Just as the sacraments are an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace, so is irrational activism an obnoxious and virulent sign of inner spiritual torment. Rational activism is sober, respectful, and seeks to convince; the irrational activism we’re seeing today is meant partly to intimidate and mostly to make the activists feel better about themselves. Today’s college students are among the most privileged people in human history, which is perhaps why they regularly command others to check their privilege. A century ago — when the finest colleges were the preserve of white gentile men — the most privileged Yale man had neither smart phone nor Google. He lacked million dollar sports facilities and the Internet. But he had something that today’s students lack: a confident faculty that had the discipline to impress thousands of years of civilization into their students’ souls, transforming them from children into adults.
Childhood should be a time of play, and we regularly make exceptions for children’s misbehavior that we wouldn’t tolerate in adults. That means that we don’t call the cops when a two year old has a temper tantrum in the grocery store or when ten year olds scuffle and wind up with bloody noses. But we do call the cops when twenty-year-olds behave thus. It’s only natural for children to want to stay in the Edenic state of freedom from responsibility. But it’s the job of their parents to see that children learn that only with responsibility comes any measure of freedom. And it is the job of the university to continue this civilizing process with a liberal education: making citizens fit for liberty. By infantilizing their students, the universities have failed in their duty.More