Alt-Left
According to James Wolcott of Vanity Fair, "disillusionment with Obama’s presidency, loathing of Hillary Clinton, disgust with “identity politics,” and a craving for a climactic reckoning that will clear the stage for a bold tomorrow have created a kinship between the “alt-right” and an alt-left. They’re not kissin’ cousins, but they caterwaul some of the same tunes in different keys." The alt-left can’t match that the alt-right for strength, malignancy, or tentacled reach, but its dude-bros and “purity progressives” exert a powerful reality-distortion field online and foster factionalism on the lib-left. Its outlets are many and varied. According to Dan Gainor of FoxNews, we are living in ‘alt-left’ world. The traditional media are obsessed with tying conservatives to the “alt-right.” There have been more than 50 major news network mentions this year alone as journalists try to do what they always do — paint conservatives as racist, sexist, and a few other words that end in 'ist'. All in the name of “tolerance.” But when it comes to the left, there is no alt-left. They are not alternative. Their mainstream is radical and out of the American mainstream on almost everything. This was quite obvious as liberals bemoaned the death of Fidel Castro, a man his own daughter called “a tyrant.” The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. summed up years of devotion, recalling how, “the oppressed the world over joined Castro’s cause of fighting for freedom & liberation.” This is what we must start thinking of as the “alt-left.” “Alt,” not because they are out of the liberal mainstream. They aren’t. Alternative because they are out of the mainstream of an America where 37 percent are conservative and 35 percent are moderate. Just 24 percent are liberal. The alt-left is everything bad the left claims about the right. It is extreme and doesn’t want compromise. It wants to demonize or destroy opponents and intrude into every aspect of our lives. Media outlets that bemoan Trump turning America to the right forget the alt-left support a Socialist had running in the Democrat primary. Good, old-fashioned liberalism has been replaced by a far-more radical brand.

Those ‘Snowflakes’ Have Chilling Effects Even Beyond the Campus

4/23/17
By Heather Mac Donald,
from The Wall Street Journal,
4/21/17:

Academic intolerance is the product of ideological aggression, not a psychological disorder.

Student thuggery against non-leftist viewpoints is in the news again. Agitators at Claremont McKenna College, Middlebury College, and the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses have used threats, brute force and sometimes criminal violence over the past two months in efforts to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos, Charles Murray, Ann Coulter and me from speaking. As commencement season approaches, expect “traumatized” students to try to disinvite any remotely conservative speaker, an effort already under way at Notre Dame with regard to Vice President Mike Pence. This soft totalitarianism is routinely misdiagnosed as primarily a psychological disorder. Young “snowflakes,” the thinking goes, have been overprotected by helicopter parents, and now are unprepared for the trivial conflicts of ordinary life. “The Coddling of the American Mind,” a 2015 article in the Atlantic, was the most influential treatment of the psychological explanation. The movement to penalize certain ideas is “largely about emotional well-being,” argued Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Jonathan Haidt of New York University. The authors took activists’ claims of psychological injury at face value and proposed that freshmen orientations teach students cognitive behavioral therapy so as to preserve their mental health in the face of differing opinions. But if risk-averse child-rearing is the source of the problem, why aren’t heterosexual white male students demanding “safe spaces”? They had the same kind of parents as the outraged young women who claim to be under lethal assault from the patriarchy. And they are the targets of a pervasive discourse that portrays them as the root of all evil. Unlike any other group on a college campus, they are stigmatized with impunity, blamed for everything from “rape culture” to racial oppression. Campus intolerance is at root not a psychological phenomenon but an ideological one. At its center is a worldview that sees Western culture as endemically racist and sexist. The overriding goal of the educational establishment is to teach young people within the ever-growing list of official victim classifications to view themselves as existentially oppressed. One outcome of that teaching is the forceful silencing of contrarian speech. At UC Berkeley, the Division of Equity and Inclusion has hung banners throughout campus reminding students of their place within the ruthlessly competitive hierarchy of victimhood. One depicts a black woman and a Hispanic man urging fellow students to “create an environment where people other than yourself can exist.” That’s not meant as hyperbole. Students have been led to believe they are at personal risk from circumambient bigotry. After the February riots at Berkeley against Mr. Yiannopoulos, a columnist in the student newspaper justified his participation in the anarchy: “I can only fight tooth and nail for the right to exist.” Another opined that physical attacks against supporters of Mr. Yiannopoulos and President Trump were “not acts of violence. They were acts of self-defense.” Such maudlin pleas for self-preservation are typical. An editorial in the Wellesley College student newspaper last week defended “shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others.” Offending “rhetoric” frequently includes the greatest works of Western civilization. In November 2015, a Columbia sophomore announced on Facebook that his “health and life” were threatened by a Core Curriculum course taught by a white professor. The comment thread exploded with sympathetic rage.

Those “racist” texts include works by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Rousseau and Mill.

Many observers dismiss such ignorant tantrums as a phase that will end once the “snowflakes” encounter the real world. But the graduates of the academic victimology complex are remaking the world in their image. The assumption of inevitable discrimination against women and minorities plagues every nonacademic institution today, resulting in hiring and promotion based on sex and race at the expense of merit.

Faculty and campus administrators must start defending the Enlightenment legacy of reason and civil debate. But even if dissenting thought were welcome on college campuses, the ideology of victimhood would still wreak havoc on American society and civil harmony. The silencing of speech is a massive problem, but it is a symptom of an even more profound distortion of reality.

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