“My liberal students terrify me.”

883 - Vox Liberal Students Scare Me

The full quote from this anonymous professor is:

I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me.

Through the rest of this Vox article he does his best to maintain his left-wing creds while at the same time arguing vociferously that social justice warriors have taken over college campuses and implemented an Orwellian regime of a very, very, very emotionally sensitive Big Brother.

In 2015… a complaint would not be delivered in such a fashion [as in 2009]. Instead of focusing on the rightness or wrongness (or even acceptability) of the materials we reviewed in class, the complaint would center solely on how my teaching affected the student’s emotional state. As I cannot speak to the emotions of my students, I could not mount a defense about the acceptability of my instruction. And if I responded in any way other than apologizing and changing the materials we reviewed in class, professional consequences would likely follow.

This is the elevation of subjective perception–call it post-modernism, relativism or whatever you like–over objectivity and realism. And it’s dangerous. Here’s another example (which I alluded to yesterday) from the Vox piece:

This sort of misplaced extremism is not confined to Twitter and the comments sections of liberal blogs. It was born in the more extreme and nihilistic corners of academic theory, and its watered-down manifestations on social media have severe real-world implications. In another instance, two female professors of library science publically outed and shamed a male colleague they accused of being creepy at conferences, going so far as to openly celebrate the prospect of ruining his career. I don’t doubt that some men are creepy at conferences — they are. And for all I know, this guy might be an A-level creep. But part of the female professors’ shtick was the strong insistence that harassment victims should never be asked for proof, that an enunciation of an accusation is all it should ever take to secure a guilty verdict. The identity of the victims overrides the identity of the harasser, and that’s all the proof they need.

The anonymous professor goes on to say “This is terrifying. No one will ever accept that.” And yet, as he knows too well, in at least one part of our society they already have.

Don’t get me wrong, I highly doubt that this particular brand of ideological insanity is about to take over the entire country. On a broad scale, it probably will be rejected, and soon. There’s been a steady drumbeat of articles from the left side of the American political spectrum over the last six months attempting to dismantle and/or disarm this particular section of their coalition. And it will likely succeed. Eventually. The question becomes: how much damage will be done in the interim? And also: how extensive will the rollback be? Because anyone who thinks the victory of reason is inevitable in the short run hasn’t read a lot of history. Think about the most silly, stereotypical caricature of scholasticism (the medieval philosophy known for asking questions about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin). If, at least in the minds of anti-religious progressives, that absurd and irrational philosophy could dominate the elite universities of Europe for centuries, what is their guaranty that an equally absurd and irrational philosophy will not begin its own reign in our day?