Young people are entering college as budding adults and being immediately turned back into babies. That's basically all I've gleaned from the fascist antics at the University of Missouri this week, although I've long known that the university system tends to have that effect on people, especially if they're intellectually vulnerable and weak minded to begin with.
I thought I'd seen the worst of it Monday when a mob of students forced the university president, Tim Wolfe, to resign for the crime of being white. The pale hue of skin had apparently become very offensive and triggering to a number of the precious darlings on campus, and that meant he had to go.
Oh sure, they didn't come out and say they wanted him to resign because he's white, exactly. They said he must resign because of racism. Not his racism -- just racism in general. Racism as a concept, as a theory. There's some racism in the world, reportedly, and because of this, a white guy named Tim Wolfe had to lose his job and his livelihood.
Of course, it all started with a black graduate student who went on a “hunger strike” to protest “systematic racism” on campus. Soon the football team and hundreds of other students had jumped on the bandwagon, taking to the streets demanding that the white race be made to answer for its unspecific crimes.
It's been quite a ruckus, and the livelihoods of at least two people have been destroyed in the midst of it, but notably, none of these "protesters" have been able to actually provide any examples of the "systematic racism" they're crying about. They generally can't agree on the point or message of the protest -- a common theme with left-wing political demonstrations -- and they can only cite four supposed recent flare ups of individual, isolated racism. One of the incidents didn't happen on campus, three of them were never proven to have actually occurred, and none of them had anything to do with the system. These were just a couple of jerks supposedly saying some nasty things. That's it. And it's been enough to prompt an all-out revolt.
The most bizarre evidence offered by the racial revolutionaries is the unsubstantiated claim that someone drew a swastika on the wall of a dormitory bathroom using their own feces. Interestingly enough, in this day and age where everything is filmed and photographed from 97 different angles, there are no pictures or images of the alleged poopstika.
Even if it did happen, why assume the swasticrap was meant to target black students rather than Jewish students? For that matter, why wouldn't a swastika sketched with human waste be interpreted as an anti-Nazi symbol? After all, if you believe in what a symbol represents why would you scribble it on the wall with your own excrement?
Well, it doesn’t matter. The culprit, whatever his motivations, if he exists, was clearly unbalanced. Why in the world should the university president be made to answer for the work of a feces-obsessed madman? Did Tim Wolfe encourage poop swastikas? Can he really be accused of fostering an environment where students felt entitled to brandish Nazi symbolism painted in their own dung? Did he tell the alleged suspect to do it? Did he give poop swastika lessons and tutor other racist whites on how and where to draw them?
If not, we're left with only a couple examples of racism that maybe did happen, a couple that probably didn't, and none that rise to the level of oppression. If we're to take all of these reports at their word, it would mean that among the 35,000 students attending the University of Missouri, three or four are documented racists and one is a mentally disturbed fecalphiliac.
Jonathan Butler, front left, addresses a crowd following the announcement that University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the university in Columbia, Mo. Butler has ended his hunger strike as a result of the resignation. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
And yet, people are losing their jobs and protests have been raging for days. For no reason. Well, there are some reasons. Various protester have explained that these demonstrations need to be made and these white people need to lose their jobs because "minorities are in pain," and there's a "disparity of income" in the world, and there's been some "mean behavior," and the "racial climate in America" is problematic, and the campus is "unsafe and uninclusive," and there aren't enough black people on the faculty. Oh, and the Confederate Flag.
That's quite a random assortment of liberal grievances, and none of them have anything to do with the administration at the university, or with white people as a whole, or with "white privilege." In fairness, we might know more about what these people wanted if the media weren't being violently blocked from reporting on them. The protesters want to cry out for ... something ... yet they believe they're entitled to an insulated "safe space" while they do it. They want to hide away in an echo chamber where everyone already agrees with them and shout for change. It's not the most effective strategy, but this is what passes for activism these days.
There was, of course, a more specific list of demands released by a student activist group called Concerned Students 1950 a few days ago. It's a screed so unbelievably absurd I had to verify it with three different sources just to make sure it wasn't satire:
They demanded that Tim Wolfe admit to and apologize for his "white male privilege." They demanded a "mandatory racial awareness and inclusion program" that would further indoctrinate students into their militant racial theories. They demanded, incredibly, that the University of Missouri increase the percentage of black faculty and staff by 10 percent within a year or two. They demanded more black mental health professionals be employed on campus to help students who've been injured by mean words and ideas. They demanded more funding and personnel for "social justice centers," and naturally that these centers be staffed by black people. They demanded everything and the moon, and they'll probably get it.
This is not just Orwellian anymore. This is fairly beyond what even the most visionary and prophetic dystopian writer of the last century could have possibly imagined. And it keeps getting worse. Just yesterday, the campus police sent a memo to students telling them to document "hurtful" comments and report them to law enforcement. I had to check that one also to make sure it wasn't satire. Sadly, it wasn't. It's real. Students have now won the right to call the cops when someone hurts their feelings. But I suppose even that's better than calling the cops to report an imaginary KKK invasion.
This is why, I admit, it's hard for me to feel bad for Wolfe or for any college administrator who ends up getting devoured by the hideous monster they helped create. This is, we recall, the very college that was getting high fives left and right just a few years ago for having a homosexual football player on their team. Now, suddenly, it's a haven of oppression and prejudice. In the blink of an eye, it went from being on the forefront of cultural progress to a hotbed of right wing bigotry.
University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe in a April 11, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
I wrote last week that liberalism has run out of battles and become so untethered from reality that now it's begun to attack itself. I guess my point has been proven once again. Part of me wants to sit here with a smug smile and relish in its self-cannibalization, but I can't quite do that. Even if Tim Wolfe is probably a radical liberal now getting a taste of his own potion, what is happening is still a disgrace.
How can it be explained? They can't offer any reasonable theories to explain their own behavior, so I'll offer mine. It's simple: immaturity. Not just regular, run-of-the-mill immaturity. I'm talking apocalyptic immaturity. The kind of immaturity that destroys civilizations.
Our generation has become a laughingstock of the entire world largely because of "college educated" overgrown infants who collapse into puddles of tears and hashtags the moment they encounter a word, phrase, or idea that offends them. I really don't want millennials to be remembered as the most insufferable group of infantilized weaklings ever to walk the Earth, but that's where things are headed, thanks in large part to the fine scholars at our nation's institutions of higher learning.
It's not just at Missouri, obviously. Over at Yale, students erupted in angry convulsions when someone sent an email voicing support for controversial Halloween costumes. To be clear, they formed into outraged mobs because they were offended by the discussion of edgy costumes. Merely talking about a potentially insensitive hypothetical Halloween get-up was enough to cause chaos at one of our country's most prestigious academic institutions.
Meanwhile, at the University of Virginia, calls have been growing for administrators to monitor and punish "sexist" comments on social media.
At Kansas University, the student senate voted to ban male and female pronouns because saying "his" or "her" can be a "microaggression."
At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee an awareness campaign declared that the phrase "politically correct" is itself politically incorrect and offensive.
At Arizona State, a decision has been made to reinstate a course on the "problems of whiteness."
In a series of undercover videos released recently, administrators at various universities are caught tearing up copies of the Constitution to appease students who say they feel triggered by our nation's governing document.
At Susquehanna University, the "crusaders" mascot was dumped for fear that it wasn't "welcoming and inclusive" of all people.
It's not any better over the pond, where a university in London recently declared the phrase "get over it" and the word "skinny" to be oppressive and "violent."
And these are just random examples from the past few days. I could go back and chronicle the hypersensitive displays from last week or the week before if you like, but I think you get the point.
There are many things that contribute to the whiny, thin-skinned, pampered, entitled attitude demonstrated in these terrifying stories, but we shouldn't forget that, at its base, the problem is a simple and profound lack of maturity.
Strong, sophisticated grown ups can confront opposing opinions, engage challenging ideas, and handle "offensive" remarks without needing to retreat under their bed or into their "safe space." Dignified men and women feel invigorated by discussion, not triggered or injured by it. Intelligent, substantial adults do not call for retribution against anyone who whispers a harsh word about them. These are the behaviors of petulant children. Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of petulant children on college campuses.
Journalism Professor Melissa Click in a screen grab insisting that a student journalist leave the safe space immediately.
Indeed, as a society, we need to finally confront the fact that the university system is not a place where boys turn into men and girls into women. If a boy is already a man or a girl already a women before they enter, they might very well be able to endure the stifling PC environment on campus and emerge with their maturity intact. But here is the unavoidable reality: if your kid is not intensely focused and very mature before entering a public university, he will almost certainly regress while he's there. You (or he, but probably you) will be paying for this privilege. It's madness, frankly.
As I said, college can be fine or even beneficial for purposeful, ambitious, full-grown adults of whatever age; those who know what they want and how to get it; those who aren't entering college primarily for the "experience" or the social life. But for everyone else, college can be, and often is, an unmitigated disaster. Just look at my generation. Does it seem like college has shaped us into competent and productive citizens?
These kids at Missouri are just that: kids. They're acting like sulky toddlers because that's how they've been taught to act. That's the lesson they bought when they plunked down $70,000. That's the service they went into a lifetime of debt to procure. Sure, if a few of them were actually called racial slurs at some point, they have every right to be upset at the person who said it. But to grind everything to a halt while you storm around campus with bullhorns and signs because of it? To demand that a completely uninvolved man lose his job because of it? To try to impose arbitrary skin color quotas because of it? To turn unpleasant words into matters for the police because of it? To insist that the administration provide you with "spaces of healing" because of it? These are the actions of spineless bullies, not oppressed victims. History shows that actually oppressed populations tend to band together with strength and resolve. They don't whine that they need a "safe space" to recover from "mean behavior." The very term "safe space" could only be uttered unironically by coddled and pampered brats.
This is chaos, and I don't know how it can be fixed, honestly. But I know it has to start with rethinking our approach to college. The university system preys upon the confused and the weak minded, and now the confused and the weak minded have started preying upon the system. It might be best for many young adults to avoid this pandemonium, skip college, and just get on with living their lives out in the real world.
I'm not saying everyone should ditch college, but I am saying that if you send your kid there, you better be sure he's exceptionally driven, confident, intelligent, virtuous, and mature. If he isn't, all you're buying him is a ticket back into infancy.
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