Culture Wars/Current Controversies

You’re offended? So what?

By Samuel Goldman, The Week

How to escape the snowflake wars.

This fall has been unseasonably warm, but there are snowflakes in the air.

As educational institutions return to normal operations, a series of incidents around the country have also revived a familiar pattern of provocation, offense, and condemnation. At the University of Michigan and Yale Law School, back-to-class controversies are occurring with greater predictability than the transition of climate-changed seasons.

These events have been a windfall for conservatives. It’s hard to imagine less effective ambassadors for the left than thin-skinned students and their administrative allies. That’s why even writers sympathetic to their cause worry rallying against curriculum decisions or party invitations is counterproductive.

Sensitivity isn’t limited to one side of the political spectrum, though. Where they’re in charge, Republicans cater to the most easily offended. Some anti-Critical Race Theory laws passed earlier this year ban instruction that causes “discomfort” or psychological distress associated with students’ race or sex. More recently, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has made parental objections to sexually-explicit course materials the centerpiece of his campaign.

There’s a simple explanation for the apparent inconsistency. Being offended makes people angry and angry people vote.


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