Correction: information about Emory students being offended by “Trump” graffiti

Two days ago I posted a story about students at Atlanta’s Emory University being offended to the point of rage and “unsafeness” at seeing pro-Trump slogans chalked on campus. This was based on reports from The New York Post, the Washington Post, and Emory’s own student newspaper, The Wheel.

According to, some of the elements of the story were false. The most prominent one that they highlight, which I did not report, was that the students requested or were offered counseling. Snopes also says the demonstration was more a counter-Trump political demonstration than the students’ cry of pain from having seen the dreaded T-word.

Nevertheless, there has been no retraction of one student’s demand that he felt “unsafe,” or of the University President’s claim that he was trying to ensure a “safe community,” or of other direct quotes that a student “didn’t deserve to feel afraid” at his school” or “feared for their lives.” Further, there has been no retraction of the statement by the President of Emory’s Young Democrats:

“A lot of people felt targeted by that …

“It’s the latest in a series of events that made students feel unwelcome. What Emory is, and what it represents — this is a pretty elite, southern institution… it can be very easy for students to feel not welcome.”

By and large, Snopes is making its big noise about the “counseling” request, which may well be false. But that was only a very small part of the story, most of which Snopes completely ignores.

As always, I’ll try to issue corrections when they’re appropriate. At this point, I have no idea what needs to be corrected about what I wrote.

What I do know is that those who claim that the Snopes correction totally invalidates the view that many students behave as Special Snowflakes are engaged in wishful thinking. Nor are all of us ignorant of how college students behave, for I see this kind of behavior on my own campus on a regular basis.

Finally, it’s ridiculous to dismiss those who fear the increasing identity politics of American campuses as mere “assholes.” As Christopher Hitchens once said, when someone starts calling you names, you know that you’ve won, for they don’t have anything left.

In fact, these ludicrous student behaviors—often so bizarre that they resemble parodies from The Onion—have been amply reported at many universities, and these reports have not been retracted. (I’m not of course claiming that every UK or American college student is afflicted with Special Snowflake Syndrome [SSS], only that the behavior is spreading and is worrisome.)

You’ve seen the videos and read the students’ demands from Yale, Missouri, the University of Oklahoma, Brandeis, Western Washington University, MIT, the University of Arizona, and so on and so on and so on. Judge for yourself. It’s self-serving and obtuse to use a single instance of misreporting to dismiss the metastasizing of SSS and its fatal effects on free discourse. And its reprehensible to call those who worry about this trend “assholes.”


  1. Posted March 26, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    What new website is going to be created to fact check sites like snopes? Maybe call it spincheck? Because it certainly seems like they’re trying to spin one piece of misinformation so they can discredit the reporting of the incident in it’s entirety.

    • Phil Giordana FCD
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      True. The Snopes piece reads like some kind of post hoc or damage control operation.

      It’s a shame, because now I’m going to find myself questioning their debunking more and more.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:38 am | Permalink

      + 1 to both Mike and Phil.

  2. Cindy
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I linked to this on the other article but it bears repeating:

    As often happens in moral movements, a reasonable idea with some evidentiary backing gets carried to extremes by engaged moralists eager for attention, sympathy, and the social standing that being a victim or victim sympathizer can bring

    An additional problem with trigger warnings is that the number of triggers has expanded to the point where nearly every speech and lecture could contain triggering words, turning communication into a moral hazard. Finally, who determines what is “triggering” anyway? The very concept is a recipe for censorship.

    “When you bring a misogynistic, white supremacist men’s rights activist to campus in the name of ‘dialogue’ and ‘the other side,’” whined one student on Facebook, it causes “actual mental, social, psychological, and physical harm to students.” Physically harm?

    Regarding the last point, any of the commentators here could be accused of ‘misogyny’ and thereby causing physical harm simply for disagreeing over a minor point with a regressive leftist.

    I have mentioned this previously, but I was accused of causing actual harm, of ‘ableism’ over on Pharyngula, for the crime of stating that I don’t care if I sound ‘dumb’ at times, because I make a lot of typos and am, generally, a bad writer. Apparently those with bad vision and those who are learning ESL could be harmed by my pronouncement.

    What may have started out as well intentioned actions at curbing prejudices and attenuating bigotry with the goal of making people more tolerant, has now metamorphosed into thought police attempting to impose totalitarian measures that result in silencing dissent of any kind. The result is the very opposite of what free speech and a college education is all about.

    And even *if* everything that was written about Emory was ‘a lie’ as some folks are stating, it would not change anything, since universities everywhere are buckling under pressure from the extreme PC police. Harvard has already made numerous concessions. This will not be the end of it. It’s a trend.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Ironically, these students who claim to be in fear for their lives, take a us from people who have actually been in fear for their lives. Indeed, they take away from the experiences, by reducing it to silliness, the very people they want to protect.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you both.

      I had a “moment” when reading your account of the accusation of causing harm you received. I thought it was going to be about the US habit of using the word “dumb” to mean stupid. I’ve heard just about every politician from Obama down do it, and it seems to be normal speak there everywhere. I personally don’t like that because of the prejudice that actual dumb (as in can’t talk) people are stupid. The things your accusers came up with never even crossed my mind.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 26, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        In fact that second meaning of ‘dumb’, viz dumb=stupid, has I think overtaken the original dumb=speechless as the primary meaning of the word. If you hear me say “He’s dumb” do you think I mean he’s stupid, or that he can’t talk? I would expect the first.

        It’s a little regrettable, in that a short descriptive word for ‘unable to speak’ has lost its clarity and is now ambiguous.

        (However, I think that battle has been lost. I do get Heather’s point but, in my unregenerate ableist general misfeasance, I’m likely to go on using ‘dumb’ in its current colloquial sense.)


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Canadians use “dumb” in the same way. For people who can’t talk, the accepted word is “mute” I believe. I think the meaning as “stupid” comes from German.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted March 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          Interesting. I wonder if mute has become the acceptable word because of the common usage of dumb.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            I suspect so.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:43 am | Permalink

      “Physical harm?”

      Yes. To those of us banging heads on desks.

  3. Marvin L.
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    In general, Snopes is trustworthy. However, the specific writer of this piece is aligned with the students cause (or lack of it), so any articles by her are best viewed with a grain of salt.

    • Taz
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this author seems more interested in pushing an agenda than actual fact-checking. The vast majority of what was reported about this incident is accurate, but she focuses on the one claim that ‘Students at Emory University were offered “emergency counseling”‘, which allows her to give a rating of “mostly false”. She clearly would like to give the impression that almost everything written about the students is mostly false. It’s very dishonest. Snopes has gone down quite a bit in my estimation.

  4. Stephen Barnard
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I have contempt for the infamous rage blogger. His intolerance for the slightest ideological disagreement and obvious jealousy of people with superior reputations really put me off.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:44 am | Permalink

      Damn, now you’re making me want to actually visit that site, just for the trainwreck…

  5. Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Hasn’t PZ got obnoxious these days? It’s sad. 😦

    • Sastra
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Maybe, but if so he’s also gotten reasonable, lyrical, and interesting. His blog is a way to gain insights into views I don’t necessarily agree with, but ought to strive to understand. If all I read comes from one “side,” I’m going to straw man the counterarguments. I think I tend to do that and need to fight it.

      Taking the extremes as either the representative or the inevitable outcome is never a good idea. Finding out “Who disagrees — and why?” is a good idea, keeping in mind that every large group is usually pretty diverse.

      • mordacious1
        Posted March 26, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        I find it more useful to read blogs, or websites, that allow for differing points of view in the comments section. Even the mildest criticisms are banned as PZ rants on. You certainly can read him for “the other side”, but don’t expect a nuanced argument or a change of opinion after criticism.

        I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh for the same reason, but soon realized that his manipulation of the truth and his process of only allowing “yes men” or criticism by certified nutjobs, was counter productive…same with PZ.

        • Sastra
          Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          PZ doesn’t ban “the mildest criticism.” He even permits comments and arguments from creationists. The commenters, however, will pile on, often with passion. He’s been trying to moderate that a bit more.

          I don’t think your analogy with Limbaugh fits.

          • Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            Sastra said:

            ‘PZ doesn’t ban “the mildest criticism”.’

            No, you are somewhat correct: PZ does not ban the mildest criticism, but he does consistently ban any and all criticism that comes from individuals outside the in-group — the Horde, as they call themselves, and this is true regardless of the content, or tone, or frequency, or length of the edited, or deleted comment and the banned commentor.

            The principal exception to this, and one that points to your comment “He even permits comments and arguments from creationists”, is that he will allow a handful of comments from out-group people when he is confident that those comments are excessive in their idiocy, rage, bias, or other components that guarantee greater post/blog views, and a greatly increased number of comments. In other words: Post trolling for dollars and cents.

            • Sastra
              Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

              PZ does not ban the mildest criticism, but he does consistently ban any and all criticism that comes from individuals outside the in-group — the Horde, as they call themselves, and this is true regardless of the content, or tone, or frequency, or length of the edited, or deleted comment and the banned commentor.

              How would you know this, if it’s consistently banned?

              • Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:12 am | Permalink

                Sastra said:

                “How would you know this, if it’s consistently banned?”

                1. Observation — seeing comments come and, without reason or announcement, quickly go, wherein I am familiar with the commentor.

                2. PZ’s personal comments and statements about removing any and all comments from anyone who he or the Horde believe, however loosely or tangentially, or even only rumoured, to be associated with the Slymepit.

                3. Personal, first-hand experience.

              • Stephen Barnard
                Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:36 am | Permalink

                I was banned for merely suggesting I thought Internet anonymity is a bad policy. I wasn’t swearing or attacking anyone — just stating an opinion that I think is reasonable, if debatable. I was shocked at the response — piled on by his minions who apparently felt I was insulting them because they were using pseudonyms. (I wasn’t.) There’s an in-group mentality there, and newbies who don’t follow the implicit rules and party line aren’t welcome. This is a common feature of Internet forums, especially unmoderated ones, but the tone is set by the moderator and I think Jerry does a good job with that.

              • Cindy
                Posted March 27, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

                Noelplum99 was banned for politely disagreeing. Noelplum99 is a reasonable guy. A liberal who is too much of a skeptic for the FTB crowd.(He has a YouTube channel and is reasonable as f*ck)

                Polite disagreement is characterized as “hate speech” by the FTB/SJW crowd. As in “your ideas are offensive, ergo, you are a horrible person and must be silenced”

                It is interesting how the SJW sees the world. I have heard them say that banning folks who disagree is good because they “do not deserve a platform from which to share their opinion”. And many from the FTB crowd were angry with The Friendly Atheist when he let a pro life atheist write a guest post explaining her views. Apparently the ideas of a secular pro lifer cannot be debated and ridiculed. No, the person must be prevented from speaking, period. I am very pro choice, and I welcome a good, robust debate. Let the Secular PLers speak and destroy their arguments. I see no problem with this.

                They also ban polite people who poke holes in their crap arguments because leaving those criticisms up makes them look bad. It disrupts the narrative. However, they don’t ban the idiotic critics, those who can do nothing but spew actual hate speech, because this supports the narrative. (Example: ” suck my peen, lefties ” is the kind of comment that won’t be deleted).

                The SJWs that I have interacted with behave just like every rabid pro lifer that I have met. I can’t count the number of times that I have been accused of “violence” by a pro lifer for merely stating my opinion. Example: don’t put words in bold, or swear, that makes the pro lifer afraid and they must end the conversation now. Ridicule is also “cruel”, and if you mock their silly ideas you are guilty of hate speech because you are not documenting the “”true” SJW, pro lifer etc. The rabid PLers and the SJWs are both authoritarians who want to force others to live by their rules. They are are same kind of people. They won’t permit criticism and any and all disagreement is characterized as violent hate speech.

                I now troll SJW sites by taking SJW quotes, often screenshots, collected from around the web, and posting them on relevant articles.. The *anger* that I am met with. I am a hateful misogynist, racist, Islamophobic, transphobic, obsessed psychopath. Because it is very very bad form of me to point out the crazy and ridicule it. And they *always* invoke “no true SJW”. Yep. Ridicule, or even repeating the arguments with a straight face, is hate speech because it exposes the ridiculous nature of their position. Examples: penises are female, Cologne rapists were punching up. I showed a screen capture of a trans woman stating that yes, dicks really are biological female sex organs, and was accused of violence and hate. Which really confused me, because are we not supposed to believe the words of marginalized folks without question? Why am I guilty of hate for merely repeating what is now dogma in some SJW circles?

                Yes, they tell you to ” listen and believe “. To ” shut up and listen”. So, we are supposed to take claims such as “penises are female if the owner identifies as a woman” at face value, yet if we repeat it in a venue that makes them look silly, we are guilty of hate speech and cruel “misrepresentation”. They dont *really* mean what they say. You are just creating a straw man. See: motte and bailey doctrine.

                I witnessed an SJW state that ” tumblr activists are not real activists ” after stating that yes, she too has a tumblr activist blog , but “that’s different and does not count”

              • Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

                “Noelplum99 was banned for politely disagreeing. Noelplum99 is a reasonable guy.”

                On that note I was banned for politely opining that I found Noelplum99 reasonable in a video PZ had criticized.

              • Cindy
                Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

                On that note I was banned for politely opining that I found Noelplum99 reasonable in a video PZ had criticized.

                Naturally. Because if someone was to read your comment, take it at face value, check out a NoelPlum video, and find his views to be reasonable, that would disrupt the all-important-victimisation-narrative.

                Better to just ban you and delete your comment, as if it never happened.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted March 27, 2016 at 1:32 am | Permalink


          • Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            PZ doesn’t ban “the mildest criticism.”

            PZ is actually very capricious and inconsistent in his bans (though of course he has the right to be, since it’s his blog).

            He sometimes will allow criticism and such as creationists, but other times he’ll ban for the mildest things. Arguing for a position that he and the Horde don’t like can get you banned. Showing him or his favourites up can get you banned. Basically, anyone out of sympathy with SJW ideology might be tolerated for a while, but will likely be banned sooner or later.

          • mordacious1
            Posted March 26, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            I think comparing him to Rush does fit, as stated in John Greg’s 2nd paragraph below. They both allow certain types of people with opposing views to comment…those easily refuted or better, easily mocked.

          • Kirbmarc
            Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            “PZ doesn’t ban “the mildest criticism.” ”

            PZ banned me, and deleted my comments, in two different occasions:

            -the first time I merely QUOTED MYERS’ OWN WORDS from old articles about Islam VERBATIM. The Hordelets called me an “Islamophobe” and a racist.

            When I revealed the source of my quotes, PZ wrote:

            “I also believe that Kolnnauzer [my old nickname] would never entertain himself by whacking himself in the skull with a ball-peen hammer. I sure hope he doesn’t prove me wrong with that one, or I’d be devastated.”

            Is publishing Myers’ own words somehow worse than the “mildest criticism”? Does Myers’ reaction (banning me, deleting the quotes of his words, and passive-aggressively wish for my personal injury/suicide) seem appropriate to you?

            -the second time Myers asked a question about what people should have done about the “Huntgate” instead of launching a Twitter witch hunt.

            I answered MYERS’ OWN QUESTION and he banned me and deleted it, just because I post on the Slymepit.

            Is answering to a question which MYERS HIMSELF ASKED somehow worse than “the mildest criticism”? Does Myers reaction (banning me and deleting my answer just because he doesn’t like a website I’m a member of) seem appropriate t you?

            Myers bans much more than the mildest criticism. Anything which puts him in an uncomfortable position, from quotes of his old articles to answers to his questions, gets people banned and their posts deleted.

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted March 27, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

              The elephant in the room is his embarrassingly obvious and unseemly envy of those he resentfully counts as his betters — Dawkins, Harris, and now Jerry. Aren’t there far worse cases to rage against? If you’re an atheist you can’t deviate from his ideology an iota.

        • Posted March 26, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          … but soon realized that his manipulation of the truth …

          This is the saddest part, about a once-respected notable. Nowadays PZ is willing to “manipulate the truth” if it suits his ideology.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted March 26, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          I agree (as always) with Sastra, that it is useful to visit Pharyngula and see what PZ has to say, since I often learn new insights. I did promise once to never comment there again, since something nasty happened to me once, but I keep breaking that promise. So I still comment there, but mostly about mild stuff.

          A couple months ago I had disagreed with something PZ had posted where he was using an example of a genuine campus incident and the students’ appropriate reaction, but here he was using this case to deny that there was any such thing as the regressive left. I was the first to comment and I told him that he was wrong to use that as an example. He let the comment stand, and I was not banned, although of course his horde did strongly disagree with me and some were rather harsh about it, but that was what I had expected.
          I do not know what gets one banned from there, but I was careful to not put anything personal in my comment.

      • Steve Cameron
        Posted March 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        This is an interesting discussion that I am, as ever, coming to too late.

        I would just like to register that I apparently read Jerry’s site to get the “other side” since I find myself more often agreeing with and being enlightened by PZ’s writing. I only say this in the spirit of “picking a side” since I love Jerry’s writing too and share his deep affection for felines (something PZ will never understand!).

        These two have so much in common and are both such passionate advocates for their causes that when these kind of “spats” happen I feel like mommy and daddy are fighting.

        And as for PZ being called a “rage blogger”… to me it sounds like there are some Special Snowflakes here too. It brings to mind that Hitchens quote too.

    • SatanicPanic
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      If by obnoxious you mean “has become a complete and total asshole”, then yes, he has.

  6. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    On the subject of graffiti, @JihadistJoe (a spoof account!) has found an amusing way of looking at things. What’s particularly interesting is the high regard in which they clearly hold Dubliners.

  7. Posted March 26, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    The deep denial that this is even happening has been a trend for the last months, as I have written before (e.g. on the RationalWiki article about FGM). “Regressive Leftist” don’t exist, they insist. Social Justice Warriors aren’t really a thing – or so they say. I met such a wall of denial that I was gathering news articles about it, halfway to reassure myself that I wasn’t the one who went crazy. There are dozens upon dozens, and I didn’t add the most recent ones.

    The latest is misapplying the term “Regressives” to those who coined the idea in the first place (which PZ Myers does as well). Such obscurantism and ever meta-meta-meta of debate is very typical for postmodernists and also for the Freethought Bloggers and Orbiters (they are effectively successors of that movement). But this art of making subject and criticism disappear under a thick murk is itself a dead giveaway that this a “thing”. Simply, nobody else does that such excessively. With Social Justice Warriors, there is not even a debate. It’s all about prerogative of interpretations, agenda pushing and moving frames around (and banning and smearing everyone in the process who disagrees ever so slightly, which is exactly the same as materializes at Campus).

    PZ Myers’ usual Motte-And-Baily doctrine is just trite and tired by now. One day he insists these matters where of utmost importance and the old guard must be swept away in some kind of new wave of atheist revolution. Another day, it’s all just mild criticism and he wishes Richard Dawkins and such people would just listen to him a little bit. Here again. He downplays the safe spaces as some common sense “private forum” as if this was a new invention. We all know that there is a stark difference between “safe space” style communities which are build around unquestioning solidarity and support, and merely closed forums where people agree on some fundamental matters (say, that they all like Dungeons and Dragons and nobody will make fun of it).

    Everyone has seen through PZ Myers et al charade by now. He and his minions do it everywhere: his feminism is just “treating women as people” but then it’s all this postmodernist critical race theory hogwash with identity politics race essentialism, blank slate views, and consequently authoritarian control of art and artist, with applause for people who put together modern Entartete Kunst shows. And of course, Islam accommodationism. Suddenly to be a feminist proper requires a long list of well-tuned beliefs, if violated is a reason to revoke the feminist card – if you haven’t once laughed at this bizarrest of ironies, you probably have no humour (e.g. supporting one of the most conservative, most authoritarian, patriarchal religions in the name of “feminism” must be some kind of joke).

    PZ Myers and other people like him will have to own up one day that the thing they supported (including the majority of organized US secularism!) is anti-science racist bigotry 2.0, including…

    * A critique of liberalism
    * Storytelling/counterstorytelling and “naming one’s own reality”
    * Essentialism philosophy—reducing the experience of a category (gender or race) to the experience of one sub-group (white women or African-Americans).
    * Non-white cultural nationalism/separatism, Black nationalism [with the consequence of being on the same page as White Supremacists! Cf. The evils of “Cultural Appropriation”]
    * White privilege
    * Microagressions
    * Intersectionality

    (taken from the Wikipedia page on Critical Race Theory, which I think is the best candidate to describe the “thing” we see now).

    We may add:

    * Safe Spaces, which are not actually safe spaces as previously understood, but as with everything else weaponized ideology-safe-zones in which this ideology can flourish.
    * Trigger Warnings, also not really with the purpose of helping anyone, but again used to index works of arts with the aim to remove such works later as “unsafe” based on ideological criteria.

    It has a certain dubious flavour and the denial of this is frankly bizarre and looks like another tactic from the abuser playbook that makes this ideology stick out clearly from any other brand of beliefs. Yes, it’s a thing.

    • Radicon
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant post Aneris

    • Rose
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant comments Aneris

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      I wanted to say something about the Peezus too, but you have it well covered.
      Well said.

      Or, perhaps, you (we), “just don’t get it”.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 4:00 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

  8. Posted March 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I could be wrong, but I think this development is partially a continuation of coddling all children in school by allowing them to assume that all “achieve” and “win” at everything, and that everyone deserves an “A”. We all have abilities and they differ. We should be valued for the skill sets we have and helped with the ones we don’t have. Glossing over differences is not useful.

    There is no such thing as a totally “safe” environment. Why must some college students desire to promote a false concept of the world on campus, or the “way it should be”? They’ll not have that protection in the “real world”.
    Dialogue, discussion, interaction with others who hold different viewpoints is what must take place to cause changed hearts and minds.

    • Sastra
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and in addition I think Wendy Kaminer puts her finger on it when she makes reference to the therapeutic culture which emerged in the 80’s and 90’s, originally formed with excellent intentions and fine application — such as support groups for people who have been raped — but slowly extended into treating everyone as not just ‘special,’ but damaged. “I’m disfunctional; you’re disfunctional.”

      It seems to me that the original story on Emory was exaggerated, but there are still some troubling elements which would be a lot easier to dismiss if they didn’t look so similar to events which haven’t been quite so exaggerated.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 1:36 am | Permalink

      Yes. And Jonathan Haidt talks about it on a Sam Harrris podcast.
      He notes the fact that kids can not be unsupervised at all these days. That it may even be against the law to let a young kid walk two blocks to a park, alone.

      He has some negative personal experience of this trend, too.

  9. ladyatheist
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Ever since I read the symptoms & characteristics of Obsessive Compulsive *personality* disorder (as opposed to OCD) I find it everywhere!

    People like that need to lighten up, and when they become really obnoxious

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      oops “when they find a cause they become really obnoxious”

      (and when they realize they’ve posted an error in a comment they fix it right away?)

    • Cindy
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I have OCD. I am also anxious generally, and worry about how I come cross in social situations. I often imagine that I have upset other people, or think that they might be hating on me. Often, over the tiniest things.

      *However*, I do not believe that the world revolves around me. Just because I have these delusions, for lack of a better word, does *not* mean that I have the right to force the rest of the world to cater to me.

      Lots of people are insecure.
      Lots of people have social anxiety.
      Lots of people are anxious period.

      But the difference between people such as myself, and many a regressive leftist, is that I do not believe that I should be coddled. I might be anxious, but it doesn’t give me the right to bully others. Certain things might upset me, might, hehe, even cause ’emotional harm’, but it doesn’t give me the right to scream and stamp my foot, demanding that the world change to ease my anxiety.

      These people, if not outright narcissists, certainly *act* like it.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted March 26, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Lots of people have social anxiety, and I was one of them, but fortunately I came out of it.
        People are generally nice, and those who are not are just being jerks but don’t care. Maybe they are narcissists, or something similar.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        I can totally identify. I’ve improved a lot over the years and found that anxiety is the root cause of all the OCD things in my life. Now that the anxiety is reduced significantly, I don’t care very much how I come off in social settings….it’s liberating.

    • Sastra
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      In general it’s a bad idea to diagnose psychiatric problems in others if you’re not actually a psychiatrist — especially from a distance, and over the internet. Mental illness is a clinical condition which is never going to be addressed by telling folks to “lighten up.” I daresay I could find symptoms and characteristics of X diagnoses in anyone, even more so if I don’t like them.

      If there’s a problem here it isn’t with individuals, it’s with a larger cultural mindset. Just as fundamentalism is sicker than the people who ascribe to it.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 4:08 am | Permalink

      I, too, first skimmed ladyatheist’s comment and thought I’d read that she was finding signs of OCD all over. But on re-reading, I finally caught what she actually said:

      … the symptoms & characteristics of Obsessive Compulsive *personality* disorder (as opposed to OCD)

      Do have a look at the link she offered:

      …in which the differences between OCPD and OCD are outlined.

    • josh
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure about this, I don’t think a lot of them are especially punctilious. They have a lot of rules but they are primarily rules for other people and they change as the in-group/out-group dynamic requires.

      I do think some of the leaders have elements of a narcissistic personality, just from their general habits. To me this makes sense because narcissists are often deeply insecure about their own status, and so must constantly reassure themselves with extroverted displays of worth. If someone like that can see themselves as the champion of a noble cause, then you can imagine how finding new violations to call out becomes central to their identity, and any questioning of their arguments becomes a personal threat.

      But I’m just playing internet psychologist. As a group, a lot of their worst behavior is eerily similar to religion and you don’t need rare pathologies to explain that, just general human tendencies towards tribalism and confirmation bias.

    Posted March 26, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Did any of these highly educated students come up with the simple solution of taking a piece of chalk and modifying the Trump messages with the circle/slash or some obscene or scatological comment? Some 45 years ago, the free speech protests were about being able to use obscenities and now the worm has turned so that any speech now has to be protected from the delicate ears of students, to which I say, go f**k yourselves

    • Nobody Special
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Alternatively, they could have employed chalk’s natural enemy – water.

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    “modifying the Trump messages with … some obscene or scatological comment”

    In my student days that is, with 100% certainty, what would have happened.

    But I suspect these Special Snowflakes probably can’t allow themselves to do that, as it would be ‘subverting someone else’s expression’ or somesuch. (I’m guessing, here, but I’d make a modest bet that that’s the case).


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 26, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Bah! That was of course a reply to Mazmaniac. WP strikes again, I feel so microviolated.


  12. Neil Faulkner
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    It may be reprehensible to call those who worry about this trend “assholes” but I find it even more reprehensible to dismiss such people as ‘right wing’. I worry about this trend and I consider myself very Left wing, thank you very much. Admittedly more in the ‘nationalise everything and tax the rich into penury’ tradition, but still on the Left. And broadly supportive of the social inclusivity agenda.

  13. nurnord
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    For many months now I have suspected PZ and yourself, Jerry, have at least been checking up on each other’s content regularly. There often seemed to be correlation and timing between certain stories covered. Now it seems this is confirmed, at least in this case. Not that it matters, it was just intriguing to me to observe it happen over time, and then there it was. I was reading your revision (this post) and immediately knew it was confirmed, then came the ‘assholes’ link that I had already read from PZ.

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