Life in the 21st Century

As I look around, deep into the second decade of the Third Millennium, I cannot help but notice that the world we were all promised is a bit different than the world we have.

Flying cars? Nope.

Rocket belts/ jet packs? Nope.

Luna Colony? Nope.

Mars? Double nope.

Instead we got other things that nobody bothered to tell us about. I could list some things, but it would be woefully incomplete, and besides, you can do that just as well as I can. Along with the positive stuff, such as the Internet, the PC, and 3D printing, we also got the negative. Rather than citing everything, I’ll just highlight something I tripped over this weekend.

When’s the last time we actually had any good news to report on one of America’s college campuses? Don’t think about that one for too long or blood will probably start shooting out of your nose. But today is the exception to the rule, as word reaches us that the University of Wisconsin is taking steps to crack down on protesters who push their right to free speech and protest to the point where they shout down or entirely shut out speakers with whom they disagree.


University of Wisconsin System leaders approved a policy Friday that calls for suspending and expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations, saying students need to listen to all sides of issues and arguments.

The Board of Regents adopted the language on a voice vote during a meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. The policy states that students found to have twice engaged in violence or other disorderly conduct that disrupts others’ free speech would be suspended. Students found to have disrupted others’ free expression three times would be expelled.

Two things:

It’s telling, and not in a good way, that a college or university (you know, an Institution of Higher Learning [/sarc]) would see the need to impose a rule like this. I’m so old that I remember when people could disagree, even to the point of arm-waving and spittle-flecked cheeks, without shouting them down or resorting to violence (at least for the most part).

Secondly, isn’t it interesting how opposing political philosophies can draw such starkly different lessons from the same set of events? I’m referring to the so-called McCarthy Era. The Right, even they knew old Joe was right, decided that doing business in that fashion was a bad idea and to not do that anymore. The Left, on the other hand, despite literally decades of decrying Senator McCarthy, have embraced those behaviors almost without reservation.

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