Saturday, February 20, 2016

Oh, The Fragility


I guess this is a form of liberalism of some sort. To the extent that it is, it depresses and embarasses me. College campuses have gone soft and soft-headed. It's been going on for some time, and I have nothing new to say about it. But my son went to Brown, the subject here, and my wife to Harvard. I went to a "Little Ivy League" school. I don't recall feeling micro-aggressed or aggrieved that people appeared to speak on campus with whom I disagreed. When Robert McNamara was given an honorary degree at my graduation, some classmates stood up and turned their backs. One refused to accept his diploma. But no one shouted anyone down. (Interestingly, being one of the first Vietnam War protests, that mild activity made national headlines.)

So I read this and I despair. It's the other side of the Foxolimbeckian coin: don't make us hear things we don't want to, on the one hand, and don't tell us the truth, on the other.

... one incident that took an emotional toll on activists was protesting an appearance on campus by Natan Sharansky and Michael Douglas, who were there to discuss their perspectives on Judaism, Israel and current-day anti-Semitism. Students for Justice in Palestine decided that this would be a dandy occasion to engage in a loud, disruptive anti-Israel protest. An assistant dean was on hand, in part to provide “academic and emotional support” to the protesters, according to the Herald. 
So there you have it; a group of Ivy League crybullies worn out from the emotional toll of protesting Natan Sharansky, a former dissident and survivor of years of confinement, including solitary confinement, in harsh Soviet prison camps. Is there a better indication of the decline of American higher-ed culture than a bunch of Ivy Leaguers at risk of emotional breakdown due to the presence of one of the great, stoic heroes of the Cold War on their campus? ...

8 comments:

miket29 said...

It's not surprising, really. The hard left and the hard right might be seen as strange bedfellows, but if you look at how they demand conformity and attack any that dare disagree they are in a sense more alike than different. Look at some of the vituperative comments posted in the NY Times when anyone dares question the claims of the Sanders campaign and they easily rival anything you'll here from Cruz or Trump supporters.

Smoothtooperate said...

In 1970, Harvard cost $4,070, which was less than half of the median family income, then $9,870.

Dr Strangelove said...

By acknowledging the existence of this most unfortunate political parity, it seems appropriate that you consider adding a companion acronym to your left margin: LWS(TM).

Sidney Schwab said...

Worth considering, Doc.

Mark V said...

http://harpers.org/archive/2016/03/political-correction/

Sidney Schwab said...

Thanks, Mark. It's an interesting article, although it seems to turn itself on its head at the end, extolling the idea that students will be able to choose colleges that won't threaten their beliefs. To me, that's what higher education is about, regarding any sort of beliefs. Learning to analyze and defend, and discard that which makes no sense; and to acquire the tools to tell the difference; I think I got that from college.

The balance of freedom of speech vs intolerance, as with freedom of religion and the idea that limiting it to some extent in public places, is inherently tricky. Impossible, I suppose, to find a perfect middle. I've come to expect the seeking of non-threatening "news" and other sources from today's "conservatives." I've always argued that liberals are more open-minded, and willing to be challenged in their ideas. To the extent that I'm wrong, at least about college students, as the article I quoted suggests, is depressing.

dan said...

The intimidation of student journalists at my undergraduate University of Missouri-Columbia by other students and even a professor was sad to see but not exactly unpredictable.That such actions were taken to " protect" student protestors from media harm is beyond my sense of irony. That said, I've heard enough bitter venom from those advocating " bombing the other side" to last a life time.
Those who are all too willing to accept even enjoy " the worse the better" are really no better than religious fanatics who are utterly certain of the righteousness of their actions.
I'm no longer willing to give much of a benefit of doubt to any party breathing a word of intimidation or violence. Now that Texas has embraced guns on campus I have a bad feeling that threats will turn to much worse.

Smoothtooperate said...

I wish Mike would have left a link or 5.

I follow Bernie and would like to know know bad the Bernie supporters are.

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