Academia, Psychosis of

Student Radicals Are Donald Trump’s Best Campaigners

At The Catholic Herald, I report on the Yale English Department chair’s reaction to students’ petition to “decolonize” the literary curriculum. I want to emphasize a point I have been trying to make repeatedly:

There is a connection between what’s happening on our universities and the movement to elect Donald Trump. I have been trying to explain to people that Trump is a proxy figure. By and large, the conservative movement in the United States — with its obsessive focus on free markets, tax rates, and military campaigns in the Middle East — has ignored cultural issues such as the long march against traditional Western culture. Is it any wonder people have become desperate? Much of the support Trump enjoys is not due to his often vague and contradictory platform. His role is symbolic: the radical culture is an unstoppable force, and he is the immovable object.

How The Need for Validation Took Over Our Culture

A month or so ago, Ace at Ace of Spades HQ drew attention to this Reddit comment in which a former “social-justice warrior” (SJW) describes how he fled from the lunacy of identity politics.

One of this young man’s thoughts — his description of how he initially fell into the SJW mindset — jumped out at me:

I was depressed at the time, and being applauded for being progressive definitely was an ego boost. Fighting people I perceived as bigoted made me feel better about myself. My SJW tendencies were based mostly out of self loathing — I felt weird, like an outcast, had never had a girlfriend, hated myself, and thought that I was fixing myself by jumping deep into feminism.

What struck me was this young man’s need to be applauded by his peers. Of course, in itself, this is not surprising: it is not a new thing to crave validation from other people, especially from one’s peer group. It wasn’t just that he was seeking approval from others, however; it was that he absolutely needed this approval to survive. He needed it in two respects. First, he would feel miserable and alienated without it. Second, since his social circle was defined solely by groupthink, there was no way to be a part of that culture without the constant approval of others within the culture. (more…)

The Dictatorship of Double Standards

At PJ Media, I go after the enemies of free speech and their relentless hypocrisy:

Let the record show that when a death squad descended on Pamela Geller’s event in Texas with the aim of killing Geller for speaking freely, the “mainstream” response was to provide the death squad with golden parachutes of sophistry and moral equivalence. It was the finest of East Coast intellectual output.

[…]

In the identity-politics framework, double standards are necessary and justified. They are a way of balancing the unequal power distribution in the United States. (Trust me that I hate writing sentences with phrases like that.) Just as affirmative action is supposed to correct structural injustice in the economy, gagging people is necessary to stop the “oppression” of designated victim groups. Think of the new obsession with “trigger warnings” and “safe places” on university campuses. This crowd sees free speech as one more tool of power in the Oppressor’s handy box.

Je Suis Charlie. T’as un problème? Tourne La Page.

At PJ Media, I write more about why some people think free speech is “oppressive.” They reach this conclusion by linking speech to the basic logic of contemporary identity politics:

The trick is to say that free speech is not “really” free, since it’s just an extension of certain people’s “privilege”; the exercise of it is therefore the “oppression” of the non-privileged groups, who don’t have the “power” to speak freely. We will only be “really” free when there is no “privilege.” Until that time, we have to balance the scales by gagging this “privileged” speech.