By Fox News•
Peer pressure is a powerful tool employed to influence and control the behavior of others. It used to be the case that it was truly only effective amongst children, those not yet strong enough in character and resolve to resist the condemnation of others. In recent times, however, in our culture of political correctness, adults and corporations can regularly be seen caving to the demands of their peers for conformance.
Celebrity and activist Kim Kardashian West faced just such peer pressure last week when she announced her plans to visit the White House and celebrate the “First Step Act” with its key designers President Trump, his daughter Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner. Instead of conforming to prevailing Hollywood winds and avoiding the president, Kim, who has made criminal justice equality and prison reform her flag-in-soil issues, made the trip and made strong statements in support of the new program.
It was roughly a year ago that TMZ broke the story that Jay-Z had pressured fellow rapper Meek Mill, an outspoken supporter of criminal justice reform, to cancel a planned visit to Washington to participate in a conference the president had called to discuss the issue. Mill was given a chance to turn words into action and get involved in actually solving a problem. Peer pressure caused him to back away.
In praising the president’s freshly enacted legislation which gives an opportunity to people who have served their time for their criminal infraction, Kardashian committed Hollywood heresy by saying, “It is really such an honor to be here today,” and by calling the president’s new program “magic.”
Kardashian also went further when she likely infuriated late-night show hosts by using social media to praise Ivanka Trump:
“Thank you @IvankaTrump for helping me to start this amazing journey of fighting for people who truly deserve a second chance!”
Ivanka and Jared have been the subject of so much Hollywood hatred that you know Kim risked some serious Los Angeles heat by making such a positive public statement.
Courage is considered one of the four Cardinal Virtues of Western Civilization. It, along with wisdom, moderation, and justice, was identified going back to Plato as being essential to the ideal person. Aristotle said that courage was the mean between rashness and cowardice and pointed out that a person cannot live a good life if they went around being afraid all the time.
Politicians, not just celebrities, have been bowing to the fear created by peer pressure. During President Trump’s exploration of the prison reform issue, many Democratic politicians who harped on the need for such reform for years refused to participate because of the president’s involvement. They feared reprisal for standing alongside President Trump.
Where is the bellicose House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in all of this? Why isn’t the lady who has spoken out so often of injustice in the federal prison system not standing right next to the president talking about what is likely going to be the only piece of meaningful legislation passed prior to the 2020 election? She’s hiding. She’s afraid.
There can be no question that Pelosi supports the measure, indeed, she issued a terse, but positive statement back in December when the House passed the bill. But, stand next to the president and work together on Second Step legislation? Not happening.
The Speaker lacks courage. Like so many other politicians, celebrities, and everyday Americans she finds it easier to pander than she does to make a difficult stand, face criticism, and do what is right. She is a follower cast in the role of a leader.
This lack of courage is not some sort of liberal disease to which conservatives find themselves immune. In going to the White House and standing next to the president, Kim showed more courage than many Republicans have over the past three years. From Paul Ryan to Justin Amash, too many Republicans have been unwilling publicly to show support for the president, even though in the privacy of a smoke-filled room while gripping a cognac they whisper that they agree with what he is doing.
Courage hasn’t completely disappeared from the American political landscape. Activist Van Jones was a strong public advocate of the First Step Act despite his political and general lack of agreement with the president. It takes courage and strength to enter discussion and forge agreements with people whom you might otherwise find disagreeable. Cicero knew this 2,000 years ago. Nothing has changed.
Kim Kardashian West shows courage; Nancy Pelosi does not. Adam Levine shows courage playing at the Super Bowl; numerous other performers do not. Until American adult influencers and political leaders learn how to withstand peer pressure, our liberty is at stake. Why can’t adults resist the very thing they all teach their children to resist?
by Robby Soave • The Daily Beast
Students at Western Washington University have reached a turning point in their campus’s hxstory. (For one thing, they’re now spelling it with an X—more on that later.) Activists are demanding the creation of a new college dedicated to social justice activism, a student committee to police offensive speech, and culturally segregated living arrangements at the school, which is in Bellingham, up in the very northwest corner of the state.
Students have the right to push for robust changes to campus conditions, of course. But if administrators care about free speech at all, they will ignore these calls to create an almost cartoonishly autocratic liberal thought police on campus. Continue reading
On Monday evening, just three days before Breitbart News Senior Editor-At-Large was scheduled to give his speech at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) titled “When Diversity Becomes a Problem,” the president of the university officially cancelled the lecture, citing the need to organize a more “inclusive event.”
In an email to the Young America’s Foundation chapter at CSULA, university president William Covino wrote, “After careful consideration, I have decided that it will be best for our campus community if we reschedule Ben Shapiro’s appearance for a later date, so that we can arrange for him to appear as part of a group of speakers with differing viewpoints on diversity. Such an event will better represent our university’s dedication to the free exchange of ideas and the value of considering multiple viewpoints.” Continue reading
By Brooke A. Rogers • New York Post
When I began looking for a university to finish out a degree I started in 2012, my set of standards could be summed up by the bullet points in the average college brochure: strong programs, experienced faculty, vibrant campus life, etc.
But by the end of last year, as well-documented sit-ins and protests began popping up in the news weekly, my criteria began to change to include other stipulations, such as: “doesn’t suppress freedom of speech” and “doesn’t treat its students like children.”
Which narrowed my choices considerably.
I don’t remember exactly when I began second-guessing my decision to go back to college, but the extent of the backlash against dissent on campus caused me to wonder whether college was still the enlightening experience I was hoping for. Students were raising hell over maracas on posters at Quinnipiac University and “appropriated” cafeteria food at Oberlin (the mecca of overreacting). Continue reading
by Victor Davis Hanson • RealClearPolitics
American universities want it both ways. They expect unquestioned subsidized support from the public, but also to operate in a way impossible for anyone else.
Colleges still wear the ancient clothes of higher learning. Latin mottos, caps and gowns, ivy-covered spires and high talk of liberal education reflect a hallowed intellectual tradition.
In fact, today’s campuses mimic ideological boot camps. Tenured professors seek to indoctrinate young people in certain preconceived progressive political agendas. Environmental studies classes are not very open to debating the “settled science” of man-caused, carbon-induced global warming — or the need for immediate and massive government intervention to address it. Grade-conscious and indebted students make the necessary ideological adjustments. Continue reading
After another ISIS-inspired shooting, Philadelphia’s mayor joins the chorus: It’s not about religion, no sir.
by Dorothy Rabinowitz • Wall Street Journal
It required only half a minute for the mayor of Philadelphia, Democrat Jim Kenney, to achieve national fame. On Friday, an already sensation-crowded day, it fell to the mayor to take part in the official pronouncements on the attempted murder of city police officer Jesse Hartnett, shot and severely wounded as he sat in his patrol car when a would-be assassin emptied his gun at him—13 shots in all.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr., appointed just three days earlier, delivered the details with noteworthy eloquence: The wounded officer, bleeding heavily from three wounds, one arm useless, had gotten himself out of the car, chased the attacker and shot him.
The drama of this recital needed no amplification, but there it was anyway: Clear security video images showed the assailant in his flowing white dishdasha—a robe favored by Muslim men—running toward the patrol car, shooting, sticking his hand in the window, and racing speedily away. Pictures too of the police officer lurching out of the car to give chase. Continue reading
Warning: This article contains both pronouns and references to maracas.
by Katherine Timpf • National Review
Here, in no particular order, are the 13 stories of 2015 that made me most want to bash my head into a wall:
1. Hating pumpkin-spice lattes was declared sexist.
If you say bad things about pumpkin-spice lattes, what you’re really saying is that “girls don’t get to have valid emotions” — at least according to Min Cheng’s op-ed in the Phoenix, Swarthmore College’s student newspaper. Continue reading
By Ashe Schow • Washington Examiner
In a move that should surprise no one who has been watching the utter meltdown of privileged college students this year, a Harvard Law School dean has compared “microaggressions” to sexual assault and violence.
Dean Martha L. Minow, during her winter commencement speech on injustice, asked her students to keep fighting even after they graduate. She made references to apartheid and segregated schools before making the bizarre analogy.
“Taking even seemingly small acts in one’s own school can build the culture that prevents violence, bullying, sexual assault and racial microaggressions,” she said. Continue reading
by Blake Neff • The Daily Caller
The inaccurate term, first noted by Campus Reform, is promoted by the school’s “Inclusive Language Campaign,” which is throwing up posters around campus to encourage the use of friendlier language.
UMD’s Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy office, an official organ of the university, is running the campaign. The posters tell students that “words have power” and people should be cautious, lest they offend people with the terms they use. Continue reading
By Larry Elder • RealClearPolitics
When students protesting “microaggressions” took over an administrative building at Occidental College in California, they issued 14 demands. The school agreed to all except the first, which required the firing of its president. Similar protests took place concurrently at other colleges nationwide.
Occidental’s five-day takeover was organized by Oxy United for Black Liberation, led by members of Oxy’s Black Student Alliance (BSA) and Coalition at Oxy for Diversity and Equity (CODE). Occidental says the demands they agreed to meet were:
“Promotion of the new chief diversity officer (CDO) position to vice president level.
“Increase budget of the CDO office by 50 percent.
“Allocate $60,000 to Diversity and Equity Board (DEB) to fund programming and provide resources for black and other marginalized students. Continue reading
Today’s student protesters start with valuable observations, writes John H. McWhorter, but then they drift into a mistaken idea of what a university—and even a society—should be
by John H. McWhorter • Wall Street Journal
From the aggrieved pitch of recent student protests against racism, the naive observer might be surprised that we are now 50 years past the 1960s. Today’s protesters have not endured the open hostility and dismissal that James Meredith did as the first African-American student at Ole Miss in 1962, when white students turned their backs on him in the cafeteria and bounced a basketball in the room over his at all hours of the night. As a black college student in the early 1980s, my experience felt different enough from his that it never occurred to me to characterize my school, Rutgers University, as a “racist campus.”
Of course, it was part of a racist America, and so I encountered discrimination here and there. The girl at the open-mic night who opened with “What do you call 150 black people at the bottom of the ocean? A good start!” The German teacher who told me I was in the wrong class the second I walked in and openly despised me for the rest of the semester. The frat boys yelling “Zebra!” as I passed with a white girl I dated.
But I was too busy with the other 99.7% of my life to really focus on such things—maybe being an introverted geek was part of it? Under the current campus Zeitgeist, I was nevertheless behind the curve. The new idea is that even occasionally stubbing your toe on racism renders a university a grievously “unsafe space” and justifies students calling for the ouster of a lecturer who calls for reasoned discussion (Yale) and even of a dean stepping down in shame for an awkwardly worded email (Claremont McKenna). Continue reading
Political correctness is humbug. Wishing goodwill to all is not an insult.
By Henry E. Brown, Republican congressman from South Carolina • USNews
Earlier this month, as I recorded a message to our troops and sent Christmas cards to family and friends, I found myself hesitating before using “Merry Christmas” to wish those important to me a blessed holiday. I was brought up in a Christian home where we celebrated Christmas and its many traditions. Until recently, I had never thought twice before wishing others “Merry Christmas.” Communities across the country are abuzz with the “acceptable” way to observe this holiday season, but why should those who celebrate Christmas feel pressure to say “Season’s greetings” or “Happy holidays,” reluctant to express traditional Christmas words of good cheer?
I am troubled by the sentiment that the phrase “Merry Christmas” is not appropriate and concerned by the limits placed on the expression of the traditions and symbols associated with this national holiday. For me, Christmas is one of our most important holidays, not only because of Christianity’s influence on our nation’s founding but also because of the Christmas message of “peace on Earth, goodwill to men.” To downplay this holiday can only be construed as an attempt to minimize its origin. While the commercialization of the Christmas season floods our cities with beautiful light displays and decorations of Santa and his reindeer, we must not forget that the true meaning and significance of Christmas is the birth of Christ. Continue reading
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville warned students to not throw Christmas parties because someone might somehow be offended.
by Robby Soave • The Daily Beast
Another holiday, another opportunity for college administrators to trample students’ free expression rights as part of some comically misguided effort to prevent offense. Last week, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville issued a breathtakingly Scrooge-ish (Scrooge-ian? Scrooge-esque?) piece of advice: “Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.”
The diversity officers who wrote this instruction must have a lot of extra time on their hands, because eradicating secret Yuletide gatherings doesn’t exactly seem like a pressing higher education issue.
The university, thankfully, has since re-discovered its Christmas spirit, but not before inspiring bewilderment and anger among some students, as well as quite a few Republican politicians who hysterically interpret any slight against Christmas as an attack on Christianity itself. U.S. Republican Rep. John Duncan had this to say: Continue reading
By Jonah Goldberg • National Review
“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia . . . could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.” — Abraham Lincoln
The winning streak enjoyed by campus activists this fall was violently interrupted by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Some activists were sufficiently annoyed by their ejection from the limelight that they took to Twitter to complain under the hashtag “F***Paris.”
The most obvious irony stemmed from the fact that some of the same protesters who griped about media coverage of their antics — even declaring First Amendment-free zones — suddenly whined when the cameras turned to bloodshed in the heart of Europe. Continue reading
By Blake Hounshell • Politico
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, in a discursive speech Monday evening, blasted Secretary of State John Kerry and attacked the left for creating an “identity crisis” that he charged has undermined American strength and fostered terrorism around the world.
And he drew a connection between U.S. foreign policy and domestic culture, arguing that “in recent years, there has been far too much institutionalization of grievance and victimhood.”
The Australian-born media mogul, a naturalized U.S. citizen, also touched on the Republican presidential primary, which he said “has articulated a deep distaste for the slow descent of our country.” Continue reading