Snowflake Protesters — Struggling to find a Struggle
Over-compensating for their pampered first-world bourgeois lives.
We’ve all seen the news coverage,the videos, the photos, the quotes, the hashtags.
Students across the country have erupted in protest and campus takeovers in response to perceived institutional and interpersonal racism on their campuses, most notably at the University of Missouri and Yale, but also at Ithaca College, Amherst College, and Claremont McKenna College. At the same time, weak-kneed administrators have for the most part appeased the student mobs, with the president of U. Missouri and the dean of Claremont McKenna ultimately resigning.
Make no mistake: the conflagration witnessed all week did not spring up out of nowhere.
Just take a peak at College Insurrection to see what has been going on the past few years, but understand that the degradation of higher education in this country began decades ago.
Since the 1960s, college administrators and faculty have inculcated a culture of appeasement and entitlement among their students, and whenever that was not enough—such as when black and Hispanic students at Cornell partook in an armed takeover of a building on campus—they doubled down on their efforts to serve students whatever they wished.
The more recent developments of the ridiculous notions of trigger warnings and safe spaces are only the latest manifestations of this self-defeating endeavor to placate the increasingly deranged mindset of the most perturbed and eccentric of students.
A lot has already been said about these student protesters. Robby Soave of Reason concludes the protesters really just want “Mommy and Daddy”, and, in the interest of saving the republic, Glenn Reynolds of USA Today wants to raise the voting age to 25. Katherine Timpf writing for the National Review mocks the “idiotic, lawless” protesters, and David French has a particularly poignant overview of the liberal and illiberal domination of college campuses. Rush put it best when he began referring to colleges as “institutes of higher victimization.”
All well-put, but I want to answer a question no one else has even asked: what is actually driving these student protesters to think and act as they are?
To say that the answer is “they’re whiny brats” or “they’re spoiled and coddled wimps” only scratches the surface. Those are all true, but being coddled wimps doesn’t drive a thousand students to occupy a quad or threaten violence upon reporters.
Rather, the root cause behind these escalating protests, outlandish lists of demands, acts of vandalism, and everything else is psychological compensation.
Psychological compensation is a well-known concept. Psychologist Alfred Adler devised it in 1907, relating it to the concept of inferiority in the sense that one who feels inferior in some area will try to compensate for it somewhere else. For example, someone who is sickly and weak might compensate by buying a large, powerful-looking car.
What are the student protesters from Missouri to Yale to Ithaca all compensating for?
To understand, first keep in mind that the protest leaders are mostly self-stylized Marxists, communists, socialists, or hold similar radical political beliefs; for example, students participating in the Million Student March at Cornell called for the “abolishment of the wage system,” bemoaned “ruthless individualism,” and likened capitalism to a “great vampire squid.”
These students adore their revolutionary heroes, like Che Guevara. However, central to the notion of political Marxism and Communism is the concept of “struggle.”
As the word implies, it refers to physical and mental tribulations and conflicts between different classes in the ultimate battle for political control. Think of the Russian Civil War, which cost over 1.2 million Red deaths; Mao’s Long March, which decimated over 90% of the First Front Red Army; and Fidel Castro and Che Guevara barely eking out existence in the mountain jungles of the Sierra
Madre Maestra for five years.
But, in the United States in the 21st century, free enterprise capitalism and expanding democracy have given the citizens of this country undue wealth, opportunities, and an unrivaled standard of living. While there do exist large discrepancies in wealth and standard of living among different neighborhoods and sectors of society, when compared to the rest of the world there is very little complaining. Anyway, the trend for the past 240 years of this country’s existence has only been continuous improvement.
Much to the chagrin of these would-be revolutionaries, modern America leaves very little room for “struggle.”
In order to compensate for the lack of struggle like that experienced by their heroes, the student protesters now combat slights, snubs, offenses, mean-spirited comments, claims of unsafe campuses, etc. as as their form of struggle. This largely explains the advent of microaggressions, intersectionality, invalidated experiences, and hurt feelings as major transgressions and offenses treated equivalently to bodily harm, and the advent of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and speech codes as remedies.Granted, I am not a psychologist, but as a college student I have witnessed, written about, and analyzed many student protests, speeches, and documents (usually lists of demands), mainly in my capacity writing for The Cornell Review. I have seen and heard countless times the word “struggle” invoked by student protesters, and similar rhetoric either directly or indirectly implicating themselves in something tantamount to “struggle.”
For example, student protesters at Yale, now calling themselves Next Yale, submitted a list of demands to University President Peter Salovey, with laughable demands including better dental coverage. Next Yale students claim their protesting activities have come “at great expense to [their] health and grades, to fight for a university at which we feel safe…” Herein is the struggle: the devastating toll on health and grades which accompany screaming at administrators, chanting slogans, and holding signs.
Sometimes the protesters are savvy and avoid explicitly using the word “struggle”, in which case they substitute with verbiage like “expression of agency” or “acts of resistance” which really have the same meaning.
The saddest part of all of this is that every time the rational and even-headed come out on top, or whenever the students are appeased but not to the extent they want, they take this is a validation of their struggle: the “system” is designed to oppress them. Administrators think they have acquiesced enough, while the students simply gear up for the next set of demands, after having invented even more offenses and elements of their never-ending struggle.
What can be done to stop this? That I honestly am not sure of. But first it’s important to understand what we’re up against.
[Featured Image- Million Student March Flyer via Cornell Review]
[NOTE: This post originally has a tweet and commentary about @AmherstUprising twitter account. It turns out it is a parody account, so the tweet and commentary were removed.]
Casey Breznick is the Editor-in-Chief of the undergraduate journal, The Cornell Review.
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“What can be done to stop this?”
I take a systems view where we do not treat the symptom.
The concentration of power in D.C. drives the “place at the table” behavior all fueled by money. Follow the money and you will find the power (D.C.). The enabler is the MSM who are all Democrat operatives.
How do we do this? Vote out every Democrat. Then vote out every GOPe by actively working in the primaries. LI is one of the great weapons against the MSM, Democrats, and GOPe as truth is their enemy. Professor J is a Patriot.
No. You have the reasoning wrong. All this stuff you see is called, a tantrum. 2-year-olds are infamous for using tantrums to manipulate their parents.
It’s about power.
Want to stop it. Ignore them. If you can’t ignore them, paddle their little behinds and send them to bed without supper. It may take some time before they give up on using tantrums as a tactic but once they do, parents and children are all happier.
It’s actually about hatred. Hatred……ingrained, nurtured and modeled in a culture from birth on up is beginning to have a tangible effect in our society. “God damn America!” is where Obama learned his.
Back in about 1970, my brother was a senior chemistry major. Some of the political “science” type majors were demonstrating on campus about Viet Nam. My brother said that if all the noise interfered with graduation, there would be some science majors out there with baseball bats quieting things down.
Ironically, he’s since become a Democrat.
The little special snowflakes also appear to be confusing education with college attendance. Education in life is free as you should always be learning. It appears the little snowflakes may be attending college but as to their actually being educated there, I think that appears to be doubtful. Learning from a professor that specializes in lady gaga appears laughable. I am just glad my professors were world renowned STEM scientists that also had a vast understanding of social sciences as well.
It’s a good article, but there’s a couple of details that, while not central to the article, should be corrected.
The mountain range where fidel castro and che guevara hid is NOT called the “Sierra Madre” but the “Sierra Maestra”.
And they were NOT there for 5 years. They arrived from Mexico on December 2, 1956. Fulgencio Batista left the country on the night of December 31, 1958.
Do the math. It’s two years, 1 month. It’s not five years.
Next time, hit google. It takes just a minute.
I struggle with grammer as does my spell checker, therefore I am.
I refuse to give these little cupcakes one more minute of my time. They are one step removed from the barbarians of Paris – “believe as I do or I will kill you.” This is how totalitarianism starts. They are on their way to being the barbarians of the United States of America and I will call them that.
I propose that we exchange them on a 10 for 1 basis with Mexico.
Amen. This goes well with the “crybullies article,” published in the WSJ, and the USA Today article by the illustrious Instapundit:
Rise of the College Crybullies
Glenn Reynolds: After Yale, Mizzou, Raise the voting age – to 25
Terrorism coverage is a competition now, especially for those that have to try and legitimize their terrorism on social media by denigrating the coverage of actual murderous acts of terrorism.
The fascinating thing about the Mizzou and other snowflake protests is how many well to do or just plain rich black kids (whose parents are loaded) are involved. These morons are evidently trying to prove their “authenticity” by showing the world they’re down with the struggle. The punk kid who looked like he was fainting after a few days of fasting—gimme a break!—he started it off cuz Obama made him lose his health insurance from the school. What? Daddy wasn’t giving him enough money?
Colleges and universities are at fault for hiring professors constantly pushing to relive the era of student protest instead of teaching.
Next, the admissions standards / process is fraudulent, especially towards lower income students. The student’s admission profile needs to reflect some painful truths, like a mortgage or credit appraisal.
If a student or the family does not have the financial wherewithal to attend the college – they need to be informed of the potential crippling debt burden and the hurdles that creates. It’s unsavory or amoral for an “institution of higher learning” to let a student, who is really just a consumer / customer, become so bamboozled. It’s fraud whether it’s done by the for-profits or “non-profits”, they all have accountability in this matter.
I’d love to buy a Mercedes AMG right now, but I don’t have the resources, since I buy cars with cash. Students need to enter college with this sort of mindset. Academia is important, but people have to wise up and realize there are some things they cannot afford.
We all cannot have what we want.
And I’m always irritated by the phrase “America is the world’s richest country”. Those young adults need to realize that is other people’s money they are talking about, it is not there for them to confiscate…. It’s a disgusting mindset they are inculcating in the young.