It is the perfect commentary on the state of contemporary American culture. In a video recorded in a University of California, Berkeley lecture hall, a student stands amongst fellow agitators protesting an exam they are to take that day and screeches,
“Our well-beings are being put on the line because of our emotional, mental, and physical stress that [Berkeley] is compounding with what is already going on in our every day lives.”
Now clearly I don’t know the student speaking, or any of their cohorts protesting the exam. And however unlikely it may be, it is obviously possible that all of them are experiencing a great number of debilitating stressors in their lives that are overwhelming them to the point that they can’t eat, study, party, or do anything else that college kids normally do. College students across America will often take semesters or even full years off when life events prove too distracting for them to continue their work at the university. That may be what these kids are dealing with, I don’t know.
But here’s what I do know: this video is beyond parody. It is beyond anything that Saturday Night Live could have even come up with to mock. It’s embarrassing to the students, humiliating to the families that raised them, demeaning to the larger generation that they have come to represent in the minds of so many, and a crushing disgrace to the academic community that has enabled, harbored, and even promoted this kind of soft victimhood mentality.
At one point in the video a student in the class chastises the protestors by humorously accusing them of a filibuster attempt before adding, “I’m trying to take my test.” The response came right out of the social justice left’s playbook:
“We’re trying to live our lives … white boy with privilege.”
And there’s the moment that you know where the blame rests for this astonishing spectacle. It falls solely on the shoulders of the grievance-mongering, safe space promoting activists who have couched their cultural rebellion and intellectual laziness in the noble sounding terminology of “social justice.”
The Berkeley professor, for his part, did the admirable thing by not giving in. But even then, his articulate response to the agitators included language that only fuels the idiocy:
“I respect your opinion for disagreeing with it; I respect you getting up here and stating your disagreements – but with that, we are going to go ahead with the exam.”
There is nothing respectful or respect-worthy about intruding on a classroom of students who had prepared for and were attempting to complete their assigned test. Respecting an individual is one thing, but academia has tolerated and abided insolence, rudeness, and anti-intellectualism for too long as it is.
The problem is that this behavior has been rewarded for too long. How rewarded? Our last president was a community agitator by trade. He rode the power of grievance mongering all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue, and was worshipped and applauded the whole way by a culture that should have known better. Is it any wonder that young malcontents are eager to follow?