Hyper-rationalism in Action

Happy and innocent little relic of a bygone era, or misogynistic, white-supremacist, racist, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic bigot?

Happy and innocent little relic of a bygone era, or misogynistic, white-supremacist, racist, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic bigot?

I don’t follow sports, and I don’t care about the University of Denver, but this story illustrates a few of the most insane aspects of the modern West, and is thus worth commenting on.

Is a cartoon-like college mascot reminiscent of Daniel Boone — right down to the legendary coonskin cap — racist, sexist or otherwise offensive?

“Boone was a polarizing figure that did not reflect the growing diversity of the UD community, but rather was an image that many women, persons of color, international students and faculty members found difficult to relate to as defining the pioneering spirit,” Chancellor Robert Coombe said in a March letter to the school community.

The only figure that “women, persons of color, international students, faculty members, [and everyone else]” can “relate to” is nobody in particular. It is insane to remove all distinguishing characteristics from people with the expectation that individual people themselves will survive the culling. It is insane to expect diversity to result from the banishment of everything you disagree with.

It is also insane to expect anything but intolerance to result from a blind pursuit of tolerance; intolerance in this case for anyone who supports the original school mascot or anything that mascot represents. It is an intolerance that exists apart from reason. It exists in name-calling and ostracizing, and it is done in the name of tolerance.

“Any association of the Denver Boone caricature with America’s pioneer hero, Daniel Boone, is misguided,” said Randell Jones, historian and author of the book “In the Footsteps of Daniel Boone.”

“Mythology and Fess Parker aside, it is well documented that Daniel Boone never wore a coonskin cap. Neither did he wear a beard. Moreover, any exploits by him west of Missouri are speculative at best.”

It is insane to replace mythology with a rationality that is more insane than any myth. There are tall tales in every culture. There are heroes who are admired, villains who are looked down upon, virtues extolled, vices opposed, and battles remembered. A healthy man keeps these things in his heart with some small skepticism. The heroes are never as perfect as the folklore. The villains are never as sinister. But the stories would not be the same without them, and the virtues and vices and morals would not be illuminated so brightly and colorfully. It is insane to destroy color with the bleach of misplaced rationalism. It is insane to do so and expect any color left over.