Despite a small spark of rationality, Macalester College’s weekly paper displays the Progressive hate, ignorance, and nonsense at an American college.
Knowing my passion for free speech, someone sent me a small sign of hope: a link to a student-written opinion piece from the weekly student newspaper at Macalester University in Minnesota. To give a little context, in 2014 College Magazine ranked Macalester as the “Most Progressive Campus” in America. It’s also No. 10 on the Best Colleges’ “Most Liberal Colleges” list. In other words, it’s your average American college, right up there with some of the most prestigious, such as Yale, Harvard, or MIT, or some of the most embarrassing, such as Missouri or Pomona.
Unlike those other American colleges, however, Macalester is never in the news. I suspect this is because no student or faculty member would ever dream of inviting to the campus someone who doesn’t meet the Progressive purity scale. Without any opposing views, there is no call for violence.
It was therefore a great and pleasant surprise to discover that one young man is defending the free exchange of ideas. What moved Jacob Hill to write was the fact that the staff of the college radio station, perfectly emulating a Maoist re-education camp, grouped together to castigate a fellow employee for having dared to place on the college Facebook page a meme that “satirized the prevalence of white Adidas sneakers among women who claim not to conform to societal norms.” I’m having trouble envisioning how offensive such a meme could be but for the student’s cohorts at the radio station, it was a bridge too far. It was Mao time:
Less than 24 hours after the meme was posted, the original poster (a Mac Radio staff member) went to his WMCN staff meeting as usual. One of the commenters on the meme decided to make a speech calling him misogynistic, racist and homophobic. The speech was met with applause, and much of the WMCN staff agreed that his offensive behavior did not represent the culture of WMCN. He was not offered a chance to respond but rather asked to think about his actions for a week.
Showing a grasp of logic denied to most young Progressives, Hill points out that advancing feelings as the alpha and omega of all disputes ends rational discussion:
A later comment on the original post read: “you don’t get to decide what’s offensive to other people—if it’s offensive to them, that’s it. You don’t get to critique that fact.” This ‘fact’ is particularly what makes offense so messy. No one knows exactly what will offend others. It’s an ongoing dialogue. Macalester students, in their haste to eliminate every suggestion that may be perceived as offensive, missed the opportunity for this dialogue. I don’t personally believe that the poster had malintent, but even if he did, is calling him a racist/misogynist/homophobe really the best way to make your point? Too often, liberal Millennials believe they can end a conversation by calling out someone’s “isms.” Yes, these claims are powerful, but that is precisely why they must be backed by context, logic, and most of all, truth.
There’s more and Hill deserves kudos for every word he writes. This is a young man who, somehow, somewhere, was exposed to an intellectual world that transcends navel-gazing emotionalism that’s par for the course at an American college.
As of this writing, Hill’s short article had garnered three comments: The first agrees with and encourages respectful dialog; the third agrees with Hill and expresses surprise that The Weekly Mac published Hill’s piece; and the second . . . well, the second comment shows that the writer has embraced an authoritarian worldview that brooks no criticism:
I question the decision of the Mac Weekly to publish such a targeted opinion piece, especially as the author writes of the pitfalls of “isolating and humiliating” specific people in the name of a greater conversation. [The author did not name anybody, although it’s reasonable to assume that in a small community, most students could identify not only the daring Facebook transgressor but also his Maoist accusers.] Also: this idea of “listening politely” looks to be teetering quite close to the edge of a compulsory silence.
Hill, as I said, gave me hope. Scanning the rest of The Mac Weekly’s offerings depressed me. In just one week’s worth of writing, there are so many bad ideas. These are bad ideas arising from a solid basis of factual ignorance, unexamined bias, Marxism, Alinsky-esque thinking, self-loathing, third-wave feminism, misandry, and anti-Semitism. Here are just a couple of examples: