A Memo to College and University Students

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To: College and University Students
From: Someone who Does not Know Everything, but Knows Some Things
Re: Happiness and Success

You are not guaranteed happiness.
You are not guaranteed emotional satisfaction.
You are not guaranteed success.
You are not guaranteed to have any career you want; you must have the talent, skill, and hard work needed to succeed in that field.
You are not guaranteed a passing grade or any other grade in a class other than what you earn.
You are not guaranteed freedom from criticism of your views in class or in any other context.
You are not guaranteed that all your choices are good.
You are not guaranteed wealth.
You are not guaranteed “safe zones” in the real world.
You are not guaranteed that elections turn out the way you feel they should.
You are not guaranteed that everyone else agree with your opinions.
You are not guaranteed to know everything–or anything in particular.
You are not guaranteed protection from sickness, injury, death, loss of loved ones, or any of the other bad things that happen to all of us as part of the human condition.

Taking Offense and the Adolescent Whine

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So many Americans are so easily offended these days, especially by positions opposed to their own. Some such Americans call those who disagree with them “haters.” I have been called worse things online–a “f..ing a..hole,” “a worthless piece of s..t,” and other colorful terms. Many colleges and universities have “free speech zones,” so that students who might be offended by a speaker can stay clear. At least one local college (not the university where I teach) has a policy that classrooms are “stress free zones.” Some sexual harassment policies assert that asking someone on a date can be sexual harassment because it might offend someone. I wonder about people offended that no one asks them on dates. Too many people believe they have a “right not to be offended.” Being offended means, to such individuals, that the person doing the offending is guilty of a serious moral–and even legal–action that warrants actions ranging from reprimands to termination from a job to fines to prison time.

Parents of teenagers are familiar with the “adolescent whine,” the denial of personal responsibility, the demands that parents go along with whatever the teen wants to do. Denial of desires means the parents are full of hate. Anything parents say that offends them is a sign of serious moral failure by the parents–or at least some teens want their parents to think that way. The phenomena of people thinking they have a right not to be offended reveals a fundamental lack of maturity on their part. It is a denial of the responsibility we have to take account of our own emotions. Too many Americans (and Europeans) believe that other people are responsible for their emotions. This is like the teenager who is angry and tells his parents, “You made me feel this way.”

We see evidence of the adolescent whine in political correctness in colleges and universities, businesses, and other societal institutions. We see it when well-known people are demonized because they say something that offends some approved minority (make no mistake–the Left, which is control of most American cultural institutions, has its list of approved minorities–they are not concerned, for example, whether a Fundamentalist Christian is offended by someone’s speech or writing). Too many generally decent people have had their lives and careers ruined because of spoiled Leftists who may have adult bodies but whose minds are often pre-adolescent in their maturity level–sometimes they have the emotional maturity of a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum. In a society run by children, offense must be avoided at all costs. That viewpoint is especially destructive of education, in which one’s views, right or left, will be challenged (or should be). The idea of a “no stress zone” for classrooms is madness; students will stress about finishing assignments, being called on to answer a question in class, and so forth. They will stress when their pet positions are challenged. That is the way it should be. The professor should not be censored because students are offended by the content of the class. Nor should professors be censored if they are politically, morally, and/or socially conservative and speak their minds on controversial issues. Too many Leftists have become like the teen who says, “I’m going to talk about that anymore, and neither are you and then holds his hands to his ears when his parents try to talk to him.

If this post offends some Leftists, I’m pleased. Grow up. Stop being spoiled children who have to get your way or else. That road only leads to “might makes right”–and God forbid–perhaps worse.