Liberals on campus sure are different since I was in college a decade ago.
As the lone conservative opinion columnist at Ohio University’s student newspaper, The Post, I saw it as my duty to challenge the liberal lemmings: feminists fawning over “The Vagina Monologues” without using critical thinking skills, campus sex-ed crusaders unwilling to look at the dark side of hook-up culture, and, of course, free-speech hypocrites disrupting any form of speech they didn’t personally endorse.
But now, I look back on those days and think, “At least I was allowed to write those things.”
In my four years as a visible conservative on campus, no one suggested The Post should pull my column. I was never accused of “triggering” a classmate or inflicting “emotional trauma” on my fellow students by disagreeing with them. No one claimed to feel “unsafe” because—gasp!—I exposed them to opinions that weren’t theirs. Needless to say, I was never physically attacked.
Times have changed.
Just ask Ben Shapiro, who attempted to speak at the University of California at Berkeley last week. I use the word “attempted,” because, as Ben wrote, “the school blocked off the upper level of the auditorium, fearful that radicals from the violent far-left-leaning group Antifa would infiltrate the speech and begin hurling objects from the balcony onto the crowd below. Finally, the school ended up spending some $600,000 on additional policing for a prospective riot… All this so that I could deliver a speech about personal responsibility and individualism.”
For answers, I turned to the book iGen by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University. The media portrays “Millenials”—members of my generation—as narcissistic snowflakes who revolt at the idea of sharing a campus with people different from them. But Millenials have grown up and moved off campus. They’ve been replaced with a new generation of even more narrow-minded, emotionally crippled college students. Twenge dubbed this generation—young people born after 1994--“iGen.” But this generation is so intellectually coddled and intolerant of people with different views that a colleague suggested Twenge name them “Generation P-ssy.”
The statistics on this generation are frightening—and tell us everything we need to know about the black-mask-wearing, bat-wielding “Antifa” twerps on college campuses. iGen is brimming with spoiled brats who feel justified in physically attacking conservative speakers because they claim, ironically, to feel “unsafe” in their presence. And they have no problem controlling the political climate through violence, intimidation, and threats.
Why? The answer is, frankly, that iGen liberals don’t believe in free speech. As Twenge writes in iGen, “social justice and free speech beliefs are unrelated among those over 40, but those under 40 who support social justice are less supportive of free speech.” In other words, liberals older than 40--Gen Xers and Boomers—actually mean it when they quote Voltaire: “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
iGen liberals, however, are staunchly opposed to free speech. “In a 2015 survey, 35% of college students believe that the First Amendment does not protect ‘hate speech’ (it does) and 30% of liberal students believe the First Amendment is ‘outdated.’”
iGen has created a hostile, intimidating atmosphere in the classroom. “More than one out of four students (28%) agreed that ‘A faculty member who, on a single occasion, says something racially insensitive in class should be fired.’” As Twenge notes, “racial insensitivity” is completely subjective, and this charge could be leveled at, say, a sociology professor who leads a discussion about race and income inequality.
“This is highly problematic,” Twenge writes. “38% of students believed that ‘faculty members should not discuss racial differences in class.’ It is no wonder that many faculty are now afraid to teach any topic connected to race, effectively shutting down any discussion—conversations that might lead to better understanding.”
And heaven forbid the College Republicans invite a prominent conservative like Ben Shapiro to speak on campus! In that event, iGeners will form a Facebook lynch mob to pressure the administration to censor the speech and ‘disinvite’ the speaker.
“When students disagree with a speaker invited to come to campus, they would rather the speaker not come at all,” Twenge writes. “Support for banning ‘extreme’ speakers reached an all-time high in 2015… a non-profit organization that defends free speech found that ‘disinvitations’ have quintupled since 2000.”
If claiming to feel “unsafe” and “threatened” doesn’t work for iGeners, violence will do: 20% of college students say it’s okay to use violence against an “offensive” speaker.”
Although they are militant, iGeners are shockingly ill-informed about politics and current events. They rarely read books or newspapers. They don’t follow what’s going on in Congress, and they can’t name their own representatives. Most don’t even bother to vote. So where are campus leftists getting their news? Facebook. This generation spends an astounding amount of time on social media, and they align their views with the Internet sheep herd. They are the ultimate conformists. Their Facebook friends put a rainbow filter on their profile pictures in support of gay marriage—so the iGeners support gay marriage, too. Reason is not their forte: “Everyone is supposed to rely upon his or her own subjective feelings to decide whether a comment is unwelcome, and therefore grounds for a harassment claim. Emotional reasoning is now accepted as evidence.”
According to Twenge, you can blame iGen’s parents. College students today were raised by overprotective, overinvolved “helicopter parents” who believed their children should be shielded from discomfort at all costs.
The outcome is chilling for anyone who still believes in the First Amendment. They might love to fling the word “fascist” and “Nazi” around to describe anyone they don’t like, but the statistics on young liberal’s support for free speech are indisputable. College campuses today are overrun with little fascists.