Monday morning, embattled University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned, after pressure from student groups over a series of “racial incidents” that apparently marred the campus experience to such a degree that no one can effectively name the incidents in question without consulting a timeline that seems to quantify them as “he said/he said” events, without any specific details.
Someone drew a swastika in poop, (!) the timeline says, but the defecating Nazi perpetrator(s) has never been caught, nor identified. People were yelled at by drunkards and passing pickup truck passengers, the timeline screams, but other than a vague description of menacing shadowy figures, the stories are hardly fleshed out.
As a confused college president and chancellor struggled with how to punish the guilty without knowing who they were, and how to lift the weight of categorical and systematic oppression from their students’ shoulders for the sake of their own survival in an institution that is supposed to be the bastion of intellectual discourse, those same students took to campus streets to demand their removal instead, operating as judge, jury and academic executioner.
And you know what? He deserved it. He was part of the system that created the monster. Now, he’s its most public victim.
In fairness, oppression isn’t a quantifiable feeling. You’re either oppressed or you’re not, and that’s an entirely subjective decision. But it seems like, before he fell victim to campus mob rule, Tim Wolfe himself was trying to grasp the situation as best he could, to no avail. He simply couldn’t win. Apologies came too late. Students were unable to discuss the particulars of their ideological campaign. As they say, you can’t argue with crazy.
As it were, crazy didn’t even bother to argue and it didn’t bother to respond, even when Wolfe stepped down. Instead, the University of Missouri, a renowned journalism school, employed its top communications professor to push photographers and student journalists out of demonstrating students’ “safe space,” as Mizzou’s students couldn’t bring themselves to face the real world, even as they were angling to impact it.
This is far from an isolated incident. Screaming ninnies seem to be the most vocal component of campus populations these days, whether they’re stomping their feet at Yale administrators, pushing ESPN cameramen or indulging themselves with puppies and crayons as potentially violent middle-aged academics and scholars give speeches on the ill effects of third-wave feminism. Today’s students want nothing more than to feel safe and secure on college campuses: a characteristic they define by a level of protection, comfort and security typically reserved for the homicidal inmates of Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. They are conditioned to believe their liberal ideology and their illiberal approach to disagreement is only the natural outcropping of their intellectual and cultural superiority: a gift from the gods, apparently, to the upper middle-class residents of Ivy League schools. They’ve been indoctrinated with bullying compassion, taught to see redistribution as the only truly loving form of justice, confused by New Math and relaxed academic standards, plied with self-esteem-building toys and diversity workbooks and had their tears and bottoms wiped, well into adulthood, by well-meaning, if overly cautious Boomer parents, desperate to earn their latchkey love.
In other words, if you think the college students of today have problems with the real world, it’s because their caretakers, and especially their teachers, have endeavored as best they could to keep the real world from the college students of today. And now, they’re reaping what they’ve sown: obnoxious, entitled, intellectually uncurious, emotionally stunted, self-important, coddled and prickly young adults.
We’ve joked, for decades, about university English departments being the last bastions of American Communism. But it wasn’t a joke: liberals have flooded academia by the hundreds, as they’ve struggled to adapt to any environment outside of college life. Today’s professors are students from the 1960s who never left, who found business and capitalism distasteful, who devoted their lives to suggesting to impressionable students that they are somehow better, more compassionate, more intelligent and more apt to know how others would best live their lives; they’ve been imparting their nonsensical “wisdom” for decades now. And as their influence grew, the influence of the university as a bastion of discourse and debate diminished. Generations of students have been turned out, one less capable than the last, encouraged to further pursue nonsensical fields of study with no potential outside of academia. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
And now, liberal academics are concerned that their institutions are facing the very monster they’ve created. As in the case of Wolfe, faculty and academics have tolerated and encouraged a climate of political correctness, though they failed to anticipate that illiberal cancer among their population would metastasize on its own. Now, as it threatens to devour the Dr. Frankenstein it created, suddenly liberals are concerned. It’s too late now. The best they can hope for is to get off the sinking ship while there are still lifeboats adrift to rescue them — but the best we can all hope for is that the system finally collapses and intellectualism emerges from its ashes.