I think the phrase “virtue signaling” is overused, particularly by the “alt-right,” but there’s no doubt in my mind that Yale’s replacing of John C. Calhoun’s name with Grace Murray Hopper is an act of Donald Trump-motivated virtue signaling.
Ironically the far left is going full speed ahead with implementing Calhoun’s most famous idea of American governance: Nullification.
It’s true, we’re seeing the far left in this country nullifying laws more than anyone else. Just as Vice President Calhoun triggered the initial Nullification Crisis by resigning as Vice President and leading the South Carolina fight against protectionist tariffs (the “Tariff of Abominations”), today’s left has their own pet issues they’ll push by any means necessary.
One of those issues is amnesty for illegal aliens. Echoing South Carolina’s stand against the tariffs, New York has nullified federal immigration law in its state. Other states may follow.
Another of the issues is cannabis control. Eight states have seen fit to nullify federal law on cannabis: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Maine, and that’s almost certainly not the end of that line.
Calhoun believed that “The danger in our system is that the general government, which represents the interests of the whole, may encroach on the states, which represent the peculiar and local interests, or that the latter may encroach on the former.” The elected leaders of the above states believe that their peculiar and local interests are being encroached by the federal government.
That’s nullification, and while leftists at Yale may be pretending to reject Calhoun’s views, their own efforts toward becoming a “sanctuary campus” show that they have a lot more in common with Calhoun than they’ll ever admit.