For years now, a new leftist movement has been rising on college campuses. It speaks a new, radical language of intersectional identity politics. It is obsessed with social justice, with promoting the interests of the historically marginalized— and with policing its own adherents for their violations of its norms.
It has its own buzzwords, inscrutable to older generations of liberals: white privilege, rape culture, microaggressions, safe spaces. It has marched against its proximate oppressors, university administrations, and gotten college presidents fired; it has demanded apologies for the sins of the past; it seeks to exorcise the ghosts of Woodrow Wilson and John Calhoun. At a rally against police violence at Dartmouth in November, a protester screamed at a frightened girl, “Fuck your white tears!” They are the children of the children of the ’60s, and they are tired of being talked over and ignored. They are rebelling against the establishment, just as their grandparents did—only now, their grandparents are the establishment against which they’re rebelling. They are the most liberal generation in American history, and they want their due.