I would like to briefly follow up on that post.
There, I did not describe or name the bogeyman that sent students into such a distressed emotional state.
Several years ago, I watched students become unhinged and hysterical in response to Right-wing professional bomb thrower David Horowitz. They cried. They shambled about in a confused state. Some of them were taken to special areas for healing and hugs.
There are religious types who handle snakes, speak in tongues, or have fits of religious ecstasy. As I witnessed it, in the cult of left-leaning political correctness, personal outrage and tear filled histrionics were a sign of being one of "the elect" or "saved" when facing the likes of David Horowitz.
Like the proverbial old man on his lawn cursing the young kids that are tipping over the garbage cans and listening to "race records" while they drive their fancy new horseless carriages, I shook my head at their antics. I even went so far as to tell them that Horowitz has no power over them, save for the power they give to him. Learn his tricks and those of folks like him; expose their intellectual sleight of hand; deny the Horowitzs, Coulters, and Malkins of the world their frat boy and frat girl political antics; or be practical, cut off their money and source of livelihoods.
Sophomore means "learned fool". As sophomores, and other undergraduates too, they deftly recited all manner of rhetoric from their manifesto on "respect" and "safe spaces", as well as how they were "threatened" by "hate speech". I smiled. I too have done the same thing while a college student.
Young people go through various stages of intellectual development that are a function of brain structure, as well as socialization/nurturing. Most college students who are teenagers and young adults exist in a liminal space: they would like to have the freedom of adults but want (and perhaps need) the protection and coddling of their parents, teachers, and other caretakers. Maturity comes with displacing the former with the latter--and making sure that teenagers and young adults are made to feel the consequences for their choices as they mature into adult hood.
Millennials and the Facebook Generation have been fed a poison pill. Their ambitions and desires have been sharpened beyond all reason. But, they will enter a society with diminished resources and economic opportunities.
Many of them are clinically narcissistic, their egos inflated by parents and others who give them trophies and rewards for failure and mediocrity.
Social media has created a culture of micro-celebrities where "likes" and "followers" are equated with self-worth, value, and contributing to the Good Society.
And for too many Americans, political activism in the United States is not measured by one's literal ability or willingness to put skin in the game. Rather, activism and politics are a bar that has been so lowered as to include the easy and pain free symbolic politics of "liking" a cause online or wearing a rubber wristband to show "solidarity".
I am not expecting the college students of today to be legions of James Merediths, enduring all manner of cruelty, hardships, and challenges in the face of human ugliness, while they try to get an education.
By extension, I also find the false comparison and fiction created around the "Greatest Generation" mythology of World War 2 to be dishonest and intellectually specious. As others have argued, "the Greatest Generation" was more a reflection of Clinton era American global dominance and the "end of history" after the fall of the Soviet Union, than a cogent claim about the superhero-like abilities of those brave and tough Americans who defeated Nazism.
One would also be amiss to not call attention to how the (white) "Greatest Generation" was also complicit with white supremacy, Jim and Jane Crow, and benefited from institutional, state sponsored white racism that continues to shape neighborhoods, wealth, income, educational outcomes, and other types of social and political inequality in the Age of Obama.
I wonder. What sort of world will the "trigger generation" of college students create? Excluding those who because of class, race, or other personal circumstances are already navigating its muck and mire, are "the snowflakes" capable of effectively responding to the arbitrary and capricious cruelty and callousness of the "real world"?