The Left’s Problem with Reciprocity


There is nothing at all original or interesting about the anti-American sentiment expressed in a Washington Post article published in today’s Providence Journal about the trashed Veterans Day flags on the Brown University Campus (emphasis added):

That prompted other students to counterprotest, according to the campus newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, with a senior upset by the actions to organize a group to sit on the school’s green to protect the remaining flags. And it opened up an intense debate about the meaning of patriotism and sacrifice on the Ivy League campus in the days after a divisive election, with some students saying in online debates that it’s hard to love a country that has committed atrocities and oppressed minorities.

One thing that has changed, though, since my peers and I were forced to treat such garbage seriously back when we were in college in the ’90s is that the Left has been loudly demanding that the country that it’s so hard to love must pay for all students’ college educations.

The students reciting these anti-American clichés would probably respond that, if the country did finance their education, then it might be a little easier to love.  Of course, they’d phrase it in the negative, as they’ve been trained to do (so as to turn everything they want into a “right” that they are owed) by saying the fact that we don’t already give them free degrees proves what a selfish, oppressive country we are.  (So selfish have we been that we’ve only subsidized higher education to the point that colleges and universities have been able to inflate tuition and go on hiring sprees of administrators who’ll patronize tender students.)

Simply put, that’s childish extortion, and it seems to me a manifestation of the Left’s failure of empathy and sense of reciprocity.  Some students seeking free college from some source might take the approach of proving their worth and being grateful.  Too many have learned that the Veruca Salt approach is the way to go.

Here’s another striking comment I’ve come across in the past 24 hours.  It’s Bob Plain, of RI Future, reporting on Twitter from the inside-walk-out protest at the University of Rhode Island:

Black student says white student told him black ppl “won’t be free” much longer. Imagine hearing that about yourself? Can you imagine that?

I’ll agree that it must be discouraging to hear such things, but the guilty party is the white student who lied about the nature of people he or she doesn’t know or understand — or, more likely, the irresponsible adults who’ve put that notion in his or her head.  Yet, Bob editorializes as if it’s a reasonable thing about which to be afraid.

Think about what one must assume to find that a reasonable warning.  First, one must believe Donald Trump and his advisors are that bigoted and aggressive.  Then, one must believe that Congress and the judiciary would either go along or tolerate being brushed aside.  Next would come all of the bureaucrats and police or military personnel necessary to enact policies, at the state and federal level.  Most important, though, is the assumption that the American people would go along with the plan in sufficient numbers.

It’s difficult to believe that Bob, the black student, the white student, and whoever is feeding them this narrative actually, really truly, believe it.  Or then again, maybe they’re thinking of the attacks on the Right that they have tolerated under the progressive Democrat government of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  After all, they explicitly support the government’s ability:

  • To take away our money in a targeted way and give it to others
  • To limit our speech, especially around politics
  • To eliminate our means of self defense
  • To restrict our ability to make a living and pursue our occupations through licensing and regulation, but also through government dictation of what criteria we can use to determine our employees and clients
  • And to limit our health and education options, making it increasingly difficult to pursue either without the minute control and approval of government agents

Frankly, many of us on the Right have been shocked at the degree to which the Left rationalized or ignored the attacks on our rights and on the rule of law under Barack Obama and in the rhetoric of Hillary Clinton.  Indeed, that shock was a major factor leading many of us to conclude that, however bad Donald Trump might be, he’s preferable to the alternative.

Maybe a little introspection from the Left is in order.  If you really believe that your fellow Americans have actually put you in as precarious a position as you say they have, then an honest look at their reasons and a two-way (i.e., reciprocal) discussion of ideas and grievances would be more effective than attacks and demands.

Until progressives come to this rather obvious conclusion, though, I’ll continue to suspect that most of them don’t actually believe their rhetoric (though they do terrible emotional harm to their peers who do) and are just building a narrative that will put them back in a position to constrain the rights of their fellow Americans… and make us pay for their college degrees.