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When I was a young boy, I had a bad fall out of a hay maw. I was bruised and battered but somehow not seriously hurt. Little boys are nearly indestructible. The only lasting effect was a serious fear of heights. Which is a problem on a farm, obviously. Lots of manual labor in high places.
I worked through it by sitting in trees. At first, I would just stand on a lower limb for a few seconds, maybe a few feet off the ground. Then I’d work higher and higher, sitting for longer and longer times. A few years later, a group of us boys were jumping out of a tree that leaned over a pond – probably a 15-foot drop. I was petrified, but I had to do it, because I didn’t want them to think I was a chicken. If you’ve ever been a little boy, you understand the pressure in such situations. But I worked through my fears over time. I still don’t like heights, but I can work up high if I need to now.
I also have an irrational hatred of a song. This sounds ridiculous, but I truly hate Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” It was on the radio a lot around the time we lost our hog farm. It was the worst time of my life. That song sounded like it was about me and my family. We’d worked so hard, and now we were biting the dust. Losing everything. And it hurt. And for some reason, when I hear that song now, 40 years later, I still get immediately angry. It’s not rational, and I know that. I love Queen’s music. I have several of their albums. But man, I hate that song.
How do I handle that? If that song comes on the radio, I change the channel. Simple.
My problem with heights was more serious. I had to work through that. But a song? That’s easy. I don’t like it, so I don’t listen to it.
Chowderhead’s post about Smith College banning the word “field” because it supposedly upset people who have never worked in fields – that really is remarkable.
First of all, I’d like to know how many complaints the administration got about the word “field” before they banned it. I presume that number is zero.
But let’s just suppose it was one. Or more than one.
Imagine being a college administrator – tasked with preparing young adults for the real world. And one of your charges comes to you and says they don’t like the word “field.” Ok.
I presume that the administrator’s first action, after he stopped laughing, would have been to help that student work through his phobia. After all, it’s likely that that student will encounter this word from time to time, and it might be wise to develop a plan of how to handle this.
Perhaps get the student to write the word “pasture” 10 times a day for week, working up to “meadow” 20 times a day, and then finally trying “field” in pencil, just once. Or something like that. That may sound like a ridiculous solution, but this is a ridiculous problem.
Perhaps a resourceful administrator, accustomed to working with modern adolescents, might be creative enough to come up with a more practical solution. Hard to say.
But in my view, he’s doing that student no favors by simply banning the word from their school.
I can just change channels on my radio. But that kid is likely to encounter “field” at some point, just as I was likely to encounter heights in farm work. He needs to work through this.
The left has changed a great deal over the past 10-15 years. The most striking change, to me, is their violent intolerance of anyone they don’t completely agree with.
This is not an accident. These kids are not being sheltered. They are being trained. Trained by the very institutions which once taught students to be open-minded, and interested in viewpoints beyond their own. They’re being trained that those who have views different from theirs are not worth listening to. This is where “cancel culture” starts.
It’s ok if I don’t like a certain song. If I choose not to listen to it, no one gets hurt.
Until I tell others that they may not listen to it, either. Then we have a problem. A problem that can quickly lead to division, resentment, and eventually violence. It’s just a song. Until somebody makes it a weapon.
The story about Smith College banning the word “field” is funny. But really, it’s not funny at all. It’s terrifying.
This is getting worse quickly. Young people are becoming less tolerant of others. They’re being trained to do so. At this point, they’re required to do so.
If we don’t stop this trend soon, all innovation will stop, because no one will be allowed to debate different perspectives, and we’ll lose the creative energy of people working together.
It’s no wonder that colleges don’t teach Western Civilization anymore. Colleges have become fearful of, and now hostile to, the principles which make Western Civilization great.
The left destroys everything it touches.Published in