There Really is a Climate of Violence on Campuses

Violent behavior is condoned — as long as the politics are correct

By William M Briggs Published on February 13, 2017

Time for our News Quiz! How many were arrested and punished in Berkeley among those who rioted, vandalized and violently beat a man with shovels, almost killing him, when the right-wing comedian Milo was to visit that campus?

Hint: The total was the same as the number of student militants menacingly brandishing automatic weapons who violently occupied Cornell’s Willard Straight Hall in 1969 in protest of Cornell’s “racist attitudes” and “irrelevant curriculum.”

Still not sure? Then here, at the risk of being too generous, is another hint. The number of violent actors arrested at Berkeley is the same as the number punished for their violent storming of the stage at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to prevent mild-mannered Ben Shapiro from speaking on the subject of decency, an event at which “Campus police watched but did nothing to stop the interruptions.” Violent students also blocked Shapiro from UCLA.

If you still don’t have it, the number you’re looking for is the usual count of those arrested, expelled or otherwise punished for their use of violence to further political causes at colleges and universities all across this fair country. It is a number fewer than the fingers on your right hand to the left of your thumb.

No more clues. Unless you find the answer too distasteful to admit, you have at least an inkling of this circular figure.

The Violent in Charge

Now that we have finished the first question, it is time for our … Political Science Quiz! Ready?

What do we call those people in a society who are licensed or allowed to use violence?

No hints this time. We call these the people in charge.

Since the violent are in charge, and since folks regularly use violence on college campuses as a means of politics — violence that just as regularly goes unpunished or is countenanced — we can therefore say that there is an officially approved climate of violence many campuses in the United States.

Since the violent are in charge, and since folks regularly use violence on college campuses as a means of politics — violence that just as regularly goes unpunished or is countenanced — we can therefore say that there is an officially approved climate of violence many campuses in the United States.

It really is this simple. Violent students (and professors) are in charge, have been in charge, and will continue to be in charge as long as they are allowed to use violence.

Violence in and around universities is so commonplace that its presence is thought natural and necessary. Pepper sprayings, calls for muscle, assaults of speakers calling for free speech (another Berkeley incident), a brawl and students rushing the stage, students occupying by force various campus offices.

These violent actions are not only in protest of freedom and traditional morality. Sometimes plain old-fashioned greed is the excuse. As when students violently burst into and occupied various buildings at University of California at Davis to whine that tuition should not increase.

There isn’t any point in continuing the examples. The reports of violent behavior and temper tantrums of campus denizens appear in the news as often as storm reports, ever since the 1960s. Everybody knows this to be true. Everybody expects it. And except for noting these incidents, as I am doing now, few do anything about them.

Don’t Call Them Snowflakes

The mistake is to label violent, fit-throwing students as they crowd into “safe spaces,” fill their diapers and demand to be changed, with being “snowflakes.” Those who do so, says Anthony Esolen in his new book Out of the Ashes, “are wrong in their diagnosis and inaccurate in their criticism.”

It is also something of a mistake to point at the students and laugh at them for being weaklings. The students hold the hammer, and they know it … in our world of inversions, power is granted to people who claim that they have no power and who resent the greatness of their own forebears. They do not seek “safety.” They seek to destroy. The strong man is bound and gagged, and the pistol is pointed at his head — the seat of reason itself.

On paper, at least, university presidents, deans and trustees are in charge. Almost none of these people, duly accepting their office and possessing the right to administer punishment and keep order, fulfill their duties to maintain order and keep the peace. Sometime these officials share the political goals of the violent on campus, and so excuse the violence.

But often those purportedly in charge do not want the grief associated with doing the right thing. If a president expelled a violent student, the national media would be against him, a large part of his faculty would be against him, the student body would be against him, even the trustees buckling under the weight of publicity would be against him. It is easier to look the other way or issue a non-binding We-Love-Tolerance-And-Repudiate-Violence missive.

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  • jgmusgrove

    I call violent, fit-throwing students, thugs. I suspect many of the practitioners of violence are not students but others who enjoy rioting as an ends in itself.

  • Autrey Windle

    They say no two snowflakes are alike and all of these thugs are exactly alike. I say they are not so much snowflakes as just plain flakes with too much time on their hands and too many parents who refused to say ‘no’ to them.

  • Wayne Cook

    As much as the ungovernable want to make their violence and beliefs known, they fail if two things are missing, 1 There’s a framework to contrast their behavior, ie, a society of mostly ordered people, and 2, they have a safe and ordered place to which escape is possible. Implosion and self immolation nearly always results from the violence of the ungovernable.

  • m-nj

    it may still take a while, but their actions WILL rouse the silent majority of this country and they will be knocked down and put back in their place… and yes, i am saying “put in their place”, as in, put back in the place of a rationale, mature citizen of a lawful society, as opposed to the place of a irrational, lawless animal.

  • Irene Neuner

    Are we paying for these kids to go to school?

  • Forbes

    Universities, consistent with our primary and secondary schools, are not about learning or higher education–the acquisition of knowledge. They are a jobs program for adult employment providing socialization in the reigning progressive orthodoxy and leftwing mores of the day. While there are exceptions in both lower and higher education that do not conform to the political orthodoxy, they are the exceptions that prove the rule. And the orthodoxy is about who has power, and against whom it can be wielded. Inalienable rights to speech, assembly, et al., or to petition the government are just so many words in the leftwing view. And since university administrators are sympathetic to, if not in agreement with, the politics of the obstructionist rioters, why would they lift a finger to protect just so many words? Better to champion as restraint (impotency) the judgment of doing nothing (weakness), than tender exposure of the the true powerlessness that accompanies the reality of the inmates running the asylum. Why risk it? Students come and go, but administrators have lifetime jobs.

  • blackfeather

    this is what they are being TAUGHT.

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