In the name of social justice and diversity, students at elite colleges are casting aside the very works that probe those topics so deeply. The central authors of the Western tradition—from Plato and Aristotle to Mill and Orwell—are no longer part of the required curriculum in the social sciences and the humanities. Their absence carries a high price.
It was a Chicago weekend filled with gay pride events, with friends and families cheering on the marchers. But a dark cloud loomed over one event. When some lesbians showed up at the “Dyke March” with banners that included a Star of David, they were booted out.
Last week at Vermont’s Middlebury College, left-wing students and off-campus activists shouted down a prominent conservative speaker, injured a professor as she was trying to escort him to safety, and terrorized the speaker and professor, who huddled in their car. The episode was truly frightening.
Well, that didn’t take long.
The Social Justice Warriors have emerged from their safe spaces and begun attacking the University of Chicago’s statement supporting free speech and opposing trigger warnings and safe spaces. They are complaining for a good reason: They don’t want free speech to spread to other campuses.
It’s getting harder to tell the difference between real news about colleges and the Onion’s parodies. Take an incident at the University of Northern Colorado. A couple of professors, eager to promote discussion in class, asked their students to read a popular magazine article, written by two free-speech advocates. “The Coddling of the American Mind” delivers its punch line in the subtitle: “In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.”