By Scott Kingsley, Student Contributor
Trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, and safe spaces that arose from modern academia formed a nation of victims in which the status of victimhood entails moral superiority. We’ve fostered a nation of coddled, immature young adults who have no real understanding of how the world works, and think that dissenting opinions should be banned, and that the proponents of said beliefs are to be dismissed rather than gaining a hearing for their views.
We’ve seen this all over the country: students have organized riots and violent protests against conservative guest speakers (most recently Ann Coulter), Pro-Trump student organizations, and other conservative groups, in an attempt to keep their ideas off campus. Similar behavior emerges on college campuses on what seems like a weekly basis, in an effort to keep institutions of higher learning from fostering debate and discussion. The problem with school administrations encouraging such behavior is that they are failing to teach their students the basic principles that make our country so great, including, the First Amendment. The basis of our free, democratic republic is the ability to speak freely and question authority, even if said speech offends. I would encourage anyone who disagrees to read John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty: being offended does not grant you the right to ban an expression of opinion, and only through seeing opposite opinions can we ever find the truth.
Using the claim of victimhood to influence authority is a tactic that’s been adopted by almost every modern leftist movement, most prominently so-called third wave feminism. Nobody disagrees that women should vote, hold public office, or achieve any job they want, but less than 25% of all women identify as ‘feminists’ according to a recent study – why is that? Simply put, it’s because third-wave feminism has turned radical, and abandoned the principles that once made the movement great. The movement has also shamelessly discarded its devotion to the principle of equality, claiming instead that women now have extra-moral authority to decide what is and is not a life based on their own convenience.
Third wave feminism tells women they’re victims at the hands of a shadowy, faceless figure known as ‘the patriarchy,’ when in reality, women are very much “winning” in America. The most commonly purveyed narrative asserted to demonstrate women’s oppression is the alleged Gender Wage Gap, according to which women only make 79 cents for every dollar a man does. This statistic does not take into account several important variables: on average, men work longer hours than women, men take riskier jobs, and women quite rightly make drastically different life choices than men (e.g. often choosing occupations that are more easily combined with childrearing). On the other hand, Time Magazine reported in 2010 that “in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of the guys in their peer group.” Studies by Harvard Economics professor Claudia Goldin find the same results: wages differ because of life choices, not gender. If the wage gap existed, ironically, it would actually favor women, as it would create a tremendous arbitrage opportunity that employers would exploit, and we would see firms consisting entirely of underpaid women out-competing overpaid male driven firms.
According to the most radical feminist leaders the answer to oppression is “militant,” “anti-capitalist feminism”- as described by feminist leaders and “A Day Without a Woman” event organizers in an op-ed for The Guardian. Do you want to know the names of some real victims? How about Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe? They’re the two innocent Israeli students who were murdered by a terrorist named Rasmea Odeh, one of the organizers for “A Day Without a Woman,” who co-authored the above-mentioned article. Luckily, after being found to have committed immigration fraud, she’s finally being deported. We can chalk that up as a win for America. But Donald Trump’s the bad guy, right?
Phony victimhood claims work because they feel good: the claimants encourage empathy as a means to silence dissent. Bernie Sanders’ popularity is very much the result of our victimhood culture, the problem being, that if we encourage people to believe they’re victims, they’ll play the part and not seek to improve their lot in life. We should start encouraging citizens to take advantage of the freedom and opportunity that America offers all law-abiding citizens to advance by our own efforts, rather than seeking undeserved gains by depriving others of those same opportunities; there are no shortcuts in life, especially not in a capitalist-driven society that has made our country so great.