The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Having lived close to New Haven, CT for many years, I visited Yale University on a regular basis. It's an impressive institution—long, storied history, world class faculty, classic Ivy covered buildings, and, if you are to believe those who graduate from Yale, students who are the best and the brightest, the future leaders of our nation.

In a recent controversy about‚ get ready for this‚ Halloween costumes, some of Yale's social justice warriors became literally unhinged. To demonstrate the level of insanity, take a look:

Kevin Williamson comments on "Yale's Idiot Children":
Turns out it’s a fairly typical college story — which is to say, a fairly stupid story — the short version of which is that Yale’s sensitivity babysitter sent out a pre-Halloween e-mail reminding all the smart Ivy League kids not to dress up like Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer; Professor Erika Christakis offered a reply bemoaning that college campuses have become “places of censure and prohibition”; a few students consequently went bonkers because their safe spaces were being invaded; and — here’s where we come in — Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, one of our panelists, remarked that these hysterical ninnies were acting like Professor Christakis had burned down an Indian village.

Which is to say: The idiot children were screaming about Lukianoff because he said they were overreacting to Christakis’s criticism that they tend to scream and overreact.
Well played, idiot children ...

I understand why the idiot children at Yale are so sensitive. Really, I do. I sometimes list in my mind all of the poor, suffering people who get a raw deal in this life, and Yale students are always right at the top, with the Bangladeshi orphans and women traded by sex traffickers in Vietnam. Yale isn’t a safe space, Congo isn’t a safe space — it all makes sense, as long as you don’t expect it to make sense.

No, genocide isn’t a joke. I’m sure that the women and children being raped to death by Boko Haram appreciate that the idiot children at Yale are making stern faces and pumping their fists.

As for me, I think that they’re clowns, and worse than that, really: They’re bad citizens, and defective people from defective families. They aren’t motivated by good will, but by fear: of the dawning realization that they, as people, aren’t really all that important, despite having been told all their lives how important they are.
Listening to the young woman's hysterical rant in the video, I'm struck with how rapidly she leaves the scene, unwilling to listen to another point of view, unable, even, to debate her position. She, and many other social justice warriors like her, are indeed "idiot children."

For them, it's all about moral preening coupled when necessary with a thuggish attack on anyone or any institution who might take a more moderate, reasoned tone. And if you disagree (as the Yale employee had the temerity to do), the "idiot children" run to a "safe place" where they only hear the echos of their own idiocy.

UPDATE-I (11/12/15):

It's interesting that leftist leaders (Barack Obama comes to mind) always suggest that we need a "conversation" or "open debate" on one of their many "victimization" subjects (e.g., racism, war on women, income inequality). Of course, the "conversation" is never a discussion where both sides engage and honestly state their views. Rather it's the Left accusing anyone who disagrees with its position as a bigot, a racist, a misogynist, or a genocidal monster ... you get the picture.

In a comment to an article in the WSJ, the commenter, "Charles Slack" provides a useful conversation starter:
"Open debate" means you respect someone's right to speak, not that you have an obligation to respect, engage, or even pay attention to what they say. Free speech is a right; being taken seriously is a privilege you earn or forfeit through the strength or weakness of your arguments.

The issue here absolutely is free speech. The events at Yale and Missouri that have alarmed free speech proponents and that inspired this editorial do not revolve around the question of whether it makes sense to engage racists or sexists in debate. It's about using coercive force and threats to silence people whose views you disagree with or who you deem not sufficiently sensitive to your point of view.
Because of their thuggish behavior, it is impossible to take Yale's or Missou's idiot children seriously. But that's not the point. Their "coercive" actions are designed to silence dissenting views, and that's very dangerous. The true irony is that the idiot children don't even realize that they have become the very thing they claim to abhor.

UPDATE-II (11/12/15):

After relating the incidents at both Yale and Missou, Ed Morrissey comments:
To paraphrase an old Monty Python routine, come and see the violence inherent in campus progressivism. Academia no longer values an open and robust exchange of ideas, a pursuit of truth, and adherence to actual tolerance. Actual commitment to learning would have prompted scrutiny of extraordinary claims and discussion of differing points of view.

Instead, campuses have become overrun by proto-fascists who want submission to groupthink and are not afraid to call out for “some muscle” to enforce it. In most of these cases, the proto-fascists can find muscle in one form or another to shut down dissent and impose their narrow-minded demands for power. University administrators either shrink from their responsibilities out of fear for their own positions, or have long before joined the cadre of petty martinets patrolling their ivy-covered walls to enforce the groupthink rather than enlighten young minds.
The idiot children can be excused (sort of) because, well, because they are idiot children. But the supposed adults—university administrators and faculty—combine cowardice and capitulation as they bend to the will of the young "proto-fascists."

Poorly played by all concerned.