All opinion articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily of American Military News. If you are interested in submitting an op-ed please email [email protected]
You see it on campuses — what is it called, trigger warnings? It’s gotten absurd. I mean, you repress people, you engage in anger, and what you do is turn people into skins that are blistered by moonbeams. Young men now are far too sensitive because they’ve never been in a draft. They’ve never had a sergeant say, “Hit the ground and do 50 push-ups and I don’t care if there’s mud there.” – Ralph Nader
That’s Ralph Nader speaking with Pacific Standard’s Lydia DePillis. It’s a single quote from an interview that covered a laundry list of topics, but it spoke to me –particularly because the war on free speech being waged on campuses around the country is driving me slowly insane.
Apropos as well because Newsweek’s cover story last week was an in depth look at a generation that is convinced (despite eons of human experience that says otherwise) that people can be harmed by words.
I’ve written, podcasted, ranted, and complained at length about the way some college kids run in terror from ideas that frighten or offend them, but what struck me about Newsweek’s article was the frequency with which those on the left are winding up in the crosshairs of academia’s easily shaken.
Lebanon Valley College
“During his 18 years as president of Lebanon Valley College during the middle of the past century, Clyde Lynch led the tiny Pennsylvania liberal arts institution through the tribulations of the Great Depression and World War II, then raised $550,000 to build a new gymnasium before he died in 1950. In gratitude, college trustees named that new building after him.
Neither Lynch nor those trustees could have predicted there would come a day when students would demand that his name be stripped from the Lynch Memorial Hall because the word lynch has “racial overtones.” But that day did come.”
This one is almost too absurd for words. Did they think that the name Lynch Memorial Hall was meant to memorialize those who took part in lynch mobs? Had they never encountered anyone with the last name Lynch? This simply defies logic…Although to be fair, logic is something the campus protest movement has never really embraced.
“When playwright Eve Ensler wrote The Vagina Monologues, which premiered in 1996 and has been performed thousands of times by actors, celebrities and college students, she probably did not foresee a day when a performance of her feminist agitprop would be canceled because it was offensive to “women without vaginas.” And yet that day did come—at Mount Holyoke, one of the nation’s premier women’s colleges.”
Prospective students take note: Getting the campus activities council to approve of Footloose for ‘movies in the quad’ night will be a task that falls just short of Sisyphean, as the film is incredibly offense to anyone suffering from a bad case of bunions. You may want to consider Vassar or Bryn Mawr instead.
“Until it was squashed by administrative decree, Williams College sophomore Zachary Wood headed up an on-campus lecture series called “Uncomfortable Learning.” Wood, an African-American who grew up in one of the poorer neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., is a self-described liberal, devoted to learning and books. He liked inviting controversial speakers, usually from the political right, to challenge young progressives cloistered in a collegiate utopia at one of the nation’s great small liberal arts institutions
Last year, though, Wood encountered the limits of free speech at Williams. First, he invited Suzanne Venker, an anti-feminist author and lecturer. After a campus and social media outcry, Wood’s fellow “Uncomfortable Learning” leaders disinvited her and then, to avoid further shaming on social media, resigned from the organization.”
Liberals shutting down a speaker series put together by an intellectual, poor, black kid? If you can get past the appalling lack of intellectual curiosity required to do such a thing, then consider ripping off this story line and using it to write a new Twilight Zone episode – it’s 2016 and reboots are all the rage.
Look, while I find the concept of microaggressions to pretty preposterous I can at least –if I dig very deep – find the logic at the core of the offense, but the above scenarios are completely outrageous. Let’s call it what it is; progressive, liberal cannibalism.
And honestly watching the far left devour itself would be pretty entertaining if the action wasn’t representative of a larger, far more disturbing trend.
The passive response and frequent acquiescence by administrators to the ridiculous demands of a vocal minority of petulant, coddled, immature college students is not constructive. It represents a complete dereliction of their duty as educators to steer these kids in the right direction.
Let’s not forget, these students are the legislators, judges, presidents, and cable news segment producers of tomorrow. If they carry these attitudes with them into the real world it might not be long before the campus assault on free speech manifests itself into an actual attack on the 1st amendment.
The full Newsweek article is definitely worth your time, and can be found here.
This contributor is a Marine veteran that has served in the Middle East. Due to the sensitive nature of his current job, he has requested to remain anonymous.