The world has gone nuts.

There’s hardly anything more that needs to be said about it. The world is crazy, and it’s apparently out of our control now to bring it back.

In Missouri, a group of students stomping their feet and screaming about phantom insults was enough to force a president and chancellor out of office. And soon after, that rebellion spread like cries of “witch!” across the landscape.

At a Southern California college, a dean of students was forced to resign when students threatened to go on a hunger strike over vague reports of “lack of support for students of color.”

At Yale, an outraged mob of students surrounded a professor whose wife had the temerity to urge students to look away if they happened to see a Halloween costume they found offensive. In a sane world, that’s solid advice. But this world is no longer sane, and you could see it in the eyes of the seething throng that surrounded the professor, stifling his attempts to form an argument and demanding that he step down.

At Dartmouth, a group of one race chased a group of another race around the library, hollering obscenities and slurs, pushing and shoving. It was deemed a protest, though, so that’s OK.

In Georgia, a student was fired from her job for criticizing components of the original protests at the University of Missouri.

At Princeton, protesters have demanded that images of Woodrow Wilson be removed from the campus. At Harvard, it’s the school seal they want gone.

All across the country, in scenes chillingly reminiscent of the Salem witch hunts, kids are making demands, flinging accusations and calling for heads to roll. They’re calling it a social movement, but it’s not. It’s madness. They’re not protesting heinous conditions or proven instances of injustice. They’re simply insisting that they’re offended by something — and in this insane time, insisting is enough.

The age of political correctness has revved up to cruising speed, to the point where people are finding offense in shadows or making it up as they go along. The act of “taking offense” to something is being used as a weapon, and it’s being used to great effect — not just by the students. You could at least pass that off as youthful idealism.

At the University of Missouri, a professor screams at a journalist who came to report on the controversy. When the journalist reminds the screeching shrew about the First Amendment, what does she do? She screams for a mob to force the reporter away, because that’s what you do in a world that’s lost its mind. That’s what the Red Shirts did in Chairman Mao’s China — and who would argue that Mao’s China was anything remotely sane?

The screeching, Constitution-stomping shrew, by the way, was a professor of media communication at the school.

Mad, mad, mad, that’s what this world has become.

What began as peculiar arguments over holiday greetings has descended into bizarre rages over terms like “hardworking” or “brown paper bag.”  A simple Halloween costume or request for ethnic food can draw wrath these days.

When does free expression cross the line into hate speech? Who gets to decide where that line is? In Missouri, and at a growing number of college campuses around the country, it’s apparently an unruly group of college kids who have that power. They said they were harassed. They said they felt threatened. Who needs proof of anything, or rational discourse, when a group of football players gets to shouting with bullhorns and refusing to step foot on the gridiron? Forget the First Amendment, people — let’s chop heads first and ask questions later.

Now — because the world isn’t quite mad enough yet — Missouri police are advising people to report hurtful statements. Not death threats, not screams of fire in crowded theaters — hurtful statements. And as more and more utterances are deemed as such, we draw ever closer to the point where all we have left is what George Orwell described as “Newspeak” — limited freedom of speech, limited freedom of thought.

“Monitoring and punishing hurtful statements threatens the most basic values of free speech in our universities,” legal scholar Jonathan Turley said.

The students in Missouri are the grown-up (sort of) versions of that petulant little kid who holds his breath until he gets his way. Only instead of an extra cookie before bedtime, these college students are demanding real things from real people. And they’re getting them, too.

Sure, there are real instances of bigotry and discrimination. Sure, there is plenty of real hate in the world. Are these impromptu howls of protest doing anything to help the victims of those things? Nope. What they’re doing is diluting the issue, drowning out the real cries of protest in roars of manufactured indignation.

Ben Carson, whom I admittedly know very little about, seemed to nail it on the head when he said of the college protests in an interview with Fox News: “To say that I have the right to violate your civil rights because you’re offending me is un-American. It is unconstitutional. And the officials at these places must recognize that and have the moral courage to stand up to it. Because if they don’t, it will grow, it will exacerbate the situation and we will move much farther toward anarchy than anybody can imagine, and much more quickly.”

Poor Ben. He doesn’t seem to grasp that the world has gone crazy — and that come tomorrow, it will likely be crazier still.


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