When someone chalked “vote for Trump” messages on the sidewalk, students at Emory University protested, saying seeing these words made them feel “frightened.” The administration, playing the role of in loco helicopteris parentis, held their hands, offering counseling and promising to investigate who committed this brazen act of democracy.
Similarly, in Scripps College in California, someone wrote “Trump 2016” on a whiteboard, leading to charges of “racism” and the claim that the campaign slogan was an act of “violence.” This is all of a piece with university students demanding “safe spaces” where they will be protected from any words or ideas that they find disturbing.
Leftists used to project a menacing swagger. The old Marxists made posters of themselves as brawny workers with hammers and sickles and openly talked about “liquidating the bourgeoisie” (that is, exterminating the middle class). In my day, the “new left” college radicals stencilled a clenched fist on sidewalks and whiteboards. They taunted their opponents with “up against the wall, ************!” (referring to the use of a firing squad).But now these “post-Marxist” leftists–who substitute race, gender, and sexual identity for the old left’s concern for economic justice and class struggle–are so timorous, so fragile, so easily frightened by opposition, that it’s hard to take them seriously.
To be sure, these new radicals can hurt you. They can ruin your business and take you to court, where the new parental authority figures often extend to them great sympathy. There is a great deal of power in being passive-aggressive, in making people feel sorry for you.
But if a mob of campus radicals storms your home in an effort to drag you off to a sensitivity training gulag, try yelling out “Ronald Reagan!” or some other politically-offensive words. They may all start crying as they flee to their safe spaces.