The Corner

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The Covington Hypocrisy

A while back, there was a rash of articles on the theme, “No, college students are not adults, and we can’t expect them to be treated as adults.” For example, Eric Posner’s essay in Slate argued:

Students are children. Not in terms of age, but in terms of maturity. Even in college, they must be protected like children while being prepared to be adults.

In Posner’s essay and in others like it, the idea that college students are children was put forward to defend things such as “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” and repressive speech codes. Posner’s headline: “Universities Are Right — and Within Their Rights — to Crack Down on Speech and Behavior.” Posner wrote of a “moral panic.”

How does the belief that 22-year-olds, many of them with their own homes and jobs, are moral children square with the progressive insistence upon instrumentalizing the lives of actual children — legal minors — for cynical political ends in the Covington matter?

The model that they have put forward is this: When the issue is speech codes used to chill and suppress the speech of conservatives, then legal adults are moral children and must be treated as such; when the issue is the opportunity to engage in indirect Kulturkampf against Donald Trump and his admirers, then legal children are moral adults whose behavior (in this case, fictitious behavior) should be the pretext for a national moral panic.

I would argue that the Left likely will come to regret reducing the lives of children to mere instruments of personal convenience, but, since we have just observed the anniversary of Roe v. Wade . . .

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