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Campus Snowflakes & Enabling Masochists

A recent Michigan State graduate sweats the real world (Illustration: Ozerina Anna/Shutterstock)

You would think that the collapse of the UVA rape hoax story would make college students and college administrators a little bit less anxious to go into full-blown hysterics against people who question the “campus rape culture” narrative. You would be wrong, at least in the case of Michigan State, where the university accommodated five special snowflakes who could not bear to hear George F. Will speak at their graduation. What did George Will write back in June that aggrieved heretic-hunters? He questioned the statistics and the ideology behind the campus anti-rape movement: Excerpt:

Meanwhile, the newest campus idea for preventing victimizations — an idea certain to multiply claims of them — is “trigger warnings.” They would be placed on assigned readings or announced before lectures. Otherwise, traumas could be triggered in students whose tender sensibilities would be lacerated by unexpected encounters with racism, sexism, violence (dammit, Hamlet, put down that sword!) or any other facet of reality that might violate a student’s entitlement to serenity. This entitlement has already bred campus speech codes that punish unpopular speech. Now the codes are begetting the soft censorship of trigger warnings to swaddle students in a “safe,” “supportive,” “unthreatening” environment, intellectual comfort for the intellectually dormant.

It is salutary that academia, with its adversarial stance toward limited government and cultural common sense, is making itself ludicrous. Academia is learning that its attempts to create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations — brings increasing supervision by the regulatory state that progressivism celebrates.

What government is inflicting on colleges and universities, and what they are inflicting on themselves, diminishes their autonomy, resources, prestige and comity. Which serves them right. They have asked for this by asking for progressivism.

Michigan State’s Snowflake Graduation could not have been a more perfect proof of Will’s thesis:

At Michigan State’s “alternative ceremony,” one speaker was professor Ruben Parra-Cardona, associate director of MSU’s Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence. Ruben, in a speech, criticized Will for seeing sexual violence ideologically. The scholar also checked his own privilege.

“As a person holding many layers of privilege—because I’m an academic, I’m a male, I’m heterosexual—to name a few of those privileges. As a holder of those privileges, today, I want to apologize to you,” Parra-Cardona said in his speech as he held back tears. “I want to apologize for people not apologizing to you.”

What kind of miserable quivering bowl of Jell-O is a grown man, a representative of the academy, who can abase himself before children like that? It’s a wonder he didn’t pull out a dagger and slit his belly open in atonement for his very existence. Prof. Parra-Cardona, with his captive mind, sounds like he missed his calling as a Cultural Revolution punching bag.

You want to know what privilege is? Having the power to force a university to give you a separate-but-equal graduation ceremony because your feelings were hurt over a completely ordinary column a journalist wrote six months ago. Michigan State is conferring an enormous sense of entitlement and, yes, privilege on these young people, who believe that the whole world must cater to their sensibilities, and who will be utterly unprepared, emotionally, to deal with a world in which they will have to come to work the next morning and put in an honest day’s labor even if somebody said something on Twitter that triggered their sanctimony and sent them to the fainting couch.

I can grant students some grace here, because they are young, and because college students are apt to emote more than they think. But the adults throughout their educations who have allowed them to get away with throwing these tantrums are contemptible. They have not prepared these kids for life.

If this is what progressivism has come to, I don’t think we have to worry overmuch about it. As Cosimano’s Law of Microaggressions teaches us, “If you are going to be the bad guy, be the BAD guy. People who get weird about microaggression will not stand in the face of macroaggression.”

UPDATE: Gromaticus writes:

However in the real world, these “special snowflakes” will be continue to be indulged and empowered because their company’s HR director aced “MPHR-707 Creating and Sustaining a Climate of Inclusion” in grad school and really took a lot away from that eye opening experience.

Meanwhile, the students that listened to George Will will be cowering in their cubicles, terrified that HR will find a joke posted on their Facebook page that might indicate that they aren’t a good ally of Karl/Carla the transgendered accountant.

You know, he’s right.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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