Jonah Goldberg

But what about the riots? These aren't simply a product of football culture, they're a product of a campus culture that teaches students they have an absolute right to whatever their hearts desire, starting with a fun-filled college experience and, afterwards, a rewarding career.

Imbued with a sense of victimhood, entitlement and cultivated grievance that can only be taught, their preferred response to inconvenience is a temper tantrum. Sometimes, as with the Penn State riots, they are physical. Other times, they are intellectual or theatrical. But the tantrums are always self-justifying. Arguments are correct not if they conform to facts and reason, but if they are passionately held. Unfairness is measured by the intensity of one's feelings.

Perhaps that's why a "right to riot" has become a staple of campus culture across the country, particularly at big schools. Students riot when administrators take away their beer. They riot when they lose games. They riot when they win games. They riot when the cops try to break up parties. Inconvenience itself has become outrageous.

It is also why idiotic protests have come to be seen as "part of the college experience," as if chanting inane slogans and spouting weepy canned platitudes is essential to a well-rounded education.

(We are now seeing an extension of the repugnant narcissism of campus culture setting up outposts in Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country. The bulk of their complaint seems to be that it is somehow unfair that the creature comforts of campus life should ever come to an end -- or come with a bill. Riots are undoubtedly the next act in that play).

Most of the time, I find campus protest culture to be shallow and predictable. But I would have cheered it this time around, if only someone rioted for the alleged victims of Jerry Sandusky.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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