Generation Y (those born after 1981) are sometimes known as ‘generation fear’. Lily Allen’s songs often express what others of her generation are feeling. One of her most popular songs is called ‘The Fear’. She sings:
‘I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore …
Cause I’m being taken over by the fear.’
Once it was different. As long ago as 1968 students were prepared to confront the world. Then we were committed, idealistic and yes, misguided. But we were confident enough to take on all-comers. Students in France confronted the tear gas, water cannon and batons of the riot police, the CRS, and nearly brought down the government of de Gaulle.
Here in the UK we were, thankfully, less successful, but just as committed. I have vivid memories of an anti-apartheid demo against a Sprinboks tour, resulting in an encounter with the Lothian and Borders Police which was not altogether amicable.
Today’s students, however, instead of taking on all comers in pursuit of their ideals cry out for protection. With great feeling, they describe the anguish of being called by the ‘wrong’ pronoun, or the trauma of a professor using a ‘legal name’ instead of a ‘preferred name.’ They are such tender hothouse plants that they describe being ‘unsafe’ if, despite their sex, they can’t use the bathroom they want to use, or if they get ‘stares’. Oh, the horror of it all.
The height of absurdity was perhaps reached in England last year. Oxford students prevented Brendan O’Neill from taking part in a debate on abortion because they claimed that allowing someone ‘without a uterus’ to discuss abortion would harm their ‘mental safety’. This in what is consistently ranked amongst the top ten universities in the world.
The infantile inhabitants of our universities give every appearance of being terrified that someone will disagree with them or say something which they find upsetting. They even demand ‘safe spaces,’ havens where they will be free from the intrusion of ideas other than their own. South Park brilliantly exposes the pathetic nature of those who demand that the world wraps them in cotton wool.
The latest childish tantrum is the recent petition from students at Cardiff University which demanded that Germaine Greer be banned from speaking.
The veteran feminist had been due to speak at the University on Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century. Rachael Melhuish, women’s officer at Cardiff University students union, like a prudish Victorian gentlewoman, had a fit of the vapours, alleging that Greer has ‘demonstrated misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether’.
Melhuish took the time honoured ‘courageous’ action of starting an internet petition against Greer appearing: ‘Hosting a speaker with such problematic and hateful views towards marginalised and vulnerable groups is dangerous.’ Hundreds of Cardiff students dutifully lined up behind the idea that Greer’s views are ‘dangerous’, ‘discriminatory’, and cause ‘hatred and violence’.
It’s remarkable how supposedly educated students casually use the language of violence to describe and denounce the expression of an idea. Greer wasn’t planning to turn up with a machine gun and force transgender women to wear jock straps and get drunk at the rugby club; she just wanted to be free to present her ideas to an audience of thinking people. Big mistake at today’s universities.
Thankfully Greer has refused to be bullied by the frightened children and maintains her position. Her view of transgender surgery, expressed in somewhat more robust terms on a radio programme, is that: ‘Just because you lop off your penis and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a ******* woman… I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that won’t turn me into a ******* cocker spaniel.’
She hits the most important aspect of the furore when she highlights the difference between words and actions, ‘What they are saying is that because I don’t think surgery will turn a man into a woman I should not be allowed to speak anywhere… I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that [sex change] procedure. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t make them a woman. It happens to be an opinion. It’s not a prohibition.’
Truly the revolution eats its children. Now that the homosexual cause has triumphed the social revolution moves on to the next cause. The new poster children for social chaos are the transgendered and anyone holding an opinion contrary to progressive orthodoxy must be silenced. Greer, once a major force in progressive thought, just doesn’t get with the programme, she obstinately refuses to give up the right to think for herself.
Given the minute number of troubled people who self-identify as ‘trans’, changing the social structure in order to enforce radicalism is far more exclusive than it is inclusive. It privileges the demands of a minute minority of confused people at the expense of the considered views of tens of millions.
But that is the whole point. The transgendered are merely the latest ’cause’ to be employed in undermining society. Once the transgendered have triumphed the circus will move on to the next emotive ’cause’.
It is of course convenient that the likely targets of the inevitable discrimination complaints are those Christians and other cultural conservatives the Progressive loves to hate.