11.13.2015 0

Top down college divestment push taints movement

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By Rick Manning

The University of Missouri, Yale University, the University of Southern California, Columbia University, Stanford University and Cornell are just a few of the college campuses where over the past few weeks, student political lunacy has broken out.

In all six schools, it is little more than far left narrative political correctness running amok.

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has published an extremely timely study that exposes the top down nature of the seemingly innocuous popping up of the college grievance culture.

NAS studied the divestment movements on campuses, which are urging colleges to sell off their investments in coal, oil and natural gas from their investment portfolios.  With more than 1,000 fossil fuel divestment campaigns currently underway, the obvious question is how did this tactic become so widespread, so fast, if it was over truly locally grown, organic student concerns?

The answer is obvious, it isn’t a legitimate home grown movement, but instead is run as a top down international campaign by environmental extremist Bill McKibben’s 350.org, an organization funded by green energy investor Tom Steyer.

The NAS study found that organizers are recruited, trained and paid by McKibben to go onto college campuses and radicalize elements within the student body around fossil fuel fears. While the kids may be sincere, the funder’s objective has less to do with actually achieving divestment, and more to do with creating an army of activists trained in creating angst and unrest.

While perhaps unrelated, the tactics of a few disgruntled students at the University of Missouri designed to disrupt operations are straight from the blueprint laid out in NAS’ seminal work.  As the Paris climate deal nears, the study predicts that there will be more unrest on campuses, layering onto the already manufactured racial tension, the earnest fresh faces of the environmentally duped and intentionally vapid climate changers for divestment.

The irony, according to report author Rachelle Peterson, is that, “The organizers’ goal is not to cause colleges to divest, but to anger students at the refusal of colleges to divest fully and to turn their frustration into long-term antipathy toward the modern fossil fuel-based economy.”

The importance of this assertion by Peterson cannot be overstated.  If the goal is to create a national cadre of campus trouble makers using the student’s naiveté about the impact of divestment to create unrest, then the many of the high profile professional protests on campuses like University of Missouri become clearer.

A paid organizer whose mission is to create trouble on campus can easily turn their training and expertise to engineering a “spontaneous” bullying campaign against a University staff person who asked for people to not freak out over Halloween costumes.

However, those protests over purported micro-aggressions are just a foretaste of the main events around the country as we can anticipate growing, manufactured anti-fossil fuel unrest on dozens if not hundreds of college campuses demanding action on so-called climate change.

The Left has invested heavily in organizing radicalized campuses where alternative voices are shouted down and intimidated in favor of the latest flavor of the month issue.  We have already witnessed the spoiled fruits from this poisoned anti-fossil fuel tree.  And thanks to NAS, there can be no illusion that what we are witnessing is anything other than an AstroTurf campaign designed to push millions of dollars into green projects, even when they are riskier and less likely to provide the kind of return that University’s need to make ends meet.

Once you know that these students on campus talking about divestment are nothing more than willing dupes, and not leaders, it becomes very easy for university administrators to stand up to these modern bullies and reject their outrageous and irresponsible demands.

Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government

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