Ah the 1960’s: the decade of America’s counter-cultural revolution. Youthful revolutionaries circa 1960 found fault with America’s materialism and sought to improve society’s inequities tied to race, class, and gender. Campus unrest was rampant, civil discourse was not-so-civil, and everyone, everywhere seemed consumed by racial tension fueled by charges of discrimination. Had we done a better job, perhaps we wouldn’t still be litigating the same grievances 50 years hence.
At the half century mark all we’ve effectively done is impose mandatory politically correct speech, create campus “safe spaces” and raise children who grow more hyper-sensitive to real and/or perceived micro-aggressions with each subsequent generation.
This one began when a Yale dean circulated an e-mail warning against “culturally insensitive” Halloween costumes. One Yale professor, Erika Christakis, replied with a reasonably worded e-mail that basically asked everyone to relax and stop being so uptight and condescending. It reads, in part:
“Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious…a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.”
It’s interesting to note how much this is an expression of the old liberal pieties about freedom of expression that the contemporary left has thoroughly rejected. So you all know what’s coming next.
The response was an angry mob of student activists demanding the resignation of…her husband, Nicholas Christakis. Because every good progressive knows it’s a husband job to control his little woman, don’t you know. Actually, they went after Nicholas Christakis because as Master of Silliman College, he was slightly higher up the administrative pecking order. And when you’re after power, you want to take down the most important target.
WTF! (That’s “Winning The Future” for those of you with short memories). Not only did the crowd go after Erika’s hapless husband - “can’t you keep ‘yer little woman in line, Nicholas?” - butt the most vocal protester was a shrieking female who stomped off in tears when Nicholas wouldn’t give in to her demands.
In case you’re keeping score: Privileged White Males 1, Feminists 0.
Next we have the case of University of Missouri: here we had several allegedly racial incidents on campus which were not “addressed” quickly enough or passionately enough to satisfy the school’s football team and their hunger-striking mascot. So they demanded – and got – the resignation of the university president.
As The Federalist explained:
Wolfe was targeted, as one protest group put it, because he was “‘not completely’ aware of systemic racism, sexism, and patriarchy on campus.” I love the “not completely.” It reminds me of the old rule about totalitarian revolutions: first, you go after the counter-revolutionaries, then you go after the insufficiently enthusiastic. So Wolfe had to be removed for failing to show immediate and total compliance toward their political agenda.
Score so far: Concerned Students: 1, Insufficiently Enthusiastic, 0
Many are starting to actually question whether these institutions of “higher learning” ought not be put out of their misery. Roger Kimball makes a compelling case:
Colleges have set themselves up as multicultural, sexually and racially exotic hothouses to breed these noxious, neurasthenic but politically correct creatures who are capable of emotional hysteria but not reasoned argument.
Unfortunately college hasn’t been about classic education for a long time. It serves now simply as the last link in the brainwashing pogrom that begins to in pre-school and continues through grad-school. Higher education has become an endless loop of grievances, outrage, and capitulation. Much like the rest of society only with a higher price tag.
Sad, really, that after 50 years of progressive ideas, policies and programs we are right back where we started: campus unrest, “police brutality,” and the subjugation of women. Proof positive that bad ideas never die, they simple get recycled, like garbage.
Which provides me yet another opportunity to post my all-time favorite Doonesbury; apologies for the quality it’s the only image available. Pertinent transcript below.
“I don’t get it, Campbell. The Black students now have separate dorms, fraternities, cafeteria tables, student center, studies program and graduation. After 25 years of intensive, progressive action in pursuit of racial justice at this college, we’ve managed to produce a fully segregated campus. *sigh* What a legacy I’ve created. And to think I marched with Dr. King in Selma.”
“So what is it now?”
“Um…the kids want their own water fountains.”
Cross-Posted on Patriot Action Network