Tag Archives: George Will

Social Justice Warriors Are the Reason Donald Trump Exists

Over the past couple weeks, students at colleges across the country have retreated into their safe spaces to protest the “hate speech” that is Donald Trump’s name. Never to be left out of a big PC trend, the Claremont Colleges have seen plenty of oversensitivity to Trump as well. Students and administrators at both Scripps College and  Pitzer College have referred to the phrases “#Trump2016” and “Make America” as “harassment,” “intimidation,” and “racism,” among other things. What these students seem to be missing is that their outrage is exactly what has made Trump’s candidacy so successful.

Political correctness has reached a point where it is essentially impossible to have an honest, open conversation about sensitive issues. Trump’s rise is nothing more than a direct response to the growing trend of language policing, and nowhere has this pattern of offense-taking victim culture been more evident than right here in Claremont.

At Pomona College, students protested an America-themed party because they felt that it supported “imperialism, violence, and racist power structures.” A mad scientist-themed party was opposed because the student government felt that the party’s name—“Mudd Goes Madd”—“trivializes mental health and disability issues.”

At Pitzer College, the Student Senate rejected a proposed Yacht Club because they thought that the word “yacht” was offensive to low-income students. Just weeks later, that same Student Senate did not approve a student’s request to start a campus branch of the national DreamCatcher Foundation—an organization that helps to give happy experiences to terminally ill hospice patients—because, even though the Student Senators believed that it “seems like a worthy organization in their goals and mission,” they were concerned that the word “DreamCatcher” was a form of cultural appropriation. This despite the fact that the CEO of the national organization is Native American herself.

The administration at Scripps College rescinded its invitation to George Will to speak at the Malott Public Affairs Program, a conservative speaker series intended to provide students with an opportunity to hear viewpoints they disagree with, because they didn’t agree with the conservative views Will expressed in a column he had written for the Washington Post. A cupcake-decorating event at Scripps was criticized for being a “garbage, cis, white event” and  “incredibly violent to trans women,” and students who defended the event were called “racist.” Just a few weeks later, the same on-campus coffee shop that hosted the cupcake event allowed only “people of color and allies that they invite” inside. Minority-only “safe spaces” appeared at Pomona College as well, where students were told that the presence of white students would prevent their nonwhite peers from feeling “safe” and “comfortable.”

The political correctness movement is losing traction because students are growing tired of being told what lecturers they can listen to, what parties they can go to, what clubs they can start, what charities they can support, and how they can decorate their cupcakes.

This same principle applies to most Americans on national political issues. Any opposition to illegal immigration and any efforts to call out radical Islam have been deemed unacceptable by the PC police. Much of Trump’s appeal comes from his brash, unapologetic demeanor and ongoing crudity in the face of public resentment. He maintains his strong views on immigration despite frequently being called a racist by progressives. He is willing to speak out against radical Islamic terror even when his critics try to call him an Islamophobe. He’s the only presidential candidate in American history who can talk about the size of his penis without committing political suicide. The fact that Trump is willing to confront societal taboos and revel in other people’s shock and distaste hits home with those who are tired of rampant PC culture dictating what they can and cannot do with their lives.

Overwhelmingly, Trump is supported by those Americans that feel constantly derided by elites in academia, the media, and Washington, DC. It only confirms Trump’s narrative when students and administrators at some of the most elite, exclusive, and expensive colleges in the country describe the act of writing Trump slogans on campus as “hate crimes” and acts of “violence.” These sorts of reactions communicate to the American working class what Trump has been peddling throughout his campaign: the upper echelons of society find your very presence offensive and they will seek to exclude, or even—in their ideal world—oppress you. How do you imagine that looks to Trump supporters? Every time a social justice warrior tries to call out Donald Trump over supposed bigotry, he, she, they, or ze adds more fuel to the Trump fire. Ah, the irony.

 

_________________________________

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Scripps Silence: A Rebuttal to the Scripps Voice

The Scripps Voice, the official student newspaper of Scripps College, came out in support of the college’s decision to suppress the voices of those on campus with whom it disagrees.

George Will

In its Oct. 16 issue, the newspaper featured a breathtakingly laudatory editorial in response to the Scripps administration’s decision to disinvite conservative columnist George Will from speaking on campus over a June 6 column that he wrote about sexual assault.

“The Scripps Voice stands behind – and applauds – the College’s decision,” the editorial reads.

The newspaper makes several arguments regarding why the college was justified in rescinding Will’s invitation to speak.

First, the editorial claims that “sexual assault is a bipartisan issue” about which there is no room for reasonable disagreement. On its face, there is some truth to this argument. Sexual assault is absolutely not a political question in the same way that, for instance, abortion is. Conservatives and liberals generally disagree about whether abortion is an inherently evil act, whereas both sides believe that sexual assault is always wrong.

But Will clearly was not arguing about the moral merits and detriments of the actual act of sexual assault in his column. Rather, he wrote about which acts deserve to be given the very serious label of “sexual assault,” which cultural institutions (or lack thereof) sexual assault is most prevalent under, and what our judicial response to sexual assault should be. These are questions surely up for political debate and discussion – ones about which conservative and liberal principles and philosophy are generally in disagreement.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 4.42.43 PMThus, Will was disinvited from speaking on campus because of his conservative views toward the issue sexual assault – in a guest lecture series designed to promote conservative views on campus – because the Scripps College administration personally disagreed with those political views.

It should also be instructional that only liberals and progressives are using the “sexual assault is a bipartisan issue” line. Where are the conservatives making the supposedly bipartisan argument that there is no room to disagree about political questions tangentially related to sexual assault?

Second, the editorial argues that allowing Will to speak after writing such a column would be harmful to the Scripps community, as it would trigger the past traumas of sexual assault survivors.

Yet, the Voice fails to mention that the only reason they are writing about Will’s column is because the Scripps administration chose to disinvite him from speaking on campus. Many people on this campus – perhaps among them survivors of sexual assault – only read Will’s initial column because of the political brouhaha that ensued after the disinvitation was revealed.

scripps sealWill’s column would not have been required reading had he simply been allowed to come and speak on campus, nor would attendance at the talk have been mandatory, and it is very likely that the only mention of sexual assault would have been during the Q&A session. It can be argued that the Scripps administration did more to trigger past traumas by rescinding Will’s invitation than they would have by letting him speak. (Of course, in its defense, the administration was probably counting on nobody finding out about the disinvitation.)

Third, and most fallaciously, the editorial argues that, because Will’s First Amendment rights were not violated by the disinvitation, he was not really “censored.”

Aside from the fact that no one is claiming that Will’s First Amendment rights were violated, this is a very dubious argument – and a bit of a troubling one coming from a newspaper with the word “voice” in its name. Perhaps it is best rebutted by a simple thought experiment.

Hypothetically speaking, were the Scripps administration to, say, take a stack of the most recent edition of the Scripps Voice and throw it into the trash, perhaps because it disagreed with one of the articles, would the Scripps Voice claim that they had been censored?

One need not think long on this question, because that is exactly what the newspaper claimed to have happened last year, when it intentionally left its Feb. 17 issue’s front cover blank in order to protest “student censorship” on campus.

It is ridiculous to think that political censorship can only exist within the sphere of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Just because it is not an American governmental entity doing the censoring does not mean that one has not been censored.

Finally, while the arguments raised by the Scripps Voice are far from persuasive, they are also straw men.

The real question up for debate here is not whether George Will expressed a conservative point of view, if what he wrote was insensitive, or if Scripps technically “censored” him by rescinding his invitation from campus, but whether the university can fulfill its primary purpose of creating critical thinkers and responsible citizens by presenting only one side of any given argument.

Is the modern-day university doing its students a disservice by shielding them from opinions about which they may disagree and that they may find hurtful? Can the academy properly function while only presenting certain acceptable points of view for debate and discussion?

You won’t find out by reading the Scripps Voice.

Scripps Defends George Will Disinvitation

Scripps College President Lori Bettison-Varga defended the college’s decision to disinvite conservative columnist George Will from speaking at a conservative lectureship in a letter addressed to the Scripps Community Oct. 7.

“Sexual assault is not a conservative or liberal issue,” Bettison-Varga wrote in the letter. “And it is too important to be trivialized in a political debate or wrapped into a celebrity controversy. For that reason, after Mr. Will authored a column questioning the validity of a specific sexual assault case that reflects similar experiences reported by Scripps students, we decided not to finalize the speaker agreement.”

Bettison-Varga emphasized Scripps’ commitment to inviting conservative speakers to campus as a part of the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program, a guest lecture series established under the belief that “a range of opinions about the world – especially opinions with which we may not agree, or think we do not agree – leads to a better educational experience.”

“Over the past eight years, the Malott Public Affairs Program has diversified the educational environment for our students by featuring conservative thought leaders in a widely publicized and well-attended event series,” Bettison-Varga wrote. “We do not shy away from bringing strong conservative viewpoints into our community.”

Will was initially slated to speak at this year’s program, which has hosted conservative columnists Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan in previous years, but was uninvited because of a June 6 column that he wrote about sexual assault on college campuses.

The complete Bettison-Varga letter is included below.

To the Scripps Community:

There has been a good deal of controversy in the last 24 hours over the decision of Scripps College and the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program to not pay George Will to speak on campus. There are a number of important issues that are being conflated, and I wanted to take a moment to share some perspective.

The issue of sexual assault is complex, serious, and personal to Scripps students. The College has worked on a continuing basis to provide the resources and support to build students’ trust and create a safe and secure campus environment. Scripps College has embraced a “yes means yes” policy, and we have spent the past several years working with our partner institutions to build a shared understanding of consent throughout the Claremont University Consortium community. We continue to work on ways to advance a productive dialogue on the issue of consent that we hope will further the community’s awareness and support.

We invited George Will to speak as part of our Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program because he is a prominent conservative commentator, and we believed our community would benefit from the healthy intellectual debate that has been the hallmark of the program since 2006. Over the past eight years, the Malott Public Affairs Program has diversified the educational environment for our students by featuring conservative thought leaders in a widely publicized and well-attended event series. We do not shy away from bringing strong conservative viewpoints into our community.

Sexual assault is not a conservative or liberal issue. And it is too important to be trivialized in a political debate or wrapped into a celebrity controversy. For that reason, after Mr. Will authored a column questioning the validity of a specific sexual assault case that reflects similar experiences reported by Scripps students, we decided not to finalize the speaker agreement.

Scripps College is planning next year’s Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs event, which will celebrate the ten-year anniversary of this important program at Scripps College. We will continue to welcome thoughtful, respected speakers representing diverse political perspectives to campus, and we look forward to the stimulating intellectual discourse that will occur as a result.

Sincerely,

Lori Bettison-Varga
President

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

George Will Uninvited from Scripps College

A prominent conservative political pundit was uninvited from speaking at Scripps College, in a program designed to promote conservative views on campus, because of his conservative views.

Nationally syndicated columnist George Will was slated to speak at the ninth annual Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program, the mission of which is to bring speakers to campus whose political views differ from the majority of students at the all-women’s college, but had his invitation rescinded after he wrote a column about sexual assault on college campuses.

“It was in the works and then it wasn’t in the works,” Will said in an interview with the Independent. “They didn’t say that the column was the reason, but it was the reason.”

Will also told the Independent that Christopher DeMuth, former president of the American Enterprise Institute, one of the most influential conservative think tanks in the country, resigned from his position on the program’s speaker selection committee over the decision to revoke the invitation.

The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program was established under the belief that “a range of opinions about the world – especially opinions with which we may not agree, or think we do not agree – leads to a better educational experience,” according to the Scripps College website.

It has not been announced who will be selected to replace Will at this year’s series. Previous speakers invited to campus by the program include conservative columnists Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan.

News of the cancellation comes shortly after the release of a recurring study by Claremont McKenna College Professor Emeritus Ward Elliott that aims to measure political attitudes at the Claremont Colleges. In the most recent update of the report, Elliott could not find any Scripps faculty members who are registered Republicans.

“Among the 532 [Claremont Colleges] core faculty only 15 Republicans could be found in the registries,” Elliott said in an email to the Independent. “Pomona, Pitzer, and Scripps have a very few registered third-party core faculty, but no Republicans at all found.”

Libby Ramsey SC ‘17 said that the cancellation underscores the lack of political diversity at Scripps.

“There is minimal political diversity at Scripps,” Ramsey said in an email to the Independent. “Not only this, but the minority who have different viewpoints feel uncomfortable sharing their opinions, and there is a culture of exclusion and a lack of acceptance. If Scripps claims to want ‘to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently,’ as our founder explained, it should not keep contributing to a culture of exclusion and silence.”

Will’s June 6 column centered on the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, particularly regarding the federal government’s recent intervention into how colleges should respond to such incidents.

“[Colleges and universities] are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (‘micro-aggressions,’ often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate,” Will wrote in the column. “And academia’s progressivism has rendered it intellectually defenseless now that progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle.”

Progressive groups were quick to condemn the column, and at least one newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, responded by dropping Will’s twice-weekly column from their op-ed page.

Four Democratic members of the U.S. Senate signed a June 12 letter denouncing Will’s column, writing that his “notion about a perceived privileged status of survivors of sexual assault on campuses runs completely counter to the experiences described to us.”

Will responded to the U.S. Senate in a June 13 letter, writing, “I think I take sexual assault much more seriously than you. Which is why I worry about definitions of that category of that crime that might, by their breadth, tend to trivialize it. And why I think sexual assault is a felony that should be dealt with by the criminal justice system, and not be adjudicated by improvised campus processes.”

A representative from Scripps could not be reached for comment before press time. The Independent will update this article as their comment becomes available.

Update: Scripps Defends George Will Disinvitation

Image Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore