Thursday, September 22, 2016

Snowflakes and Censors

Oklahoma Weslyan University President Dr. Everett Piper's brief essay last Fall titled This is Not a Daycare, It's a University went viral.

The University of Chicago's Dean of Students, Dr. John Ellison raised eyebrows nationwide when he sent a letter last month cautioning incoming freshmen not to expect safe spaces and trigger warnings.

It's an astonishing development that such sentiments and expectations are so unusual that when they're expressed they become newsworthy.

Why are so many students so sensitive and fragile that they must be treated like emotional hemophiliacs to whom the slightest bruise to their self-esteem could prove fatal?

Indulge me in a bit of speculation. Maybe the deeper problem is not so much one of fragility, though it is that, but insecurity. I suspect that a lot of kids in the last couple of generations are profoundly insecure because they've grown up during a time of great instability and erosion of two institutions which had been traditional sources of security and comfort for children - the family and the church.

When children grow up in unstable homes, when they grow up with few adult role models to give them discipline and love, when they lack the structure and moral instruction provided by good parents and good churches (and good schools), and when they grow up in a culture that has largely abandoned the notion of truth, they may tend to be so desperate for love and attention that they come to see their needs as at the very center of the universe around which all else should orbit.

Maybe that analysis is all wrong, but it's as good an explanation as any I can think of for why someone thinks she can treat other people as this young woman at Yale thinks she has the right to treat her professor.
For the background to this encounter go here. It's sad reading, given that the provocation for her demeaning tirade seems, sub specie aeternitatis, so trivial. There are four other videos of this professor's encounter with his students here. Someone has labelled students who are so sensitive that the least transgression of their emotional ambit precipitates a meltdown snowflakes. They dissolve when touched.

In any case, I wonder if Yale considers this student's outburst to be hate speech because it certainly sounds hateful.

Speaking of hate speech, I didn't realize that Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" is hate speech, but on some campuses it is, and there are people out there, such as the woman in the following video, who believe it must be censored:
I'm reminded of the words of the leftist MIT professor Noam Chomsky who once said that "If we don't believe in freedom of speech for people we despise we don't believe in it at all." Evidently, at least some on the left no longer believe in free speech at all. This is ironic since it was the left which demanded free speech back in the sixties in order to get their message out. Now that they've been largely successful in not only getting their message out but having it prevail, they want to shut down free speech for everyone who doesn't agree with them.

It seems that for at least some on the left freedom is just a tool that only they are allowed to use.