As we write, there is a growing clamor for President Clinton to leave the Oval Office; but across the country there is a clamor to throw someone else out—in this case, David Cash, a student at the University of California at Berkeley. The latter case, though hardly drawing the same attention, may nonetheless have even graver implications for our nation's future.
The controversy over Cash arises from a gruesome case last year in which a California teenager, Jeremy Strohmeyer, sexually molested and murdered a seven-year-old girl in a Las Vegas casino. Cash witnessed what his friend was doing but did not stop him and later agreed to keep quiet. Just weeks ago Strohmeyer pled guilty to sexual assault and murder. But failing to prevent a crime is not itself a crime, so Cash blithely finished high school and went on to Berkeley.
Today he remains defiantly unrepentant. "Were you appalled that a friend said he had killed a little girl?" the Los Angeles Times asked him. Cash answered: "I'm not going to get upset over someone else's life. I just worry about myself first." Seventy-five outraged citizens gathered outside Cash's dormitory with bullhorns, shouting, "Expel him!"
What most people overlook, however, is that Cash's attitude accords precisely with the postmodernist philosophy propagated by places like Berkeley.
The core of postmodernism is a rejection of universal truth claims and moral principles. And if there are no universal ideals linking us together, then logically all that's left are "tribes": identity groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, or whatever. That's why virtually every state university today has separate dorms for students who are black, Asian, Hispanic, homosexual, or any other group demanding a separate ...1
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