This just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson: Building the New Dark Age Mind. Excerpt:
We can all but write off today’s university as a place of free expression. In the age of Obama, zealots in the university have clamped down on any thought deemed reactionary. “Trigger warning” is a euphemism for trying either to censure literature or to denigrate it. “Safe space” is another term for the segregation of campus areas by race, class, or ideology. “Hate speech” has become a pejorative for uncomfortable truth.
So try a thought experiment. If Professor A in various fora — before the academic senate, at the “free speech” area of the quad, during student advising, in a faculty meeting, or during class — announced that on-campus, Christian student groups practiced hate speech and thus should be monitored or silenced, or he declared that due to white privilege he was holding private tutoring sessions only for people of color, or he urged that global warming deniers should not be allowed to spread their heresies in class, or he insisted that the nature and propriety of sexual intercourse should be post facto defined only by the female participant, he would be hailed, and many of those proposals would be taken seriously if they were not already part of campus protocol.
But if a bookend Professor B in the same venues announced that he found Muslim groups equally suspect, or that, due to constant deprecation of white males, he was holding tutoring sessions only for his European-American students, or that he was hosting a campus conference on the unscientific nature of the global warming movement, or if he urged the university to insist that any allegations of rape follow strictly the rules of evidence and procedures as outlined in the U.S. Constitution and state laws of criminal jurisprudence, he would find himself in a great deal of trouble, if not fired.
What the hell ever happened to “sticks and stones?”
Have so many Americans grown so hypersensitive, so puerile, so weak, that they need “trigger warnings” lest they hear something that might disturb their poor sensitive little minds?
It appears the answer to that is “yes.” There’s a tiny little sliver of silver lining to this; only in a wealthy, safe country could a significant segment of the populace (mostly college students, it seems) grow so soft and pampered that these kinds of things even exist.
Most of the world is a harsh, brutal place; ask any soldier, airman or Marine that has deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. And that veneer of civilization is awfully thin; there exist plenty of people that would love nothing more than to import that brutality into the United States. And yet our institutions of “higher learning” are producing a generation of coddled nitwits who can’t stand even the hint of dissent from their carefully inculcated orthodoxies. Dr. Hanson fears a new Dark Age is starting now; he concludes:
The country is terrified about having a rational and logical discussion about almost every great issue of our times: unsustainable national debts and deficits, the new nexus between leftwing plutocracy and populism, the viability of Social Security and Medicare, deteriorating race relations, the Soviet-style American campus, global warming, and the deterioration of medical care. Instead, to preclude honest talk, we offer perfunctory charges of sexism and racism, and seek cover in “fairness” and “equality.”
The redistributionist, equality-of-result state — fueled by a national progressive ideology — is the new deity that determines what is free expression. Blasphemy is now defined as daring to use logic and evidence to expose the state’s failed, deductive tenets.
This descent into the Dark Ages will not end well. It never has in the past.
I’d like to be more optimistic than that, but Dr. Hanson’s qualifications in the area of the history of Western civilization demand that his words be taken seriously.