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(Re)Secularizing the University

(Re)Secularizing the University -- By Michael Rectenwald | 14 March 2017 | I have unwittingly inserted myself into an ongoing and intensifying maelstrom in which speakers are now routinely prevented from speaking by "anti-fascist," black bloc activists, who overturn cars and set them on fire, pepper-spray speakers, and then, if speakers manage to reach the microphone, chant them down with collective hecklers' vetoes. At the same time, "social justice" activists and other students retreat to safe spaces--replete with crayons, coloring books and therapy pets. Such safe spaces are meant to protect students, not from the alarming violence of their compeers, but from the supposedly triggering, injurious expression of those protested... My search for plausible precursors to the privilege-checking and callout culture of social justice milieus led to post-1968 French feminists, who read Mao's Little Red Book and imbibed a Maoist ethos, incorporating ideological purging elements of the Cultural Revolution, such as "struggle sessions" and "autocritique," or self-criticism.