My school, George Mason University, has been triggered.
I know this from the seven — yes, seven — university administration emails I received in less than 24 hours advertising forums described as “post-election conversations” and “healing spaces.” These forums are offered as “a space for students to gather in the wake” of the election to “discuss and make sense of the outcomes.” Counselors from the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services will be available for “students wishing to discuss the recent election results in a safe environment.”
Although “snacks and refreshments” will be provided, the emails say nothing in the way of binkies or diapers; students may need to bring their own.
Okay, fine, I should not joke. There are, after all, some very sinister undertones hidden in these emails.
First, let’s strip these forums of all pretext: such “post-election conversations” are intended for those unhappy with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s victory. I can only speculate, but I think it is safe to assume the university would not take such ridiculous measures had Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won. Professors would have outwardly exalted checking off the “madam president” box, students would have celebrated preserving our nation’s indifference to abortion, and much of George Mason would have been cheering what conservatives view as the destruction of individual liberty.
Moreover, such sweeping liberal changes would have bolstered left-wing hubris, giving conservative Americans ample reason to fear for their freedom, beliefs and even personal safety. Just ask David Wilcox, Omar Mahmood, Jade Armenio, Ben Shapiro, the North Carolina and Delaware GOP or these Republicans. Given past edicts of the Democratic Party (e.g., providing space to “those who wished to destroy”) and the viciously anti-conservative censorship culture on most of America’s college campuses, it is not at all clear conservatives would have been safe to disagree.
So, yes, conservatives were completely justified in fearing a President Clinton.
With their true purpose exposed, however, George Mason’s “post-election conversations” become even more disturbing.
Leftists justify such “healing spaces” under the auspices of serving the needs of a marginalized group of people. In other words, they claim to be correcting an imbalance in society, usually described as the institutional privilege enjoyed by white men. To do so, the state must implement and enforce special treatment for the ostensibly disadvantaged.
This is horrendously flawed logic.
To be sure, institutional privilege is a useful insight when measuring broad societal trends in areas such as poverty, unemployment, housing discrimination or criminal justice. When injected into person-to-person interactions, however, it is callous and unjust.
To project onto a person a preconceived opinion that is not based on actual experience or personal knowledge is manifestly wrong — so wrong, in fact, that it has a special name: prejudice. Yes, that’s right: To know only that a person is conservative, white, straight, Christian, cisgender and male but nonetheless draw a broad conclusion regarding that person’s overall position in life is to harbor a prejudice. There are millions of ways a person may be disadvantaged, many of which are immeasurable and difficult to detect but still tragic. The proverbial (or contemptuous, depending on whom you ask) white male may also be blind, illiterate, intellectually disabled, autistic, chronically depressed, mentally ill, physically disabled, suicidal, non-English speaking, prone to addiction, socioeconomically disadvantaged and so on.
To say that one demographic based on one personal trait has a greater moral claim over another demographic to favorable treatment by a state actor is nothing more than advocating the execution of a prejudice through government compulsion. That, too, has a name: fascism. And by selectively providing “resources” for one group over another, George Mason is flirting with it.
Conservatives have suffered many disheartening setbacks in the past few years, many of which kept us up at night in worry and anger. Yet we saw no comforting emails from administrators or invitations to use “special resources” (not that we would have used them; we value our dignity). Rather, we were left to endure the harassment, intimidation and death threats all by ourselves. And we’re still here and still going strong.
Students and faculty and George Mason: get a grip.
Thomas Wheatley is a law student at the Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington.