If you listen to conservatives (and sweet Lord, why would you?), you would have to believe that college kids have whipped themselves into a politically correct frenzy.
They are rampaging through America, the illicit love children of Hugo Chavez and Bernie Sanders, censoring speech in an orgy of left wing strawmen that will send us straight to full communism. No half measures for this gang.
Don’t believe it. Like everything imaginable from the left this particular argument is absolute hokum.
What we are seeing on the right (with occasional help from folks on the left who should know better) is yet again another cycle of moral panic, marching along with old fashioned political opportunism and smears.
Fears about the so-called “PC police” have more in common with hysteria about “reefer madness,” neighborhood devil worship, hook-up culture and people eating Tide pods.
Like every outbreak of mass delusion, there is some truth. There are some college kids who take things too far, who need some exposure to the cold, harsh realities of modern life to understand that life has hard edges.
Sure. Yes. Some people are eating Tide pods. But it’s not a lot of people.
But the next step of the argument, which always comes blaring from the same old places like Fox News and its cabinet of bright-toothed pundits peddling left wing doomsday, is where it all falls apart.
We’ve been hearing of the coming dominance of the radical left for at least fifty years now. For goodness sake, days before his assassination, the right was handing out flyers complaining that John F. Kennedy was soft on communism.
Every few years, it seems the right suddenly discovers that the radical left has infiltrated America and is in control of liberal institutions.
But somebody forgot to tell the most dominant institution of the left in America: The Democratic Party.
Despite constantly teetering on becoming a squadron of Che Guevaras, the Democrats nonetheless suppress what is their supposedly natural impulses and instead pick figures well within the mainstream of American life to represent them.
Those same college liberals that the right insists have so much sway over the left in general would be shocked to know the power they have. Democrats keep nominating figures like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Barack Obama instead.
America would be surprised to learn of this vast left-wing plot as well, since four out of those five figures managed to earn the most votes when they were the party’s nominee. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both did it twice.
Going back to those college liberals, the supposed vanguards of the socialist takeover of America, when they last voted for a nominee most of them chose Bernie Sanders. But while Sanders stands to the left of what Democrats have usually supported, a glancing survey of his positions finds that he’s still some ways away from the radical left.
The big secret is that when you ask Americans, issue by issue, about the bulk of Sanders’ positions they tend to support him.
They certainly prefer the large safety net that Sanders has proposed compared to the cruel and vicious Ayn Rand fanfic proposed by the Paul Ryan’s of the world.
That’s why when he ran for vice-president, Ryan had to pretend as if he loved the safety net, and the Romney campaign sent him down to Florida to lie right to seniors’ faces about it.
The panic over the college left, and its supposed effects downstream across the entire left, are a phony moral panic designed to scare the left into submission to the right’s bizarre ideas while moving books and ratings numbers for the right’s demagogues.
Don’t fall for it.