Photo Credit: Twitter
The color-coordinated encampment at Columbia University.

“The world has gone mad today,
And good’s bad today,
And black’s white today
And day’s night today, ….”
[Cole Porter, lyrics to Anything Goes]

Ernest Hemingway once observed that change happens gradually, then suddenly. This is certainly true about the present day, as the totalitarian Left wormed its way into control of every social institution in America over a period of decades while everyone’s back was turned, then in an instant we discovered that our country had been fundamentally transformed (as Barack Obama promised) from a reasonably integrated democratic republic into a tyrannical tribalistic state in which the entire federal government, the judicial system, the media, the entertainment industry, and Big Tech have been mobilized to force woke ideology on all of us.


One of the consequences is the following: Until a group of Hollywood Leftists (sounds practically redundant, doesn’t it?) made a movie in 1997 entitled “Wag The Dog” in which a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer fabricate a war in Albania to distract the public’s attention from a presidential scandal shortly before election time, the expression meant a situation in which a lesser entity (the tail) controls a bigger, more important one (the dog). It is the original meaning which this essay seeks to apply to 21st century America and the world. I propose that at every level of society we now have a wag-the-dog protocol.

To begin, the other morning I was reading an email on my phone when a sound track from TalkTV broke in, featuring two Britons discussing how a minority of Islamists have taken control of British society. What caught my attention, however, was a remark that these days children control their parents. An admittedly extreme case appeared in Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld‘s column in the March 8 issue of The Jewish Press. To make a long story short, Mrs. Schonfeld writes about a boy who has perfected the ability to extort presents from his parents by misbehaving: “Eleven-year-old Avi was just awarded a vacation trip to his cousins in Detroit, for not getting into trouble in school or fighting with his siblings for one week. The prize his parents originally had in mind was a new speed bike, but when that failed to motivate him sufficiently, they searched for a more appealing incentive. In the process, they passed over gameboys, roller blades, a palm pilot, a computer and a camcorder. That’s because Avi had already won those. He had won each one by a combination of cajoling, arguing and bargaining.”

Avi is a case study in a psychological condition called attention dysfunction. Mrs. Schonfeld writes, “Psychologists have identified two forms of insatiability – material and experiential – that greatly interfere with attention control. Children with experiential insatiability, are extremely hard to satisfy…. Avi showed symptoms of both material and experiential insatiability. And he had maneuvered himself into a position at home where he had his parents feeding his insatiability in their mistaken notion that they were working at controlling it.”

How did we arrive at this role reversal at the family level? Commentator Dennis Prager opines that it is the result of faulty theories of child psychology that lead parents to believe that they need to be their children’s friends. Nothing could be further from the truth. Parents need to be loving authority figures who set limits on their children’s behavior, not unlike the way Hashem sets limits on adult behavior. And in fact, he asserts, children actually prefer to have boundaries, which gives them a sense of security.

In Mrs. Schonfeld’s words, “Experts in family dynamics say that allowing a child to flex his intellectual muscles and his debating skills in arguments with his parents is inevitably destructive. It is important to get the message across to children as early in life as possible that the home is not a democracy, and that parents are the decision-makers.”

When these children go to school, the plot thickens. A note of historical background: Many in my generation, the Baby Boomers, radicalized by the Vietnam War and outside influencers. evaded the draft by going to graduate school and coming out as college professors who then radicalized their students; in particular, colleges turned out radicalized K-12 teachers, who then inculcated a new cohort of younger students, so that for Generation Z, it has become commonplace for students to browbeat their teachers into submission.

Again, there are extreme cases. FrontPage magazine cites a New York Post article: “On Oct. 26, ‘40 to 50 teens marched through Origins HS in Sheepshead Bay waving a Palestinian flag and chanting ‘Death to Israel!’ and ‘Kill the Jews!’ according to Origins staffers.” A Jewish teacher, Danielle Kaminsky, said she lives in fear of going to work every day. In November, the Post reported that hundreds of “radicalized” kids rampaged through the halls of at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica for nearly two hours after they discovered a teacher had attended a pro-Israel rally – forcing the terrified educator to hide in a locked office as the teen mob tried to push its way into her classroom, demanding that she be fired. “Clips showed a water fountain ripped out in the hallway and shattered tiles in the second-floor boys’ bathroom, which students admitted they vandalized.” It took 25 police officers to quell the riot, and the teacher had to be escorted out of the building.

In higher education, it appears that, especially at the so-called elite universities, Leftist activist groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) rule the campus, with administrators largely making no effort to intervene, whether out of fear or agreement. As examples of the latter, the dean of students at Northwestern University attended an anti-Israel demonstration against Hillel to support the activists’ “right to free speech”; at Stanford University, a speech by Fifth US Circuit Court Judge Kyle Duncan was disrupted by students imposing the “heckler’s veto,” and instead of expressing disapproval, Stanford’s associate dean for DEI took the podium to read a prepared speech praising the hecklers and suggesting that the University reconsider protecting speech that upsets students. (Stanford’s President and the Dean of the Law School sent a joint letter of apology to the Judge the following day.)

Attacks on Jews reached a crescendo with a wild demonstration at Columbia University that was so out of control that the police were summoned and 100 students arrested, with several facing major disciplinary action. The situation remains so dangerous that a campus rabbi had warned Jewish students to go home and stay away until conditions improve, and Columbia went to hybrid (i.e. mainly online) instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. At Columbia’s women’s auxiliary, Barnard College, 650 faculty members signed a letter claiming that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism, student government supported a BDS resolution, and attacks against Jewish students abound. Similar protests and encampments, whose leaders often belong to SJP and other similar agitators, have spread widely across the country. At New York University, in the process of dismantling one such encampment, NYPD officers were pelted with bottles, and assistant Police Chief James McCarthy and several of his officers had to seek refuge in the Catholic Center after arresting one protestor. On the West Coast, students actually invaded the home of UC Berkeley Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky and disrupted a party. Apparently, although his politics are decidedly Leftist, the Dean was still subject to harassment for being a Jew.

Keen observers such as Alan Dershowitz assert that these protests are being organized from the outside, with Iran, Qatar, and George Soros among the suspects. Mr. Dershowitz identifies four groups as being part of this genuine insurrection, namely Islamists; old-line radicals, America-haters, and anarchists; the organizers; and the “useful idiot” students recruited by their professors and the organizers. He asks an essentially rhetorical question as to why there are no armed guards escorting Jewish students on campus as there were for Black students integrating campuses in the 1960’s.

As the radicalized graduates move into the corporate world, they take their activism with them. Thus they now wag the dog of Big Tech such that Google, among others, stands accused of manipulating search engine results so only Leftist views appear on the first few screens. In fact, former Psychology Today editor and founder of the American Institute for Behavioral Research Technology, Dr. Robert Epstein, a pro-Biden Democrat who prefers to win elections honestly, has estimated that Google can sway six to twenty million undecided voters and determine the outcome of any election in which the candidates are separated by less than four percentage points. Despite their collaboration with the Left, however, Google is not exempt from protest, as evidenced by the recent incident in which Google employees conducted sit-ins in the corporation’s executive offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, demanding the cancellation of a $1.2 billion contract to supply cloud computing services to Israel. Since Big Tech is not yet far gone enough to forego big business, however, Google called the police to remove the demonstrators and has now fired 28 of them.

Just as they have become a dominant force in the corporate world, hard-core “progressive” activists are now the tail wagging the Democratic Party. Increasing numbers of Congressional Democrats are voting against measures supporting Israel, while the Biden administration has backed away from its initial strong support of Israel after October 7 to a position of acknowledging Israel’s right to self-defense while hobbling it with insistence on increasing aid to Gaza while denying permission for the IDF to enter Rafah. The administration is also increasingly sanctioning Israeli citizens, charities, and even an entire ultra-Orthodox IDF brigade for alleged human rights violations in Judea and Samaria, based on a referral from an anti-Israel NGO with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, thereby increasing pressure on Israel to commit suicide by acquiescing in creating a Palestinian terror state on its longest border, within striking distance of all of its major cities and installations. Even worse, there are credible reports that the administration, using Turkey as an intermediary, negotiated with Iran as to the extent of its missile attack on Israel. Biden’s latest and worst perfidy has been to withhold Congressionally approved arms from Israel, as Israel enters Rafah to eliminate Hamas.

And at the global level, Leftists and Islamists are wagging the United Nations dog with the aid of human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and with ammunition provided by the U.S. State Department, which has singled out Israel in its latest human rights report as second only to Russia in human rights violations, ahead of numerous actual violators. Thus fortified, South Africa has attempted to have the International Court of Justice try Israel for “genocide.” This could in turn result in arrest warrants for Israeli officials traveling abroad, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, to be tried in the Hague for alleged war crimes. Imagine being equated to the likes of Eichmann and Milosevic for the crime of self-defense with what is likely the lowest ratio of civilian to combatant casualties in the history of urban warfare. I’m led with trepidation to the conclusion that a large segment of elite opinion in the so-called “civilized world” longs for the days when Jews could be marched into the gas chambers without opposition, and many students at elite universities act like a 21st-century reincarnation of Hitler Youth.

Before closing, I should note that while I have focused on antisemitism, the larger problem in America and around the world is the Left’s hostility toward Judeo-Christian values. Both Marx and Hitler abhorred Christianity because it seeks to inhibit the innate human tendencies toward bloodshed, immorality, and adultery. Thus, our own administration, headed by a nominally Roman Catholic president, has consistently sought to legalize abortion up to the moment of birth and is vigorously prosecuting grandmothers who conduct sit-ins at abortion clinics for felony charges under the FACE Act that carry a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison and $350,000 in fines. It has detailed the FBI to conduct surveillance of traditional Catholic churches that still celebrate the Latin Mass, claiming that their parishioners are extremists and subversives. And it has now imposed $37 million fines on America’s two largest Christian universities, Grand Canyon University for allegedly deceiving students about its costs, and Liberty University for allegedly underreporting crimes, with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) vowing to drive them out of business. Over two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson swore eternal opposition to all forms of tyranny; today many of his Democratic successors have seemingly sworn eternal opposition to all forms of Judeo-Christian religion (Islam gets a free pass). With the world, as Dennis Prager has observed, heading back to pre-Christian times, and as I see it, pre-Abrahamic times, Divine intervention is a virtual certainty, the sole question being how drastic it will have to be.

Time to break out the sackcloth and ashes?

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Richard Kronenfeld, a Brooklyn native now living in Phoenix, holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford and has taught mathematics and physics at the secondary and college level. He self-identifies as a Religious Zionist.