FIRE has targeted the University of Maryland at College Park as one of the most repressive colleges in America. It’s created an environment governed entirely by giving all self-styled victims the right to take offense, with no vestige of the traditional Western university model of the free exchange of ideas. Given this narrow, emotion-laden, victim-rich atmosphere, it’s scarcely surprising to read about this horrifying interchange at a Co-op operating on school premises:
A recent incident at the Maryland Food Collective, a shop in the College Park student union, is a disturbing case in point. A student seeking to pay for groceries was stopped by the clerk. “Your shirt offends me, I won’t ring you up,” the clerk said of the message stamped on the student’s T-shirt, “I Stand for Israel.” After much hand-wringing and political posturing by co-op and school officials, the student got her food after being checked out by a different clerk. Then she apologized to the offended clerk and offered a chocolate cake as proof of the sincerity of her apology for being “offensive.”
That article describes a series of horrors. A store clerk who refuses service to a customer, with all its nice reminders of the Jim Crow South. The anti-Semitism inherent in the refusal to provide service to someone Jewish or associated with the Jews, with all its reminders of Nazi Germany. And the customer’s ultimate groveling apology, which makes me think of the horrifying end of 1984, when Winston Smith is tortured into a complete abasement that sees him thanking his torturer for having been reeducated. (Heck, who needs fiction. Just think of the Chinese, Cambodian or Vietnamese reeducation camps, or the Gulag in the Soviet Union.)
I’m just sick reading this type of stuff. It’s especially bad to read it while at the same time reading Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within.
Contrary to what many believe, Bawer’s book is not really an indictment of the Islamists, although he makes clear that he is completely opposed to the Caliphate they wish to create, complete with its indulgence in all the most vile acts and imaginings men can come up with to oppress and destroy those they hate and fear (women, gays, Christians, Jews, etc.). Instead, he reserves his scorn for the Europeans themselves, who have created a poisonous soup of arrogance, condescension and self-loathing, all of which has opened the door for people who have ideologies antithetical to pluralism, free speech, intellectual inquiry and tolerance. The University of Maryland at College Park is truly a European style institution and that, believe me, is no compliment.