By Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media
The Path to Ignorance
One common denominator characterizes almost all unrest on college campuses: the demands to create more “-studies” courses (black, Latino, feminist, gay, etc.) and thus to hire more -studies professors.
An empiricist from Mars might observe that the chief beneficiaries of the protests are -studies academics. They alone will win more jobs and classes, which otherwise few students wish to attend and from which fewer gain any factual knowledge, written and oral speaking skills, or improvement in inductive thinking.
A good leftist would cite conflict of interest: the more -studies professors egg on students to protest for more -studies professors, the more their friends, students, and mentors profit. Or is it more insidious: students also want more -studies courses to ensure more gut classes with easy As to inflate GPAs and free up more time to hit the gym and the local protest? So far there are few demands to make the physics department more diverse or to hire more engineering professors.
If some right-wing nut wished to harm leftist students and wanted to ensure that they stay indebted, leave college poorly prepared, and do not impress future employers, then he would likely advocate for the curtailment of traditional history, language, science, math courses and their faculty, and the expansion of more -studies courses and professors.
Who pays unnecessary administrators—other than students and the federal government that ensures their frequently defaulted loans? Screaming that the Constitution is racist is not the same thing as explaining the 10th Amendment’s Reserve Clause, in the way that damning old white texts does not mean one has first read Plato’s Republic or Augustine’s The City of God and found it unfair.
Forget the Poor?
Another irony. Note how class never really becomes an issue to campus class warriors.
If it were, campus demands would include:
1) Part-time teachers should receive equal pay for equal work, instead of receiving far less compensation for teaching the same class with the same credentials.
2) Stop administrative bloat and return more scarce education dollars for teaching students rather than creating czarist fiefdoms for academic careerists.
3) Spread the wealth among rich and poor campuses: set a cap at $5 billion on tax-free endowments; anything over that amount would be subject to for-profit tax codes regarding donations and spending. Why should Princeton have more tax-free dollars than, say, Morgan State? Are its privileged alumni and donor base to perpetuate their privilege on the public dime? Even professional sports teams treat wealthy franchises one way, and poorer counterparts quite another. Why are campuses more reactionary and adverse to spreading the wealth than Major League Baseball or the NBA?
4) Predicate affirmative action on class considerations. Why would one assume that a multimillionaire kid like Jonathan Butler who led the Missouri hunger strike faces more hardship than does a poor kid from Appalachia or a South Korean immigrant?
5) Stop building pricey bourgeoisie distractions like Club Med heated swimming pools, hipster rock-climbing walls, and 5th Avenue Fitness-style workout stations, when zero-sum money could be far better spent on more Chicano reading rooms, more black safe spaces, and more soup kitchens on campus.
Left Versus Liberal
Student protesters are furious at liberal faculty and administrators. There are few conservative faculty, statistically speaking, on college campuses. Apparently liberal appeasement is what infuriates students.
And why not? Reading an administrator’s cave-in letter elicits the same sort of contempt shown Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain from those each had tried so hard to appease. Hitler said he admired Stalin, who destroyed him far more than Chamberlain (who empowered him).
It is not very brave to sit down in the office of an invertebrate president. The real enemy logically should be at NASCAR races and NRA shows. Why not disrupt the recreation of supposed rednecks to remind them of their racism, sexism, and homophobia? Why not go to Donald Trump rallies en masse to remind the reprobate audiences of their embedded privilege?
Leftists tweaking liberals is kid’s play. The real adult would swarm the entry gate at the Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, mob the Cody Stampede Rodeo, and shut down a Branson concert in the Ozarks.
Adults or Children?
Students need to decide whether they are ten or twenty. One cannot be both infantile and mature as the situation demands. If one in four women are truly sexually assaulted on campus, then why not end co-ed dorms, the incubator of date rape? Dress codes for both men and women might discourage callous sexuality and cruel hook-ups. In this regard, the treasured Middle Eastern Studies department or the local black Muslim mosque might offer some empirical advice about the separation of the sexes and proper female attire, in a nonjudgmental manner of course.
If African-American students want more segregated black safe spaces and theme houses, then stop blaming administrators, and demand that students be categorized by race and housed in dormitories accordingly. To remove the odor of apartheid and segregation, we could use Orwellian language to expand the idea of “theme” houses: the Africana Row, the European Village, the Asian Neighborhood, and on and on. Do we want “white meditation rooms” or “Asian sanctuary plazas” or “Latino reflection gardens”?
How strange that students damn frat predators on campus and racist attitudes that ignore disparate impact, then head to 1940s-like Saturday football games. Don’t they know that statistically the football and basketball teams commit an inordinate percentage of campus sexual assaults, and hardly reflect proportional representation, while completely ignoring disparate impact?
Georgetown basketball and Missouri football refuse entirely to insist on racially diverse teams, and minority outreach and mentoring (Asian centers, Latino forwards, gay quarterbacks, female placekickers, etc.). Adults who want to change the world are not children who watch football on Saturdays and say nothing about the unapologetic sexism and racism on the field.
Why not forbid bourgeoisie (and infantile) campus distractions that six year olds obsess over—not mature revolutionaries who are changing the universe? Ban videogames on campuses. No real man or woman dresses up in silly preteen Halloween costumes. Only kids chant “I know you are, but what am I?” slogans. Teenagers, not adults, pose for selfies.
And why the agonizing self-confessionals about being traumatized, hurt, marginalized, and depressed by inequality and unfairness? Are they Coward Lions and Straw Scarecrows, or grim pike men in the phalanxes of hope and change?
Students, as gallant revolutionaries, should be prepared for premodern challenges in the manner of Mao’s Long March or Che’s Bolivian ordeals. Changing America is not part-time buzz in between flights back to the cushy basement of mom and dad. The true revolutionaries see nothing “hurtful.” They laugh at the absence of safe spaces. They guffaw at micro-aggressions. And they ignore trigger warnings. Instead, they welcome struggle and enjoy confrontations that toughen them up for the full-time, life-long sacrifices for the masses.
Protestors: get real and grow up—there’s a wide world out there to change!