The Pensive West: Self-Contempt and the Contemporary Campus

This weekend Victor Davis Hanson interviews Benedict Beckeld about his book Western Self-Contempt: Oikophobia in the Decline of the West and Kevin Feigelis about the Gaza war and campus life.

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12 thoughts on “The Pensive West: Self-Contempt and the Contemporary Campus”

  1. I agree with Dr. Hanson that there needs to be curbs on what’s allowed on campuses across America. All students need to feel safe and all parents of students need to know that their children will be safe on any campus, period. I do see that professors have promoted totally ludicrous ideas that have been accepted for the professors’ own promotions and aggrandizements as his first speaker alluded to.

  2. Robert Stewart

    Victor mentioned the financial incentive that accompanies foreign students in today’s universities in his conversation with Benedict Beckeld. This is not a new phenomenon. As documented in Svetlana Lakhova’s “The Spy Who Changed History”, in 1931 the Soviet Union sent 65 “students” to the US to enroll as full tuition students in several US universities. MIT had an enrollment of 3100 at the time, and the cohort of undergraduates who attended classes in MIT’s aeronautics department were welcomed with enthu$ia$m. She has a photo of 14 of them standing on the stairs of the main entrance to MIT. These men appear to be 25 to 35 years old and were likely already graduates of a Soviet university. The Chinese have obviously taken a page from the Soviet playbook, scaling enrollment up by a factor of 5000. Lakhova doesn’t mention the source of the hard cash that paid their tuition, but millions of Ukrainians were starved to death over the winters of 1931 and 1932 as their Soviet masters herded the peasants into the communal farms and exported what had once been bountiful wheat harvests in order to raise funds to pay for these (and other) adventures in espionage. Lakhova mentions a number of important technologies that the Soviets studied at MIT, but she doesn’t mention the critical work of Norbert Weiner who contributed the mathematics needed to develop radar. Her book is worth reading.

  3. Robert Stewart

    Regarding Kevin Feigelis’ remarks, I have a good friend who is active in his synagogue. One of the wedge issues that is dividing the younger and older members of his synagogue is the issue of homosexuality and the even more divisive issue of transexual behavior and its encouragement by the administrative state. If you have a chance to talk to Kevin in the future this might be a useful topic to delve into. I suspect that the friction this creates within our religious communities is the intended consequence of an otherwise incomprehensible innovation. Young doctors, lawyers, and others with university credentials appear to have no choice except to embrace this nonsense if they are to practice their professions. Think of mandated mRNA vaccinations and how readily they were accepted. Think also of “Ordinary Men”, and Reserve Police Battalion 101 in Poland 80 years ago.

  4. The first segment was one of the best I have heard on what ails our society (and I learned a new word). It has further developed the framework I was constructing in my mind on this topic – thank you!

  5. Would love to hear your take on uocoming book by Jack Posobiec and cowriter about how communism takes over countries, applicable to our current situation. Just heard him on Devin Nunez’ podcast.

  6. I’m no Greek scholar, but, rather than oikophobia, shouldn’t it be misoikia, or something like that? Hatred rather than fear? I really like oikophilia, though. Thanks for all of your wonderful work.

  7. Brilliant double hitter today. Enthralling guests precisely explaining both the Macro and micro of the USAs current dilemma with culture, DEI etc. We can only hope 11/5/24 changes our direction Until then SPEAK OUT Thank you VDH

  8. One way to drive the point home to these university administrators is the following. A friend (jewish) who was an exceptionally generous donor to his alma mater was so disgusted by its reaction to October 7 and the mealy-mouthed comments from the president that he reduced his annual donation to $1.00, with a letter explaining why and demanding a tax receipt so that the university had to process it. Embarrass them and put them to the trouble of doing their jobs to the amount they’re worth, even if $1.00 seems overly generous.

  9. Jaroslaw Martyniuk

    Thanks for interviewing Beckel. Bravo. I read his brilliant book. It is a lucid explanation of the oikophobia phenomenon and the self-loathing prevailing in the West.

  10. I noted your discussion on how Christianity, and specifically the Sermon on the Mount unfavorably impacted Roman civilization. I was not surprised to hear that as Jesus was describing what it was like to be a citizen in God’s kingdom. A worldly government can’t decree a statement like “love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you.” His citizens, who were once His enemies, have been changed inwardly and are empowered to do this seemingly impossible thing.

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