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11/22/16

Election Outcome and College Students

Editor's note: This article is re-published here with the express permission of Dr. Walter Williams.

Trump and College Chaos 

By Walter E.Williams

If one needed more evidence of the steep decay in academia, Donald Trump's victory provided it. Let's begin by examining the responses to his win, not only among our wet-behind-the-ears college students, many of whom act like kindergartners, but also among college professors and administrators.

The University of Michigan's distressed students were provided with Play-Doh and coloring books, as they sought comfort and distraction. A University of Michigan professor postponed an exam after many students complained about their "serious stress" over the election results. Cornell University held a campuswide "cry-in," with officials handing out tissues and hot chocolate. One Cornell student said, "I'm looking into flights back to Bangladesh right now so I can remove myself before Trump repatriates me." The College Fix reported that "a dorm at the University of Pennsylvania ... hosted a post-election 'Breathing Space' for students stressed out by election results that included cuddling with cats and a puppy, coloring and crafting, and snacks such as tea and chocolate."

The University of Kansas reminded its stressed-out students that therapy dogs, a regular campus feature, were available. An economics professor at Yale University made his midterm exam "optional" in response to "many heartfelt notes from students who are in shock over the election returns." At Columbia University and its sister college, Barnard, students petitioned their professors to cancel classes and postpone exams because they were fearful for their lives and they couldn't take an exam while crying. Barnard's president did not entirely cave, but she said, "We are, however, leaving decisions regarding individual classes, exams, and assignments to the discretion of our faculty." She added, "The Barnard faculty is well aware that you may be struggling, and they are here for you." At Yale, it was reported that the "Trump victory (left) students reeling." Students exhibited "teary eyes, bowed heads and cries of disbelief" and had the opportunity to participate in a post-election group primal scream "to express their frustration productively."

Whether you are a liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, you should be disturbed and frightened for the future of our nation based on the response of so many of our young people to an election outcome. We should also be disturbed by college administrators and professors who sanction the coddling of our youth. Here's my question to you: Does a person even belong in college if he cannot handle or tolerate differing opinions? My answer is no.

What lies at the heart of multiculturalism, diversity and political correctness is an intolerance for different opinions. At Brown University, some students claim that freedom of speech does not confer the right to express opinions they find distasteful.

A while back, a Harvard University student organization representing women's interests advised law students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence if they feel that it might be traumatic. Such students will be useless to rape victims and don't belong in law school.

In a previous column, I cited an article on News Forum For Lawyers titled "Study Finds College Students Remarkably Incompetent," which referenced an American Institutes for Research study that revealed that over 75 percent of two-year college students and 50 percent of four-year college students were incapable of completing everyday tasks. About 20 percent of four-year college students demonstrated only basic mathematical ability, while a steeper 30 percent of two-year college students could not progress past elementary arithmetic. NBC News reported that Fortune 500 companies spend about $3 billion annually to train employees in "basic English." Many of today's college students are not only academically incompetent but emotionally so, as well, and do not belong in college.

These college snowflakes and their professors see themselves as our betters and morally superior to ordinary people. George Orwell was absolutely right when he said, "There are notions so foolish that only an intellectual will believe them."


Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

11/20/16

Our Side is Good and Great

Editor's note: While reading the post below by our guest contributor Seth, please notice that it is not pro-Trump or anti-Hillary. It's pro-critical thinking. That's what Seth does best.

Crying wolf has consequences

By Seth

First, hats off to Caitlin McGill, Vox, for having a “Scary, Awkward” conversation with her Dad about his vote for Trump.
Political discussion shouldn’t be scary or awkward, though.
But we have made it so. One reason it is is that both sides have overused identity politics for so long.
“Our side is good and great. The other side is bad. You don’t want to be bad, do you? Stick with us.”
I wanted to take the opportunity to address some of Caitlyn’s conversation. My responses below aren’t necessarily what I think, but what I imagine her Dad might think and just point out areas where I don’t believe what she says and he says are on the same spectrum of political speech.
Caitlyn:  I voted for Clinton because she seemed to represent equality for women and people of color, but more so because she did not represent the Islamophobic, homophobic, sexist, and racist thinking that Trump does.
This is a great example of the ‘my side good, other side bad’ politics. It keeps you from having to do the harder work of actually thinking.
I Googled the things that caused people to think Trump is the names she calls him. There are articles dedicated to each of the names she calls him.
I didn’t find them convincing. This Huffington Post piece is the top result when you Google “why is Trump a racist”. Its author, Lydia Cooper, provides “13 examples” of his racism.
First, some of the examples seem to have nothing to do with racism, like the first example. Lydia doesn’t even attempt to connect it to racism and left me scratching my head right off the bat.
This piece by Scott Alexander sums up well how I feel after reading stuff like Cooper’s piece. It also provides counter evidence to one of Cooper’s examples, “He refused to condemn the white supremacists who are campaigning for him,” which shows that she has her facts wrong, but is willing to put her head in the sand about that. And, if she’s willing to do that for that example, her credibility for the rest of her writing is in question.
Not only that, but Cooper herself, just a few paragraphs later says that Trump did disavow them. What she didn’t include, and what Alexander covers, is that no white supremacists campaigned for him or even officially endorsed him. That meme is a fiction meant to paint a specific picture in your head.
Caitlyn and Lydia should both read up on the story about the Boy who cried wolf.
The other thought I had, that is different from Alexander’s, is that if those examples were considered reasonable proof of Trump’s racism, then anyone could be painted as a racist, or any of the other things they called Trump.
I believe the election results show that, for some people, those on the left have already cried wolf a bit too much. Now might be a good time to bone up on forming better arguments, instead of faking it.