This generation of brats has discovered social icons which provide them with full support from the uniformly mindless Left: Racism; Feminism; Environmentalism; Egalitarianism; multiculturalism; monolithic collective ideology. These they learned in government schools, and now demand of increasingly useless university systems - protection from perceptions of violation of the Leftist religious tenets. The perceptions need not be based in reality, need no witnesses, no evidence, no intent, no motive. All that is required is a statement of "discomfort". From this, there is no defense, except total capitulation, which is followed by expulsion.
The tactic is mob demands (not requests: demands) for evermore absurd and vaporous progressiveness forced upon campuses despite their imposition on the rights of others, not to mention the unenforceability (a tactic which guarantees the perpetuation of the mobs "outrage").
Here a long time professor muses on the issue:
"It is not enough, however, to denounce the pathologies of the witch hunters, the childish cruelty of the denouncers, or the timorousness of the population from whom the witches are plucked. What is needed is an argument, and with it a set of values, that can explain to young people what it means to be an intellectually mature—that is to say, an independent and resilient—adult who will reject such behavior as unworthy of an educated person and incompatible with a free society.
To that end one might summon a different representative of Old New England, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and in particular his essay “Self Reliance,” published in 1841. No one can ignore his liberal pedigree: a free thinker, an abolitionist, a feminist, and multicultural before his time (he read widely in and quoted from the Hindu sacred texts, for example). There is much in it, but perhaps nothing so precious as this paragraph:
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.To live this way can be hard, Emerson knew:
“For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.” But surely one purpose of an education is to know how to form one’s own conclusions, and stand for them even if the crowd bays against you.That insolent teenagers behave the way they do is unfortunate. What is menacing is when they become a mob. If their teachers can get them to understand that they are in fact acting as a mob; that by calling for the persecution of those who do not conform they are the heirs not of Martin Luther King, Jr. but of Joe McCarthy, it may be the start of their awakening. The students might even, with assistance, discover the respect that liberal thought once accorded to the lonely individual who stands up for what he or she knows is right—someone like the principled doctor in Ibsen’s Enemy of the People or the retiring sheriff in High Noon.
The pervasiveness of social media makes the act of standing alone, of being one’s own man or woman, much harder than before. We all wish to be “liked” and we know that the best way to be “followed” is to “follow” others. Retweet and you shall be retweeted. But perhaps there is a core in some of these protestors that a liberal case for standing apart from the crowd could touch. Emerson’s creed, like that of Thoreau after him, should appeal to the anxious young because it is a creed of strength. The shrill petulance of today’s college protestors depresses observers because these talented young people see themselves as weak, vulnerable, psychologically frail, desperately in need of coddling. In another age these students’ demands to be cushioned against every one of life’s psychic blows would, properly, be seen as contemptible, and their willingness to bully anyone who gets in their way as a threat."
A subset of Egalitarianism, which makes all colors equal but rejects contrary thought, is multiculturalism. The premise is that all cultures are equal and therefore should live together homogeneously in proportion to the size of their individual populations, and is taken as an unassailable moral first principle.
But it is false. Some cultures are built on hatred of other cultures; some cultures are built on the concept of world domination. The failure to recognize this is a logical failure of absence of objective reality, a reality which is readily observable empirically. Thus the premise of "all cultures are equal" is demonstrably false.