Lords of the Lie

by James A. Bacon

I never imagined it possible to exceed the vitriol heaped upon University of Virginia board member Bert Ellis over the past few months. I thought for sure that the nastiness would die down. I was naive. Yesterday the Democratic Party of Virginia labeled him a “eugenicist” — an advocate of the philosophy of sterilizing the genetically unfit. The philosophy was adopted by racists to purge the gene pool of Jews, Blacks, Roma and other groups deemed undesirable. In so doing, the attack groups Ellis with the worst racists of history.

The charge appears in a press release lambasting Governor Glenn Youngkin’s education policy, primarily in K-12 education. While most of the criticisms were tendentious and wrong-headed, at least they were directed toward Youngkin’s policies and actions. But in Ellis’ case, the Democratic Party of Virginia engaged in a vicious personal attack with zero factual foundation. Indeed, the DPV elevated previous libels of Ellis as a “white supremacist” to new heights of malice.

Here is what the press release says.

Appointment of a Eugenicist to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors

On July 1 of last year, Youngkin nominated Bert Ellis to the UVa Board of Visitors, which was immediately met with resistance after learning that during his time at UVa, Mr. Ellis helped organize an event called “The Correlation Between Race and Intelligence,” featuring William Shockley, an unabashed racist and eugenicist apologist. Nearly 50 years later, Ellis has failed to acknowledge the irreparable damage caused by that event, and Youngkin failed to withdraw his nomination.

Here is what Virginians should consider when they evaluate the DPV statement:

  1. Ellis never endorsed Shockley’s eugenicist theories. Privately, he found them deplorable.
  2. He, with two other co-chairmen of the University Union, invited Shockley to a debate with African-American biologist Richard Goldsby.
  3. Far from causing “irreparable damage,” the event hastened the discrediting of Shockley’s racist theories by showing the weaknesses of his arguments. Ellis believed then, as he believes now, that free speech and debate are the best antidotes to racism.
  4. No one can produce a shred of evidence to corroborate the libel that Ellis is racist. And they never will. Because he’s not.
  5. The Cavalier Daily (UVa’s student newspaper), the UVa faculty senate, the UVa student government, and the Democratic Party of Virginia have persistently and knowingly perpetuated their libels even though the full context of the Shockley has been reported on blogs and aired on talk radio.

The DPV must apologize, and heads within the DPV organization must roll. News media must correct the record. Columnists must issue denunciations. Politicians must demand a retraction.

If the political/pundit class cannot enforce the most basic standards of decency, civil discourse in Virginia is dead.

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John Buckley
John Buckley
11 months ago

The pro-abortion Virginia Democrats are acolytes of the racist Margaret Sanger, the most notable eugenicist in American history. What hypocrites.

walter smith
walter smith
11 months ago

No. Jim Ryan needs to denounce this NOW.
So does every member of the BOV.
Someone from the Law School, not a Marxist and with litigation experience, needs to file a Libel lawsuit, pro bono, NOW.
That’s how a leader would handle it.
But Jim Ryan (and all Marxists) like having their Antifa shock troops for physical intimidation and their social media/ controlled media for mental and social intimidation.

Jim Ryan, BOV and Deans – denounce this NOW. You don’t believe in free expression and free inquiry. You believe in free speech you agree with. And evil calumny, if aimed at your “enemies” is just “free speech” even if untrue and truly evil.

Prove you aren’t horrible people.
Prove you are actually interested in “following truth wherever it may lead.”

I won’t hold my breath.

Madeleine Chandler Chandler
Madeleine Chandler Chandler
11 months ago

There is also a Letter to the Editor in today’s Progress disparaging Ellis and Youngkin.

Wahoo'74
Wahoo'74
11 months ago

Jim, another superb article. Hard to imagine, but the VA Democrat Party has reached yet another all time low. Their true rallying cry/motto ought to be: “All conservatives are racist eugenicists……because we say they are.”

Despicable.

John Hunt, MD
John Hunt, MD
11 months ago

If our college students do not have the ability to critically think, ask questions, seek facts and listen to opposing points of views, then UVA education has failed those students. The kind of thinking that is so common now in colleges and college-educated is the sort of mob psychosis and trained-sociopathy that leads to wars. The marxists can’t tolerate open discussion because their theories fail on ethical, economic and practical levels. So they live in denial (safe spaces) and attack the purveyors of better ethics and economics. These products of the long march are now everywhere. And they have cowed those who aren’t like them–the silent majority. Time for the silent majority to say “Hell No!” And flush them away.

Tom Leinbach
Tom Leinbach
11 months ago

And the letter writer in today’s Progress admonished Bert for incivility!

John Tate
John Tate
11 months ago

I concur with Mr. Buckley. Democrats embody the very essence of eugenics and racism through their promotion of the mass murder of black children. Disgusting.

janet
janet
11 months ago

I will take these ridiculous claims as a sign that the other side is panicking. Their attacks grow more desperate. Their filters are eroding. Let’s all hope it means that they can see that their influence is waning. Stay positive and keep reporting the truth. I remain most appreciative of the sunlight which the Jefferson Council is shining on these dark actions.

Midlo Mom
Midlo Mom
11 months ago
Reply to  janet

Agreed, clearly the Democratic Party of Virginia is afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead. Instead, it invents a narrative and thinks repeating it will make it so. Pathetic.

Last edited 11 months ago by jimbacon1953
Allan Stam
Allan Stam
11 months ago

And people wonder why good people don’t go in to politics. The personal attacks on Bert Ellis and others who disagree with the prevailing political winds are outrageous.

David Greenberg
11 months ago

Bert Ellis’ foresight to champion the Shockley debate with African-American biologist Richard Goldsby should be celebrated as an event promoting the Jeffersonian principle of free speech and debate. The University should be proud of its history of enabling Ginsburg-Scalia conversations and of having a champion of free speech and debate as a member of its Board of Visitors. The silence of the failure to call out the defamatory comments about Bert Ellis is deafening and shameful.

Geoffrey Close
Geoffrey Close
11 months ago

When is the “woke” faction going to recognize themselves for what they are, actually neo-fascists? “We’re for open discussion as long as you agree with our position. If not you’re deplorable.”

Legacy Grad
Legacy Grad
11 months ago

Are these “journalists” sociopaths without consciences?

PHB
PHB
11 months ago

It is truly a sad state of affairs when a major political party completely ignores repeated, substantiated refutation of a one sided story. I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that continued character assassination, when in possession of repeated and verifiable factual evidence to the contrary goes far beyond irresponsibility and crosses the line of defamation.

Peter LeQuire, College'65
Peter LeQuire, College'65
11 months ago

“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe in and you will even come to believe it yourself.”

“… words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”

“We shall reach our goal, when we have the power to laugh as we destroy, as we smash whatever was sacred to us as tradition, as education and as human affection.”

Joseph Goebbels

Goebbels, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Beria, Andropov, Pol Pot, Mao et al are the intellectual and political predecessors of the entities listed in #5 above. The admitted tactics of Goebbels above are a big part of their play book. These players must keep up the shouting and manipulation to try to conceal the fact that the present day Democrat party is a straight line descendent of Woodrow Wilson, who was an unabashed admirer of Margaret Sanger and a racist: the others appear to be ideologically committed to the intellectual fabric of the U.

(Democrats: You know, the same party quick to mischaracterize events from 50 years ago while refusing to address the fact that almost 60% of women obtaining abortions (in 2020) were non-white.)

I’d graduated well before the Shockley/Goldsby debate, and don’t have even second hand knowledge of what went on before or after it, but I don’t think it caused “irreparable damage”:: heck, we survived Martin Luther King, Jr., Gus Hall, Frank Perry and – GASP – William Faulkner, not to mention several Kennedys, Martin Luther King, and on and on. It seems we were a lot more resilient then.

What hasn’t survived appears to be the essential core of the University: civility, the encouragement ofr discussion (even argument), the learning from diversity, the freedom to not tolerate error, the freedom to pursue truth.

In my opinion, until the DIE and “:wokeness” infections are eliminated, the culture and the atmosphere at the U aren’t likely to change. IMO, donations to the U at present only fuel these destructive trends. IMO, additionally, while paying taxes to the state of Virginia cannot be avoided, it’s certainly appropriate to express one’s opinion to his or her elected representatives.

All this extraneous “stuff” about DIE – including but not limited to denying entry to more qualified students because of some arbitrarily imposed quota – not only penalizes the more qualified students, but diminishes the cachet of diplomas awarded in a more merit-conscious time.

Joe.JPG
Clarity77
Clarity77
11 months ago

Let’s cut to the chase, this is in fact defamatory libel and should not in any way be tolerated. The quickest way to deal with this leftist crap is to file suit ASAP!

Wahoo76
Wahoo76
11 months ago
Reply to  Clarity77

ABSOLUTELY! At same time, Whitt Clement needs to denounce, just as he did Bert’s texts in the recent BOV meeting.

Peter LeQuire, College'65
Peter LeQuire, College'65
11 months ago

There’s an interesting article in “The American Thinker” (americanthinker.com) by Steve McCann, “Race-Based Hatred Permeates the Black Population”. It offers an interesting comparison of the civil rights movement as it arose in the 1960’s to the current division-based race-baiting taking place currently.

Peter LeQuire, College ‘65
Peter LeQuire, College ‘65
11 months ago

Regarding my earlier post- I failed to repair the egregious omission of …”,,.destruction of…” from the last sentence of the first paragraph. It should read …”committed to the destruction of…”.

Dr. Day would not be pleased.