One of my biggest concerns about the SJW craziness on college campuses is the current trend to conflate speech, even offensive speech, with violence. Mahler Mali does a great job describing this trend and its sources in this piece. He argues that the humanities, and especially the English majors, lack academic rigor and instead spend (waste?) their time inculcating anti-freedom ideals in their students:
Activist professors incapable of surviving in the more arduous disciplines (see: Autoethnography) are the most vociferous in limiting academic freedom of others. Given all of this, it is no surprise that Baer holds the views that he does. Neither is it surprising that we have professors of English publishing op-eds which ask for limiting speech, such as Aaron R. Hanlon a professor of English at Colby College in New Republic or John Patrick Leary a professor of English at Wayne State University in Inside Higher Education.
Mali points out that one of the great accomplishments of the Enlightenment was the freeing of speech in order to avoid actual violence:
Words are not violence. We brought Western civilization through a crucible of ideological warfare to establish the norms of differentiating speech from physically harmful actions. Now some operators in the humanities want to drag us back there. What the “snowflakes” and Baer get right about free speech is absolutely nothing.
I recommend you read the whole thing.
And, lest someone want to defend limitations on “hate speech,” please be reminded that such a thing does not exist, at least not in constitutional jurisprudence.
We might want to put our heads under the pillows or, better yet, just laugh at these people. But remember that these students who claim “harm” and “violence” from speech, and who claim there is no such thing as objective truth (tell that to an airplane), will soon be lawyers, leaders and, gulp, federal judges.