The American Enterprise Institute posted an interview between Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia. It is a fascinating discussion about the current state of modern feminism within academia. Their conversation reminds me of the commentary in Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge’s book Professing Feminism. They wrote the book in the late 1990s, yet twenty years later the complaints about the polarizing impact of modern feminism remain the same.
If feminists had the kind self-reflective conversation Sommers and Paglia had during the interview, I suspect more people would become feminists. Instead there appears to be an element within the modern feminist movement that latches onto the worst type of victimology, cognitive dissonance, and self-righteous selfishness. There is no self-reflection, only the arrogant “knowledge” that feminists are right because they say they are right.
Sommers and Paglia note throughout the discussion that many of the students taught this nonsense leave school with no knowledge about contrary theories or the source of their own positions. The students rail against the modern world without knowing anything about past societies. They demonize our capitalist system without learning anything about cultures that applied Marxist, communist, or socialist policies. These students are so bereft of basic knowledge about the world around them they do not even realize that most of what they demand is already in place.
What is remarkable is that this happened so quickly. I graduated from college about ten years ago, and in that short a period the mood has switched. What is more surprising that this is technically the same generation. We are all Millennials, yet there is an obvious contrast in how those of us in our thirties view the world compared to those of us in our twenties.
The irony is that this level of self-importance does not help anyone when they get into the real world. It does not help them understand how problems are created, let alone solved. It does not help them understand other cultures. It also does not prepare them for the basic fact that the real world does not care about their special interests or unique identities. We will end up with a generation of people so coddled that if they faced tyranny on the level of a Stalin, Mao, or Hilter they would meet it with hashtags and catchphrases rather than do anything about it.