historical warming has generally happened “straight away,” meaning a lag time of essentially nothing to . . . a century. The Antarctic ice sheet, he writes, has generally had a lag time of between four and seven centuries, meaning that the time that passes between higher temperatures, should they come to pass, and the worst effects of rising sea levels could reasonably be expected to equal the amount of time that passed between the composition of the Summa Theologica and the composition of Abbey Road, or the interval between the apex of Marco Polo’s career and that of Gennifer Flowers. The sorts of mitigating policies preferred by the climate-change lobby require the balancing of complex and fast-changing economic and political considerations and calculations that are impossible to make over such periods of time. Congress cannot even bind subsequent congresses — legislating on a centuries-long timeline is absurd.

Today’s apocalyptic prophecies perform the function that such predictions always have: to organize people around a cause, to impose order on them, to wring money out of the flock, and to grossly oversimplify enormously complex problems. Some 2,000 years of Christian moral reasoning, and all of the complexity it involves, is utterly powerless in the public imagination compared with a version of the end times that is functionally indistinguishable from “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” — he’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. The sins have changed — today, we are expected to feel guilty about buying the wrong car instead of worshipping the wrong god — but the underlying mystical narrative is the same as it always has been, and there’s a good reason that the apocalyptic episode in the Terminator sci-fi universe has a familiar name (“Judgment Day”) or that the aspect of the global-warming story that has captured the public imagination is organized around a fundamentally Biblical episode: a great flood. And if 700,000 New Yorkers have to relocate in the face of divine wrath, the Akkadians got it a lot worse back in Gilgamesh’s day.

The point of revisiting this is not merely to abuse today’s alarmists with their recent follies, good sport though that is. Mr. Gwynne is absolutely correct that the fact that “the science” seems to have been spectacularly wrong in 1975 does not mean that it is wrong today. What it means is that it’s a damned lucky thing we did not cover the polar ice caps in coal soot.

It may be that the next time the Hale-Bopp comet rolls around, it will be trailed by a spaceship haunted by Marshall Applewhite and his Heaven’s Gate buddies, who will get what turns out to be finally and truly the last laugh. It may be that the Almighty, Who is by all scriptural accounts awfully unpredictable in these matters, will finally decide that He has had enough of our guff on April 6 of the coming year, or the year after. Everybody reads the tea leaves in his own way: I note with deep existential dread that the new Denny’s that has just opened up in lower Manhattan is offering a $300 brunch special, basically Moons over My Hammy with a bottle of 2004 Dom Pérignon, which may not be a sign that the end is at hand but surely is a sign that it ought to be. Malthusians, UFO cultists, end-times Christians, Luddites, nanotech truthers, science-fiction writers, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others expecting the apocalypse-heralding Twelfth Imam to pop up like an angry Islamic jack-in-the-box out of some dusty Persian well, environmentalists of all stripes — coolers and warmers alike — astrologers, no-nukes crusaders, grown adults who are mortally terrified of corn and vaccines, and Al Gore all have promised us, each in his turn, an end of the world practically since its beginning. The scientists are very excited about the new reverb subsetting services for their NASA GLAS HDF5 data, whatever those are. One of these groups is more intimately engaged with reality than the other.

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The Cost of Carbon Reductions

h/t  Kevin D. Williamson in The Cost of Carbon Reductions

One of the problems with the global-warming conversation is that it is a political and economic debate masquerading as a scientific debate. Even when one takes as given the consensus view of how and why global warming operates, the policies do not flow inevitably and plainly from the science. The main obstacle to adopting an effective global-warming policy in the United States is not, contra Neil deGrasse Tyson et al., skepticism about scientific claims. Rather, the main obstacle to our adopting an effective global-warming policy is that the warming globe has upon it China, India, etc. Global warming is a global issue, and even radical cuts in the U.S. emissions would have little practical effect in the absence of similarly serious commitments in the rest of the world. And it is here that Tyson and his acolytes refuse to deal with reality. Forget about getting China to agree to artificially lower its future standard of living; here in the real world, even progressives in rich countries are backing away from modest global-warming policies.

Elsewhere (today’s WSJ) we learn that When you’re already rich you can afford self-defeating moral gestures.

The heirs to John D. Rockefeller ’s oil fortune are getting out of the fossil fuels business, as you may have heard from their many media admirers. That was the news last month after the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, with close to $860 million in assets, announced that it would divest the roughly 7% of its funds currently in fossil fuels.

“The action we’re taking is symbolism, but it is important symbolism,” said fund president Stephen Heintz. “We’re making a moral case, but also, increasingly, an economic case.” Mr. Heintz and the family he represents can reach their own moral conclusions about disavowing the energy industry that made them rich. But allow us to report a few of the economic—and environmental—facts.

But not everyone is on board:

“Logic and experience indicate that barring investments in a major, integral sector of the global economy would—especially for a large endowment reliant on sophisticated economic techniques, pooled funds, and broad diversification—come at a substantial cost,” wrote Harvard President Drew Faust last year, explaining the University’s refusal to join the divestment brigades.

“I also find a troubling inconsistency,” she added, “in the notion that, as an investor, we should boycott a whole class of companies at the same time that, as individuals and as a community, we are extensively relying on those companies products and services for so much of what we do every day.”

And in conclusion… the answer is capitalism and private investment in new tech (funded by today’s – and yesterday’s – profits).

Meantime, those tempted to join the Rockefellers ’ “moral” crusade might consider that the U.S. has decreased its carbon output tonnage more than any country, mostly thanks to the innovations of fracking and horizontal drilling, which have led to the natural gas shale revolution. These carbon reductions would never have happened if previous generations of Rockefellers had refused to invest in fossil fuels.

All of which makes the divestment campaign less about economic logic than a self-defeating act of moral posturing.

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Underfunded killer bureaucracies

Daniel Henninger writes in today’s WSJ that “From Ebola to the Secret Service, ‘killer bureaucracies’ have become a clear and present danger.”

The Secret Service is so disorganized it can’t protect, of all things, the White House. Veterans died waiting for admission to VA hospitals. The CDC lost track of anthrax, smallpox and H5N1 bird-flu samples. At the State Department, no one seems to quite know why a U.S. ambassador died in Benghazi. The 9/11 Commission explained in detail how the attackers evaded the bureaucracies. Add to this list the Internal Revenue Service, an agency of extraordinary power that has forfeited the public’s trust.

The “theoretical defense” of failures like these is that bureaucracies “perform large, needed tasks in a predictable way” and Liberalism’s perpetual answer for the failures is that the agencies need more money, i.e., “underfunding raises the risk of bad outcomes.”

But what if this argument is not only wrong but is now dangerous? What if we have reached a point past which using money to make already large bureaucracies bigger makes the likelihood of catastrophic events worse?

Forget FDR and the glory days of the 1930s. Federal bureaucracies in the 21st century are breaking apart amid a perfect storm of size, complexity and technology. The debris is endangering all of us…

People who study how complex systems work or fail have long known that introducing new or additional rules often increases the odds that the people operating the systems will make more mistakes…

The political class is clueless, or doesn’t care. With “reform” legislation such as Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, Sarbanes-Oxley and the no-doubt imminent Ebola outlays, the compulsive fix-it men of politics make matters worse. These complex requirements are time bombs primed for more catastrophe – another financial crisis, another deadly VA scandal. They increase the confusions in an intrinsically error-prone bureaucratic system.

The answer isn’t impossibly wise and incorruptible angels using a bigger computer to centralize more power.

My guess is that the answer to this plague of bureaucratic damage runs in the opposite direction, toward scaled-down, distributed public responsibilities. Less power but better, safer performance.

Michael Barone makes very similar points in his column today:

…an increasing perception that big government just doesn’t work very well — even at things nearly everyone agrees government should do, such as providing healthcare for veterans or protecting the president and his family.

The deterioration in government’s competence is not just a recent or American phenomenon. That’s a point made in three recent books by the Economist’s John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, Yale law professor Peter Schuck, and New York lawyer Philip Howard. It’s also a major topic in Francis Fukuyama’s recently released Political Order and Political Decay.

But it is a process that has gained speed under a president who doesn’t seem much interested in the mechanics of government and whose confidence that more spending will produce better results keeps being undermined by events.

Democrats this year are running not just against the trend that presidencies usually (though not always) grow stale in their sixth year. They are in the uncomfortable position of defending policies which work against the grain of change in an Information Age, and for putting more trust in a government that isn’t competently performing basic tasks.

That’s an uphill climb as the world spins out of control, government keeps floundering, and the president seems unable to master events.

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“The lifeless expression of consultant-guided anti-truth.”

Love that quip, and more, from the recent Noonan at WSJ, The New Bureaucratic Brazenness.  “Official arrogance is the source of public cynicism.”

We’re all used to a certain amount of doublespeak and bureaucratese in government hearings. That’s as old as forever. But in the past year of listening to testimony from government officials, there is something different about the boredom and indifference with which government testifiers skirt, dodge and withhold the truth. They don’t seem furtive or defensive; they are not in the least afraid. They speak always with a certain carefulness—they are lawyered up—but they have no evident fear of looking evasive…  They care only about personal legal exposure. They do not fear public wrath

Everything sounds like propaganda. That will happen when government becomes too huge, too present and all-encompassing…

We are locked in some loop where the public figure knows what he must pronounce to achieve his agenda, and the public knows what he must pronounce to achieve his agenda, and we all accept what is being said while at the same time everyone sees right through it. The public figure literally says, “Prepare my talking points,” and the public says, “He’s just reading talking points.” It leaves everyone feeling compromised. Public officials gripe they can’t break through the cynicism. They cause the cynicism.

The only people who seem to tell the truth now are the people inside the agencies who become whistleblowers. They call a news organization, get on the phone with a congressman’s staff. That’s basically how the Veterans Affairs and Secret Service scandals broke: Desperate people who couldn’t take the corruption dropped a dime. What does it say about a great nation when its most reliable truth tellers are desperate people?

Sometimes it looks as if everyone in public life is in showbiz, only showbiz with impermeable employee protections. Lois Lerner of IRS fame planted the question, told the lie, took the Fifth, lost the emails and stonewalled. Her punishment for all this was a $100,000-a-year pension for the rest of her life. Imagine how frightened she was. I wonder what the Secret Service head’s pension will be?

A nation can’t continue to be vibrant and healthy when the government controls more and more, and yet no one trusts a thing the government says. It’s hard to keep going that way.

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Free speech on campus

Of the latest in a long line of sad examples of colleges dis-inviting conservative speakers, Charles C. W. Cooke writes:

As it happens, I suspect that the decision-makers at Scripps would be sincerely astounded to learn how fanatical they appear from the outside, for their disinvitation is likely to be less the product of intellectual insecurity and more the end result of a genuine divergence between Left and Right. As a rule, conservatives believe that the matter of free expression is extremely simple: First, you let everybody speak on equal terms, whatever they choose to say; then, you permit anybody so moved to respond; and then, possessed of a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, you let the chips fall where they may, all the while accepting that life isn’t fair and that man is fallen. The academic and cultural Left, by contrast, seems increasingly to maintain that the question of speech is a convoluted and sticky one, and that the Right’s seemingly straightforward appeals to diversity of thought and free expression are hopelessly complicated in reality by Foucauldian power dynamics, by the existence of qualitatively different types of speech (“hate” speech, “propaganda,” “corporate speech,” voices that “must be heard,” etc.), and by the disquieting potential for listeners to be in some way damaged or set off (or “triggered”) by the experience. One really cannot overstate the incompatibility of these positions. For modern conservatives, an absolute defense of free expression is a cut and dried principle — the hallmark of civilization and human liberty. But for many modern progressives — especially those in academia — unfettered speech represents just one item within a busy hierarchy of competing values; an important idea, certainly, but not an unalienable one. This, I think, explains a great deal. If you believe — as many of his critics suggested at the time — that George Will did not merely write a criticism of the alleged campus rape epidemic but that, in some way, he actually did “violence” to women, it seems clear that you wouldn’t want him on campus.

The salient question, then, has to be this: Does Scripps know that, by ensuring that its campus will remain a parochial and intellectually cramped sort of place, it is doing its students a genuine disservice? Honestly, I doubt that it does. As politically and culturally useful as it might be for critics of the college racket to imagine otherwise, the authorities almost certainly did not disinvite Will in order to prevent the free-thinking among their charges from getting the “wrong” ideas about the United States. Instead, they will have convinced themselves that they were merely curating information in a manner that most effectively benefits the whole student body. Such attitudes, alas, are no longer relegated to the fringes, but have instead made inroads into businesses, charities, and even the U.S. government. Consider how often we see spokesmen say with a straight face that their organization is “too tolerant” to tolerate eccentrics, “too diverse” to allow outliers, and “too open” to permit free debate.

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