And that’s just the warm-up. Donald Trump understands the dynamics of power, and absolutely nails the problems at the University of Missouri and Yale this week. Calling the spectacle at Mizzou “disgusting,” Trump laid the blame for it at the feet of Tim Wolfe for resigning under pressure, saying that Mizzou should have hired Trump as chancellor:
“I think the two people that resigned are weak, ineffective people,” he said. “I think that when they resigned, they set something in motion that’s going to be a disaster for the next long period of time. They were weak, ineffective people.”
Trump added: “Trump should have been the chancellor of that university. Believe me, there would have been no resignations.”
He also slammed the “crazy” demands of the leading student-protest group, Concerned Student 1950, which, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune, are a list of sweeping actions to address racial tensions at the school.
Those included that the university increase its percentage of black faculty and staff on campus to 10%, a handwritten apology, and a mandatory “comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum” overseen by students and faculty of color.
“By the way, did you look at their demands?” Trump said on Fox Business. “Their demands are like crazy. The things that they are asking for, many of those things are like crazy. So it just disgraceful.”
Trump is absolutely, 100% correct on this — especially about the retreat of the adults at Mizzou and Yale creating a long-term disaster in higher education. PJ Media’s Debra Heine notes today that “PC hysteria spreads to other campuses,” and that it’s more akin to a virus “threatening to kill its hosts.” Why? In large part because Mizzou and Yale caved in to the proto-fascists on their campuses, creating an incentive for more and greater proto-fascism to follow in its wake.
That’s the topic of my column today at The Fiscal Times, wherein I call for the adults to intervene and stop the lunatics from running the asylums:
Melissa Click, an assistant professor of communications who ironically had a courtesy appointment in Mizzou’s school of journalism, joined a crowd of students who decided to enforce a “safe space” from the media when a student photojournalist approached. When Tim Tai stood his ground and tried to cover the story, Click called out for help in physically removing Tai. “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” a video captured Click yelling. “I need some muscle over here.”
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 demise of free speech as a cultural value has accelerated on college campuses, because the elites in Academia and the media are uninterested in preserving the values of individual liberty and want to control the culture rather than inform and educate it. Now that the media has become a victim of the proto-fascists, one might hope that they would understand the existential risk to their own standing. But their lack of curiosity about the origins of the supposed incidents on both campuses prior to reporting them bodes very ill for the prospects of an awakening to the threat to liberty.
In May, I warned about the disconnect in our culture to the values of liberty and free speech in favor of power plays to shut down dissent. It’s not exactly a surprise to see that trend flourish in Academia, nor much of a surprise to see our national media sit passively on the sidelines as it progresses:
The more fundamental question and danger is this: Who would get to decide what constitutes “provocative” speech that cannot be exercised? Who decides which opinions are “hate” and cannot bear the light of day?
The answer appears to be the cultural elite who keep getting free speech wrong – and not just in the media. We have seen political correctness expand into stultifying speech codes on college campuses, pushed by progressive groups and enabled by administrators that have made a mockery out of higher education. That cone of silence has begun to extend into politics in general, ironically as more and more activists demand “conversations” on controversial topics but then demand that the opposing side be silenced or forced into byzantine processes to avoid “triggers.”
All of this amounts to an attempt to control the political sphere by either silencing dissent or demonizing it as “bullying,” “bigoted,” and worse. The same applies in other First Amendment freedoms as well, especially the freedom of religious expression. The same pattern holds when people wish to live their faith in the entirety of their lives. Whether it comes from the government in contraception mandates or forced participation in same-sex marriage events, the media and political elites have decided that the liberty guaranteed in plain English in the Constitution no longer applies – as long as they can redefine the language to suit their purposes. …
Given the broad and consistent response to the Garland event, and even to an extent the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it’s impossible to believe that it’s simply benign ignorance of the breadth and necessity of First Amendment protections. The most pernicious problem isn’t that the elites in the media and academia don’t bother to inform themselves on issues of free speech and religious liberty, or even that they’re misinforming us on them. It’s that they’re not interested in preserving the values of individual liberty, and want to control the culture rather than inform and educate it.
Glenn Reynolds argues that campus proto-fascism should prompt a change in the voting age — to twenty-five:
This isn’t the behavior of people who are capable of weighing opposing ideas, or of changing their minds when they are confronted with evidence that suggests that they are wrong. It’s the behavior of spoiled children — a characterization that Friedersdorf, perhaps unconsciously, underscores by not reporting the students’ names because, he implies, they are too young to be responsible for their actions. And spoiled children shouldn’t vote.
And this is at Yale, where — alarmingly — the students are supposed to represent America’s leaders of tomorrow. But the problem isn’t just at Yale, as the University of Missouri recently saw student protests oust a president for . . . well, it’s not entirely clear what he did, but it had something to do with not being sensitive enough to students’ feelings. Nor, sadly, are such events unique; campus craziness has become a standard story line, with new examples appearing almost daily.
As Reason’s Robby Soave notes, student demands for “safe spaces” boil down to a demand that universities fulfill the role of Mommy and Daddy. In the old days — this practice, interestingly, ended about 1971, too — colleges stood in loco parentis (in the place of parents) and, as Soave noted, exercised extensive and detailed control over students’ social lives, sleeping hours, organizing and speaking. Now, he observes, the students are “desperate to be treated like children again.”
Well, okay, I guess. But children don’t vote. Those too fragile to handle different opinions are too fragile to participate in politics. So maybe we should raise the voting age to 25, an age at which, one fervently hopes, some degree of maturity will have set in. It’s bad enough to have to treat college students like children. But it’s intolerable to be governed by spoiled children. People who can’t discuss Halloween costumes rationally don’t deserve to play a role in running a great nation.
We don’t have to be governed by spoiled children. Wolfe et al legitimized these temper tantrums, and now other administrators face a choice. They can either give in to the proto-fascists, or they can tell them to pound sand and that the entire campus is a free-speech zone whether they like it or not. When football teams threaten to boycott, administrators can cancel seasons and revoke scholarships. All it would take is one or two rounds of ending the major-league aspirations of those who want a playpen rather than an education for the message to sink in.