And what I saw on the video struck me most as a form of religious ritual — a secular exorcism, if you will — that reaches a frenzied, disturbing catharsis. When Murray starts to speak, the students stand and ritually turn their backs on him in silence. The heretic must not be looked at, let alone engaged. Then they recite a common liturgy in unison from sheets of paper. Here’s how they begin: “This is not respectful discourse, or a debate about free speech. These are not ideas that can be fairly debated, it is not ‘representative’ of the other side to give a platform to such dangerous ideologies. There is not a potential for an equal exchange of ideas.” They never specify which of Murray’s ideas they are referring to. Nor do they explain why a lecture on a recent book about social inequality cannot be a “respectful discourse.” The speaker is open to questions and there is a faculty member onstage to engage him afterward. She came prepared with tough questions forwarded from specialists in the field. And yet: “We … cannot engage fully with Charles Murray, while he is known for readily quoting himself. Because of that, we see this talk as hate speech.” They know this before a single word of the speech has been spoken.
I should give the guy credit. He's a liberal who is at least a little prepared to resist being sucked into the vortex of political correctness.
And that's the thing about the latest college religion craze. These kids don't think they have joined a religion. They think it's simply the revealed truth. It required no cognitive energy on their part to 'join this church', on the contrary, it required fewer mental calories. All they had to do was surrender their wills to the euphoria of the moment, when feelings of their being good and right, swept over them.
It's not a religion, it's a cult. And these poor kids are being put in a position that when reality intrudes back on their world, they will be totally unable to handle it. We've seen the videos of them, shrieking into the air at some imagined great harm that's befalling them. Saying "I just can't" has become de rigeur for them. It's very easy to imagine some irrevocable truth finding it's way into their experience, and seeing them leap off the student center roof en masse, rather than accept that they are the ones who are the real monsters.