Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once said: “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” Surprisingly, many twenty-first century university students would take issue with Pope Benedict XVI’s statement. For example, last November, a group of Yale students surrounded Dr. Nicholas Christakis, master of the University’s Silliman College, confronting him about an e-mail his wife, the college’s associate master, had sent to the student body regarding Halloween costumes. Mrs. Christakis had written that students ought to have the freedom to chose their Halloween costumes. That such a simple stance might prove controversial is believable only on today’s Ivy League campus. Videographers captured one student’s notorious speech to the Yale master: “You should step down… It is not about creating an intellectual space, it is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here.”
I would be interested to know whether the expletives preceding this particular student’s words were conducive to the home-like environment she had envisioned. They certainly didn’t appear to help the “intellectual space” she so adamantly opposed, so perhaps they did prove helpful after all. This student is in excellent company when it comes to shunning “intellectual spaces.” Many of today’s university students prefer the “safe zone” to the debate hall and censored rhetoric to free speech. This preference for the “comfort” Benedict XVI decried is imbued with all-too-evident hypocrisy. Every time a student demands the comfort of politically correct language, he or she often succeeds at making anyone who dares to invoke freedom of speech marvelously uncomfortable.
The modern university student has become enthused with racial and sexual diversity. But what about ideological diversity? What about religious diversity? And since when did students opt to exchange truth seeking for liberal proselytizing? Today’s university has become an effective breeding ground for comfortable homemakers and uncomfortable intellectuals alike—a fact deeply apparent from that infamous incident at Yale. Yet if starting a Students for Life club, creating a Conservative reading club, or even engaging in sincere lunch table debate means discomfort for the honest intellectual, then by all means: Make us uncomfortable. The modern Conservative intellectual will remain exactly that, even if that means enduring a stream of F-bombs, so typical of our homey, politically correct campuses.
Madeleine is a sophomore studying philosophy and classics at Christendom College. A first honors student, she loves reading Plato, Thomas Aquinas, and Cicero. She is a staff writer for GenYize, a blog discussing solutions to challenges facing Generation Y, and was recently accepted to intern with the Media Research Center in Reston, VA. Madeleine is also a member of Christendom’s Cincinnatus League, the Eta Sigma Phi Classical Society, and the Christendom Chamber Orchestra.