University college lecture
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Martin Center column examines diversity, equity, and inclusion movement

Jay Schalin of the Martin Center explores a disturbing trend in higher education.

The political left has proven itself to be amazingly incompetent when it comes to governing. Examples abound of nations, states, and cities—even those with tremendous wealth, resources, and other advantages—reduced to nightmare zones of poverty, violence, and corruption. Think of Venezuela, Cuba, California, Detroit, and Baltimore.

Yet, there is one area in which the left excels to a remarkable degree: the attainment of power and advancement of its political aims.

Every year, every month, and every day, somewhere in the nation the left is implementing or proposing some action that will further its agenda. Consider the breakneck speed at which the Biden administration is dismantling its predecessor’s reforms and advancing the “woke” agenda. Instead of concerning itself with how to govern well, the left’s intellectual energies are spent on crafting tactics to exploit the weak spots in our electoral processes, our laws, and our policies. It has a vast array of weapons of its disposal, from Saul Alinsky’s organizing tactics to bureaucratic state encroachments on democracy to the anarchic violence of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, and so forth.

One of the left’s most successful tactics is the manipulation of language. The meaning of words is gradually but deliberately changed to alter perceptions and to enable large policy and cultural changes to occur without much notice.

Academia is especially vulnerable to such linguistic subterfuge, and in the past year, many universities have greatly advanced the radical agenda through “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) policies. To most people who still understand those three words according to their traditional meanings, such policies sound benign or enlightening; many would be open to basing guidelines on them.

However, in the lexicon of today’s left-leaning academic bureaucracies, those words—taken individually or together—have new, specific meanings with a sinister bent.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...