Campuses Weaponize Victimhood After Trump Election


U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

On Friday I had NDSU psychology professor Clay Routledge on my radio program (full audio below) to talk about all these universities offering counseling and therapy services to students after Donald Trump won the election.

It happened at NDSU, though perhaps less egregiously than at some of the country’s other campuses, but I think it is all a manifestation of how campus administrators felt about the election, not necessarily the students.

After all, a survey conducted by the student newspaper at NDSU found that Trump was easily the most popular candidate among the students themselves.

Routledge told me that campuses going out of the their way to offer counseling may actually be doing more harm than good. He told me that treating students as though they’re “vulnerable and fragile” may actually make them more vulnerable and fragile.

“The universities could just wait and respond” instead of offering a “preemptive strike.”

“It’s not the case that students don’t know about counseling services,” Routledge added. He also emphasized that students who feel they need help should seek it.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]…I hardly think these campuses would be touting grief counseling for students if Hillary Clinton had won the election.[/mks_pullquote]

But in an article published by the Forum on Friday, officials at Fargo-area campuses defended pushing counseling and therapy on students. And it all makes me think this is somewhat less about helping students than advancing certain political narratives.

For one thing, I hardly think these campuses would be touting grief counseling for students if Hillary Clinton had won the election. What about all of the Trump voters on and around campus? Are these administrators not marginalizing them by institutionalizing the idea that Trump winning is something awful for which people need counseling en masse?

Keep in mind that Trump won Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, by about 11 percentage points. Drilling down a bit, Hillary Clinton failed to get a majority of the vote in any of the Fargo-area legislative districts. She only got a plurality in two of the districts, 44 and 21.

In term of raw votes, Trump got more than Clinton in the Fargo legislative districts.

This emphasis on counseling for students speaks volumes about just how little ideological diversity there is in the campus administration. It seems as though most voter both on and off the NDSU campus supported Trump, but because there is so little diversity of thought in campus administration these days, administrators see the election outcome as something for which people need therapy.

For another thing, what reaction does is set up viewpoints that are not politically correct, that are outside the bubble of liberal orthodoxy, as inherently wrong or even evil. If millions and millions of Americans – both on and off campuses – are suddenly victims because a Republican won an election, then I guess Republicans and Trump supporters are the perpetrators of that victimization?

“[W]hen you treat an election in which the ‘wrong’ candidate wins as a traumatic event on a par with the 9/11 attacks, calling for counseling and safe spaces, you’re implicitly saying that everyone who supported that ‘wrong’ candidate is, well, unsafe,” law professor Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today.

That’s the point I’m getting at in the headline. The left is using victimhood as a political weapon. They’re trying to marginalize a certain political viewpoint by suggesting that expressing this viewpoint, or supporting candidates who express it, victimizes people.

Campus liberals have been doing this for years now by keeping conservative and/or libertarian speaks off campus by claiming they’re too controversial to be allowed to speak. Now they’ve taken it up to a new level.

This is the heckler’s veto. It is an attempt at prior restraint of political speech. You can’t express your point of view, the left tells the right more and more, because your point of view is inherently hateful.

Which is a big reason why the left just lost this last national election, as I wrote in my column last week.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by current events, if you feel like you need help, by all means seek it out. Our society provides many paths to receiving that help, both on and off campus.

But we have got to stop using victimhood as a weapon against political dissent.

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