GUEST EDITORIAL – JCPS Board Member to Fellow Kentuckians: “F— You!”

Jefferson County school board member Chris Kolb has a foul mouth. But he has an even fouler opinion of many of his fellow Kentuckians.

After the JCPS board of education voted to require that every child in the district of nearly 100,000 students wear masks to school, State Senator Whitney Westerfield, a Republican from Crofton, tweeted the perfectly reasonable question, “Did anyone even speak at all to the psychological and educational harm to students wearing masks all day? I sure didn’t catch it if they did. So frustrating.”

Kolb, who really had no obligation to even acknowledge Westerfield’s tweet, responded by saying, “F— you.”

When Westerfield blocked Kolb on Twitter – again a reasonable thing to do when you are treated with contempt – Kolb trolled him further by tweeting “I thought conservatives didn’t like people to be snowflakes…”

Sadly, this is not new for Kolb. The anthropology professor who holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University appears to be smart enough to engage in an honest debate, but prefers to denigrate those whose views differ from his with dismissive profanity. During the 2020 presidential election he tweeted “f—you” at two Democratic Party operatives who supported someone other than Kolb’s preferred candidate Bernie Sanders.

This time Kolb’s disgusting behavior earned him a reprimand from JCPS Board Chair Diane Porter, who issued a public statement saying, “In this time of division within our nation, it is important that we all understand that we can disagree without being disagreeable.” Under pressure from the rest of the board, Kolb eventually resigned his position as vice chair, but he continues to represent JCPS District 2, which includes the affluent Highlands neighborhood.

Given some time to think about how he might have handled the situation differently, Kolb doubled down with an op-ed for the Courier Journal in which he said that Senator Westerfield, and essentially anyone else who disagrees with him, is not worth anything more than a “f— you.”

Kolb claimed that by asking for a discussion on the downsides of mask mandates Westerfield was “intentionally attacking the safety of my children and the 96,000 other JPCS students” just like “almost the entire Republican establishment seems committed to sacrificing children on the altar of ideology” because they don’t share Kolb’s disgust for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Kolb’s message to anyone who disagrees with him is “F— you,” because you aren’t a well-intentioned fellow citizen who has a different set of ideas about how to solve our most pressing problems. Rather, you are evil incarnate and your views are not just unworthy of consideration and debate, but illegitimate weapons in the hands of a mortal, child-killing enemy.

In a thoughtful 2020 essay for the online magazine Quillette entitled “The Challenge of Marxism,” Israeli-American political philosopher Yoram Hazony explains how this tactic of delegitimizing any perspective right of center has been a generation-long tactic of Marxists who know they can’t win political power in Western democracies by openly promoting their radical, civilization-destroying views. 

Instead, they seek to gradually warp the public debate by portraying alternative viewpoints as “racist” or “fascist,” or as Kolb puts it, “committed to sacrificing children.”

Kolb is a self-professed “democratic” socialist (the 21st century’s ultimate oxymoron) and makes no apologies for his own Marxists views. Nor does he deviate from the Marxist playbook of delegitimatizing those who disagree. Senator Westerfield and anyone who might have reservations about making kids as young as 2 years old wear masks in school are moral pariahs. And if his enemies are beyond the moral pale, they are due neither respect nor reasoned debate.

Yoram Hazony explains how this tactic has driven conservative viewpoints out of virtually every liberal institution in American society, from the mainstream media to universities to corporate board rooms (and, we might wonder, also in big-city public school boards of education?). But liberals are foolish to think that institutions can somehow remain truly democratic for long when one entire political perspective has been utterly delegitimized and wiped out of the discussion.

“From the Marxist point of view, our inherited concept of legitimacy is nothing more than an instrument the ruling classes use to perpetuate injustice and oppression,” Hazony writes. “Marxist political theory confers legitimacy on only one political party. And this means that the Marxist political framework cannot co-exist with democratic government.”

Chris Kolb has nothing but contempt for most of his fellow Kentuckians. Perhaps that’s because his ideological commitments are not at all democratic but bound up in the rule of the woke elite over what he and his cronies deem to be the uneducated, immoral masses.

We can’t know what’s really in Chris Kolb’s heart. But we know what he has to say to the rest of us, to our views, our values, and our aspirations for the great state of Kentucky: “F— you.”

Gary W. Houchens, PhD, is a professor of education administration at Western Kentucky University and an education policy advisor to the Bluegrass Institute, the Pegasus Institute, and Commonwealth Educational Opportunities.