Watching brain-dead kids and their professors jabbering on the University of Missouri campus last week, it was hard not to remember a line from George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984": "The past was dead, the future was unimaginable."
Trying to imagine government and business in the hands of these leftist boobs leaves "unimaginable" a tiny speck in the rearview mirror; the future is nothing short of terrifying.
Embracing political correctness and social justice (whatever that is) as a new religion, the blossoming social warriors, and some idiot faculty, reveled in their new-found leftness; their "right" to not be annoyed or offended; their "right" to be safe; their "right" to shut down contrary viewpoints.
Students trying to bar media coverage of their antics surrounded a campus newspaper photographer chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, journalists have got to go." An assistant professor of mass media at the school's "prestigious" Department of Communications, Melissa Click, was even recorded asking for "muscle" to help her boot a student photojournalist from the protest. She resigned her courtesy appointment Wednesday.
What started as an understandable, perhaps even legitimate, protest of the university's slow reaction to campus racial tension -- culminating months of protests -- ended as a display of much of what is wrong with American universities as the inmates take over the asylums.
Before it was over, the president of the four-school university system, Timothy M. Wolfe -- facing a football team boycott that could have cost the school millions and a graduate student's hunger strike -- had quit. In quick order, the campus chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, said he would step down at year's end and the university system said it would hire a diversity, inclusion and equity officer.
There were, mind you, other problems on the Mizzou campus, the New York Times notes -- its ties to Planned Parenthood, for instance, and anger at its plan to drop health insurance payments for graduate teaching and research assistants -- but it was "charges of persistent racism, particularly complaints of racial epithets hurled at the student body president, who is black, that sparked the strongest reactions, along with complaints that the administration did not take the problem seriously enough."
Exactly how -- or why -- a university can be responsible for hateful, but still constitutionally protected, speech from dull-eyed, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing droolers who happen by in a car, remains unclear
Mizzou -- its unrest linked inextricably to the same professional leftist wackdoodles who brought us the fairy tale version of events in Ferguson, Missouri -- is not the only campus to see a surge in student activism in recent weeks and months.
At UCLA, students protested their school's alleged failure to address systemic racism. At Wesleyan, students raged the student newspaper "neglects to provide a safe space for the voices of students of color." And at Yale, where student activist bullies resorting to vile attacks and public shaming have targeted a faculty member, and her defenders, after she questioned whether the administration should be encouraging students to think about what makes an "insensitive" Halloween costume. Elsewhere across the land, activists sought to establish the rights to free tuition, cancelation of student debt and a $15 minimum wage for campus workers.
The common thread? Curbing contrary viewpoints.
In an insightful essay published online by New York Magazine Nov. 10 -- "Can we start taking political correctness seriously now?" -- Jonathan Chait whacks the proverbial nail when he says of political correctness:
It's the expression of a political culture with consistent norms, and philosophical premises that happen to be incompatible with liberalism. The reason every Marxist government in the history of the world turned massively repressive is not because they all had the misfortune of being hijacked by murderous thugs. It's that the ideology itself prioritizes class justice over individual rights and makes no allowance for legitimate disagreement.
In truth, the ideology so easily embraced by the mindless is wormy to its core, a fantasy, and has led to the murders of tens of millions over the years. The inability to recognize, accept and fairly evaluate legitimate disagreement is the hallmark of intolerant thinking. It is easier for those on the left to stifle dissent than it is to defend the anti-intellectual and repressive economic and political philosophies they demand we embrace.
Those of us who abhor political correctness, seeing it as the bald attack on free speech and individual freedoms it truly is, understand that despite the kiddies' foot-stomping there is no right to be safe or not be annoyed. Americans are free to do and say as they please, think as they please, even hate whoever they want to hate as long as they do not act upon those feelings. Threats and swastikas in human waste, part of the fuel for the Mizzou protests, go well over that line. It is still a free country -- up to the end of the other guy's nose.
What many of us worry about is what the country will look like in the future.
Given what we see, that truly is unimaginable.
Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com, a division of Porcaro Communications.
The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.