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Report from the Trenches of the Culture War

Forty years ago, a much younger Sarah stood outside a language arts classroom where the teacher had stopped her to tell her that she was getting a B+, but if she would only sign up for the Communist Party, she’d have an A.

I believe back then, being myself and rather uncouth, I told her what she could do with her A. But I knew why she thought I’d sign. I’d started the course with one certainty: communism was evil. The teacher, who was a member of the Communist Party, had deployed mockery, berating, and faux facts and made the class – normally a favorite – a living hell.  Then when I started crying (she didn’t know that when I cry I’m holding back the berserker) she turned faux nice and started telling me how she admired my passion, and we weren’t so different, and we were both “passionate” (and I was just wrong).  I was fourteen. I wasn’t a hero. I figured out it was easier to pretend to go along. And so she thought her tactic had worked and I was ripe for the “conversion.” Which is why my response at the end of the year shocked her so much.

However, I’d learned one of the tactics of the left when they’re in power—and why they fool many into thinking that they’re the “nice guy” and also why many people believe there is no discrimination against anyone to the right of Lenin in fields the left controls.

People with perfectly good heads will not use them and will instead assume that the fact the leftists play “good cop” once they think they’ve scared the dissident enough means these leftists were always good people and more concerned about ideas than fact.

I didn’t think of any of this for many years until I found myself reading this article about an incident at the University of Nebraska.

For those who don’t want to go into it, what happened was this: A student, Kaitlyn Mullen, a 19-year-old sophomore, volunteered to represent Turning Point USA on campus. And by represent, I mean she had a little folding table and called out to people about whether they believed in liberty or whether they thought the government was too large.

You know, I’ve put one kid through undergrad, and another almost, and I couldn’t step foot in their college and not be hailed by some in-your-face political cause or other, whether it was the so-called rape crisis or outright campaigning for a political candidate. A leftist candidate, of course. Now, granted, neither of my kids even went near the University of Nebraska. Nor have I. On the other hand, this has been my experience at just about every institution of higher education I did go near for all the decades of my life.  If you go onto a university campus as a conservative or a libertarian, or anyone, in fact, to the right of Lenin (perhaps these days Stalin or maybe even Mao) you know you are in enemy territory because all the signs and symbols referring to politics or society are leftist ones, and you’re made to feel under siege.