Failed Leadership

Published on December 2nd, 2016 | by Rick Robison




When I was a student at a major university back in the 1970s, I had a professor who always encouraged students to “forget struggling to make ends meet.” He advocated going down to the welfare offices and applying for any and all government handout programs that were available. He told us: “The government owes it to you.”

Of course, this really shocked me. I’d never heard anyone in a position of leadership, or supposedly in a mentor or exemplary role, say something so obviously destructive in nature. The fact that he claimed that “the government owes it to you” floored me because though I was young, I understood that whatever the government gave to me it had to first take from someone else.

But the main reason, I was always taught, was that accepting something you haven’t earned yourself will stifle your growth, development, and maturity. In other words, in life it’s wise to avoid the easy road and work hard to earn your own bread “by the sweat of your brow.” If not, you are in danger of becoming a “hothouse plant,” or a “snowflake,” a poorly developed human being who is not prepared to face the challenges of the real world. When we reach college age, every American should be learning to deal with real world challenges.


Today on America’s college campuses we’re seeing a dangerous phenomenon. Universities are, more and more, creating so-called “safe spaces” so that students can “escape” what they might deem “uncomfortable” situations or different viewpoints, a place where they won’t have to look upon any “symbols, images, or messages” they might deem “offensive.” Here in the ivory towers of the hopelessly theoretical, we have, for some insane reason, decided that America’s children need to remain children and be sheltered like hothouse plants rather than be encouraged to face a sometimes difficult reality. We are ingraining weakness when we should be providing opportunities for students to learn courage and the strength to stand as mature adults.

Who besides me sees this as “troubling,” at best, and even dangerous to the future security and wellbeing of our nation?

Worse, perhaps, are those faculty and administrators who are actually encouraging and enabling such behavior. We are creating a weak, even impotent generation of “bubble children” who will never be capable of standing when the wind begins to blow, as it will in the real world.

As one administrator recently stated publically: “It’s important for us to provide students a ‘safe space’ where that which is deemed ‘offensive’ is shielded from them, where they can go and escape ‘the unpleasant,’ whether that be distasteful political jargon or ‘off-color’ posters or pictures which might ‘create images of hate’ which could upset students.”

Really? I always thought that the university was supposed to be a place where students could be introduced to new images and ideas, to broaden their thinking, and to expose them to information and philosophies that they might not experience on their own? I always thought that we, as Americans, should be trusted by our government and by our leaders to listen to all sides of an argument and then choose the best one, the one that is closest to the truth? Are our colleges and universities saying that only “approved” philosophies will be presented to these (grown) students?

In fact, such a concept is described (shockingly) in George Orwell’s 1984. Here Big Brother (the State) is spelling out its governing philosophy:  “Ignorance is strength.” “The choice for mankind (always) lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

In 1984 people are finally instructed what is a “safe space,” which is always what Big Brothers decides it is, which of course is always nowhere near the truth, but what Big Brother deems “appropriate.”


Freedom, peace, and prosperity have never been a given, nor have they come cheaply and easily. Quoting President Reagan—Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction. We must teach courage and strength to our children from an early age. It’s effectively impossible to teach these qualities by retreating to a “safe space” whenever an uncomfortable image is presented. Life was meant to be a challenge, sometimes grueling, sometimes tough to survive.


Also, it seems that what one person may deem offensive or an image of “hate” to another person may be “inspirational” or even “ridiculous.” But remember by getting various viewpoints and ideas out in the open, so that they are available for discussion and debate, it doesn’t take long for what’s built on the sand of lies and foolishness to come crashing down. That’s the beauty, and the power, of a free and open society. That’s what has made America free, open, and prosperous.


Of course, perhaps this is The Plan, to promote “safe spaces” for a political purpose, that such policy will create weak and malleable, even moldable “sheeple” who will be easier to manipulate politically in a nation that has forgotten what it means to be free.


Perhaps ironically, those who want to flee to “safe spaces” also want to deny others the right to speak their own minds, fearing that such “openness” might “offend the sensitive ears of others” and thereby “deny them their 1st Amendment rights.” This is crazy! The universities, increasingly, are using this 1st Amendment argument to prevent access to the campus by speakers who might have a “non-approved” viewpoint. As well, too often these same students will shout-down someone they disagree with thereby denying others their legitimate 1st Amendment rights, rights these “sensitive ones” claim are so precious to them.

You would think it obvious, ‘Snowflakes,’ that you can’t have it both ways.

In fact, the situation has gotten so ridiculous that in many cases administrators are providing safe spaces for students while a controversial speaker visits the campus even though these delicate ones are not even attending the speaker’s presentation!

The most absurd reasons are often cited for encouraging students to “retreat” to their “safe space.” Reportedly the University of Pennsylvania, during the recent elections, were so concerned that the outcome would “traumatize” students that they made bubble spaces available where students could cuddle dogs and cats, color in coloring books, enjoy soothing snacks and teas, and do arts and crafts!


As well, Cornell University held a “cry in” following the elections, allowing students to vent and “wail away” their anger and fears. Students were encouraged to write their fears and frustrations on colorful posters and to display them around the university to help them “cope.” Of course, no such concerns were ever expressed by administrators over how the pro-Trump students might react to a Hillary Clinton victory, if she had won. No plans were even discussed and no such concern was expressed by administrators or professors for the many, many anti-Trump images and slogans plastered all over the university by the pro-Hillary students. For some reason, the Left never, ever seems to get beyond their own personal, inner “feelings” in such matters, as if those with opposing viewpoints should not only keep their mouths shut, but that they have no right to be heard.

Truly, if such students’ pet candidate happens to lose, there should be no reason for hysteria, for “cry-ins,” for cancelled classes and tests, and for cry-rooms and safe spaces. This is not hard to fathom. A basic course in American history and civics should clear up how the system will right itself…if these universities hadn’t canceled such classes for the ever-popular “How To Watch Television,” “Queer Musicology,” or “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus” (actual college courses). Perhaps these Snowflakes grew to “maturity” always receiving a Participation Trophy, or generous grades to protect their tender feelings. I know, they’re crying right now because “Hillary received more actual votes!” Okay, let’s have that be her “participation trophy.”


Prior to Halloween, the University of Florida, concerned that perhaps some “politically incorrect” costumes might be donned by students, provided a slurry of counselors for any student who might be “traumatized” by seeing a “horrific” costume of Donald Trump or an American Indian or other ethnic group, portrayed by “racist and insensitive” Halloween goers. Once more, and predictably, safe spaces were set up where such “troubling” images would not be encountered.

At the University of Iowa a professor was concerned that the school mascot, a particularly fierce-looking hawk (don’t all birds of prey look particularly fierce?  Aren’t they supposed to?) might just traumatize students, even “leading some to thinking thoughts of suicide” (?) or somehow “bringing on depression.” The professor stated: “I believe that incoming students should be met with images of ‘welcoming, nurturing, calming influences’ and ‘accepting and happy’ messages.” She did not think that the school mascot’s expression conveyed that and should be replaced.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout sent out a team of what amounted to the “politically correct police” to identify anything on campus that might be deemed offensive. They flagged two paintings of early American colonial settlers with American Indians. The team recommended that the paintings might make some students “uncomfortable” and that the art work be gotten rid of. The administration acted immediately and removed them.

We live in a dangerous world, one that is NOT forgiving and not willing to cut these precious “Snowflakes” any slack. In reality, this is what happens when we surrender to the Left, these Desolators I’ve been warning about, and allowing them to raise and educate our children, unfettered. We need to keep a jaundice eye on them at all times.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” (Wendell Phillips, 1811-1884, Abolitionist)

It is up to each of us to challenge such practices on our campuses, to help instill a little backbone in the administrators, and to ensure that our nations’ schools and universities protect and preserve the liberties guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. If we don’t no one will, and once these Hothouse Plants we call “students” become the administrators and our nation’s leaders, by then, it will be too late for America.

It will be too late for the last bastion of world freedom.

Keep a sharp eye!


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About the Author

I have a standing rule to live by…a liberty to follow my own will in all things…and never subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man—Life, liberty, and property.

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