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Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Regressive 'New' Left

   While attending a recent lecture at the Catholic Historical Society, I spoke with a woman professor of religion at Temple University who told me about a book she had just published.

    Since we were both authors scheduled to speak at the Society, we talked for a while before our conversation turned to what it was like to teach college students in 2016. That’s a big subject given the atmosphere on many college campuses.

   That atmosphere is very much like a police state in which certain words and ideas are not allowed a place at the table. Guest speakers with opinions outside the current accepted academic norm—a left of center social justice worldview- are treated as heretical that should be denied a voice. 

    Professors teaching today have to weigh every word uttered in a classroom for fear that it may offend a few students. In the old days, if a student was offended by something a teacher said, they took it on the chin or marked it up as a difference in opinion. Today a college professor risks reprimand from school administrators if the words or ideas they express in class make just one or two students feel “uncomfortable.” 
   I asked the professor what it was like to have to walk on egg shells when she speaks before her class.  “Do you introduce so called controversial topics with trigger warning alerts?”

    She answered in the affirmative, adding that whenever she was about to speak about something that might make a student feel uncomfortable, she used the words ‘trigger warning’ before doing so. I thought about this for a moment, picturing a hundred red flag interruptions, like a series of red flags strung along I-95.   

     Let’s say our professor wanted to talk about the nation’s rape laws. In that case she’d have to announce “Trigger warning, rape,” before proceeding. This gives anyone in the class who felt an emotional connection to rape a chance to leave, cover their ears with their hands, or suck on a binkie to temper their discomfort. Of course, the few objecting students could also quit college altogether and go home to the ultimate safe space, Mommy and Daddy’s house, but not many would opt to do this.

    Many other topics besides rape would also “require” the professor to issue a trigger warning. 

   “It must be exhausting,” I told her. Much to my surprise, she seemed to defend the trigger warning system although she did hint that there were certain aspects of the system that were less than fortunate. But she didn’t come out and condemn it outright, which was disappointing.   

    In this new world of student pampering, there are also what are termed, microaggressions. 

Microaggressions are defined as “subtle but offensive comments or actions directed at a minority or other nondominant groups that is often unintentional.” In other words, better put a filter in that mouth of yours before speaking. And watch those jokes. A microaggression can also be as benign sounding as, “Where are you from?” or “Where were you born?” This is how crazy the new college world has become.
    The professor’s trigger warning system even extended into her teaching of religion. I got a sense of this when she told me that her students had congratulated her on her universal teaching methods in which it was impossible to detect any sort of bias in her presentations. In other words, the students could not tell whether she was Catholic, atheist, Baptist, Muslim or a Mormon. I don’t know about you, but I would rather that professors offer some hint or at least a story or two about their own religious beliefs. This would greatly enhance any discussion on religion. I have to wonder if the professor’s going to great lengths to appear neutral or non-committal when it came to her personal beliefs didn’t have its roots in a trigger-based fear more than a yearning to appear neutral. What’s wrong with a professor sharing personal religious views in order to highlight a discussion on what people believe? Nothing, unless of course saying you’re Catholic, Baptist or Jewish might set off trigger alerts from that odd, unhappy atheist student in the back row.

    As someone who came of age during the leftist revolutions of the late 1960s and early 1970s, I know first hand how hard the fight for free speech was fought. My generation protested the war in Vietnam and the draft. We witnessed the shutting down or censorship of editors and writers from underground and alternative newspapers.  We campaigned against unlawful arrests, the freedom to read banned books and poems like Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. We hated censorship of any kind and never advocated that Vietnam War proponents be banned from public discourse. Who among us would have thought that 50 years down the line it would be the descendents of the 1960s left progressives (now called regressive leftists) who would become the chieftains of cultural authoritarianism?
    Take the case of conservative pundit, Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos. The 32 year old Yiannopoulos has made an international reputation as a gay man “with the wrong opinions.” This Donald Trump-loving, anti-feminist, and proudly promiscuous gay man (he’s against gay marriage but encourages heterosexuals not to abandon the venerable institution) once told interviewer Dave Rubin that if he could take a pill that would change him into a straight man, he’d do it. Despite the positive changes in society when it comes to the acceptance of homosexuality, Yiannopoulos believes that it is still easier to be straight. When you are gay you are not allowed to say things like this, even though Yiannopoulos is on record as saying that gay people are Mother Nature’s special creation. “Gay people are one of the groups that Mother Nature has given license to go wild. That’s why so many great artists, authors and inventors have been gay, because gays have the ability to push further than ordinary people can.” 

   Yiannopoulos, who is Catholic, is currently bringing his “Dangerous Faggot Tour” to 60 US college campuses where he is cheered by mostly straight university students who love his cultural libertarianism, and who don’t mind it at all when he mentions his interest in black penises. 

    “The regressive left believes that words have the power that they don’t have,” he tells audiences.

    He is demonized by groups like Black Lives Matter, feminists and more than a few hard core LGBTQ ideologues.  

      His talks at colleges are often interrupted by so called social justice warriors, feminists and regressive leftists who want opposing ideas to be snuffed out. Some of these SJW’s wear masks that mimic the masks of bank robbers in the 19th century.  

    Yiannopoulos has problems with modern third wave feminism with its emphasis on man hating, man spreading while these same feminist groups ignore the real oppression of women in Middle Eastern countries. Modern feminism, he says, never comments on the brutal treatment of women in the Middle East because they are afraid of charges of Islamphobia.

    Yiannopoulos insists there’s no wage cap difference between men and women, citing studies done by the American Enterprise Institute. “The wage gap is a feminist myth that will not die,” he says. 

    To me, Yiannopoulos seems like the reincarnation of Oscar Wilde, especially with his flamboyant, outrageous mannerism and his UK accent. He’s a bit of a showman to be sure, but he’s smart and many of his views are spot on. 

   Another “freedom of speech” conservative speaker, the Canadian born Libertarian commentator Lauren Southern, also lectures and debates at college campuses while confronting armies of SJW’s who want to snuff out free speech. 

    Southern has been thrown out of Amber Rose Slut Walk demonstrations because she dares to raise pertinent questions like, “Do you really think that we live in a rape culture?” Just asking the question is reason enough for organizers to call the police. Southern was also once covered in piss in Vancouver when she dared to announce that there were only “two genders.” This was decried as hate speech by the people wearing those cowardly 19th century bank robber face masks.  

   What I’ve presented here is a short look at America’s new culture war. We will see ample proof of this during the national political conventions this summer, when violence, unrest and total anarchy will take the spotlight.
     But this violence will not come from those “crazy” Trump supporters, but—mark my words-- from social justice warriors (in masks) hot on the warpath.