A week ago, the Harvard University administration announced that, starting with the Class of 2021, “undergraduate members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations will be banned from holding athletic team captaincies and leadership positions in all recognized student groups. They will also be ineligible for College endorsement for top fellowships like the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.”
In plain English, college fraternities are now banned at Harvard. The reason? They rape too much, apparently.
In addition to the all-male college fraternities, all-female sororities and other single-sex clubs will be proscribed. All groups officially recognized by the university must be “gender neutral” and have “open selection processes.” These unrecognized clubs are unrecognized because they disaffiliated from the university in 1984 in response to an ultimatum by the administration to “go co-ed.”
At Northwestern University a week ago, fraternities were commemorating “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” by hanging large banners that declared their opposition to rape outside the fraternity houses. In light of the vicious raping being committed by doughy-faced American college freshmen, it was the least they could do. Confusion about their position on rape (Good? Bad? Let the states decide?) had never been so high. On the other hand, they may have been simply taking a lesson in signalling allegiances from communist Czechoslovakia, as Vaclav Havel’s grocer taught:
“I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.”
The blindingly obvious was not enough for the grocer’s overseers, unfortunately, and the fraternities duly came under fire for being insufficiently opposed to rape. The commissar, this time, was a freshman girl, presumably studying at Northwestern’s journalism school. It is unlikely that she even strongly believes what she writes – writing opinion columns gets you a grade in journalism school regardless of whether or not your opinion makes sense. Despite that, she has now inadvertently raised the bar for virtue signalling in opposition to rape, and made all of our lives harder.
The university’s fraternity council announced that the banners held in support of rape victims “may have been emotionally triggering for survivors, and we want to make a deep, genuine apology for anyone that may have been affected.” They are now going to create “a four-year sexual assault education program for fraternities.” Reality parodies itself. I can’t wait until a Bachelor’s degree requires nothing but four years of sexual assault education.
These two latest attacks on male social organizations follow an intense volley that occurred last year, when a transparent gang-rape hoax caused the University of Virginia to suspend all fraternities, and the University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was expelled and the members evicted from housing over a short iPhone video of a ‘racist’ chant.
It has taken them decades, but progressives are finally formally eliminating the two sexes. Consistently smeared with the twin excommunicatory slurs of ‘racist’ and ‘rapist,’ college fraternities are now buckling. They may be powerful yet, but they made too many concessions to do-gooding social justice warriors in the past, the precedent has been set, and they are not intellectually sovereign enough (nor coordinated enough) to resist a finishing move by the nearly $40 billion juggernaut of status, wealth, and prestige that is Harvard.
Moldbug noted that “very generally, the consensus at Harvard at year Y is the consensus of America at Y + 50.” If that is the case, the consensus at Harvard at year Y is the consensus at Yale at Y + 1, at Princeton and Stanford Y + 2, at the rest of the Ivies and elite schools at Y + 5, and the rest of the public schools and academia in general sometime shortly thereafter. Harvard is the yardstick for what is most holy, true, and good in America. In other words, what is most high status. Harvard has declared that the most high status thing to do is prohibit single-sex organizations, and then sanction anyone who joins one. You can expect this to become something of a rule, just like co-education became something of a rule following the cultural upheaval of the 1960s.
Do you ever stop to wonder why boys and girls are educated together? Before long, you will probably not stop to wonder why single-sex organizations are prohibited, nor will you wonder why the very thought of such a thing makes you shiver and think of Hitler.
Single-sex social organizations represent an egregious violation of the tenets of egalitarian progressive dogma. You and I may enjoy the subtle classicism, youthful tradition, and sexual dichotomy of the American Greek system. To a progressive who takes his pious vows seriously, the entire spectacle is something straight out of the nine circles of Hell. Indeed they claim that college campuses, filled with students so green they are not even legally allowed to drink alcohol, are rape factories worse than the American prison system – home of Bloods, Crips, MS-13, and the Aryan Brotherhood.
The Greek system itself is a repudiation of the quickly-advancing consensus on sex and gender that has been cobbled together in the last few decades. As puerile as it sounds, the simple fact that there are organizations that might potentially exclude the queer or “gender non-conforming” is an offense to the diversity commissars. With every other pillar of civilization and normalcy totally smashed – and you will scarcely find a place where they are more smashed than a college campus in 2016 – the very sexual dimorphism of the human species needs to be attacked to fuel the eternal revolution. The fraternities and sororities are not saved by the fact that they are overwhelmingly liberal. They are not saved by the fact that they allow homosexuals and lesbians into their ranks. They are not even saved by the fact that – as some almost certainly do – they allow “passing” transsexuals in. They must be smashed for progress.
At this point, the analysis of leftist dysfunction usually ends, but there is another layer to the onion that we have to peel back.
While it seems obvious to pin the blame on the social justice activists with problem glasses, these people are in fact only tools for another power. Though xe complains loudly and consistently, it is not the campus activist who is at fault. The professional whiner is a loser everywhere, at all times and without exception. Losers are not winners, so we can’t be satisifed with the conclusion that, in these special cases of social justice victory, the losers suddenly win, win big, and win consistently. They do not have the power to mandate perfect sex equality. Not the social power to influence, nor the financial power to bribe, nor the physical power to threaten and destroy.
That power lies with the university administrators, people like Dean Rakesh Khurana and President Drew Gilpin Faust. The dean and president in fact have all three kinds of power at their disposal: they can withhold prestigious degrees, scholarships, and positions from dissenters, they can use the $40 billion endowment to bribe or punish whomever they wish, and they command a private armed force of some 80 officers who carry the only legal, lethal weapons on Harvard’s gun-free campus. That is real power that neither frat boys, nor blacktivists can match.
Much like the present elites ally with the underclass to take out Middle Class America, the university administrators ally with the malcontents among the student body to take out the popular social clubs in the middle. This is the classic High/Low vs. Middle dynamic identified by Bertrand de Jouvenel that has been the iron fist in the velvet glove of liberal-progressive pap since the first revolution.
Why does this happen? It’s not at all complicated. Matter seeks to fill space, plants seek to grow, power seeks to expand – nature abhors a vacuum. For a high, central power, the main threat and the main obstacle to growth and expansion is not the power of the perpetually dysfunctional underclass, it is the power of the fairly well-organized and stable middle. The natural ally for a high, central power is a low, disorganized, and weak power. Such a power can be easily controlled and used as a cudgel to clobber the competing middle power, which is a greater threat to the High by definition. The Middle can’t weaponize the Low because it is less powerful than the High, which also seeks to weaponize the Low in order to prevent the Middle from competing with it.
In the context of a university, the university administrators represent an extremely powerful central power that is very jealous of competition, and the closest competing power center to an administration on a university campus is the fraternity scene. Just apply the social/financial/physical power trio and compare.
As the de facto gatekeepers to the party (and therefore sex, and therefore social status) scene, fraternities have massive social power among students. As chapters of national organizations with decades-if-not-centuries-long histories and massive alumni networks, they have financial power unrivaled by any other student group. As ritualized, all-male brotherhoods, often with regional, racial, religious or occupational requirements (or more recently, just tendencies), they have massive physical power at their disposal, both in terms of raw numbers, energy and muscle, as well as group asabbiyah.
Fraternities often own not just a large designated fraternity house, but several other pieces of property near the campus that are used by fraternity brothers. Official and unofficial fraternity houses located in or around campuses represent serious real estate pressure on the expansion of the university – the administration can’t build more dorms, labs or centers if the dozen or more frats won’t sell their property that circles the campus.
Fraternities do not answer to the university administration, but to national chapter leadership. They are not a part of the university chain of command, although you may be forgiven in thinking that, given how ubiquitous they are on American campuses. But that is as bad of a mistake as assuming a people and their government are one and the same, or even share aligned interests. The first American college fraternities, in fact, were formed by male students in order to skirt the authority of rigid religious professors in the 1820’s — to play pranks, have fun, and escape the strict order of the college. Needless to say, the faculty were opposed to the “secret societies” from the get-go. In this sense, not much has changed between 1826 and 2016, except that the fraternities have been on a serious losing streak since the mid-20th century.
Trapped between the local mob of malcontents from below and the administration from above, fraternities are squeezed for power – most of which is assumed up by the High, and a little bit of which is allowed down to the Low. Under the pretense of eliminating unjust discrimination and an epidemic of sexual assault, the administration can now bar the most talented athletes and scholars from joining fraternities, denying them human capital which will instead be initiated into the administration’s system of control. The fraternities will lose a concomitant amount of members, prestige, status and power – since they depend on new blood every year – and the relative power of the High administration and the Low agitators will increase.
There will be more and more talented students living in dormitories run by the administration rather than fraternity houses. There will be more time spent in sanctioned and recognized student groups that follow the administration’s directives, and less time spent in the unrecognized fraternities. More students will depend on the university-provided career services and counselors rather than their fraternity alumni networks. And so on. Power seeks power.
The High/Low vs. Middle process seems unfair and self-destructive. It is. The High cannot cannibalize the Middle indefinitely, and eventually entropy in the form of the Low destroys the High. In the short term, however, cannibalizing the Middle is a winning proposition for members of the High. All that can be said is that virtue and restraint must be practiced by the elite for a society to thrive, and an unvirtuous elite will not be survived by a virtuous middle class – not a large one at any rate.
We are finally reaching the point where the last parts of the functioning Middle are being demolished. Colleges and fraternities were sundered from their traditional white Anglo-Saxon Protestant character a long time ago. They were subsequently sundered from their generally Christian character, their white European character, their masculine and chauvinist character, their aggressive character, and finally their strictly heterosexual character. Before being tarred as rapists and bigots, they were tarred as drunken idiots and hazing bullies.
Now, they are being forcefully separated from the last thing that made them distinct and powerful. Rest in peace. Whoever can guess what happens next gets an A+.