You may have seen the news yesterday that the faculty senate at George Mason University has voted by a wide margin to oppose naming their well-regarded law school after Antonin Scalia. Among other complaints, according to Inside Higher Ed, is “the reinforcement of the external branding of the university as a conservative institution rather than an unaligned body that is a comfortable home for individuals with a variety of viewpoints.”
The irony here is that George Mason has exactly two departments—2!—that lean to the right: the law school, and the economics department. The rest of George Mason University is garden variety left-liberal. But apparently having just two departments at a large school offering a true “variety” of outlook is intolerable and causes liberals to get a case of the vapors. Why are liberals so upset at such a tiny deviation from the party line? One theory, of course, is the presumptuousness of liberalism that it comprehends complete truth and justice and thereby need not tolerate dissent. There’s also the inability of most liberals actually to debate dissenting views, which is why the default position of liberalism today is to prevent or shut down debate by playing the race-homophobia-patriarchy-oppression card. What this really reveals is the intellectual shallowness and insecurity of liberalism.
But campus leftists also tend to be miserable, humorless people. Is there a connection between this and their intellectual insecurity? Consider as an example this week’s spectacle from UMass-Amherst. By now I expect most readers have seen, or seen reference to, the howling student at UMass-Amherst who kept made a complete fool of herself cursing and yelling at Milo Yiannapoulos and Christina Hoff Sommers a few days ago. The spectacle of this obviously unbalanced student has received more than 1.3 million views on YouTube as of this morning, but in case you haven’t seen it, I’ve posted it at the end. (The best moment, around the two-minute mark, is when Shrieking Girl (or “Trigglypuff,” as the alternative title calls her) yells “Stop treating us like children!”, and Christina responds coolly, “Then stop acting like one.”)
Why this violent and immature reaction to something she disagreed with? Especially when it is obvious that Mighty Milo exists chiefly for the purpose of provoking halfwit campus leftists with his calculated “dangerous faggot” tour, in which case the best course of action would be to ignore him. Given that liberal “tolerance” means exactly the opposite, this is not an option.
Once again, I stumbled across something Harry Jaffa wrote way back in 1972, responding to a story about how Harvard was struggling to cope with the changing sexual mores of students then, and appointing a “sex czar” (as the Harvard Bulletin described the administrative position) to give advice to bewildered and unhappy students and come up with “guidelines.” Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it? Then, as now, there is the willful attempt to ignore or deny human nature. Jaffa makes an interesting connection to technology here, and concludes with an observation that helps explain the misery of Shrieking Girl:
But that the laws of nature do exist, and that we are bound by them because they are, not the ideals of men, but the reality of a purposeful universe, and that human freedom is a freedom to disregard such laws only at our cost, seems to be taken seriously almost nowhere. The emancipation of Western man by technology from the necessities of nature has led to a loss of consciousness of the goodness that those necessities serve. As the old struggle for survival has, through the equivocal beneficence of technology, receded into the background of daily existence, the uses of leisure have become mysterious. Never has a whole society enjoyed such wealth as has the United States, and this wealth has increasingly become the share of Western Europe, Great Britain and the Commonwealth, Japan, and to a degree even some of the communist states. Wealth, properly understood, is the instrument of freedom and of happiness, and in the past freedom has always been seen as an oasis in the desert of necessity. But as the desert blooms, we do not see the enlargement of the oasis. Instead, as the desert disappears, so does the oasis, and we fail to comprehend the uses of the garden that blooms in their place. Apparently, if you do not worry about surviving, then you do worry about whether it is worth surviving. And so, what is perhaps the most privileged class in the entire history of the human race, that of the Harvard College student, is among the most miserable!
And so behold the typical face of liberal student misery today: