Here's the short version of both the stories we're all talking about: At Mizzou, a bunch of protesters were caught on camera refusing to let journalists into their demonstration. They blocked one photographer's shots, and a professor threatened to "muscle" another student with a camera. Yale was home to a similar viral video. You can see a student screaming at an administrator, "Who the f**k hired you?! ... [Your job] is not about creating an intellectual space!" These stories seem to fit the "coddled college student who hates freedom" narrative perfectly, right? First the students tried to silence journalists, then they said that feeling comfortable was more important than education. It's official: Kids these days suck.
Even if we assume that the critics are right totally right, and that these are just a bunch of stupid brats who don't understand free speech, I gotta ask: why are these the stories that get our blood all angered up on this issue? Isn't this stuff exactly what we expect from college students? Experimentation with thought? Weird ideas? Isn't that a big part of what free speech is? Or are we mad because, as proud defenders of the Constitution, we won't tolerate any "threat" to free speech, ever, no matter how innocuous? "I may disagree with what you say," we type proudly, "but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Then we sit back from our computers and smile with satisfaction, content in the knowledge that our Facebook statuses have made the world a better place.
Mats Silvan/iStock/Getty Images
"Your freedoms are protected, America."