Openness

"College Students are Human Veal"

Abetted by idiot administrators, today's students seem incapable of living in the real world.

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Legal Insurrection

Yesterday's deadly shootout at a "Draw Mohammed" contest in Texas drives home the fact that free expression is under violent attack even in the United States. So too does the bomb threat called in to break up a "GamerGate" meetup in Washington, D.C.

There's also a softer form of repression that is flourishing, especially on the nation's college campuses. Call this, as Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Indvidual Rights in Education (FIRE) has, the "freedom from speech" movement. In the 1960s, student activists pushed for freedom of speech and the right to talk about whatever they wanted wherever they wanted on campuses. These days, the hottest trend is exactly the opposite and activists are trying to shut down any and all speech and scholarship they find objectionable.

In a recent column for The Daily Beast, I write:

What the fuck is wrong with kids these days and, more important, the supposed adults who look after them? They act as if they are raising human veal that cannot even stand on their own legs or face the sunlight without having their eyeballs burned out and their hearts broken by a single deep breath or uncomfortable moment. I'm just waiting for stories of college deans carrying students from class to class on their backs….

The way students and especially administrators talk about college today, you'd think parents are paying ever-higher tuition so their children can attend a reeducation camp straight out of China's Cultural Revolution. It's as if college presidents, deans, and the ever-increasing number of bureaucrats and administrators and residence-life muckety-mucks walked away from Animal House firmly believing that Dean Wormer was not only the hero of movie but a role model. At all costs, order must be enforced and no space for free play or discord can be allowed!

How might this sort of fever be broken? One possibility is simply through negative publicity. In the column, I write about a recent Georgetown talk by Christina Hoff Sommers, who also features in the GamerGate meetup mentioned above. Brought in by the College Republicans and the Clare Booth Luce Institute, Sommers gave an hour-long talk and took questions from protesters holding signs saying she was a rape apologist and whatnot. Sommers and the students had a good back and forth but when the Luce Institute put video of the presentation online, Georgetown admins demanded the protesters' faces and voices be edited out. Laurel Conrad of the Luce group was having none of it, explaining that the lecture was advertised as public and the cameras were in plain view. In discussing Georgetown's attempt to censor a video hosted at a non-campus group's YouTube channel,

Conrad invokes the "Streisand Effect," which refers to attempts to shut down publicity that inadvertently increase it. (In 2003, La Barbra tried to block publication of her Malibu home in an online public database of aerial photographs, which caused over 400,000 people to access the site hosting the picture. Before Streisand's demand, the image of her spread had been accessed just a half-dozen times.) By raising a stink, Georgetown has made the incident and video bigger than it ever was by inspiring news coverage on Fox News and at various news sites (including this one).

Perhaps the negative publicity from threatened reprisals will help break the spell that lies upon today's campus climate like a patient etherized upon a table. 

Here's the whole column.

The video of the presentation currently shows about 49,000 views, which I'm guessing is far more than it would have garnered otherwise. I don't agree with everything that Sommers says but she's giving precisely the sort of lecture that college students should be exposed to. And the questions aren't half-bad either. Take a look for yourself and see if you don't agree with my sense that this is exactly the sort of exchange with which everyone's college years should be packed.

NEXT: Islamo-non-phobia, and the value of defiance

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  1. How might this sort of fever be broken? One possibility is simply through negative publicity.

    That doesn’t work on the shameless.

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  2. “College Students are Human Veal”

    “Libertarian Crackpot Wants to Eat College Students”

    /Salon

    1. Insist on free-range, non-GMO college students.

      Bonus – they’re low carb!

      1. But – they might contain toxic levels of stupidity.

    2. Objectification! Commoditization! [/people I knew in law school]

      1. Did you eat any?

        That would be a Swift solution…

        1. A thing was done, and I viewed it.

    3. You have to avoid the concern muscles and frown lines. They’re like steel cable.

      1. Well, if you used a pressure cooker correctly, that wouldn’t be a problem.

        1. No pressure cooker I know can cook the hate out of meat.

          1. Duh. That’s why you grill.

            BURN IT WITH FIRE!

  3. When these people fail to function in the real world, it will be the fault of capitalism and the 1%, and Occupy Whatever-It-Is-Then will call for even more restrictions on freedom. By the way, whether those calling for freedom not to be offended ever gave a shit about my freedom not to be offended is left to the reader as an exercise.

    1. When they do inevitably fail, it will be white males(by this I just mean the perceived hegemony) who caused their failure. That’s a foregone conclusion.
      Heaven forbid anyone be required to take responsibility for their behavior and failure, except for white males.

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    1. My dear? Isn’t that a little… forward?

      1. Just wait until you see what they want you to do to “make profits on the Internet”…

      2. “Darling fascist bully boy, give me some more money, you bastard. May the seed of your loin be fruitful in the belly of your woman, Neil.”

  5. How might this sort of fever be broken?

    Demand “Safe Zones” *everywhere*.

    1. I thought up a new Orwellian slogan that the fragile progressives can feel free to commandeer:

      If you want a vision of the future, imagine a puppy nuzzling a human face – forever.

      1. A German Shepherd puppy?

  6. My daughter and I were up until 4:00am Sunday morning talking about various things. She started by telling me she hated when I called things retarded. The good thing is, it gave us the opportunity to talk about speech and freedom and the way the world should work. She was surprised to learn she has quite a few libertarian values.

    I have some hope for her yet.

    1. I’ve scanned that video a few times, and never seen any of the so-called “protesters”

      if anyone has a timestamp, share.

      The other casual observation = these students seem to have difficulty with the whole “form of a question” thing.

      They seem much better at droning statements about ‘experiences’ and burying assertions and assumptions in a pile of overlapping statements which use RightFeel terminology, and then asking why would someone or anyone *Not Agree* with that, because *duh*?

      e.g. “In my experience oppression and socialization are a significant contributors to the conditions many women face in both the workplace and elsewhere, and I don’t think ignoring that is a helpful or constructive approach to the ongoing dialogue which if anything needs to be more richly reinforced with a multiplicity of voices, and this opposition to that is clearly a problem. Never mind poverty which is also a big deal which is overlooked. So like, how do you think this sort of denial is helping anyone?”

      1. sorry, this wasn’t a reply to you, dollar-park

        1. Trigger warnings are supposed to come before the comment, n00b.

  7. It’s kinda funny to me that the very people who generally insist that Atlas Shrugged is ridiculous are doing their damnedest to turn society into the dystopian world of the book.

    1. I defy “anyone” to read that book and not recognize real-life versions of the characters.

    2. What’s really funny to me is that the first time i read it i thought the bad guys were ridiculous strawmen who couldn’t possibly exist in the real world.

      1. They were ridiculous strawmen…when it was written.

    3. The other day I was hearing a liberal bemoaning how the world was more and more mirroring Jennifer Government – and a Christian was lamenting how Revalations was becoming true. Funny that.

  8. Here’s an idea. Just flashed into my head, haven’t had time to think much about it yet.

    The 1960s free speech movement was the result of so many kids going to college and meeting an establishment which was used to a smaller self-selected group of serious students, such as pre-law, medical, engineering, or the humanities as a precursor to startng the climb through the ranks in the family business. This idea that students would go to college to avoid the draft, or just because they could, was new and caught the admins flat-footed.

    Eventually everything adjusted, and those students went on to become the next generation of academics and admins, who took it for granted that their world-view was the right one, same as their predecessors had. And just as their conservative predecessors set up conditions for the culture clash, so are today’s conservative hacks, trying to preserve their Marxist world-view.

    Is it reasonable to think this could all come to a head in the next decade and swing things 180, almost without warning, just as the 1960s did?

    1. No. We won’t have a cultural 180. The marxist conservatives won’t gracefully cede the culture war. It will become worse and it will destroy all those who gaze upon it like the opening of the ark of the covenant. For the next decade I’m going to try to remain blissfully unaware, work on my career, maybe start a family, and go skiing a whole lot.

  9. They’re tasty and tender. Cheaper than real veal too!

  10. I don’t know if the event is triggering or not but that first girl’s hairdo is definitely triggering

  11. It’s definitely a triggering event! It’s also triggering to get help by an online essay writer whenever necessary like most students do nowadays. There’s nothing bad after all. And they get the help needed in order for them to improve their marks

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