Phi Beta Cons

Peggy Noonan’s Terrific Column on Microaggressions and Trigger Warnings

Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal piece on the lunacy of the frenzy over “microaggressions” and the need for “trigger warnings,” is not to be missed.

Especially enjoyable is her discussion of the recent furor at Columbia over the alleged horror of having to read Ovid’s Metamorphoses. To the whimpering, complaining students behind the complaint, she asks a number of questions, including:

What in your upbringing told you that safety is the highest of values? What told you it is a realistic expectation? Who taught you that you are entitled to it every day? Was your life full of . . . unchecked privilege? Discuss.

Do you think Shakespeare, Frieda Kahlo, Virginia Woolf, Langston Hughes and Steve Jobs woke up every morning thinking, “My focus today is on looking for slights and telling people they’re scaring me”? Or were their energies and commitments perhaps focused on other areas?

College used to be of some help in making young people grow up. Now it largely does just the opposite, encouraging prolonged adolescence. This new clamor that every student be kept “safe” from disturbing thoughts or conflicting ideas ratchets that up a couple of notches.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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