Student Radicals Beware: This Could Happen to You!

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Hell no, we won't... Hey look, a sale on tie dye!

Next time, the revolution will not be televised. But don't worry if you can't get front row seats. Just look real close, and you too can watch the next revolution being nipped in the bud at a University Campus near you! Here's what to look for:

Some students with "concerns" are in need of a forum to air them. These students don't think of their problems as "concerns," they think of them as changes they want to make. When people start talking about "concerns," the locus of the problem is shifted to the students who want to change something. Now, what needs to be changed is not necessarily the objective situation, but the subjective state ("concern") of the people who want to change something. Usually these kids are at least into their sophomore or junior year--freshmen don't really know what's going on yet.

These "concerned" students are promptly approached by a representative of the system, who acts really friendly and supportive. This co-opter dude offers to meet with some of them and address their "concerns." After much delay, there is a meeting, at which they decide to have another meeting. This happens for a while as a committee is slowly assembled, which is going to meet sometime in the spring. Then that spring, oh, gee golly gosh, things are pretty busy with finals and all--is June OK? Oh, that's right, you kids won't be here in June....

Well, the poor students have probably pretty much run out of steam by then. But some of the stalwarts who weren't seniors last year might come back and try to get the ball rolling again. The same pattern happens again the next year, except that now of course the bureaucrats have come up with all kinds of bullshit reasons why the students' "concerns" are valid, but pretty much any actions they might want to take to alter aspects of objective reality that correspond to those "concerns" are well-intentioned, but...

By this point, some of the more clever and/or pissed-off dissidents might catch on, but some of the others either won't catch on or they'll be addicted to the power trip they get from mid-level bureaucrats "listening" to their "concerns" and pretending to take them seriously. So then maybe a schism will take place between the "extremists" and the "co-opted" dissidents--hey, nobody wants to join a fragmnented movement, so it's pretty much dead in the water. If there's no schism, then the movement might coalesce into an ossified arm of the bureaucracy (heck, they might even informally modify the job description of some mid-level bureaucrat to deal part-time with the "issues" raised by the protesters--success!) that continues to "address" their "concerns."

return to By this time, most of the core group are either about to graduate or about to be seniors, and they're not going to be there much longer anyway, so a lot of them just give up. A few kids here and there may still "have concerns," but you can't please everybody! For the most part the interests of all parties will have been served--objective reality doesn't change one iota, so the system is happy, and the "concerns" that were the problem in the first place have been "addressed."

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