No Lessons Learned: Campus Intolerance Intensifies in the Trump Era

At this year’s Association of American Colleges and Universities meeting, held in late January in San Francisco, a sense of misgiving filled the conference hall.

Panelists raised, implicitly, the question whether higher education has become out of touch with Donald Trump’s America. They fretted over their belief that the current social and political climate is a threat to the liberal arts and, in a time of “fake news,” to the pursuit of truth itself.

The Association’s president, Lynn Pasquerella, concluded that it is the average American—giving in to the alleged anti-intellectualism of the day—who is misguided.

Higher education leaders, she argued, must therefore work to “destabilize the cultural attitudes at the basis of proposals that devalue liberal education.”

While there were some speakers who called for tolerance and understanding—including Wesleyan University president Michael Roth, who advocated greater respect for “traditional conservative religion and thought”—they were a mere footnote during the four-day gathering.

Rather, workshops such as “Reclaiming the Racial Narrative,” case studies on implementing progressive agendas on campus, and strategies on how to engage students in support of “racial and social justice” dominated the conference’s agenda.

Unfortunately, in these early days of Trump’s presidency, similar politicization seems to persist throughout much of academia. Many leftist students, faculty, and administrators pay only lip service to the notion that higher education should be a marketplace of ideas. They now seem to view themselves as combatants in an ideological war.

The recent rash of protests and temper tantrums in response to the President’s inauguration and policy proposals reveals continued allegiance not to civil discourse, but to identity politics and an intolerant strand of progressivism. Columbia University humanities professor Mark Lilla, writing in the New York Times last November, forcefully argued that such allegiance likely contributed to Democrats’ embarrassing defeat in the 2016 elections.

“[It] has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life,” he wrote.

In North Carolina, where progressive activists seem to control much of the campus political dialogue, it appears that the election offered no learning lessons. For example, when UNC-Chapel Hill students walked out of classes to protest President Trump’s inauguration, it was a struggle to keep the seemingly like-minded group members focused and united, as students argued over who had the right to be the most outraged.

One organizer was quoted by the Daily Tar Heel complaining about “problematic people” who “co-opted the space at times and didn’t really understand that it was not for them at this particular moment.” And when students began giving short speeches to voice their concerns about a Trump presidency, criticisms of “white America” and calls for dismantling “systems of oppression” were common refrains.

Furthermore, identity-obsessed lectures and workshops remain popular events across the University of North Carolina system. For example, at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Anthropology Department is hosting a “Race, Difference, Power” colloquium in early March.

At NC State, the GLBT center recently conducted two identity-based workshops: “What is racial justice?” and “Recognizing and Responding to Microaggressions.” A third, “Sitting With Privilege,” is scheduled for the end of March. And Duke and NC Central are partnering in late March to host a day-long conference titled “Let’s Talk Racism: Recognizing, Resisting, and Revising.”

To be sure, some in the campus community appear to be striving to understand alternative viewpoints and avoid the divisiveness of identity politics. For instance, the diversity office at NC State is hosting a workshop next week titled “Controversial Issues and Civil Dialogue,” which is designed to help participants “disagree without being disagreeable.”

Similarly, the Professional Development Center at Wake Forest University held a “Let’s Talk: A Current Political Dialogue” workshop at the end of January. However, for every workshop designed to help students engage with those with whom they disagree, there seems to be a dozen more teaching them about, for example, “correcting” microaggressions.

If there is a silver lining for North Carolinians, it is that the situation could be a lot worse, as evidenced by the ridiculous turns radical progressivism has taken elsewhere in the country. Barnard College, for instance, recently announced a promise to begin hiring professors based on skin color as part of its ongoing efforts to become a “more representative, inclusive, and equitable campus.”

And at Santa Clara University, the student government denied recognizing the campus’s Turning Point USA chapter as an official club, saying that the group’s pro-capitalist message was in conflict with the school’s mission and against its “humanity.”

Though one might be tempted to write off such narrow-minded thinking as representative of just a small percentage of campus leftists, it becomes hard to ignore when it turns dangerous.

For example, a planned appearance by the conservative Brietbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California at Berkeley resulted in violent protests, leading to the event being canceled and over $100,000 in damage. Among some of the chants repeated by the roughly 1,500 protesters was “No safe space for racists.” And at New York University, eight protesters were arrested outside of a speaking event by conservative comedian Gavin McInnes.

The apparent breakdown of higher education’s marketplace of ideas seems to be spilling over more and more into the broader culture. For example, some conservatives in the San Francisco area are having to meet in secrecy, fearing even to tell their friends or family. As Bay Area resident Robert Ward described it, being a conservative is like “being a heretic” in some areas of California—a sad indication of how inhibited free and honest discussion has become.

At any rate, the more the intolerant Left ratchets up its efforts to censor and reproach those with alternative viewpoints, the more the general campus community—the reasonable majority—becomes alienated from them.

Speaking as a current UNC-Chapel Hill student, I can attest that most students—which even includes some of my friends who used to “Feel the Bern“—find the constant policing of “problematic language” and the progressive outrage machine to be tiresome and off-putting.

Any hope campus leftists have in terms of frustrating the goals of the Trump presidency relies on their ability to branch out to the reasonable majority. Unfortunately, they seem to be heading in the opposite direction, often with the tacit support and even direct involvement of faculty and administrators. One would think that all of their hysteria—which is truly anti-intellectual—would have to end someday. As of now, that time appears to be a long way off.

  • DrOfnothing

    If more traditional Conservatives would recognize that Trump does _not_ represent their views or advocate their ideology, there would be much more room for common cause and constructive dialogue. As is, support of an unconstitutional executive, fear-mongering, rejection of “facts,” blatant attacks on civil rights, and open derision for the foundations of American governance (e.g. an independent judiciary) are wholly incompatible with the rule of law or democratic principles. Anyone who wishes to support rule by decree and national security dictated by a politicized cabal and led by a radical ethnic nationalist (Bannon) will find no allies on either the traditional right or the traditional left. The more the author bangs on about the “radical left” suppressing free speech, the more legitimacy they grant an administration that is already taking substantive steps to muzzle any opposition whatsoever to its policies. It is absurd to get hysterical about a brushfire when there is a raging inferno just behind you, and it demonstrates a profound lack of perspective.

    As for Milo Y, he is a megaphone attached to the rear-end of the alt-right, a repugnant narcissist who spews lies, hate and intolerance. He has no philosophy and no original ideas to speak of, and therefore can make no substantive contribution to the debate at all. While I disagree with those who prevented him from speaking at Berkeley, any claims that he would make a worthwhile addition to dialogue fly in the face of who he is and what he represents. He himself demonstrates _no_ engagement with rational debate, so to hold him up as an epitome of free speech denied is preposterous.

    One can have no “marketplace of ideas” if the shelves are stocked only with offal.

    • I think you are seriously underrating offal. Liver, in particular, is delicious.

      • DrOfnothing

        That is a very good point. Given the option of either listening to liver or to Milo Y. for two hours, I would choose the former without hesitation.

    • Proud Kafir

      Well done! I think it is absolutely perfect that one of the first responses to this column came from exactly the sort of fascist “narcissistically unaware” thought cop that run workshops like “let’s talk racism”.

      Your entire condescending post proved the point of the column. Please keep it up. This is how you got Trump. Keep it up and you may get more.

      • DrOfnothing

        Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. I must now return to my fascistically-unaware narcissism, which is practically a full-time job.

        • Proud Kafir

          Practically a full time job? Looks to me like you are well into overtime as a narcissistic fascist. Your original post was so obnoxious and point reinforcing to the topic…. it indicates an obliviousness that only the self appointed elite possess. 10-1 that you “work” (LOL) in academia. Also, you used the word “offal”. Impressive.

          • DrOfnothing

            Yes, I’m am putting in my overtime, and it’s tough work . . .
            especially since Fascism is an ideology of the Right, so being a leftist-Fascist is conceptually impossible and therefore especially labor-intensive. But since you clearly know nothing about political ideology, I can see how you would make that mistake (LOL).

            Having a basic understanding of the subjects under discussion doesn’t make one an elitist, it just makes one capable of carrying on a civil, informative discussion rather than merely insulting those with whom we disagree. So, I urge you to acquire some basic knowledge and turn that dream into a reality.

            A couple of other useful grammar tips: “point-reinforcing,” while not actually a legitimate construction, should be hyphenated (compound verb), ditto “self-appointed” (compound adjective). Also, an ellipsis . . . only has three dots. The only thing I’m actually elitist about is basic grammar, but I think that’s forgivable 🙂

          • dougloss

            Absolutely false. Fascism is and always was a variant on socialism. Mussolini was very open about having been inspired by Woodrow Wilson’s proto-authoritarian regime, and leftists in the US were very supportive of Italian fascism until it threw in with the Nazis.

            As for having a basic understanding, that’s a good thing, yes. Perhaps you should get one.

          • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

            Mussolini’s influences are varied, but D’Annunzio rates higher than Wilson as a mentor, especially in regard to lessons learned from the Fiume affair.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriele_D%27Annunzio
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Regency_of_Carnaro#Impresa_di_Fiume

          • DrOfnothing

            Completely wrong. Fascism is invariably linked to nationalism. Socialism, being focused on class, was inherently internationalist. Politics 101.

          • dougloss

            Fascism is nationalist socialism, while what you think of as socialism is internationalist socialism. Otherwise they’re pretty much identical.

          • DrOfnothing

            I’m sorry, but this is entirely incorrect, and I don’t have the time or inclination to offer you a more detailed explanation of basic political ideology. You are confusing the NSDAP _title_ with the recognized ideology of socialism. There was, in fact, almost nothing socialist about the Nazis. This is why political scientists refer to the Nazis (and Fascism more generally) as “unpolitical politics,” since it is not a coherent ideology, but rather an ultra-nationalist cultural spasm.

            When, in their misunderstanding, people refer to their left-wing opponents as “fascist,” what they are really saying is that they are either dogmatic or authoritarian. This is a very different proposition.

          • dougloss

            Translation of the above for non-leftists: You’ve got me and I can’t logically refute you, so I’m just going to claim you’re wrong and pretend I’ve won.

          • DrOfnothing

            . . . except that I just refuted you with logic and accurate information. Please do more research about the nature of ideology before continuing this conversation. You simply do not understand what Fascism actually is.

          • dougloss

            You did nothing of the sort. Merely claiming yourself to be correct doesn’t make it true. Well, for a leftist like you perhaps it does, in your mind. In the real world, though…

          • DrOfnothing

            Here’s a short but informative argument about both the history of Fascism and the current (mis)use of the word:
            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8316271.stm

            Here’s the textbook definition (note the emphasis on race and nation, as I explained earlier):
            “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”

            Socialism is a bit more complex, as it is a coherent ideology rather than a cultural movement. The most common form in practice today is “Social Democracy” (e.g. France, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia). Here’s the definition:
            “The Socialist International (SI) – the worldwide organization of social democratic and democratic socialist parties – defines social democracy as an ideal form of representative democracy, that may solve the problems found in a liberal democracy. The SI emphasizes the following principles [4]: Firstly, freedom – not only individual liberties, but also freedom from discrimination and freedom from dependence on either the owners of the means of production or the holders of abusive political power. Secondly, equality and social justice – not only before the law but also economic and socio-cultural equality as well, and equal opportunities for all including those with physical, mental, or social disabilities. Finally, solidarity – unity and a sense of compassion for the victims of injustice and inequality.
            Modern social democracy has abandoned economic socialism as its goal by rejecting state ownership or direct worker ownership of the means of production and a reorganization of the economy, and instead advocates a welfare state, regulated capitalism and some public ownership of supporting industries. While it is still considered a socialist political movement, modern social democracy advocates capitalist economic systems such as the social market economy, Third-way mixed economies and relies on Keynesian economics.” (this is from Wikipedia, and while is loses some of the nuances, it’s not that far off).

            Please do your own research next time before using terms (largely as insults) that you clearly do not understand.

          • ShermanLogan

            Ya know, it isn’t difficult to look around and find definitions of socialism and fascism that line up with just about any opinion.

            Probably the most unreliable of all such definitions are those produced by their proponents.

            What, you think Nazis or Commies are going to define their beliefs in a negative way?

          • DrOfnothing

            For what it’s worth, I only use the definitions employed by the majority of historians and political scientists that examine them. No one is perfectly neutral, of course, but objectivity is certainly the goal and the key to credibility. Fascism is hard to define without negative connotations, given how abhorrent it is to most sane, sensible folks.

            What is most objectionable, both here and elsewhere, is to see people misusing the term so egregiously and in such ignorance. Both commentators on the right and left are guilty of this. The Orwell quote is apt, though the OP misapplies and misunderstands it–it’s just a term of abuse. I was present when a colleague publicly referred to Trump as a Fascist, and vehemently objected!

          • ShermanLogan

            Fair enough. I repeatedly see the tired old arguments of whether fascism (not Fascism, which I think should be limited to the Italian variety) is Right or Left.

            The whole argument is about definitions of the various terms involved. If you can’t agree on the meaning of words, then you can’t have an intelligent discussion.

            First, you have to decide what “fascism” means, I think most fairly done by first agreeing on which political movements of the past were and were not fascist, then agreeing on what they had in common. That would make a fair definition.

            Then, we would have to agree on what Right and Left mean. To my mind, the Left has been fairly consistent for the 150 years or so on what being Leftist means. But the term Right has generally been used simply to refer to any group that opposes the Left.

            The European Right of the 19th and early 20th centuries was pretty much a Church and Crown group that then morphed into a Blood and Soil group. With the exception of the South, and brief flirtations with nativismin in the 1850s and 1920s, America has never really had either.

            So Right here, outside the South, has generally meant devotion to the principles of the American Revolution, as variously interpreted and applied down the years. The problem is that the American Revolution specifically revolted against Church and Crown, and never really got into Blood and Soil, so the term American Right, if it makes sense at all, should be recognized as very different from the traditional European Right.

            To my mind, Fascism was a somewhat logically incoherent anti-Marxist extreme nationalist ideology that drew doctrines from both the (European style Blood and Soil) Right and the Left. Nazism, the most successful variety, added in an even more incoherent racism, which conflicted considerably with its German nationalism.

            Probably the most distinctive characteristic of fascism is a desire to have “Italians of all classes” unite rather than “workers of all nations.” It saw people’s true interests as aligned with their nation as against being aligned with those of other nations but similar “class” status. It has fallen down the memory hole, but the Nazis were utterly opposed to the traditional class structure of Germany, a major reason many aristos opposed or at least despised them.

            Probably the biggest reason neither socialism nor fascism ever took off here, at least relative to Europe, is that we have never really had a class system in the European sense.

          • DrOfnothing

            Your assessment of Fascism is pretty good, and close to what I’ve been saying all along. The Left can be authoritarian or dogmatic, but it can’t actually be Fascist, since the latter is inherently nationalist.

            I can’t agree at all with your description of the Left and Right in American history, I’m afraid. They are far more in alignment, both in history and contemporary politics. Many of the differences so inflated here, in right-wing popular culture, and by the Trump administration are largely bogeymen. What has seemed to happen recently is that both ends of the spectrum in the States have hardened, largely in response to the liberalizing social agenda of the left and the concurrent counter-reaction from the right, along with the latter’s turn to populist, nativist nationalism as a response to declining demographic strength and a sharpened urban/rural, coastal/interior cultural divide. The GOP has increasingly become the party not just of right, but of aggressively militaristic white ethnic nationalism (exacerbated by the moral panic over terrorism). To a historian like myself, the basic breakdown of civil discourse, the callous fear-mongering of the current administration, and the elevation of racial issues (whether with the abhorrent attacks on Obama or the left’s conflation of Trump supporters indelibly with alt-right) are all tremendously disconcerting. They threaten the fundamental rights of the individual, the foundations of Constitutional governance, and democracy itself. We really need to stop the irrational, hysterical bickering and focus on the very real danger here, which is growing daily.

          • ShermanLogan

            “the definitions employed by the majority of historians and political scientists that examine them.”

            It doesn’t take a lot of research to confirm that the majority of these people are on the Left and often proud Marxists. Thus, to my mind, their objectivity is pretty severely compromised.

            BTW, in my opinion, Trump IS a Fascist, from a leftist perspective. As I explained in my other post, Right has generally been used to mean anybody that opposes the Left, with Fascist added in for anybody who opposes them really effectively or in an “extreme” way. Since Trump opposes them, he must by (their) definition be a Fascist.

          • DrOfnothing

            “It doesn’t take a lot of research to confirm that the majority of these people are on the Left and often proud Marxists.” This is incorrect, and I challenge you to provide evidence. Historians in US History departments tend to vote Democrat, true, but are largely centrist to moderate left-of-center in ideology. After working 17 years in the field, I have only met one actual Marxist, and that was personal politics, not his scholarly approach. Marxist history largely went out of style in the US after the 1980s, though it remains more popular in Continental history faculty.

          • hiernonymous

            More to the point, he recognizes that you’re parroting a barely warmed-over bloggified rehash of Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism thesis, and probably don’t even recognize that you’re a parrot. You’ve been fed a talking point and, well, you’re talking.

          • briccone

            Arguing that a belief in nationalism should be equated with fascism is absurd. Fascism differs from nationalism in two profound ways. First, fascists did not consider self-determination a universal right. Second, fascism was an assault on the right of nations to pursue their self-interest, and an elevation of the fascists’ right to pursue it based on an assertion of their nations’ inherent superiority and right to rule others.

            The idea of nation-states is far more closely linked to traditional liberal democracy. It represent the reassertion of the foundation of liberal democracy, which is the self-governing nation-state. It is the foundation of the United Nations, whose members are nation-states, and where the right to national self-determination is fundamental.

            Liberal democracy does not dictate whether a nation should be a member in a multinational organization, adopt free trade policies or protectionism, or welcome or exclude immigrants. These are decisions to be made by the people – or more precisely, by the representatives they select. The choices may be wise, unwise or even unjust. However, the power to make these choices rests, in a liberal democracy, in the hands of the citizens.

            What we are seeing is the rise of the nation-state against the will of multinational organizations and agreements. There are serious questions about membership in the EU, NATO and trade agreements, and equally about the right to control borders. Reasonable people can disagree, and it is the political process of each nation that retains the power to determine shifts in policy. There is no guarantee that the citizenry will be wise, but that cuts both ways and in every direction.

            Nationalism does not imply authoritarian government nor the desire to impose one nation’s beliefs upon other nations. However, the two major parties in the US hold fascist like beliefs regarding US superiority and their right to interfere in the affairs of other nation-states. At the moment, Russian interference in the last election has caused a holier than thou uproar. Are US citizens so out of touch with history that they don’t understand the US has constantly been interfering in elections all over the world. I believe it is wrong, but nations have been interfering in the affairs of other nations for centuries.

          • Nate Whilk

            “Fascism is an ideology of the Right, so being a leftist-Fascist is conceptually impossible”

            That’s only because your concept of fascism is incorrect.

            Orwell: ‘The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies “something not desirable”. … Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. … Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.’

          • DrOfnothing

            No, that is incorrect. As I pointed out to another poster, Fascism is linked, in origins and expression, to ultra-nationalism. Socialism, with the exception of Stalin, is invariably linked to internationalism (it takes class, not nations, as its focus).

          • Nate Whilk

            Double down on the dishonesty. A fascist tactic.

          • DrOfnothing

            No, I am being accurate. If you can find a definition or history of Fascism that does _not_ link it with nationalism, please share it. Ditto a history of western European Socialism that does not seek to forge alliances between workers across national borders. Go ahead, I challenge you to find either–please, prove me wrong.

            I am not accusing you of dishonesty–I think you genuinely believe what you are saying. That does not, however, make it accurate.

          • Nate Whilk

            You are being dishonest. See Orwell quote. You choose your definition of fascism to prove your point.

          • DrOfnothing

            Incorrect. I chose the historically accurate definition. Orwell was explaining what _you_ are doing, which is simply using it as a general term of condemnation (i.e. a term with “no meaning”). He is not suggesting that there is no historical definition, merely pointing out its common misuse as an insult, for example, in your insistence that my “dishonesty” is a “fascist tactic.”

            You are quoting an author that _undermines_ your own argument and you don’t even realise it. Priceless!

        • I’m sure it is a full of job. Well done! Bring more. You’re bound to get through to more of those conservatives about POTUS Trump not being conservative. you’ve gift wrapped 48 years! 1972+48->2020 THANKS

          • DrOfnothing

            I am nothing if not “full of job.” So much job, so fully!

    • Nate Whilk

      “He himself demonstrates _no_ engagement with rational debate, so to hold him up as an epitome of free speech denied is preposterous.”

      Freedom of speech means nothing if it’s only for things you support. Who determines “rational debate”, and whether it’s required for free speech? You?

      ‘One can have no “marketplace of ideas” if the shelves are stocked only with offal.’

      Are you so sure your ideas aren’t offal? Guess again.

      • DrOfnothing

        I believe you ignored the part where I supported his right to speak. Try again.

        • Nate Whilk

          I believe you ignored my entire post. End of story.

          • DrOfnothing

            Gosh, what happened to “free speech?” I’m feeling terribly oppressed by your unwillingness to engage speech you disagree with or to offer any substantive response besides nanny-nanny-boo-boo.

  • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

    One of my favorite books is Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985).

    Per wiki: The book’s origins lay in a talk Postman gave to the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1984. He was participating in a panel on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and the contemporary world. In the introduction to his book, Postman said that the contemporary world was better reflected by Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, whose public was oppressed by their addiction to amusement, than by Orwell’s work, where they were oppressed by state control.

    The advent of electronic media and its well-known addictive qualities has sharpened Postman’s point, so much so that public discourse appears to have been displaced by contrived entertainment gambits of the kind promoted by Milo Y.

    Along the same lines of analysis, C. John Sommerville’s How the News Makes Us Dumb: The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society, devotes chapters to discussing presidential campaigns and their detrimental dynamics. See:
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/1991/10/why-the-news-makes-us-dumb

    Our post-Facebook, post-Twitter world is the unwelcome mutant of the worst features singled out by Postman/Sommerville, and despite Contarino’s efforts, or my feeble attempt here, far worse awaits us. Our technological Moloch marches on, devouring both the left and the right in its path of destruction.

    • Thanks for the book recommendation. I had not heard of How the News Makes Us Dumb. I will have to check it out.

      • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

        I always go to fetchbooks.info which aggregates 145 bookstores and outlets for a bargain.
        Sommerville studied the news in England in the 1500s and 1600s, and applies the insights garnered there. The imprint is InterVarsity, to their credit, and was re-printed in 2009. At 155 pages, it is a convenient length.

  • broimp

    Politics of the Swarm

    “Indivisible” groups across the U.S. take inspirations from the success of the previously-reviled “astroturf” Tea Party, from the militant ANTIFA Left wing who practice violence to preclude counter revolutionary messages from being heard, from the Occupy campers, and all of it underpinned by a love of Marxism, sympathy for communism, hatred of capitalism, and revulsion over the evil counter-revolutionary Republicans.

    But that’s not the message they present to the rest of the world—the Dar al-Harb [House of War]—the U.S. became for them after the recent election.

    In the new battle space, forget philosophy, argument, cases, constructs, reasoning, laws, precedent, decorum, and civil behavior. Enter the swarm—used to be called the mob. But where the mob was random and uncontrolled, the swarm is targeted and strategic.

    The swarm intends to overwhelm, not through a Cloward-Piven system-saturation strategy, but through crowding out the head space, the message space of the public domain, from the opposition—the illegitimate non-communist counter revolutionaries currently holding public office.

    With what content, one might ask, and here’s the new twist. It’s nothing. Or something. It does not matter! The message is irrelevant except as a temporary placeholder to crowd out the opposition message. Counter revolutionaries are so far beneath the Left’s contempt, they’re not even worth an argument.

    Instead, they get short, shouted, repetitive, symbolic phrases, fitted to sound bites. No conversation, no debate, because no one wants to be seen talking to a counter revolutionary dhimmi.

    The swarm intends to foreclose discussion and provoke suppression. If they get lucky, maybe create a few martyrs for the movement. They intend to exacerbate normal human relations by politicizing everything to foreclose peaceful constructive communications. Peace does not serve their interest in revolution.

    Any form of engagement aggravates the swarm. Proximity or adjacency feeds it with targets to focus outrage upon.

    So how should civil society, the descendants of our Western intellectual heritage, live alongside these extremely unpleasant, and sometimes outright destructive, swarming communist agents?

    It seems prudent to keep a safe distance from them when they’re in outrage mode. Perhaps if enough people stop enabling them and leave them alone to burn through their tantrums among themselves, they’ll eventually burn themselves out and settle down.

    There’s plenty of advice on the internet for dealing with tantrums in children, advice that might inform a rational approach to political tantrums by Leftist adults.

    Meanwhile, the political adults in the room should carry on with the constructive chores that come with adulthood. To this end they should continue to publish their constructive ideas, present their solutions using reasonable persuasion, and most importantly, stop taking the Left’s tantrums as serious political statements.

    To elevate the swarm’s messaging to the level of our core constitutional structures, besides being an absurd equivocation, seriously undervalues the work product from the Founders who built our republic, and we should never forget that hindsight.

    • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

      You give the Swarm too much credit, make them (?) seem too powerful, and give no role for our technological innovations.

    • DrOfnothing

      I’m afraid that this could just as easily describe Trump supporters. Each side accuses the other of exactly the same crimes and transgressions.

      Calling your political opponents an anti-American “swarm,” a “mob,” or a “basket of deplorables” is ever helpful.

  • Gregale

    The essential question is not “Why are Americans so anti-intellectual?”

    Rather, the question is “Why are intellectuals so anti-American?”

    • bdavi52

      A small clarification: “Why are so-called intellectuals so anti-American?”

  • Terenc Blakely

    “Our elites aren’t elite but they are elitists.”

  • Smash_The_Patriarchy

    The hypocrisy of the article starts from the title. “Campus Intolerance”…seems to me that the “absurd leftist” college students are pretty much the most tolerant community at the moment considering the rampant intolerance from Trump and his administration. But i guess maybe you’re right, we are intolerant. We won’t tolerate hate, racism, sexism, homophobia, and unfair policies because we have basic human decency. Forgive us for wanting to share that with the campus through workshops and lectures that help us all better understand the current political and social situation we’re facing.

    You say the left is trying to censor others yet there is nothing truly stopping campus conservatives from holding their own workshops/protests explaining their point of view and offering their brand of identity politics. I’m sure you recall the giant conservative anti-abortion display in the center of campus. If Gary the pit preacher can ramble on for hours and have civil discussions with students about his conservative values, I’m sure right leaning students are more than welcome to be part of the conversation. You can’t deny that the amount of incidents as a result of these liberal protests/”intolerance” is a small minority compared to the many peaceful and productive protests that campus activists engage in.

    It’s sad to hear that non-liberals feel scared to share their views in the midst of this “radical progressivism”, yet you don’t mention the many muslims, immigrants and African Americans that are actually scared for their well-being and survival following Trump’s election, yet still have the courage to let their voices be heard. Even more so just a few years after three muslim students were killed in Chapel Hill due to their beliefs.

    Maybe, it’s just me, but the amount of times you generalize and insult left leaning students in this article makes me think…maybe you’re the intolerant snowflake…

    Well written article, and some valid points, but there is much more to be said on this complex issue. I would love to engage in some civil discourse with you and hear what alternatives you suggest.

    P.S. Nice graphic, not creepy at all.

    • Spencer

      Would this be the sort of “civil discourse” that starts with a charge of hypocrisy, ends with a sarcastic comment about creepiness, with a “And you’re one too!” fling in the middle?

      Oh, and also includes asseverations about how your position is nonnegotiable, and displays a fine flowering of whataboutery.

      I’m sure that would be productive use of his time.

    • Bandit

      .seems to me that the “absurd leftist” college students are pretty much the most tolerant community at the moment

      The lack of self-awareness is staggering

      • bdavi52

        But sadly unsurprising.
        When you see the world only as Us/Them…Good/Evil… then any indication by anyone which even hints at the possibility that Reality is more complex & layered than that is immediately greeted (as it was here) with the declaration that the Speaker is not just wrong but an Indecent, Hater, Racist, Sexist, Homophobe who creates, supports, and enables Unfair Policies which must be resisted & destroyed.

        Though there is also the grudging admission that perhaps we’re all just deluded and require enlightenment. Fortunately we’re offered the chance to get our heads right at the endless Programming Sessions offered by the New Red Guard.

        We’re not dealing here with simple intolerance. What we find in these screeds, over and over again, is a hyper-aggressive blindness, an avid obsessive determination to see the world (particularly the Euro-American West) as nothing more than Oppression imposed upon the Perpetual Victim (and everyone — but you! — is a victim). Sad, pathetic, and increasingly dangerous as they begin to define themselves as the New Jihadists.

    • DrOfnothing

      What you have to keep in mind is that many of the folks writing these articles (including the senior JMC staff) and 99% of the those contributing in the comments section have not spent any significant amount of time on university campuses in recent years. The JMC guest writers that have done so, you may notice, often come from obscure corners of academia, and have structured their purpose around the same “identity politics” that they so roundly condemn in others. There’s much window-dressing about “free speech,” but at base, it’s nothing more than the politics of victimhood that they so deplore in every group that _isn’t_ Conservative or Libertarian. Their primary source of information is other Con and Neo-con websites. Most of the time, they merely recycle/rephrase what they read there and then wait for the peanut gallery to clap in approval.

      The real shame of it all is that there are a few informed and relatively moderate folks at the JMC, but their leadership caters only to the most hysterical and extreme elements, fostering an atmosphere of hostility and paranoia with their constant harangues against anyone who isn’t in lock-step with their ideology. This is why the comments section is such a carnival of vitriol, irrationality, and conspiracy theories. Any opportunity for more substantive discussion of serious issues such as civil rights, free speech, curriculum reform, educational funding, or the very real threat to public education posed by the current administration is lost. As the Russians say “a fish rots from the head.”

  • Alan

    “Being a conservative is like “being a heretic” “.
    Exactly. And the new religion is socialist demagoguery.
    Anthropogenic Global Warming, the A.C.A.
    All designed to bring out the ideals of socialism, and to put America in it’s ‘proper place’ in the world.
    So in their eyes, we are heretics.
    Ain’t it Grand!

  • Bluwater

    I’m still waiting for the first official book burning. Perhaps then, folks will feel more comfortable pulling their jackboots out of the closet.

    But to the latter part of the article, there are a lot of folks out there whose reaction to this is first shock, but then realizing that we let this stay in leftists hands too long and more power to anyone who will oppose this by whatever measure necessary. In short, galvanizing the center to right in opposition…. not by counter-protests, but by standing firm and unyielding.

    They can cry, rant, call us the gamut of names, and apparently in a few cases now, even threaten to cut off their own balls in rebellion. I’m only shocked that they haven’t held a “hold my breath till I turn blue” demonstration. The only thing that this proves is that we are right and once again the adults are in charge. Even the conservative nevertrumpers are now on board.

    In other words, thanks guys! You’ve done for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

  • DrOfnothing

    Just curious, now that Milo Yiannopoulos has publicly advocated pedophilia, does the author still advocate his views as valuable commodities in the “marketplace of ideas?”

    If so, we should probably make that market 18 and over (with valid ID) for admittance, just to be on the safe side.