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There are dangers to living in a liberal bubble

Something that has become very apparent to me in my last few years of high school and my first year at Wooster is the changing nature of the post-secondary education system. I’m not talking about the outrageous increase of prices or the shift towards a focus in technology and science but rather the fundamental shift happening at the ideological level. It is no longer uncommon, especially at private institutions, for the student body to be overwhelming liberal.

While the shift is understandable on many levels, as the Republican Party’s reputation has faltered in recent years due to radical candidates and scandals (among other reasons), it is also extremely problematic in a number of ways. When only a single perspective or ideology is being displayed without any beliefs challenging that perspective, those holding those beliefs become more ingrained and more radicalized because of it. If everyone around you agrees with you and what you think and no one around you challenges that perspective, it only makes sense that you’re going to accept your belief for fact when it very well could be anything but. Most colleges today, especially liberal arts colleges, will preach diversity to the point where it’s a selling point for their institution. While many live up to that in ethnic diversity, very few live up to that in ideological diversity.

In addition to that, the emergence of so called “safe spaces” and a greater push for political correctness to the point of limiting free speech are also causes of the liberal bubble. While many would make an argument that these are good developments, they also compound upon the effect I’ve already discussed. When your beliefs are never challenged and you become entirely ingrained in those beliefs because of the constant reinforcement of your peers and mentors it is only reasonable to think that when diametrically opposed views do surface that you would feel very strongly against them and be very closed-minded when it came to listening to them — to the point even where you would need “safe spaces” or some kind of censorship of those ideas.

My main examples of this comes from the appearance of Ben Shapiro and many other conservative speakers at post-secondary institutions over the last two years such as UC Berkeley, NYU, Brown, Claremont McKenna College, Middlebury College, the University of Chicago, University of Washington, UC Davis and many many more, where liberal groups attempted and often succeeded in censoring speakers through protests which were sometimes violent.

As an American, as a moderate and as a proponent of free speech and the diversity of ideas and beliefs, these developments are extremely unsettling. Not only are the very nature of these protests hypocritical to fundamental liberal beliefs — everyone should have a voice and a right to be heard and respected — but they also make it overtly clear that the direction our colleges and post-secondary institutions are heading is the wrong one. Above all this begs the question of: If students can barely handle adversity with a plethora of resources, safe spaces and support how in the world are they going to be able to handle it when all those seemingly disappear and they are on their own in the real world?

Aidan Enright, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at AEnright21@wooster.edu.

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