Of Course Campus Radicalism Matters

I am not a big fan of the claim that “if I’m getting flak, I must be over the target.”  It is often the case that people who take flak eminently deserve it.  But the apparent pushback trying to dismiss the problem of campus radicalism is the first kind of flak.

Noah Rothman argues that on one level, it does not matter whether campus radicalism is all that widespread, and that’s an alright argument at a more abstract level.  But Andrew Sullivan makes the stronger case about the way in which the trappings of campus radicalism, e.g., microaggressions and the like, have in fact seeped into the general society in ways that retard social progress, e.g., taking the justified moral panic of Weinsteingate and MeToo to places where it will erode popular support.  And it certainly seems that it has seeped in at the bullpen of the New York Times.  Or at Google, or any number of other large corporations.

Those interested in downplaying this are not always motivated by the desire to get about their agenda without debate.  But plenty of them are.

Sullivan’s headline writer goes too far (as headline writers often do) in claiming “We All Live On Campus Now.”  There is a large group of Americans who believe this to be true.  There is also a large group of Americans who, as the kids might say, do not want.  And some of the former would like to use the totalitarian methods tolerated on many campuses to silence the latter group.

The second group reacts against the tactics of the first group, though not always wisely.  The first group succeeded so well that there has been (as I have written) a shallowing of the conservatism in America. Or, to paraphrase Gabriel Rossman from yesterday, the de facto purging of conservatives from many faculties results in a vacuum of responsible conservative mentoring.  Those who invite Milo to campus also make their way into the real world (fortunately, those at UCLA reconsidered).

This is what happens when academia is corrupted from transmitting the accumulated wisdom of the Enlightenment to the inculcation of pre-Enlightenment tribalism and totalitarianism.

That roughly half of America would like to make the other half live on campus with them — and the backlash that generates — is a tidy summation of American society today.

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