Sina-cism: Let’s reclaim the liberal arts from today’s liberals

The left points a finger of blame at Trump for his obvious verbal excesses, but the fault for the breakdown in civility and discourse is unchecked political correctness. Academia’s descent into madness predates Trump by many years.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

A generation or two ago, independent thought and expression were alive and well on America’s college campuses. Today, liberal drivel — occasionally punctuated by liberal intolerance and liberal fascism — has all but silenced the liberal arts.

Some incidents — such as the one at Middlebury College in March, when author and sociologist Charles Murray was shouted down and driven from the lecture hall (and a professor assaulted) — garner national attention. For a time, there is discussion over what to do about such intolerance.

The answer, sadly, is usually to forgive such behavior, or punish it so lightly as to encourage more of it. Middlebury claims more than 60 students were disciplined, but none was expelled and none faced criminal charges.

Related Sina-cism: ‘Coming Apart’ at Middlebury, and elsewhere

As disappointing as it is to see students put their education on hold to rudely and violently dismiss anything that might challenge their still developing brains, incidents such as Middlebury’s are not as insidious as the scenarios that play out daily on campuses nationwide.

Sina-cism: Montaigne is not on this inconsequential Worcester ballot

Several times this summer and fall I have asked myself whether I ought to gin up more enthusiasm for the upcoming Worcester municipal election.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

But every time I looked at the ballot, heard a candidate speak, or read a profile or election story, I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed for the extra sleep.

If the French philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne were running, I’d feel differently. We’ll get back to him later. But he’s not, and the truth is that this Worcester municipal election is about as inconsequential as an election can get.

Perhaps, like incumbent Mayor Joe Petty, you believe Worcester is a city on the rise, with abundant investment, strong schools, great restaurants, a new hockey team, and a can-do spirit that has left its gritty mill city reputation in the past.

Perhaps, like challenger Konnie Lukes, you believe there is another Worcester, one missing out on prosperity, where gangs run rampant, drug-dealing is rife, there are too many empty storefronts, an opioid epidemic spirals out of control, and councilors fail to address problems like an over-reliance on property taxes.

More Sun commentary:

Sina-cism: Worcester — the mayhem on main streets

For some time, Worcester city officials have been talking about making Worcester a more walkable city. That’s a nice dream, but it’s not one that is going to come true anytime soon.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

It’s not going to happen as long as the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles continues to insist on licensing new drivers who would be a threat to themselves and others if they were driving electric golf carts on lonely stretches of Interstate 90 in Montana.

Have you ever tried to cross Main Street at Chatham Street with the “Walk” light?

Your odds of a successful crossing are about the same as those enjoyed by Columbus when he tackled the Atlantic in 1492 — he knew he wanted to reach the other side of the water, but the conditions were often decidedly unfavorable.

Even prior to the rise of the machines — those handheld demons that occupy the attention of most motorists some of the time and some motorists all of the time — such an endeavor was hazardous. Today, it’s more or less a suicide attempt.

Sina-cism: For those taking a knee, it’s 4th down

It’s fourth down for athletes taking a knee to protest racial injustice and oppression in America.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Our stand-up-for-Old-Glory millionaire billionaire president, who in his spare time runs the country, was both impetuous and intemperate in his recent spats with the kneel-during-the-anthem millionaires who in their spare time play football.

But Trump was also mostly right.

Sure, NFL players are free to express themselves, as are those who follow their example, such as Doherty High player Mike Oppong, who a year ago took a knee to protest injustice. But that which is permissible is not always wise.

Sina-cism: Gerrymander case maps repulsive ground where courts should fear to tread

Americans have lots to worry about. They’ll have a lot more if the Supreme Court decides the case of Gill v. Whitford justifies federal intervention in the drawing of political district lines within states.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Wisconsin Democrats are upset that Republicans redrew district lines so as to preserve their electoral edge in the state assembly. It’s easy to see why, if you examine this map.

Many of the state’s districts are contiguous and as block-like as can be expected, featuring no more than the usual bumps necessary to ensure that population counts are within mandated limits.

But look at the area around the capital, Madison, and you find districts that consist of tracts and islands. Some Wisconsin state districts alternately touch down and skip over areas, like a fickle tornado on the Great Plains.

Yet, as bad as some of these Wisconsin districts are, they are paragons of geographic virtue compared to some Congressional districts, including these three howlers in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas — one held by a Republican, the other two by Democrats.

Turn back the clock to 2014, and there’s this national view, which shows that in much of the nation’s coal belt, gerrymandering has been raised to an art form.