Leftists Admit: Culture at American Colleges Is Stiflingly Leftist
April 1, 2015
Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard suggests, “The Campus Left Begins to Implode”. It may sound too good to be true—or at least premature—but his sources are leftists themselves, three of them, who have started to have second thoughts about the increasingly bullying left-wing culture of American colleges.
I used to endorse a particular brand of politics that is prevalent at McGill and in Montreal more widely. It is a fusion of a certain kind of anti-oppressive politics and a certain kind of radical leftist politics. This particular brand of politics begins with good intentions and noble causes, but metastasizes into a nightmare. . . .
There is something dark and vaguely cultish about this particular brand of politics. I’ve thought a lot about what exactly that is. I’ve pinned down four core features that make it so disturbing: dogmatism, groupthink, a crusader mentality, and anti-intellectualism. . . . I will not mention a single sin that I have not been fully and damnably guilty of in my time.
First, dogmatism. . . . In this mindset, people who disagreed with my views weren’t just wrong, they were awful people. I watched what people said closely, scanning for objectionable content. Any infraction reflected badly on your character . . . .
This isn’t an issue of hypocrisy. This is a matter of real, palpable fear. Saying anything that goes against liberal orthodoxy is now grounds for a firin’. . . .
Personally, liberal students scare the [____] out of me. I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back. I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.
The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.
At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.
. . .
But the notion that ticklish conversations must be scrubbed clean of controversy has a way of leaking out and spreading. Once you designate some spaces as safe, you imply that the rest are unsafe. It follows that they should be made safer.
Optimistically, Mr. Last suggests:
Three stories. Three disaffected liberals willing to speak out. Three cracks in the power structure. It’s a small start. But this is how regimes fall.
On the other hand, he also points out that in the current culture, two out of the three leftists felt the need for the protection of anonymity to speak out at all.