On campus, political correctness has become the Santa Claus who offers no presents. It sees you when you’re sleeping. It knows when you’re awake. It’s definitely making lists and checking them twice, and you’d better be correct for correctness’ sake. Otherwise you won’t even get a lump of coal, just a letter informing you how really sorry everyone is that they had to expel you for your own good.

Yet another sense-demolishing instance of campus lunacy was reported last week in The New York Times, which informed readers that their children off at college are being sternly warned not to say “you guys” (it might make women feel excluded), not to “show surprise” if a feminine-looking woman says she is a lesbian (acting ability now being as essential as learning ability) and to be very very careful about singing along with rap lyrics, even when alone in a car.

Needless to say, everyone should be on the lookout for “white privilege” and report any suspicions along these lines to the authorities for immediate correction. Helpful re-education camps are already being set up for this purpose.

In an episode from the Times’ report that will be easily recognizable to any student of 1984 or the Salem witch trials, one Latina student—who is herself, she says, a victim of microaggression—was successfully brainwashed into lashing out at herself for using the term “you guys,” heedless of the damage she was doing by pulling the pin on this psychic hand grenade within the hearing of, one supposes, delicate females. Women, in the new campus model, are simultaneously empowered and yet as weak and susceptible to verbal shock as any damsel in a Victorian potboiler novel.

Teaching impressionable youths to recoil from their own thoughts and language while fitting themselves with mental cilices in the name of a higher good sounds like a particularly joyless and forced faith—a religion meant to replace religion. We’ve seen this tendency before. The author Theodore Dalrymple noted in 2005 that political correctness is simply “communism writ small,” adding:

I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.   

“Diversity director,” a job title that didn’t even exist when Barack Obama was in college, is now such an important position that filling such a post, even at an obscure state university, can earn you a (taxpayer-funded) paycheck larger than that of any U.S. governor. Large salaries are a sign of priorities, and there is no higher priority on campus than reorienting minds to suit the progressive left. Destroying younglings’ hold on basic logic is essential to setting them up for progressive absurdities like supporting the idea that, say, the NCAA, a gender-segregated sporting association, should boycott North Carolina for having gender-segregated locker rooms. If only 38 percent of Americans agree with the idea of opening up women’s locker rooms to men who say they’re women, that just shows how much spadework needs to be done among the next generation.

Perhaps the most emotionally satisfying aspect of being a campus commissar is the sheer sadistic glee that comes with owning a license to mold the lives of helpless, indeed fawning, subservients, who in ideal cases will come to savor the taste of the intellectual lash as they issue ecstatic proclamations of love for Big Campus Brother. How else to explain student-government impeachment proceedings issued against students for attending the same party as students who wore sombreros? Being a pale-skinned person tarred by an episode of youthful sombrero adjacency can be detrimental to your college record, hence your career. It fell to the American novelist Lionel Shriver to fight back against the speech police by appearing at an Australian writers’ conference mocking P.C. hysteria while wearing a sombrero. Naturally, the conference disavowed her remarks and disappeared her speech from their website. If students today were true rebels, they’d realize that the ruling orthodoxy in their midst is fierce, rigid, speech-and-thought extinguishing cultural Marxism. Rise up, students. Fight the power. Wear a sombrero.

This article was republished with permission from The Acculturated.