The new enthusiasm for censorship goes way beyond "no platform for ..." (fill in you favourite bogeymen here: in my day it was the South Africans, anyone associated with Barclays Bank or the Shah of Iran, etc etc) - which is bad enough, but in days of yore was at least robustly conducted, with skulls cracked and plentiful beers consumed afterwards. The pitched battle fought in St Aldates between the National Front and various leftist groupings remains fresh in the memory, in particular for the brave tactic of berseker lefty women deliberately hurling themselves under the boots of the NF phalanx in the manner of a loose forward trying to bring down a maul, to provide vivid photographic material for the next day's papers.
They don't make 'em like that any more. These days, it's everyone's right to feel 'safe'; and anyone who takes against anything they encounter is entitled to claim to be 'traumatised'. Naturally, no-one can be allowed to go round causing trauma. Take this example, admittedly from the USA (Brown University), where a 'safe space' was established in case anyone was being 'damaged' by what they heard during a formal debate about campus sexual assault that was taking place at the university. The 'space' was:
... intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. ... a rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs”Or this, (hosted by the redoubtable prof Brian Leiter on his well-known Philosophy blog):
I'm sending this email anonymously since, nowadays, being linked to even the mild views that I wish to get your opinion on is grounds for being tossed in the dustbin of "bigotry" ... I recently read of a stranger's experience with a transsexual friend. Having no malicious intent whatsoever, this former individual casually addressed a group of friends, of which the latter person was a part, with the word "guys." His transsexual friend informed him that hearing the word "guys" "triggered" her, induced serious psychological distress, by way of a gender identity conflict that this word brought about ... the individual recounting this story was incessantly berated by victim-mongering identity politickers on Twitter, who suggested that he's an "evil bigot" with virtual unanimityAnd finally, for a real belly-laugh
A student group at Mount Holyoke College has decided to cancel its annual performance of The Vagina Monologues, saying the play excludes the experiences of transgender women who don’t have a vagina(Let's also note that it is by no means a US-only phenomenon: the bow-wave of this nonsense has already reached these shores. It seems to me that once this line of thinking takes hold, there's an element of competitive effort at work to find ever more bizarre applications.)
The right to live one's life in intellectual cotton wool - as Leiter puts it, the hypersensitivity of coddled narcissists.
Well. We don't need to be advocates for the Rugby Club being allowed to de-bag studious types in the front quad, to find this stuff depressing, and indeed sinister. To be "bombarded by viewpoints" is 90% of the point of going to university. Giving a cast-iron, knock-down, drop-dead refutation of the 'reasoning' behind labelling use of the word 'guys' as bigotry shouldn't tax a Year 12 schoolkid in a General Studies exam - though I suppose these days we may have to worry about that, too.
The potential for the 'must-feel-safe, therefore must-silence-my-oppressors' formulation to be coupled with (for example) the greenies' enthusiasm for stifling debate on climate change, makes this a political issue going beyond the more laughable manifestations within the self-indulgent studentry.
Conscription. And compulsory Rugger on Wednesday afternoons, with cold communal baths and singing after. That's the answer.