Raising the Next Generation of Snowflakes

Graphic credit: Wall Street Journal

One in four students at elite universities are now classified as “disabled,” largely due to mental-health issues, reports the Wall Street Journal. And that disabled status is increasingly entitling them to special accommodations like being given extra time to complete exams.

Under federal law, schools must offer reasonable accommodations to the disabled. A blind student, for instance, would be given access to specialized software or a reader for an exam. No one could argue with that. But what about people with less visible disabilities such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD? Some colleges are providing “low distraction” testing centers and allowing students to bring “comfort animals” to school.

“At Pomona, we have extremely talented bright students with very high expectations who are coming in with a good level of anxiety and are highly stressed,” said Jan Collins-Eaglin, the Claremont, Calif., college’s associate dean of students for personal success and wellness. “Our job here is to help them really thrive.”

Bacon’s bottom line: Got that? The way to deal with anxiety and stress is to give students safe spaces rather than learn to master their fears and emotions.

Despite the advances of modern medicine and psychiatry, Americans are becoming mentally and physically more fragile with each succeeding generation. The problem starts long before kids go to college, but it’s becoming clearer than ever that institutions of higher education are not part of the solution but part of the problem.

The American character is becoming weaker and less resilient with each passing year. Can you imagine Generation Z (or whatever the post-Millennial generation is called) producing a Teddy Roosevelt, who was born a sickly child with debilitating asthma but, through force of will, overcame his physical health problems by embracing a strenuous lifestyle? The old virtues — strength, stamina, courage, perseverance, indomitable spirit in the face of adversity — are dying, replaced by the therapeutic ethic and cult of victimhood. Truly, we are a decaying society.

Recent news articles have noted that only a quarter or so of America’s youth qualify to enter the U.S. armed services. Once upon a time, American elites looked down upon military careers, as if they were occupations of last resort for those who couldn’t get into college. But if one third of college students have disabilities, it looks like the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are more selective these days than our institutions of higher education — and perhaps our only hope of preserving the traditional virtues upon which this country was built.

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10 responses to “Raising the Next Generation of Snowflakes”

  1. djrippert Avatar

    If they think they have anxiety and stress in college wait until they graduate! Employers are less likely to provide safe spaces for snowflakes.

    This is just typical – give a grifter an inch and he’ll take a mile. It used to be that the only dogs allowed in restaurants and other places were seeing eye dogs. You know, guide dogs for blind people. Everybody accepted that. Then there were companion dogs for people with various phobias. Now, it seems like there a quarter of the population demands that their dogs are some form of medicine. This is the problem with politically correct liberalism. Doors are opened too far and humanity’s scammers push them open even further.

  2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    In February of 2017, I wrote here:

    “…Leadership failures and destructive cultural forces are overwhelming undergraduate programs at an alarming pace. Higher education inflicts pervasive, long-lasting, and often devastating harm upon many of its undergraduate students. As the corruption spreads into families and communities, it poisons everyone’s future. Elite institutions, which educate a disproportionate share of the nation’s leaders, can most do the most harm.

    William Deresiewicz’s 2014 book, “Excellent Sheep, the Mis-education of the American Elite,” tells of “toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation” experienced by large and growing numbers of undergraduates at elite schools. He describes how undergraduates are too often the left overs from “stressed out, over-pressured high school student(s)” that elite institutions now demand.

    The American Psychological Association summarized a recent survey under the headline The Crisis on Campus: “Nearly half of college students reported feelings of hopelessness while almost a third spoke of feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function during the past twelve months.”

    Excellent Sheep also reports that college counseling services are being overwhelmed. Nearly of half of students seeking help now suffer from “severe psychological problems,” triple the number two decades ago. A Stanford Provost who convened a task force on student mental health in 2006 wrote: “Increasingly we are seeing students struggling with mental health concerns ranging from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-mutilation behaviors, schizophrenia and suicidal behaviors.” A college president wrote: “We appear to have an epidemic of depression among young people.”

    Many pathologies arise in high school among students striving to meet the admission requirements of elite colleges. Many are overwhelmed when they get there. Many never recover. Said one student: “For many students, rising to the top means being consumed by the system.”

    Why? Why is the mental, emotional, and physical health of so many of America’s elite students in apparent collapse? Why is this phenomenon so under-reported?

    Professors and instructors tasked to mentor these undergraduates in college often suffer the same maladies as their students. Evidence mounts that today’s higher education system inflicts emotional, professional and financial harm, and related injustices, upon the tenured and non-tenured faculty teaching at America’s most prestigious institutions. Here, too, we find toxic levels of fear, anxiety, depression, emptiness, aimlessness and isolation, particularly among those most vulnerable: the graduate and post graduate instructors, non-tenured track professors, and younger professors seeking tenure.

    When those who do the bulk of teaching and mentoring of undergraduate students experience undue stress, dysfunction, obsessive-compulsive behavior, hysteria, and depression, something is terribly wrong …”

    See How Higher Ed. is Failing Faculty And Students by Reed Fawell III, dated February 17, 2017 found at https://www.baconsrebellion.com/38125-2/

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      So how did we get to this awful place we find ourselves? Too often we talk only about the cost of higher education, instead of the enormous harm it reeks on our children, our society and nation. Yes, its important to monitor the cost of college tuition as it relates to state funding of public institutions. But why do we get lost hopelessly in the weeds, so ensnared in numbers and statistics, that will miss altogether the ongoing destruction of the garden and all its glories, the ongoing ruination of our children and their future.

      So the subject here is not statistics. Or even money. Most importantly, it is about one of nature’s most difficult and perilous of tasks – its about helping, and indeed insuring, that our kids pass through always painful adolescence to have the best chance to become productive adults in a healthy society.

      To accomplish this, kids need all the help we can muster to support them in their quest. Importantly, our colleges and universities must preserve and enhance their students’ legacy and build upon that legacy, so our kids can find, and take strength, from their history and culture to find their own unique future. Thus enjoy the best chance to become adults who are capable of keeping and bettering their world so it is worth living in for everyone.

      Our colleges and universities are failing miserably at this. Why can’t they perform their traditional and primary mission anymore in this country?

      And why does the cost of higher education rise in direct proportion to its failure to properly educate our kids? Why are these alarming trends so directly related one to the other?

      Recently here I spoke at length about my admiration and respect for former UVA President Edgar Shannon Jr. and Frank Hereford. But it was during their terms at UVA that forces beyond their control laid the seeds of destruction that today engulfs our entire system of higher education. This includes our elite universities in Virginia, particularly places like UVA and William & Mary, and now also Virginia Tech and Washington and Lee. Why are these premium institutions undermining our children’s futures instead of improving their futures? And why are they working so hard at it.

      If the judgement embedded in those questions sounds radical, it is not. One iron rule of history is that teaching institutions never fail to corrupt over time. They are fragile flowers. And, today in America, many respected educators today are writing many books on the corruption growing within America’s colleges and universities. They are as alarmed as I am.

      Indeed, the overwhelming fact is that the higher its cost to the student, the less that undergraduate at college receives in return for his or her money. And the more harm that institution is likely to do to the students it teaches.

      That is the alarming truth. Its consequences are in plain sight.

      Far too many institutions of higher learning, including our most elite, harm far too many students, their health, their happiness and their welfare, not to mention their education. The bad habits they acquire trying to get into college and the bad habits the acquire in college are bleeding ever more profoundly into their lives, building not health but heavily damaged adults.

      For example, our students heavy reliance on the hook up culture in college now extends far beyond college. This sad fact has increased dramatically over the past few years. Now, thanks directly to their ruinous college experiences, far more adults now unable to establish and keep stable intimate relations with the opposite sex, not to mention stable relations in civil society generally. This scourge now particularly impacts more young post college women, as well as men, the latter brutish, and/or helpless.

      And it’s getting worse, far worse. More and more serious and ethical educators view today’s process of getting kids through high school into a ‘good’ college, and through college to and through graduate school, to be a highly dysfunctional process that demeans and undermines the students.

      In short, college today far too often turns healthy kids into fearfully lost commodities as its processes undermine the ground that young people need to build healthy lives upon, and on which they must stand, if they are to become uniquely themselves, able to survive and thrive in today’s world.

      I believe that assertion is undeniable in fact. The evidence is overwhelming. Witness the safe spaces, mass hysteria, micro aggressions, the growing array of passive aggressive, neurotic and otherwise unhealthy behaviors. These are the consequences of college and grad students increasingly unable to cope with, much less succeed among, the hard knocks of the real world.

      These toxic fruits are built into the learning at our elite universities. The toxic atmospheres infect everything – even lacrosse, whether it be boys or girls at UVA, Duke, and now Virginia Tech, the rot now is everywhere. From politics to gender to race to athletics to intimate relations, whatever, you name it. The greatest greatest crime is not that this toxic rot is not being fought on our campuses, but that this toxic rot is being taught there.

      Go to UVA website and look carefully at UVa’s offered undergraduate curriculum. Start anywhere, but don’t miss looking at the Departments of English and American History. Don’t glance at it, don’t look away. Study it, think about it, reach your own judgement of what’s being fed out kids. All the grievances, hate, victims, and moralizing nonsense alien to reality.

      Instead of giving our students the tools they need to thrive at life, a strong education, our system of higher education today actively works to strip our students of their identity, and their history, and their language, and their cultural treasures, and their sense of right and wrong, and their sense of who they are and where they came from, and where they need and want to go.

      And, along the way, our colleges and universities are destroying our kids capacity for confident independence of thought, judgement and action, and for love even, including their God given right to their own free expression of who they are and what they truly believe, without the interference of others.

      So our colleges today disarm their students of the armor they need. And with it, the emotional and spiritual and moral grounding they must have to be successful at even the most basic things necessary for life and living.

      What are we talking about here?

      First Things, that’s what – like being able to mate with another human being long term, and being able to stay with, and commit to, that other person long term, so as to raise a family and take care of their mate afterward, and to hold a job and live ones own life against all adversity while protecting one’s own, fearlessly pursuing a dream unique to themselves, and their family, and so to be truly and deeply happy, and share it with others, near and far. Without the tawdry, cheap, meddlesome, and self interested inference of others, whether they be in government, colleges, communities or whatever.

      Or, even to just find a unique place in this world for themselves among caring friends and neighbors, not to mention their crying need to find meaning in their lives and a reason for their own being in this world. Most so called higher education today works very hard to do the reverse – to ruin these sorts of futures for our kids, while it gets itself grossly and obscenely rich and privileged at the expense of those it is chartered to serve but far too often ruins.

      Next, and immediately below, I will comment on the deep forces behind this growing national dysfunction. After that I will speak in some greater detail on specific instances of dysfunction and its direct and primary causes.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’m with DJ… if you think College is stressful.. I hope you’re not expecting a stress-free workplace.. and world in general.

    What is this? We used to give “gimmies” to kids… you know – 5 years olds.. who get an “attaboy” for just trying.. but by the time
    you head for college – you should be on your way to being able to deal with real issues where most of us are still learning and still making mistakes but accepting it as part and parcel of the growing up GIG!

    GAWD Forbid we start giving “accommodations” to law enforcement or military or airline pilots, doctors, bridge engineers… etc.. LORD!

    But I’ll tell you – there are a LOT of “whiners” and “victims” in this world beyond the usual limp-wrist types these days…

    Take those “free speech” whiners. Not good enough that they can go to a wide range of places to spew their idiocy.. Nope.. they gotta be able to do it where no-one really wants to hear their tripe. And they hollar like stuck-pigs! Victims! Can’t go on campuses to raze those “snowflakes”.

  4. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    This trend started with the elementary grades, moved up into high school so its graduation into higher education was inevitable. There is an entire industry built around autism and ADHD, highly profitable diagnoses for practitioners and drug companies. The next thing will be to push for requirements that employers accommodate these “handicaps” to the same extent they are required to deal with actual physical challenges. I bet there is already pressure, but I haven’t seen legislation yet.

    Finding ways to have somebody in a wheelchair contribute to your workplace is a great thing, and the result is usually a great and productive employee. It will be impossible to accommodate people with these often-imagined maladies. “Gee, I’m sorry I dropped that crane load on that guy. My ADHD kicked in. I’m easily distracted, you know. You wouldn’t let my companion ferret in the crane cab.”

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    The WSJ article said this kind of stuff is coming from the wealthier at the more elite colleges…

    Movies Conservatives Like: Rainman, Gran Torino, Heartbreak Ridge, Braveheart, Red Dawn but ESPECIALLY
    Forest Gump!!! RUN Forest – RUN!!!


  6. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    I have ADHD, seriously so. I also have learning disabilities – seriously so, audio and visual, born with these facts of life too. I am also physically disabled – born with a defective spine (physically unfit for draft), and later I lost a limb.

    What to do? Many things.

    But being turned into a victim by someone else, or by myself, is not useful. It is horribly destructive and immoral. Plus, someone else turning me, or anyone else, into a cash cow, while feigning concern, is grossly immoral. Yet these sinful activities are the prime occupations of most of our leaders, and our culture today. Particularly so by our corrupt politicians and educators, the moral midgets.

  7. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    What is this? “Ode to White, Muscular, Christian Manhood?” What a pretentious pile of stinking crap!

    To blame today’s kids for being lazy is nuts. What kids are we talking about? Yours or mine?

    And how about those overreaching, over-striving, overly ambitious parents who are polluted their kids minds with SATs and GPAs and APs and extra credits and volunteerism. Just so they can get into Harvard are maybe UVA?

    And finally, I love it when people of my generation — namely Jim Bacon
    who is roughly two weeks younger than I am, starts talking about military service. For those of us graduating from college in the mid 1970s (me in 74 and Bacon in 75), not having the pressure to serve was sweet relief. Jim, did you actually try to sign up for the Marines or Navy or whatever? That’s because if we had been maybe three years older, Vietnam would have been a much more real possibility. Not for us. We dodged the bullet. We got our II-S deferment, survived the lottery and then by the time we were of age, it was Vietnamization, Baby!

    This item and the WSJ piece reek of an other-world priggishness.
    It is so dishonest, sort of like Trump, who was of Vietnam age, getting out of military service for some bogus foot problem.

    Let’s be little more honest here and a hell of a lot less smug.

    1. You don’t have to have served in the military to appreciate what it can do for building character.

  8. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Peter – you are correct to point to the role of parents in this rush to some kind of diagnosis and accommodation, and you are right that our generation (I finished in ’76) partied hearty over the end of the draft. My disdain for Trump does not stem from his failure to volunteer during the time of active combat, but from his despicable comment about McCain’s time as a POW, an attitude that has spread to his team as evidenced by the recent crack about McCain’s terminal illness. Those of us who didn’t serve should hold our manhood a bit cheap in the presence of any veterans. Today of all days.

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