By William Sealy Gosset
After graduating high school, like many other young men looking at their future prospects, and the state of higher education, I was unsure of where to go, what to do, and where I belonged. I was a voracious reader during high school, something of an autodidact, but I never applied myself to my classes. Marching to the beat of my own drum, I lived in my own little world of philosophy and politics, similar to Joseph Keegin in his article “Wisdom that is Woe”. Eventually, I chose a Christian college because I wanted to continue this lifestyle of deep thinking.
After high school, though, I felt so much uncertainty about what my future would look like. With fatherlessness on the rise, most young men find themselves in a similar position, without a model to structure their desires. When we are young, we are told to “be yourself” and “follow your dreams”, but most of us don’t have defined goals, or a true identity, so this advice is often ineffectual.
Nowadays, we end up clinging to whatever ideas and people entice us. In pursuit of lofty dreams, we go on to idolize celebrities and careers that are becoming harder & harder to attain. If we aren’t careful, life can become a sisyphean struggle for fame and fortune. Falling short of our desired goals, as is often the case in our hyper-competitive society, one usually ends up becoming a hedonist. Instead of living, we just kill time; too dead to live, too alive to die.
If you are reading this, most likely you have a dissident perspective on politics. You’ve arrived at many of the same insights I just wrote about. I chose a Christian college because I thought that my dissident beliefs would be welcomed, or at-least acknowledged. But the new faith is marching through every institution, even the conservative one’s. Christian colleges like Baylor University have already started to toe the line, bowing down to wokeism. My university, Gordon college, is no different. That is why my story is a cautionary tale.
It all began in May , when the riots began. I remember many young folks were feeling lost, lonely, and anxious. With mental illness skyrocketing amongst the youth, job loss afflicting many (myself included), not to mention isolation from loved ones—our country was ripe for the taking. Uncertainty and doubt was in the air—propagandists were frothing at the mouth. With the death of George Floyd, and the subsequent BLM protests, an aimless group of young people were energized and emboldened.
During that summer, many of my white friends jumped at the opportunity to abase themselves in public, posting apologies for their ‘complicity’ in systematic racism. They were given the chance to become ‘virtuous’, albeit not seriously. These narcissists saw themselves as “the self-appointed representatives of the living and the dead, the bearers of a terrible history as well as the potential redeemers of mankind.” Nietzsche was right, he who despises himself nevertheless esteems himself as a despiser.
That ethnic masochism was on full display right in my backyard, in the town over from mine, where hundreds of young people laid in protest on the streets of Portland, Maine. I could feel the revolutionary fervor in the air. That conservative instinct to protect one’s home and family awakened inside of me. This is how I imagine Roger Scruton felt during the Paris riots of ‘68.
Blackout Tuesday, instagram infographics, protests, donation pages—were all over social media, including one ‘anti-racism’ pyramid graphic that claimed “colorblindness”, “columbus day”, and “make America Great again” to be “covert white supremacy”. All of this protesting came as a shock to me initially, having been the only one in high school, apart from some close friends, who were passionate about politics. I knew about CRT, but never expected its core concepts to trickle down into the zeitgeist. The world-event-to-instagram-story-pipeline is an understated area of influence, especially for the youth, as Carmel Richardson writes about in her article on Kabul.
As the looting, arson, murder, and liberal paegantry continued unabated, I started to raise awareness of the violence occuring over social media. Shortly after this, I started receiving messages over instagram, saying that my opinions weren’t welcome at this time, and that we needed “allies” rather than “opponents”. Unsurprisingly, I was also accused of being a “white supremacist”, despite never saying anything egregious.
I was starting to see how white people could not escape accusations of racism, regardless of how hard they tried. If you moved out of a minority neighborhood for greener pastures, like my family did, it is ‘white flight’. Move into one, and its gentrification. If you see color, it’s racism. If you don’t, you’re ignoring racism. If you don’t partake in other cultures, you are non-inclusive. If you do, you are appropriating somebody else’s culture. If you advocate for social justice, you are taking attention away from black voices; if you stay silent, that’s violence. Even as a young man growing up in Maine, a relatively tranquil, peaceful state, I couldn’t escape the reality that the globalists were coming for my home too.
After receiving some pushback for expressing my views on BLM, I was afraid that this would continue at Gordon. Much to my dismay, my suspicions were correct. Shortly after the school year began, if political tensions weren’t already high enough, a foolish student ended up causing an uproar on campus after a resident hall was vandalized with “All Lives Matter”. A harmless statement right? Well, in an age when mere silence is deemed to be violent, mountains are made out of molehills. I thought it was a petty, unserious act of vandalism. In spite of this, students still marched, and vociferously blamed the then Gordon President Michael Lindsay for not taking the ‘act of racism’ seriously enough. How could he, though? During the protest, students kneeled and held a moment of silence. I remember watching the livestream and seeing the turnout. Despite being a ‘conservative campus’, it seemed like a significant portion of the student body was passionate about a progressive cause.
Gordon has been embroiled in the culture war in the past. In 2014, for example, Michael Lindsay “joined a group of 14 religious leaders in asking president Obama for an exemption from a planned executive order banning discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation.” A Boston Globe article on the incident shows the reputation that Gordon has in the New England area for sticking up for its Christian principles.
Most recently, the school faced controversy again after a faculty member, DeWeese-Boyd, alleged that in a 2017 lawsuit she was denied a promotion over her public disagreement with Michael Lindsay’s request to the Obama Administration. The case ended up going to the Massachusetts supreme court, and the case was ruled in favor of Gordon.
After the ‘racist’ incident in September, student groups hosted a series of workshops to educate the student body on American Racism, student activism, and ‘allyship’. So many students were already passionate about these issues, but it reached a fever pitch when another incident occurred. In the laundry room of one of the residence halls, a student wrote “F**k N***ers” in black sharpie on a T-shirt. After this, a protest was held at Frost-Hall, calling for a better response from Gordon to combat racism on campus. Multiple statements were sent out following this event, promising for changes to the curriculum—a stronger focus on racism, new hiring rules, and so forth.
As Gordon started to capitulate to the demands of Black Lives Matter, the parents of Gordon decided to write a private letter to the Board of Trustees, detailing their concerns over the college’s response to racism. In an article on the letter, one parent was quoted as saying
“Academically, these movements are seriously limiting debate. An ever-increasing range of opinions, even questions, are not tolerated. People espousing forbidden views are shamed and harassed. The strategy is clear. Shut down all dissent from the preferred narrative. How can faculty and students pursue truth in this atmosphere?”
The backlash from Gordon parents is part and parcel of a bigger trend we’re seeing in our country. With weak leadership in the GOP, much of the private sector appeasing the woke crowd, and public schools pushing CRT & mask mandates, the only group that seems to be standing up for the kids are the parents. Unlike our elites, they have skin in the game.
Even after Gordon received a letter from Gordon’s parents, however, the capitulation did not end there. Most recently, former adjunct professor Marvin Daniels was accused of victim-blaming, and being ‘transphobic’, during a chapel sermon. After backlash from Gordon students, the school decided to remove him from his three upcoming chapel services. Following the incident, a Solidarity event was held where 6 queer students shared messages and poems about their identity and sexual harassment in religious circles. In an article on the rally, it was said that “for perhaps the first time in Gordon’s history, LGBTQIA+ students stood on the stage of the chapel in front of the president of the college and spoke about the pride and beauty in their identity.”
Throughout my time at Gordon, I started to ask myself why the school kept trying to appease the woke crowd. Then it dawned upon me that Christianity and wokeism both share a common ideological framework—one that is predicated on the elevation of victims. This slave morality, as Nietzsche calls it, is based on an opposition to the strong and powerful, or the ‘privileged’. Despite being in favor of ‘equality’, in defining themselves against authority, victims become dependent upon it, for the simple reason that when you try to appease the weak, you merely remind them of their dependency upon you. This heightens their feelings of inferiority. The social justice warriors don’t want equality, they simply want more status.
Gordon doesn’t seem to understand this, despite the angry outbursts coming from its students. In Gordon’s commitment to Shalom, it says:
“We believe that human diversity as attested to in Scripture is one expressive element of shalom and is an essential component of a Christian learning community such as ours. We define this diversity as the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10), expressed through His image present in human beings at creation, and articulated in human heritages, cultures and histories.”
Gordon has trouble differentiating a respect for diversity from identity politics because the Christian belief-system it is operating out of views all human beings equally, independent of any sort of hierarchy. Much of this can be attributed to its denominational background—Gordon is a non-denominational school with very few Catholics. Nevertheless, it abdicates its authority by basing its philosophy on multiculturalism and diversity.
This abdication of authority only increases the status ambiguity between the school and its student body. Status ambiguity, as Roger Gould writes in his book Collision of Wills, heightens tensions between groups. “When a clear and understood social hierarchy is in place, conflict is less likely. Gould, examining data from U.S. cities as well as villages in India, found that an individual is four to eight times more likely to commit homicide against a person of equal social status compared with a person of higher or lower status.” Like with sibling rivalries, the more people are forced to be the same, the harder they fight to differentiate themselves. That is why students adopt luxury beliefs when they enter school—they want to flaunt their status to feel like somebody special.
Without discipline, punishments, and rewards in academia, students don’t acquire respect for their teachers, so their academic relationships become symmetric. Today, everybody is a teacher, including the students themselves. When colleges become an extension of childhood, a place for milquetoasts to coddle entitled young adults, the result ends up being that students perceive any form of inequality as being unnatural and wrong, even man-made. Using social media constantly, many youngsters suffer from main character syndrome as it is. As far as they are concerned, the whole world revolves around them. The students at Gordon seem to think the same way, despite having a Christian background.
Gordon may be tempted to respect the democratic will of its student body, and honor the fact that “56% of students say it is moral for Christians to be in same-sex relationships”, but if they chose to do so, they wouldn’t be respecting the wishes of a tolerant community. Rather, they would be emboldening a group that is increasingly intolerant towards any Christian who doesn’t subscribe to their view on same-sex marriage. I was one of those students, and for being outspoken with my beliefs, I faced the consequences.
I was canceled by the Gordon LGBTQ social media account on instagram. Without warning, one day an anonymous student, somebody I didn’t even know, posted a paragraph about me for the whole student body to see. It read as follows:
“Since people are calling out some Junior, I want to call out <>. He is a current Freshman. Not only has he had long tangents on his Instagram stories about racism, but he is extremely homophobic and transphobic. I know he has written long dialogues about how Christians allow the LGBT community to get away with too much, and we need to be harder on them. He has said more things but that is what stuck out to me the most. He has also said that being transgender is wrong and against Gods will and against human nature. I know he told a girl that she needs to “cure” and “convert” her brother who is transgender and gay. I do not know him personally, I try to avoid him at all costs so he could have done much more. That is all.”
I remember panicking upon seeing this for the first time. I noticed that some of my friends were even liking the post. In the heat of the moment, I attempted to defend myself. Looking back on it in retrospect, this was a futile effort. Adopting a defensive posture against baseless accusations of homophobia is just accepting the frame of your enemies.
After my friend and I were canceled by this account, I started to see how the uncertainty and fear that was introduced by our pandemic regime sowed the seeds of a social virus. Every student wasn’t just a potential carrier of Covid, every Christian became a potential carrier of a social disease like ‘racism’ or ‘bigotry.’ A mimetic contagion was tearing apart the social fabric of my college from the inside out, similar to the plague that Raskolnikov dreams of in Crime and Punishment.
Instead of seeing me as I am, as a fellow student or Christain, I became a mirror for the violent pretensions of a mob. I was transfigured, or otherized, into a racist—a scapegoat that could be used to purgate the nasty and impure elements from the student body, built up from a year of anxiety. The louder I protested against cancel culture, the more the crowd’s anger grew, because anything I said to justify my beliefs became proof in their mind that I was who they said I was.
After trying to protect my reputation, I was told by some student, “People can’t ‘ruin your name’ by simply saying something you did. You ruined your name by doing what you did.” I had to atone for my guilt, but I was never offered forgiveness. These people were supposed to be Christians!
Eventually, after some backlash, the post was taken down, but the damage was already done. Some LGBTQ members said the canceling approach to politics isn’t fruitful. They didn’t give up on this option, however, seeing as how they’ve continued to attack students online for voicing their opinions, with Gordon doing nothing about it.
The pain of being ostracized was so great, that even I was tempted to bow down and join the crowd myself. I hated losing so many friends. But I never did, choosing instead to voice my beliefs openly, but even amongst my own camp I wasn’t safe. I thought I could speak freely with the Republican’s club, but even there I was met with backlash.
Around late October, I gave a speech on what we stand to lose if Biden becomes president, wherein I discussed the demographic displacement that has been occurring since the 1965 immigration act. I talked about how America could become a one-party state if we keep welcoming immigrants with open arms, due to their voting patterns. I heard later-on that some students had approached a leader of the Republican’s club, saying that I had “white nationalist sympathies.” A new Republican’s club group chat was created, one that excluded me.
Shortly after the semester ended, when everybody had gone home for the winter, I learned of an incident that very few people knew about. One of my Republican friends, who happens to be asian, shared a photo of a letter he had received while he was away in the library. It read:
“Fuck you. Fuck ACB. Fuck Donald Trump. You Racist piece of shit. You better watch your back. We’re coming for you. Now you’ll know how it feels to always feel like you need to look behind your shoulders. We’ll get you when you least expect it. You and your pretty little girlfriend. Since you’re so against abortion, you better hope she doesn’t get raped and pregnant. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep the baby. Imagine if your new little church in the mall gets burned to the ground. Everything and everyone you love will suffer because of you. Black Lives Matter.”
Initially, I thought this letter was fake, maybe even fabricated. Despite what I had seen over twitter in the past, I never felt like an act of hatred like this would ever hit so close to home. The student who received it went to the Gordon police, and the hate crime was investigated, but no suspect was ever found. My skepticism was put to rest after my friend told me that he took time to share it, out of fear that something would happen to his girlfriend. It was real.
Once I saw this letter I realized that colleges, no matter if they are Christian or not, are Girardian Terrors. Accusations of racism & calls for diversity are directed towards schools, and students, to cover up for the fact that, deep down, progressives on campuses deeply hate anybody who is different. Their self-hatred is projected outward, towards others, in an attempt to channel their violent energies. In the end, nobody who is the victim of this violence wants to come out and acknowledge that they are a mirror, a reflection, of this chthonic hatred that simmers beneath the surface. Everybody, especially in this age of social media, wants to be the ‘good guy’. But being the good-guy means parroting woke talking points. In a hall of mirrors, where everybody is obsessed with how others perceive us, nobody can reflect on themselves. In the end, this results in a tragedy of the commons whereby each individual, convinced he is doing good by receiving recognition from others, ends up creating a collective evil that shuns true virtue, true sacrifice. The do-gooder in this space is unaware that he is even unaware; even though he would rather blaspheme God than say the N-word, he is still convinced that Christianity is his religion, and not some woke-cult. He doesn’t want to acknowledge the evil in himself—what Jesus revealed to be hidden since the foundation of the world.
As Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes in the Gulag Archipelago, “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Nobody, even Gordon college, a Christian school, wants to acknowledge the presence of evil—that shadow that lurks in the background. This is all evidenced by how conservative students are treated, in comparison to BLM advocates. Very little awareness was raised about how conservatives were, and are, mistreated in person or online. Petty acts of racism, and more serious one’s, result in immediate protests and uproar on campus, along with institutional changes. But when it comes to actual threats, like the one directed towards my asian friend, if they are conservative, nothing is done.
In conclusion, if I’m going to offer any advice to dissident thinkers thinking of entering college, I would say “don’t.” In college, you mustn’t think outside of the ideological box. Our college’s actively punish endogenous personalities, those crazies that create the new industries. In fact, intellectual life is impractical in the new academic world, where one must compete to conform to become the most credentialed student, in a miserable hobbesian scramble. If you look back on your life, going all the way back to grade school, you’ll understand why this is the case.
As Peter Thiel says, “The pattern set in our earliest education continues unto death: “in exchange for doing exactly what’s asked of you (and for doing it just a bit better than your peers), you’ll get an A.” From grade school onwards, we are schooled to “confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new . . . We are schooled to accept service in place of value.”
What’s so ironic about the worship of material progress is that the more we focus on material gain, on status, on being ‘normal’, the more we exclude the geniuses needed to help us maintain our luxurious lifestyles. The results end up being this: as Paul Skallas observed, culture has stopped. Films, books, songs, people, etc—are all becoming the same. In modern society, as Byung Chul-Han writes,
“one travels everywhere, yet does not experience anything. One catches sight of everything, yet reaches no insight. One accumulates information and data, yet does not attain knowledge. One lusts after adventures and stimulation, but always remains the same. One accumulates online ‘friends’ and ‘followers’, yet never encounters another person.”
Paintings have degenerated into images, prose into logos, imagination and vision into advertisements, music into a carpet of sound, speech into an exchange of pleasantries, love into lust. The inferno of the same has burned away innovation, sapping us of vitality. We aren’t moving forward, culturally or technologically.
Everywhere you look, something is owned,either by the government or a private company. We pursue surrogate activities in this owned world to try and escape this reality, to feel some semblance of power and control, but it never helps. If you aren’t careful in this world of our’s, you can become a cog in somebody else’s machine.
As Kierkegaard said,
“One can very well eat lettuce before its heart has been formed; still, the delicate crispness of the heart and its lovely frizz are something altogether different from the leaves. It is the same in the world of the spirit. Being too busy has this result: that an individual very, very rarely is permitted to form a heart; on the other hand, the thinker, the poet, or the religious personality who actually has formed his heart, will never be popular, not because he is difficult, but because it demands quiet and prolonged working with oneself and intimate knowledge of oneself as well as a certain isolation.”
Fearing this isolation, most people just go to school, get a meaningless job, and comply with the endless rules and regulations that govern society. There is, after all, no commons, no environment beyond civilization that isn’t used for commodification, or to collect resources. We are the resources now.
It seems that the last place left to find freedom and solace from the forces of enclosure is in the silent spaces of the mind. Contemplation is subversive; in the open steppe of the spirit we can return to our childhoods through philosophy.
When we are born, as Plato understood, the soul comes from an ‘imperial palace’. In childhood, the world is apparelled in celestial light, because that palace is still fresh in our minds. As we grow up, however, the “shades of the prison-house begin to close” upon us, and we lose sight of what is most important in life. In a way, civilizations go through the same process, whereby they lose their innocence as decadence and prosperity sets in. But our inner light never goes out. If you close your eyes, listen to the music beneath the noise, you can feel that long-lost light brighten your interior castle—a radiant sanctuary of memories that extends deep into our pasts. Those memories offer the greatest protection against evil. They protected me when I was lost, when I would have strayed from my path.
As Dosteovsky’s character says in the Brothers Karamazov, after the death of a friend,
“My dear children, perhaps you won’t understand what I am saying to you, because I often speak very unintelligibly, but you’ll remember it all the same and will agree with my words some time. You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us. Perhaps we may even grow wicked later on, may be unable to refrain from a bad action, may laugh at men’s tears and at those people who say as Kolya did just now, ‘I want to suffer for all men,’ and may even jeer spitefully at such people. But however bad we may become—which God forbid—yet, when we recall how we buried Ilusha, how we loved him in his last days, and how we have been talking like friends all together, at this stone, the cruelest and most mocking of us—if we do become so—will not dare to laugh inwardly at having been kind and good at this moment!”