I attach below a portion of the editorial from the Washington Post written by Kathleen Parker on November 24th of last year. It should provide a sense of what I have been complaining about for years on my blog and elsewhere. It is a problem we cannot simply ignore.
“It would be easy to call protesting college students crybabies and brats for pitching hissy-fits over hurt feelings, but this likely would lead to such torrents of tearful tribulation that the nation’s university system would have to be shut down for a prolonged period of grief counseling. Besides, it would be insensitive.
Instead, let me be the first to say: it’s not the students’ fault. These serial tantrums are a direct result of our Everybody Gets a Trophy culture and an educational system that, for the most part, no longer teaches a core curriculum, including history, government and Bill of Rights.
The students simply don’t know any better. . . .
The first sign of the epidemic of sensitivity we’re witnessing was when parents and teachers were instructed never to tell Johnny that he was a ‘bad boy,’ but that he is ‘acting’ like a bad boy.
Next, Johnny was handed a blue ribbon along with everyone else on the team even though he didn’t deserve one. This had the opposite effect of what was intended. Rather than protecting Johnny’s fragile self-esteem, the prize undermined Johnny’s faith in his own perceptions and judgment. It robbed him of his ability to pick himself up when he fell and be brave, honest, and hardy in the face of adversity.
Self-esteem is earned, not bestowed.
Today’s campuses are overrun with little Johnnys, their female counterparts and their adult enablers. How will we ever find enough fainting couches?
. . . Concurrent with these episodes of outrage is the recent surge on campuses of ‘trigger warnings’ in syllabuses to alert students to content that might be upsetting, and ‘safe spaces’ where students can seek refuge when ideas make them uncomfortable. It seems absurd to have to mention that the purpose of higher education is to be challenged, to be exposed to different views, and, above all, to be exhilarated by the exercise of free speech — other people’s as well as one’s own.
The marketplace of ideas is not for sissies, in other words. And it would appear that knowledge, the curse of the enlightened, is not for everybody.
The latter is meant to be an observation, but on many campuses today it seems to be an operating principle. A recent survey of 1,100 colleges and universities found that only 18 percent require American history or government, where such foundational premises as the First Amendment might be explained and understood. . . .
Such is the world we’ve created for young people who soon enough will discover that the world doesn’t much care about their tender feelings. But before such harsh realities knock them off their ponies we might hope that they redirect their anger. They have every right to despise the coddling culture that ill prepared them for life and an educational system that has failed to teach them what they need to know.”
I couldn’t agree more with Ms Parker — except to say that American history and government ought to be taught in all our high schools, along with a good stiff course in logic and critical thinking. This might lessen the number of fools who lap up the drivel that spews from the mouths of so many of the politicians seeking national offices. This is especially true since many of our citizens never go to college. But, in any event, what started out as a sincere desire to alleviate suffering among society’s victims has brought about an era of entitlement in which everyone claims to be a victim. There aren’t enough fainting couches to go around.