Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Students are the new masters – and the result is campus tyranny ^ | Aug 23, 2017 | Brendan O'neill

Posted on 08/23/2017 9:26:39 PM PDT by 11th_VA

Universities are now factories of conformism; only the brave and resilient will survive them

In a few weeks, a new intake of students will arrive, all fresh-faced and excited, at universities around the country. They’ll be thrilled at the prospect of escaping the wagging finger of mum and dad, eager to absorb new ideas. But I’m afraid they are in for a rude awakening. Unless they’re very fortunate, they will soon find themselves enveloped in a world that’s more censorious than stimulating and taught not to question ideas but to learn by heart the progressive creed. It will take a brave and resilient youngster to survive university with their intellectual curiosity intact.

Every aspect of campus life, from what you can say to how you should party, is minutely policed by what I called the Stepford Students in this magazine three years ago. ‘No Platform’ policies strictly govern who can speak on campus. Anybody, no matter what their political background or supposedly liberal credentials, can find themselves shunted off campus for having the wrong opinion in the eyes of the Stasi of student politics.

‘Safe Spaces’, controversy-free zones where students who find the real world brutalising can weep and hug ‘emotional support animals’ (this is not a joke), are almost compulsory. Newspapers are blacklisted: a growing number of student unions have banned the Sun, Mail and Express on the jumped-up basis that they’re racist and sexist and thus ‘harmful’. In the last academic year, even students at City University in London, famed for its journalism school, slapped a ban on tabloids. A journalism uni where you can’t read popular journalism? Thanks to the youthful jackboots of the National Union of Students, and the lily-livered vice-chancellors who bow down to them, the list of the undoable, unsayable and unthinkable grows longer every year. The adults have gone AWOL.

Any student society whose worldview isn’t a carbon copy of that of the NUS lives under permanent threat of censorship. Israel Society events are shouted down, pro-life groups are denied space at freshers’ fairs. At University College London, a Nietzsche Society was banned for fear it might stoke far-right thinking. Thus Spake the Censor.

The message from student officialdom is relentless: think like us, or else. The result is that university becomes less and less like university. They now resemble factories of conformism, training their student body not to think freely but to fear the eccentric, hide from the provocative, and prize their self-esteem more highly than their intellectual development.

In the three years since The Spectator named these Stepford Students, the situation has become far worse. Campus craziness has intensified. Worse, it has Americanised. Not content with subjecting our dreaming spires to No Platforming and middle-class prejudices about tabloid newspapers and lad culture, these young clones are gaily importing the worst excesses of America’s hysterical campus culture. This is very bad news, because if you look at what is happening on America’s campuses, you get a terrifying insight into the baleful influence that identity politics can have on everyday life and liberty. The trouble is that the ‘safe space’ mentality doesn’t stay contained on campus. Year after graduating year, students who have been trained to see safety as preferable to liberty and difficult questions as wounding to their self-esteem head out into the world, taking their ‘safe space’ mentality with them. Like B-movie blobs, safe spaces are breaking free and now threaten to swallow up public life.

America’s student radicals regularly punish speakers they disagree with. Student agitators at Brandeis University managed to cancel an honorary degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the basis that she’s ‘Islamophobic’. Earlier this year, students at Middlebury College in Vermont physically assaulted an academic who was trying to protect Charles Murray, an invited speaker they considered racist. ‘Antifa’ activists and students at Berkeley started fires to prevent the alt-right Brit provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking. Berkeley was the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s, when students demanded more debate, not less. The anti-Milo protesters even burnt a replica of the simple banner reading ‘Free Speech’.

Our own student leaders assume their peers are morally feeble and must be protected from sore words or controversy. But in the US, they’ve gone deeper. Campus authoritarianism is darker, more driven by race. It governs not only ideology and opinion, but everyday conversation, and even dress. In the US, the student Stasi furiously condemn ‘cultural appropriation’, which is when a member of one racial group borrows the culture of another. They minutely police interaction between blacks and whites. Watch last year’s video of a black student at San Francisco State University physically confronting a white student with dreadlocks, and threatening to cut off his dreads because ‘that is my culture’, and you’ll see how terrifying this racial myopia can be. Watch the film of Yale students screaming hysterically in the face of a lecturer who had said that people should be able to wear whatever they wanted at Halloween and not worry about cultural insensitivity, and you will see the sheer intolerance that the cult of student sensitivity has unleashed.

Or observe what happened at Evergreen State College in Washington in May. When the biology professor Bert Weinstein refused to take part in a proposed day of racial segregation — a ‘Day of Absence’, students called it, when whites would agree not to turn up to college — all hell broke loose. Student mobs invaded lectures, they demanded Weinstein’s resignation, and they effectively imprisoned university bosses in their offices and refused to let them leave until they agreed to the students’ foul, divisive agenda. This was a step on from Stepford Students — this was Lord of the Flies-style student authoritarianism: menacing youths using mob tactics to enforce their reactionary programme.

Whether we like to admit it or not, in Britain we tend to ape American culture, especially youth culture. And now our students, always on the lookout for new ways to assert their tinpot authority, are beginning to imitate what’s happening across the Atlantic.

This year, Oxford’s equality and diversity unit warned staff that failing to make eye contact with certain students could be construed as racist, and that asking a student about his or her origins is a ‘micro-aggression’ liable to worsen mental ill health. (Oxford then rowed back on this advice on the grounds that it might be seen as discriminatory against people with autism who can’t look others in the eye. Jesus wept.) The NUS has declared war on racial micro-aggressions, which it describes as ‘covert, subtle’ forms of racism. It means everyday banter and blips in conversation that have no racist intent whatsoever but which the union feels must be policed anyhow.

Just as American colleges are under pressure to remove statues of old ‘problematic’ white men, so the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London this year announced it would remove all the portraits and statues of its founders because… well, they’re all white. This historical cleansing of KCL to pre-empt and halt the racial fury of student radicals will of course only intensify student demands for racial correctness. Students want a Cecil Rhodes bust at Oriel College, Oxford, removed, for curricula across the country to be ‘de-colonised’, and for black students not to be expected to read so much ‘white philosophy’. That was in a demand by students at SOAS this year that ‘white philosophers’, including Enlightenment thinkers like Kant, be dropped from the syllabus in order to make black students feel less isolated.

The nasty, paternalistic American politics of racial thinking is imposed wholesale on British campus life — even though Britain’s social history is considerably less blighted by racism than America’s. In the past academic year, Cambridge was slammed by students for serving ‘culturally insensitive’ food (exotic dishes that didn’t properly reflect the countries they claimed to be from); the musical Aida was cancelled at Bristol University following a ‘student revolt’ over white students portraying Egyptian slaves; and Edinburgh University’s self-styled fancy-dress police insisted students mustn’t ever dress up as Pocahontas.

If our censorious students are going to import America’s campus insanity, they need to know that means they will also import its consequences. And those consequences are dire. No one can imagine that it’s a good thing to create a generation unable to stomach things it dislikes or disagrees with. How are they to survive in a pluralistic democracy? It’s vital to be able to hear people out, to have civilised disagreement, to engage in debate, to change your mind.

The ‘safe space’, by guarding students from the disagreeable, is churning out an army of hypersensitive dogmatists. We can see this in the US with the current outburst of statue-smashing. And we can see it in Europe with the alarming revelation that fewer and fewer young people believe in freedom of speech and democracy.

The other consequence of rampant PC in the US has been the rise of Trump. It’s becoming clear that the increasingly unhinged policing of academic, public and political life in the US, as gabbed about on Fox News every night, has generated bemusement and sometimes fury among ordinary people. The ‘safe space’ mentality has created a very unsafe backlash. Americans elected Trump precisely because he seemed to infuriate the bossy left-liberals who are suffocating free speech. And Trump deliberately inflames his voters’ outrage; he champions a new identity politics for the right. Trumpists now exist in large part to annoy the radical left, and the radical left, for its part, lives to infuriate them.

Will this polarised politics arrive here too? We have seen elements of what I call ‘vice-signalling’ Trumpist rhetoric from the contenders for Ukip’s leadership — but so far, mercifully, the British have remained immune. But we should beware: enforce PC and there will inevitably be a revolt against it. A Europe-wide poll this year found that only 46 per cent of Brits aged 18 to 21 think people should be free to ‘say what they want’. And polls of millennials frequently show that they’re more down on democracy than older generations.

This is what happens when we socialise youths to think censorship is good and other people’s opinions are bad, to believe mental safety is better than zany liberty: they lose faith in freedom and democracy. They will leave uni and populate public life with these views. This is how liberty dies.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: academicbias; asylum; censorship; diversity; education; europe; inmates; intersectionality; pc; racism; safespaces
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-71 next last
Powerful ....
1 posted on 08/23/2017 9:26:39 PM PDT by 11th_VA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA

Basically, what is being suggested is that the $80,000 spent on four years of college costs....will be deemed worthless as you arrive at some business and your ability to adapt into the real world will be hindered by your four years of ‘nothing’.

2 posted on 08/23/2017 9:35:43 PM PDT by pepsionice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA

3 posted on 08/23/2017 9:37:49 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA

On Friday I will be attending a faculty workshop: two hours will be devoted to PRIVILEDGE.

4 posted on 08/23/2017 9:39:22 PM PDT by Maine Mariner
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA

As this relates to Conservatives on campus, or just normal people with a grasp of morals, what we are setting up here is a future with Conservatives or people with morals frozen out.

It’s already happening in business. Local community city councils and the like are just insufferable in many parts of the nation.

5 posted on 08/23/2017 9:39:23 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Exempting Trump and his team, our media and government have adopted the Zoolander management style.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA

Our media is already run by snowflakes.

They can’t handle criticism from Trump without being outraged.

Adults handle the unpleasant things in life responsibly.

I call the next generation adult romper room children.

How will they cope with the real world?

6 posted on 08/23/2017 9:40:03 PM PDT by goldstategop ((In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA


Colleges were ‘in loco parentis’. Their aim was to civilize their charges and transmit the values of Western Civilization. Then it was decided that they be trade schools. Now they are just emotional retailers, appealing to the lowest common denominator, like convenience stores selling junk food instead of nutrition.

7 posted on 08/23/2017 9:44:12 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA

The inmates are running the asylum. A lot of money is being spent for a worthless education.

8 posted on 08/23/2017 9:45:56 PM PDT by Parley Baer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA
Students are the new masters – and the result is campus tyranny entertaining!


This stuff way is better than any of the stuff I used to watch on cable.
9 posted on 08/23/2017 9:54:01 PM PDT by Garth Tater (What's mine is mine.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA; All

Solid article.

College administrators need to stand up and say, “Sorry. You don’t have the right to go through life unoffended. You don’t like it, go to another school. We will refund your tuition in full if you leave ASAP.”

Kick out the SJW and parents will love you.

Missouri didn’t and lost 35% of their enrollment. They had to shut 6 or 7 dorms.

The crazies are running the asylum.

Key moment for this was the Halloween costume. Someone (God forbid) was worried about being offended by costumes.

A liberal leftist professor suggested maybe free speech and growing up means being offended. Her husband attempted to defend her. He was yelled out by a hysterical black girl at a campus meeting. He and his wife were later forced out of their jobs.

FEELINGS are the winning card for these crybullies.

Rush read a great article (wish I had the link) about arguments no longer taking place. People don’t debate issues and try to learn and come to conclusions.

Instead now they say, “As a (blank) I feel (blank).”

“As a black woman I don’t feel safe with racist costumes in my dorm.” “As a transgender I feel...”

There’s no debate. You can’t argue with their feelings unless you are also a member of their sub-group. Excuse me, can’t say “sub” as that’s insulting to the bondage community.

This is also encouraging mental illness. Telling people that every slight and offense they are forced to endure in life is a “microaggression” and everyone is out to get them... that’s mental illness.

Basically, nobody gives a flying flip about anyone but themselves. Maybe their family, but that’s 50/50. People don’t care who someone else wants to have sex with, what they want to wear, whatever. Who cares?

Instead of telling young people that cold hard truth, they’re made out to be prima donna centers of their own universes with everyone microaggressing them.

They also should be taught people are a**holes. We have to deal with that every day in life and it’s part of growing up. People wont’ like you, won’t be nice to you, don’t want to pay you. Grow the hell up!

How can these snowflakes go into a normal work environment?

How can they debate anyone? They don’t. They just resort to name calling and violence. They’ve lost the ability to think at all.


10 posted on 08/23/2017 9:58:56 PM PDT by TigerClaws
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerClaws

Its like in Communist countries - the atmosphere is gray, oppressive and lifeless.

You get out of line - you’re crushed like a bug.

And the leaders in our campus totalitarian cult are the leaders of tomorrow.

11 posted on 08/23/2017 10:04:05 PM PDT by goldstategop ((In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA
"Students are the new masters..."

It might seem that way, but many of the instructors and alumni have been getting their preferred results.

12 posted on 08/23/2017 10:11:54 PM PDT by familyop ("Welcome to Costco. I love you." --Costco greeter in the movie, "Idiocracy")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 11th_VA

College offering majors in *BARBARIANISM*.

13 posted on 08/23/2017 10:37:36 PM PDT by Daffynition (The New PTSD: PRESIDENT-Trump Stress Disorder - The LSN didnÂ’t make Trump, so they can't break him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerClaws
Frosh class:

14 posted on 08/23/2017 10:39:26 PM PDT by Daffynition (The New PTSD: PRESIDENT-Trump Stress Disorder - The LSN didnÂ’t make Trump, so they can't break him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: TigerClaws

Ascribed statuses, now trump achieved statuses. In their world. Nothing else matters.

15 posted on 08/23/2017 11:13:06 PM PDT by FreeperCell
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: FreeperCell

Yes, there’s almost a fight to be more oppressed!

Just join some oppressed class and that somehow wins debates and gives you the right to treat everyone else like sh*t.

Some aggrieved black campus group told the white (half whites?) in their midst to leave because they wanted ‘black only space.’ ?? So much for colorblind society. They WANT victim status because that’s where the power is. Victim status means you get people fired and you get your demands met.

16 posted on 08/23/2017 11:15:57 PM PDT by TigerClaws
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: TigerClaws


17 posted on 08/23/2017 11:19:56 PM PDT by FreeperCell
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Maine Mariner

What the heck does that mean and who is sponsoring this?

18 posted on 08/23/2017 11:20:46 PM PDT by Netz ( and looking for a way ti IMPROVE mankind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Daffynition

That was a classic video. The newsbabe trolled the poor boy!

Nice gif!

19 posted on 08/23/2017 11:20:58 PM PDT by TigerClaws
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: DoughtyOne

>>what we are setting up here is a future
>>with Conservatives or people with morals frozen out.

That future is here now.

20 posted on 08/24/2017 12:32:49 AM PDT by HLPhat (It takes a Republic TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS - not a populist Tyranny of the Majority)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-71 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson