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The Left Now Criticizes the Campus Monster it Created

The Left Now Criticizes the Campus Monster it Created

“These condemnations, coming about 50 years too late, should not be taken seriously.”

After the recent incident at Middlebury College, during which a mob of students prevented Professor Charles Murray from speaking and sent a professor to the emergency room, people are finally starting to notice that protest culture on college campuses is out of control.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. We’ve documented similar events on this site numerous times. This time however, people on the left took notice.

Frank Bruni writes at the New York Times:

The Dangerous Safety of College

The moral of the recent melee at Middlebury College, where students shouted down and chased away a controversial social scientist, isn’t just about free speech, though that’s the rubric under which the ugly incident has been tucked. It’s about emotional coddling. It’s about intellectual impoverishment.

Somewhere along the way, those young men and women — our future leaders, perhaps — got the idea that they should be able to purge their world of perspectives offensive to them. They came to believe that it’s morally dignified and politically constructive to scream rather than to reason, to hurl slurs in place of arguments.

They have been done a terrible disservice. All of us have, and we need to reacquaint ourselves with what education really means and what colleges do and don’t owe their charges.

Physical safety? Absolutely. A smooth, validating passage across the ocean of ideas? No. If anything, colleges owe students turbulence, because it’s from a contest of perspectives and an assault on presumptions that truth emerges — and, with it, true confidence.

While it’s nice of Mr. Bruni to take notice of what’s happening, he fails to assign any blame for the current situation to the left, which is exactly where it belongs.

It is not conservatives who are responsible for creating the culture of safe spaces and extreme political correctness on campus today. Conservatives are the ones who usually suffer at the hands of social justice warriors whenever they try to speak on campus.

Dennis Prager made the same point in a recent column:

Some on the Left Now Criticize the Students They Created

In the last few weeks, there has been a spate of columns by writers on the left condemning the left-wing college students who riot, take over university buildings and shout down speakers with whom they differ.

These condemnations, coming about 50 years too late, should not be taken seriously.

Take New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. His latest column is filled with dismay over the way Middlebury College students attacked Charles Murray and a liberal woman professor who interviewed him (she was injured by the rioters).

I have no doubt that Bruni is sincere. However, sincerity is completely unrelated to wisdom or insight.

Here’s the problem:

It is the left that transformed universities into the moral and intellectual wastelands most are now.

It is the left that created the moral monsters known as left-wing students who do not believe in free speech, let alone tolerance.

It is the left that has taught generations of young Americans that America is essentially a despicable society that is racist and xenophobic to its core.

It is the left that came up with the lie that the university has been overrun by a “culture of rape.”

It is the left that taught generations of Americans that everyone on the right is sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and bigoted.

It is the left that is anti-intellectual, teaching students to substitute feelings for reason.

Mark A. Signorelli of The Federalist gets to the heart of the problem:

Liberals Cannot Condemn Campus Rioters Because They Created Them

Dostoyevsky’s “The Demons,” one of the finest political novels ever written, tells the story of Stepan Verkhovensky: an amiable, if faintly ridiculous, scholar idling in the provinces of Russia. As a young man, Stepan flirted with the liberal ideas of his day, publishing an article in a “progressive journal” and aiding in a translation of the socialist Charles Fourier. He even grew convinced for a time that the government was watching him closely (and grows very annoyed to find out that they do not care the least bit about him). Evidently allured by the chicness of radical ideas, Stepan is nonetheless too frivolous and gentle a man to try to implement those ideas in the real world.

His son, Peter, is a different case altogether. Immediately upon returning to his hometown, he begins organizing some wannabe revolutionaries into a cell to carry out their seditious designs…

I thought of this novel over the weekend when I read Frank Bruni’s op-ed piece decrying the recent violent protest at Middlebury College. It is an article that sounds many of the same notes that conservatives have been sounding since this incident. He laments the “emotional coddling” and “intellectual impoverishment” on display at Middlebury. He warns that the fracas was “the fruit of a dangerous ideological conformity in too much of higher education.” He condemns the “policing of imperfect language, silencing of dissent and shaming of dissenters” all too prevalent on the university campus now.

Falling under the spell of this article, one could almost forget that the writers for the op-ed pages of the New York Times—where Mr. Bruni plies his trade—routinely employ the very same political rhetoric used by Middlebury’s protestors.

If Frank Bruni and others on the left are serious in their concern, maybe they could build a human wall in front of the outrage brigade the next time a conservative is prevented from speaking on campus.

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Comments

I feel sorry for all libraries and librarians. “1984” has to be re-classified from fiction to NON-FICTION !

The Federalist item doesn’t grasp the problem, either.

Falling under the spell of this article, one could almost forget that the writers for the op-ed pages of the New York Times … routinely employ the very same political rhetoric used by Middlebury’s protestors.

Rhetoric isn’t the problem. Blatant fascist Brownshirtism is the problem. The New York Times isn’t forcibly shutting anybody up. All the Times can do is print a bunch of blather which no sensible person is forced to read. This is free speech, and the Times is entitled to it as much as anyone.

But the Middlebury “protestors” (euphemisms are so cute, aren’t they?) are not interested in speaking, except as a way to drown out the speech of someone else. An old tactic, to be sure—the incessant “music festivals” and the more current “drum circles” which have accompanied “protests” for the past half-century were and are intended to do the same. But Middlebury was more; a re-enactment of Munich and Berlin circa 1933. And we all know where that led.

Some jerk will doubtless invoke Godwin’s Law. I have no idea who Godwin was, but I do know he’s a fascist’s best friend, as he provided modern fascists all the cover they need. Godwin’s Law is just more PC, intended to squelch communication, examination, and debate.

But the current Progressive/Leftist/Liberal fascist attacks are real, they’re deadly, and they’re happening now.

    Milhouse in reply to tom swift. | March 19, 2017 at 2:47 am

    Some jerk will doubtless invoke Godwin’s Law. I have no idea who Godwin was, but I do know he’s a fascist’s best friend, as he provided modern fascists all the cover they need. Godwin’s Law is just more PC, intended to squelch communication, examination, and debate.

    Excuse me? That makes no sense at all. Mike Godwin made the very true observation that the longer a usenet discussion progressed, the greater the probability that someone would invoke the argumentum ad Hitlerum. Every discussion that goes on long enough will see it invoked.

    To anyone who was on usenet in those days the truth of this observation was obvious. We saw it daily. Come to think of it I don’t see it as often on blogs; I’m not sure why. But Mike said nothing about the validity of this argument. It has its rightful place in the rhetorical armory and he never suggested that it doesn’t.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | March 18, 2017 at 11:27 am

The academic left isn’t going to respond to criticism from “the right”. They may – I stress may – respond to criticism from fellow travelers on “the left”, such as Bruni.

Though I’m not sure even that is true. This is one issue Obama was consistently good on.

http://freebeacon.com/culture/obama-slams-liberal-pc-culture-on-college-campuses-students-shouldnt-be-coddled/

I can think of at least two other times Obama spoke publicly condemning the academic left’s intolerance for speech. It doesn’t seem to have mattered.

Blaming Bruni’s side for the problem it created is obviously true, but I think they already know that. Like Obama, he’s trying to get them to reform. Since the academic left will not listen to “the right”, then it is going to take criticism from “the left” to get them to reform. Bruni is part of the solution.

I think we should be encouraging people like Bruni to keep speaking out. If we want to assign blame, then the university donors, trustees, administrators, and faculty deserve some of it. So do parents for raising their children with these values.

I think Bruni deserves some praise. As much as it pains me to say it, so does Jonathan Chait. He’s a detestable hack about 95% of the time, but he’s also written a couple of pieces encouraging the academic left to reform itself and become more tolerant toward free speech it disagrees with.

Laurie Higgins | March 18, 2017 at 11:32 am

I guess Bruni has had an epiphany because in a New York Times piece last year, he had this to say:

“And I support the right of people to believe what they do and say what they wish — in their pews, homes and hearts.”

No savages were expelled, none of their faculty supporters were called on the carpet, shamed or fired. The lefty-in-charge got away with blaming the violence on Trump.

Students associated with a now-famous fabulous hotbed of ‘resistance’ probably have a better chance of getting a job at a lefty corporation than ever before. They won this one.

“Somewhere along the way,” writes Frank Bruni, “those young men and women — our future leaders, perhaps — got the idea that they should be able to purge their world of perspectives offensive to them.”

My hunch is that many, if not most parents — and Baby Boomer grandparents — of the Middlebury People’s Defense cadres are not only longtime NYT, but admirers of Frank Bruni, as well.

Wow, great job, Frank!

The leftists who caused this – and are now being eaten by their young – remind me of enablers of fascists in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union who were murdered by the monsters they put in power.

Karma is a bitch:

Liberal Professor Hospitalized After Attack by Leftist Students:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/6/allison-stanger-professor-injured-by-middlebury-co/

It’s just this atmosphere that created Trump ….* SHRUG* … I voted for the guy but I know his warts … The problem is this idiocy isn’t limited to campus it’s in every level of society … And simply put it’s the fear of speaking the truth as unpleasant as it may be

First, they came for… Anyway.

In any discussion with liberals the opposing argument is met with “you are Racist, hate the poor, hate women, hate gays, hate old people.” Never, never do they cite facts or figures.

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/23/how-texas-m-student-election-got-attention-rick-perry/

This was probably covered elsewhere. A conservative Trump supporter wins a college student body election and the left figures out a way to delegitimize him. They claimed he used glow sticks in an ad and didn’t report them as a campaign expense.

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