Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Shredding the Constitution...

Shredding the Constitution — literally — to appease student social justice warriors

by Ben Bullard

The worst thing about this may not even be the sinister rejection of free speech. No, the worst thing about this may be that people who hold advanced degrees, and work in academia, are so willing to follow some petulant tyrant’s absurd and childish orders.

Conservative nonprofit Project Veritas has struck again, offering what may be the most messed-up video capture yet of the many, many “caught on tape” moments they’ve documented. In this one, administrators at two private colleges — Vassar and Oberlin — appease a Veritas reporter, posed as a student, by agreeing to her request that they literally shred a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Why would they do this? Or, more pointedly, why would they agree to do this at the request of a “student” — a student who obviously has a lot of growing up to do? Think of it as catharsis, an exorcising of social justice demons: triggering behavior, microaggression and all that.

Check out the embedded video — it’s about 13 minutes long — or just read this synopsis of how things went down, via Campus Reform:

“Last week something kinda happened on campus that kind of really upset me and I ended up having a panic attack,” the reporter tells Vassar College Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity Kelly Grab…

“… They were handing it out and as soon as I saw it you know I started to not be able to breathe, hyperventilating,” the reporter elaborated. “My vision went blurry and I just — kind of just lost control.”

After establishing that the reaction was triggered merely by the offering of copies of the Constitution and not by anything the group had said, Grab offers her sympathies to the reporter.

Some more poor-me discussion ensued, and the Veritas reporter mentions that maybe no copy of the Constitution should be allowed anywhere on campus.

“Grab stops short of endorsing that idea, but asks the reporter if there is anything she can do with the copy of the Constitution that was brought into the office.”

Why, yes, of course: Destroy the one we’ve got right here.

“Honestly, can we just like destroy — like, is there a shredder or something? Like, I think it might be really therapeutic,” says the reporter.

“Cathartic … Yes, I think we have a shredder in the front office there,” agrees Grab. “Did you want to do it with me?”

And then they put each page of the thing through the shredder, together.

Other professors and administrators were even more receptive.

“[M]y end goal is I want the Constitution to not have such a central part here at Oberlin. I would like people to see how discriminating it is and how racist it is,” the reporter confessed to Comparative American Studies Professor Wendy Kozol. “Do you think that’s a reasonable goal that we could get to?”

“Absolutely,” Kozol replied. “I think there are a lot of people who will immediately agree with you and join the conversation and think about ways to limit, confine, or talk back; maybe you just want to talk back to the Constitution.”

Of course, all of that’s perfectly legal — what a great document the Constitution is — but there’s something downright creepy about seeing this play out between an undercover “student” and the academic bureaucrats entrusted with guiding campus policy. There’s no urgency here, no principle at stake. There simply are vague, politically tinged feelings to accommodate. That, and rather extraordinary things being asked of educated and presumably astute adults in order to accommodate them.

The whole thing appears to play out like the forming of a compact between the student and the professors — one in which the shredding of the document marks an unspoken milestone in a budding and superficial relationship, a relationship founded on the immutable laws of herd behavior.

In one segment, after some more pooh-poohing banter involving Donald Trump and gun rights, Vassar Anthropology Professor Colleen Cohen got down to business. “Can I destroy this — or did you want to hold on to it?” she asked the reporter.

“Well, could you destroy it? Maybe it will feel, you know … therapeutic for me.”

“I’ll put it through a shredder,” Cohen assured.


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