Whither the snowflakes? Inquiring minds want to know. Curious people all over the country are wondering what will occur when the snowflakes — aka, the crybullies — are finally forced out of their safe spaces on campus, and into the cold winds of life. Three nasty shocks seem in store for these little darlings: When they find out — the horror — that there are no "safe spaces"; when they find out that others are allowed to speak sometimes; and when they discover their degrees in race/gender studies may not be the asset they thought.
While student hysterics are nothing too novel, what is new is this sense of excessive fragility in which they demand as a right a complete insulation from all things unpleasant — a loud noise, a cold look, a harsh word. Someone you don't like comes to visit your campus? Go to a safe room, and hug a stuffed animal. A line in a poem triggers a "flashback?" Ask for a warning, and cry. "I don't want to debate, I want to talk about my pain," a student wrote in the Yale Herald. He may want to talk, but few want to listen. And what a shock to his system when he finds this out.
Are they snowflakes or fascists, asked Mona Charen regarding these students. The answer seems to be that they're both: snowflakes when it comes to their sensibilities, and fascists concerning the interests of everyone else. Who can forget Melissa Click, calling for "muscle," to hustle photographers out of her way? Or, as one student put it, "What really bothered me is the whole idea that ... we need be hearing a diversity of opinion. I don't think we should be tolerating conservative views."
But that's how it goes outside of the campus, where even MSNBC employs some conservative panelists, and The New York Times on occasion will run their op-eds. Can they adapt to real life, or will the struggle exhaust them? And that's not the worst of their woes.
No, the worst may be seeking a job with a major in race/gender studies. In recent years, junk courses have metastasized all over the campus, squeezing out others of real life importance that might convey genuine worth. "By my rough count," Jonah Goldberg informs us, "Yale offers 26 courses in African-American studies, 64 courses on 'Ethnicity, Race and Migration,' and 41 courses under the heading of 'Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies,'" but only two on the Constitution, and three on the Founding and Federal era.
Is a major in the meaning of Bruce/Caitlin Jenner going to impress an employer seeking to fill a promising (and potentially high-paying) job? Blogging itself may pay very little, and there are only so many internships at Salon and The Nation, so many liberal politicians to work for, and so many transgender-feminist-ethnic-gay lobbies to staff. And so in the end, the only choice may be to go back to the campus, bringing the time when the classes and teachers outnumber the students closer than ever to hand.
"One thing that was obvious to me at Boulder is that there is a huge oversupply of the 'race, class, gender' courses, chasing too few crazy students," says Steven Hayward, who served a term there as its token conservative. In The Weekly Standard, Charlotte Allen has detailed the sad lives of surplus adjunct professors, underpaid, overworked, insecure. And so today's students may spend years in their parents' basements, subsisting on makeshift jobs as they wait for the breaks that might never develop.
In that case, the snowflakes may melt pretty fast.
Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."