Having dropped out of college about two months ago now, it seems worth looking back and reflecting on the various kinds of insufferable leftists I was so frequently bothered by that helped push me in the direction of leaving.
1. The “Mean-Obsessed” Stoner
So many college students seem to have found nothing better to do than smoke weed whenever they can, that treating them all simply as “stoners” doesn’t make much sense. Stoners come in many different flavors, and likely the most obnoxious are the hippie-like ones perpetually trying to avoid “meanness.”
When the topic of race comes up, they ritualistically bring up that it is a mere social construction. But when pressed on the facts, they concede that they just don’t like to think about it because race is a “mean” topic. No good can come from any discussion on race, you see, because the very word “race” is “mean.” Only “mean” things can come of it. If we act like race does not exist, things will be nicer, which is always better.
Seemingly all of their political beliefs stem from a “Is it mean?” type mentality. They are opposed to all war because war is a very mean thing. They hate those big corporations because big corporations are really mean. Opposing gay marriage is mean, and sealing the border is mean. Meanwhile they like poetry, because it is nice. Drugs are nice too, as are revealing clothes, since sex is very nice.
What makes this so frustrating is that having a political or philosophical discussion with an adherent of the “Is it mean?” mentality is impossible. They never even bother reading thinkers that should interest them like Tom Hayden or Karl Marx. Why bother learning the nuts and bolts of a complex social issue when all you have to do is check your “mean-odometer” to know what position you hold? As such, one can’t debate natural rights, Westphalian sovereignty, or historicism with these people, because like the maniacal dentist in Marathon Man asking if it’s safe, all they want to know is if it’s mean.
2. The Jaw-Dropping Conflict Avoider
While the stoners described above can certainly get very mean when you disagree with them, another kind of student will do anything to avoid talking with you about most anything. For example, the incredibly in vogue topic of gender and sex would often come up at meals or in hallways. Eventually I would say something like, “I don’t think there is a difference between sex and gender, the difference between the two seems to have just been made up one day by left-wing social critics.”
Of course, some people would start yelling at me, others would try and tease out how I could have such a bizarre worldview, but invariably, some would just stare, mouths agape. I’ve managed to have entire discussions on this or that touchy subject with one lefty for over half an hour, while another lefty would just look intensely at me with their mouth hanging open like a complete cretin.
Sometimes I would press them and say, “Sarah, you seem pretty flabbergasted by my opinion, what do you think?” Invariably the mouth would snap shut, the eyes fire-up, and I would get a very tersely worded response along the lines of, “I don’t even want to talk about this with you, like, I can’t. I don’t think I’d be able to control myself.”
At first, I liked these people because they would never yell at me or call me a Nazi. But with time, I learned to be greatly annoyed by them. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas in every college classroom and dorm hall, where someone will always be willing to silently glare at you while putting you on some mental “he’s a nut” list – yet refuse to debate.
3. The One-Track Mind Feminists
Personally, I go back and forth on feminism and the many, many different forms it takes – but this is a topic for another time. One thing I cannot stand, however, is women who seem to only ever think about feminism and bring it up at every turn. I was always floored how certain peers could bring up feminism in a class discussion on something completely unrelated to it. In foreign policy classes, people would bring up the lack of women present at the Camp David Accords. In classes on ancient thought, in the midst of an argument over who got something right, Plato or Aristotle, someone would have to say that we should get the perspective of a female thinker from ancient Greece as well. Then someone would say that Aristotle’s mentor was a woman, and on and on and on.
This would go on outside of class as well. Someone would express their enjoyment of Quentin Tarantino films, and sure enough, someone would critique the subservient roles of women in many of his early films. Then someone would talk about how empowering women should find his later films where women kick ass against men. Then someone would say that men had no business in empowering women.
One thing I have learned is that feminists never, ever, agree with one another about anything. Another thing I have learned, is that bringing up feminism really does not help one come to great understanding of the Camp David Accords, Plato, Aristotle, Quentin Tarantino, or just about anything.
4. The Triumphalist Alcoholics
Sometimes, it seemed, certain people were so convinced that they were absolutely right about everything, that all they needed to do was rest on their laurels and drink. I knew one Mexican Communist in particular who seemed to always be drunk. While he only went to class drunk occasionally, he was more or less drunk outside of class always.
In my literature class he would argue passionately about how Fyodor Dostoyevsky was definitely a hardline Communist, even if he didn’t know it. Yet once he got out of class, you couldn’t get a word out of him on the topic, as he would just go get smashed. No activism, closeted or otherwise. No volunteering at any of the local left-wing bookstores, nothing but drink.
There were plenty of others like this as well. Liberals who would be shocked to learn from me that Obama seemed to love launching drone strikes on poor brown people, would bemoan the fall of their beloved black president with some binge drinking. Or feminists who seemed a bit too excited to go the bar with their girlfriends so they could yell angrily about Robin Thicke between PBRs.
A certain romanticism of an alcoholic, unheeded, but pure of spirit anti-hero seems to have taken hold in many twenty-somethings who otherwise could probably lend Code Pink a helping hand, or become the next Max Blumenthal. Depending on my mood on any given day, I find this sad or get a distinct kick of schadenfreude from it.
People have been asking me a lot, “Do you really like working more than school? You must be broke.” Broke I am, and there are certainly times when I miss one minor aspect of college or another, but I’ve never had a Marxist boss, and annoying feminists are few and far between among the working poor. It is also much more difficult to be perpetually high or drunk at work, so the amount of substance abuse I’m around is much lower, which is good for the soul. All the people predicting that I’ll return to college soon enough may well be right, but for now, I’m enjoying being a TradYouth dropout.