Phi Beta Cons

The Cause of the Turmoil?

Elsewhere on the NRO site, Jonah Goldberg picks up on the protests at the University of Missouri and Yale. His view: It’s not just political correctness because that’s been around for years. It’s “the fragility” of the college students.

Does anyone, other than a few campus hotheads, actually believe universities are more intolerant, bigoted, and racist than they were a generation ago? What has changed are the students. Yes, there has been a lot of ideological indoctrination in which kids are taught that taking offense gives them power. But, again, that idea is old. What’s new is the way kids are being raised.

Goldberg quotes Steve Horwitz of St. Lawrence University who says that from kindergarten or earlier, children are taught to “play nice.” Parents intervene when there is disagreement, so that it doesn’t turn into a fight. But this makes kids weak and dependent.

Goldberg and Horwitz may be right, but I still wonder if the problem is not the kids’ upbringing, but the environment of universities today, created by leftwing faculty and administration (think, residential life). Certainly, they should take some of the blame.

Jane S. ShawJane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...


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