The juvenilia …

Recently some of the juvenilia have prevented Sophie Mirabella and Julie Bishop from putting forward their view on life.

Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne have cancelled engagements to speak at universities.

This is not a phenomenon confined to Australia. There is an interesting article in this week’s edition of Time by David Von Drehle.

These are salad days for organizers of petition drives …

Zealous students at such institutions as Brandeis University, Smith College and Rutgers University have leveraged social media to drive away invited graduation-day speakers.

He takes a fairly forgiving stance …

Fish swim, birds fly, students protest. Anyone who has been 20 years old surely recalls the fierce clarity of a college student’s mind. The sharp steel of a whetted education, undulled by the nicks and scrapes of experience, makes for the slashing brilliance that breeds innovators and artists – and revolutionaries.

He observes that …

So far the young thought police have used their powers to enforce left-wing purity, amid signs that todays students have moved beyond identity politics to new orthodoxies.

Their victims include Christine Lagarde, Ayaan Hirsi, Condoleezza Rice and Robert Birganeau.

His conclusion is that …

If America’s treasured institutions of higher learning are to remain bastions of free speech and arenas of robust debate, there must be grownups ready to defend those ideals.

… but to keep our sympathy alive for the children he finishes with a nice journalistic flourish, a quote from a protest song that the grownups will identify with.

What he didn’t say was that many of these students will go on to work for Time and other mainstream media, continue to push the new orthodoxies, albeit without the kicking and screaming and continue to ensure that only one side of debate gets a hearing. Perhaps he hopes to write for Time again …

I really haven’t seen much of the slashing brilliance, just a rabble incapable of putting a coherent argument, elevating trivia to a level of significance quite beyond its true importance and determined that the rest of us will toe their line. Times they are not changing for the better.


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