One of the truisms I grew up hearing is that “revolutions always eat their own.” I have understood this to mean that, in any revolutionary movement, the second generation, having been marinated longer in the revolutionary brine, is more extreme than the first generation and invariably purges that first generation. Both the French and the Russian revolutions prove this point.
We in America have had a revolution too. It’s been a very slow-moving revolution of the kind that the British used to call a Fabian Revolution. It involves advancing revolutionary goals, not through violence, but through slow, reformist means. As Ferguson shows, the violence then comes after the revolution. Indeed, Ferguson is one of the best manifestations of that revolution.
The other obvious manifestation is the American college campus. On campuses throughout America, a Nanny state fascism is the norm. That didn’t happen overnight. It happened through Fabian gradualism, with hard-Left revolutionary principles being slowly introduced in the classrooms (increasingly open, aggressive Marxist teaching), in the administrative buildings (read Heather MacDonald’s Multiculti U for the best discussion about the hard Left Fabianism in college administration), and in the dorms (which had a slow Progression away from same-sex dorms, same-sex floors, same-sex bathrooms, and same-sex rooms, which a completely unsurprisingly commensurate uptick in rape claims).
One of the biggest slow-mo revolutions in academia was the whole concept of trigger warnings. When the idea got started, nobody said that trigger warnings were going to be censorship. Instead, they were sold as good manners and sensitivity. It’s kind and polite to warn people who might have delicate sensibilities that you’re going to talk about something shocking, such as mass murder, or blood, or something else most people agree is disgusting or revolting. It turned out, though, that at the average college campus an amazing number of kids have heightened sensibilities. More interestingly, it also happened that, thanks to the Leftism in which America’s young have been pickled since preschool, the things that they just can’t bear to hear without horrific mental suffering are facts and ideas that run counter to their Leftist ideology.
Over the last few months, however, something interesting has happened: The Fabian revolution’s Founders are getting disgusted with their progeny’s extremism. It began when Jonathan Chait questioned the stifling effects of the new orthodoxy. In his article challenging the orthodoxy, he still oozed contempt for conservatives having a say in things, but he was definitely perturbed by modern young people’s inability to tolerate any opposing opinions, ideas, or facts. I wonder if Chait was surprised by the subsequent Leftist demand that he be silenced.
The next salvo from old revolutionaries against new happened when Laura Kipnes wrote about the sexual paranoia that is the norm in academia. Kipnes too was excoriated. Michelle Goldberg, writing at the hard-Left Nation, describes the attack on Kipnes and, as part of the same article, also suggests that the revolution has gone too far.
One week later, Judith Shulevitz got an opinion piece published in the New York Times entitled “In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas.” She too is shocked to see that sensitivity has morphed into censorship. (Jonah Goldberg, author of the informative and prescient Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change, would not have been shocked at all. He explained in his book how the next revolution was being ushered in, not with guns, but with stifling nanny statism.)
I certainly appreciate the effort these old revolutionaries are making to stem the flood waters they first let loose. I doubt they’ll be successful, though. I see them as this revolution’s Robespierres. He, of course, ended up on the same guillotine to which he had so mercilessly consigned others.
Don’t take my word for it, though. I have Exhibit A right at hand in the form of a Leftist rant in response to a Facebook post still another Leftie did giving mild praise to Shulevitz’s article. As best as I can tell, the ranter is a twenty-something college grad. Because I’ve made no changes to her words and because she’s a college-educated Leftie, here’s the obligatory language and grammar alert. The following text is both illiterate and obscene:
I really don’t think becoming more sensitive to issues like this is a problem. Hell yeah I’m offended when you say ignorant things about children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Hell yeah I’m offended when you say rape culture doesn’t exist and then act like that point of view is “subversive.” Hell yeah I’m offended when you act like white police officers targeting young black men has nothing to do with race, when you use transmysogynistic slurs, etc. Like, thats a good thing. Its the mark of society growing up.
Literally one of the final stages of moral reasoning and development is the capacity to stop seeing all opinions as equally valid and decide that you no longer have to evaluate the racists, sexists, homophobes, and ablest assholes of the world as though their opinions regarding the fundamental value of other human beings deserve weight.
I am so fucking tired of this bullshit trend of making fun of being “PC” as though thats a bad thing. No, its a way for you to still make fun of marginalized people while still acting like you’re subverting the status quo. *Yawn* I literally dngaf if you need space where you as say a rape survivor don’t want to listen to people talk about how rape culture doesn’t exist (hello, I work as student staff on a campus I’ve reported six sexual assault incidents personally and seen the fallout, let me spare you the details, it does). What I *do* give multiple fucks about is you attempting to judge or remove those spaces because you think trauma survivors should face their fears or whatever other bullcrap.
Basically us becoming more sensitive as a CULTURE to things that are OFFENSIVE and FUNDAMENTALLY HURTFUL is a GOOD THING. ITS POSITIVE. Stop crying about the growing pains and let our culture grow up a bit.
[At this point, someone suggested that whether something is offensive is a subjective, not an objective, standard and that, perhaps, there’s a problem with imposing your subjective standards on everyone. Gen Y woman wouldn’t stand for that.]
“There was no racial motivation guiding the shooting of michael brown.” YES THATS FUNDAMENTALLY OFFENSIVE because it denies the ACTUAL. REAL. RACISM. thats responsible for his death?
[The same person again suggested that, if your feelings are hurt, that’s a subjective problem for you, not an objective issue for everyone.]
“Rape culture doesn’t exist.” Fundametally offensive because it denies the culture responsible for allowing both men and women to be raped, that encourages them not to report it.
“Women aren’t as capable as men.” uhhh yeah
“Chinese people are rude and all of them should go back to their own country” woooooaa
“Mexican people are just too lazy to be US citizens”
OH WOW LOOK I FOUND SO MANY
Let me give you this example. You stand on my foot. I say, “sir excuse me you are much bigger than my 5″ frame, perhaps you cannot see me. I am unfortunately being crushed by your foot, if you could move it?” You don’t respond. I try again. You glance down and do not move. “HEY MAN MY FOOT FUCKING HURTS AND YOU ARE STANDING ON IT MOVE YOUR SASQUATCH ASS” and then you look me in the eye and say “thats on you, not me” You are literally the one with the power to get off my foot I don’t turn off being hurt by it
Also what? feelings totally count as harm! Dude, theres an ENTIRE SUBSET of LAW dealing with damages as they pertain to psychological harm. i.e.; feelings
And there you see deep thoughts from one of America’s educate elites. She’s the next generation revolutionary, and she’s prepared to consign all heretics to the flames. She is the living embodiment of the old joke:
First man: Come the revolution, we’ll all drive Rolls Royces.
Second man: But I don’t want to drive a Rolls Royce.
First man: Come the revolution, you’ll have to.
(For more on the way old Communist-era jokes are relevant to Obama’s America, go here.)
I’ll add only that our next president needs to be able to counter this thinking. He needs the smarts, humor, knowledge, and relative youth to speak over, through, and around Leftist ideology. Ted Cruz can do that. This election is not about “experience.” Obama, one of the most effective presidents we’ve ever had, had no meaningful executive experience. What he had, though, was the “vision thing” and a cadre of people willing to put his vision into effect. Cruz may well be the antidote.