How Colleges Are Strangling Liberalism

An obsession with identity has made students less likely to engage with a world beyond themselves.

Donald Trump is president of the United States. This momentous event has turned our campuses upside down. The day after his victory some professors held teach-ins, some students asked to be excused from class, and now many have gotten engaged and have been joining marches and attending raucous town-hall meetings. This warms the heart of an impassioned if centrist liberal like myself.

But something more needs to happen, and soon. All of us liberals involved in higher education need to take a long look in the mirror and ask ourselves how we contributed to putting the country in this situation. We need to accept our share of responsibility. Anyone involved in Republican politics will tell you that our campus follies, magnified by Fox News, mobilize their base like few things do. But our responsibility extends beyond feeding the right-wing media by tolerating attempts to control speech, limit debate, stigmatize and bully conservatives, as well as encouraging a culture of complaint that strikes people outside our privileged circles as comically trivial. We have distorted the liberal message to such a degree that it has become unrecognizable.

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