The griev­ance gen­er­a­tion

Whiny col­lege stu­dents are protest­ing when their feel­ings are hurt

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Stephen Moore

Re­mem­ber the cam­pus un­rest in the 1960s? Whether you agreed with the stu­dents or not, they were protest­ing about things of great con­se­quence — like civil rights, or the mil­i­tary draft, or the Viet­nam War. They had chants like “hell no, we won’t go.” Those were the good old days.

Now we are wit­ness­ing whiney col­lege kids march­ing in the streets scream­ing ob­scen­i­ties or tak­ing over the univer­sity pres­i­dent’s of­fice for what? Feel­ing slighted? Hav­ing their feel­ings hurt? Talk about rebels with­out a cause.

One of the trendy de­mand by the ag­grieved stu­dents is free col­lege tu­ition. And why not? Nearly ev­ery­thing else th­ese mil­len­ni­als have ever had was handed to them for free.

I’ve trav­eled to many cam­puses in re­cent weeks and ex­pe­ri­enced the melo­drama of stu­dent griev­ances first­hand. To be fair, I should note that many of the stu­dents are im­pres­sive with open and in­quir­ing minds. It’s only a loud-mouthed mi­nor­ity whose mis­sion is to shut out and shut down views they find a way to be of­fended by.

Th­ese left­ist kids are agi­tated. An­gry. This the han­gover ef­fect, I sus­pect, from the shat­tered utopian dreams of Hope and Change. I have no­ticed in re­cent months that th­ese stu­dents at­tend my lec­tures not to learn any­thing — they know ev­ery­thing al­ready — but hop­ing that I will slip up or say some­thing they can la­bel as of­fen­sive or that vi­o­lates their eight-vol­ume cam­pus speech code.

When I ask them what they want, a typ­i­cal re­sponse is a “rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion of the econ­omy” to re­duce in­come in­equal­ity, racism, sex­ism, and, of course, to end cli­mate change. Gov­ern­ment will com­mand th­ese changes to achieve this trans­for­ma­tion. Th­ese are young Stal­in­ists who are will­ing to sus­pend al­most ev­ery ba­sic free­dom and civil lib­erty for “the greater good.”

They’re on a roll hav­ing al­ready suc­cess­fully re­moved univer­sity pres­i­dents and fac­ulty for the sin of be­ing in­suf­fi­ciently re­spon­sive to their lat­est griev­ance.

At one re­cent visit to Univer­sity of Mas­sachusetts I asked a few kids what their plans were for Thanks­giv­ing. They prac­ti­cally spat at me for even men­tion­ing this white supremacy hol­i­day, that only triv­i­al­izes and glo­ri­fies the geno­cide of the Na­tive Amer­i­cans by the pil­grims. Wow. Sorry, I brought it up, es­pe­cially in your “safe space.” if they had their way, I would be sen­tenced to six months of sen­si­tiv­ity train­ing.

I can’t help con­trast­ing th­ese cam­pus at­ti­tudes with a re­cent meet­ing I had with a group of sol­diers who had re­turned from Afghanistan. Th­ese brave men and women risked their lives ev­ery­day. They had real bul­lets shot at them, not the ver­bal ones that the cam­pus left­ists find so of­fen­sive. They have gen­uine and in some cases life-chang­ing in­juries — ring­ing in the ear, post-trau­matic stress syn­drome, and bro­ken limbs.

They served so that the left­ists on col­lege cam­puses who day af­ter day re­main shel­tered in their co­coons and protest the wounds to their frag­ile psy­che of hav­ing to lis­ten to a point of view they dis­agree with. The hor­ror. How do they lit­tle dar­lings go on? Maybe they will do all us a fa­vor and stay there and never graduate.

Can you imag­ine the tyrany you would bring upon your­self by ac­tu­ally hir­ing one of th­ese self-right­eous com­plain­ers. Within a month they’d be slap­ping you with a law­suit for not hav­ing a trans­gen­der bath­room. And you’ll be think­ing: Right, but did you ac­tu­ally fin­ish that as­sign­ment I gave you? Em­ploy­ers tell me de­spon­dently that the mil­len­ni­als are by far the high­est main­te­nance gen­er­a­tion they’ve ever seen. One re­cruiter re­cently told me: “They need their hands held, they de­mand af­fir­ma­tion, they are for­ever whin­ing about their feel­ings. We really don’t have time to deal with their petty griev­ances.” Iron­i­cally, when I grad­u­ated from col­lege in the early 1980s they called us the “me gen­er­a­tion.”

Who’s to blame for all of this? Alas, we are. The par­ents who caved in to ev­ery in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion de­mand they ever had, ar­ranged “play dates,” for them, show­ered them with daily pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tion, and gave them time-outs rather than spank­ings. Our schools are to blame for la­belling them “gifted and tal­ented,” and award­ing them tow­er­ing tro­phies for fin­ish­ing in 6th place so as not to dam­age their self-es­teem. The col­lege pro­fes­sors who cor­rupt their minds with hate-Amer­ica ide­ol­ogy and now are the ad­min­is­tra­tors who cave into their ev­ery petty de­mand.

Worst of all are the suc­cess­ful Amer­i­cans who well-mean­ingly think they are be­ing char­i­ta­ble by giv­ing their money to the very uni­ver­si­ties that are in­doc­tri­nat­ing th­ese kids with non­sen­si­cal ideas. Why? Just stop. So­ci­ety would be bet­ter off if you just burned your money.

Yes, I ad­mit that th­ese com­plaints are made of ev­ery gen­er­a­tion. But this one seems se­ri­ously off and we made them this way. A gen­er­a­tion that has grown up in more af­flu­ence and per­sonal free­dom than any other in history has been taught to hate the free en­ter­prise wealth-cre­ation process that gave them what they want in the first place. A gen­er­a­tion that has been drilled since pre-kinder­garten that the high­est virtue in life is tol­er­ance, has sud­denly be­come the most in­tol­er­ant in history.

What they lack most is grat­i­tude. Some­thing to think about this Thanks­giv­ing. Stephen Moore is an eco­nomic con­sul­tant at Free­dom Works and a Fox News con­trib­u­tor.

ILLUSTRATION BY GREG GROESCH/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

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