WE’RE all going to die and no one is doing anything about it. The response from our political leaders in the face of impending climate catastrophe has amounted to little more than cursory acknowledgement. Never mind the deniers—the 2018 midterm elections ended up running a large fraction of the true climate deniers in Congress out of office as part of an overall shift towards Democratic control of the House. It’s the rest of the political system we have to worry about. Even the politicians who believe in anthropogenic climate change have not made it a priority—they put out gravely-worded statements on the latest UN report, joked about the President’s misreadings of it, and went back to their signature issues. Climate change, if left unopposed, will transform the totality of life on earth. And no one really seems to care.
THERE was probably a time in your life, not too long ago, when “socialism” was a dirty word. For some of you, it never was—but for most of us, children of the children of Reagan, it was the symbol of unspeakable evil. So unspeakable that, come to think of it, we never really knew what “socialism” meant.
TRUMP’S election dealt America’s highly educated liberal elites their greatest shock in a generation. For decades, these elites seemed to forget the very existence of class, overlooking America’s increasingly vast income inequality – and ignoring those Americans who didn’t have access to the Harvard Club. Trump single handedly changed this. Although inexcusably racist and xenophobic, his success rested, in large part, on his ability to speak to the deep resentments of a right-wing white working class.
Affirmative action is destined to soon die a swift and merciless death at the hands of American conservatism. First, a lawsuit against Harvard’s allegedly race-based admission process is working its way up to the Supreme Court. Second, and particularly fatal, the Supreme Court’s new conservative majority in the wake of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination will almost certainly rule against Harvard, which could outlaw affirmative action in college admissions.
“The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’,” wrote George Orwell in a 1946 essay. On campus, the same may be said of many words in leftist political discourse today. Students rally around terms such as “intersectionality” and “empowerment”, while “toxic” and “problematic” figures are fervently attacked. These words may feel comfortable and intellectual, but in reality they are almost entirely hollow. Seventy-two years ago Orwell decried the emptiness of political language. It is now high time that we scrutinized our own use of buzzwords.