While there is no definitive, scientific definition of “Generation Z,” or “Zoomers” as they also are known, in general they share much in common with what in the last decade of the 20th century became known as “Snowflakes” — individuals who are overly sensitive, timid, and self-centered.
In contradistinction to this timorous façade, however, the sense of Snowflakes’ high self-worth leads them often to be extremely intolerant, mean and nasty, especially when in a group.
Emory University English Professor Mark Bauerlein noted this in The Dumbest Generation Grows Up, his most recent book analyzing today’s young adults who, while being led to consider their internet-filled lives a path to “utopia,” morph into a “fury” when threatened with ideas and circumstances not in accord with their worldview.
This Snowflake fury was on display just last week at Stanford University Law School, when a federal appeals court judge, who had been invited by the Federalist Society to speak at Stanford Law School, was rudely heckled by students upset that he did not share the disrupters’ views on abortion, the Second Amendment, and other controversial topics.
Unlike other similar disruptive scenarios, the Stanford wannabe lawyer-hecklers were egged on by one of the law school’s top administrators – the associate dean responsible for ensuring “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Once the heckling and calls for the “racist” judge to shut up began, this “adult” in the room, Associate Dean Tirien Steinbach, usurped the lectern reserved for the speaker and bloviated at length about how the mere presence of such a jurist was “threatening” to her and some of the students in the room.
“Threatening,” indeed, simply to hear from a judge who might even indirectly challenge the Snowflakes’ heartfelt support for abortion and their equally vociferous opposition to the Second Amendment.
In Bizarro Snowflake universe, a federal judge whom a law school dean prevents from engaging in civil discourse on the law with law students is accused of exhibiting intolerance for politely attempting to regain the lectern to which he had been invited.
Yet this is what many so-called “elite” law schools now consider an appropriate environment in which to prepare Generation Z-ers for adulthood.
It was displayed last summer on the East Coast, where the student body at The George Washington University — or at least some 12,500 of that group who signed a petition — told Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas he was no longer welcome at the school where he had for more than a decade volunteered his time to lead seminars on Supreme Court jurisprudence.
Justice Thomas’ unforgivable “sin” was being a member of the five-justice majority that in a June 2022 opinion, returned to the people of the states the power to decide the legality of abortion procedures — a principle of federalism obviously foreign to the Zoomers’ warped notion of “democracy.”
Snowflake fear of COVID and subsequent support for all manner of short and long term restrictions imposed by governing bodies from the United States Congress down to public schools across the country, showcased the liberty-snuffing milieu in which Generation Z youth wander. A law student at another of America’s top universities – Georgetown – was suspended for doing nothing more subversive than questioning the efficacy of the draconian COVID restrictions imposed on him and other students during the pandemic.
While the Georgetown law student subsequently was allowed back into the school, it was not because the Snowflake student bar association changed its stripes from meanness to reconciliation or from ignorance to understanding. Fear of bad publicity alone appears to have precipitated their capitulation.
Despite having access to all manner of information through their ubiquitous use of “smart” devices, Zoomers are notoriously poorly informed and, again as noted by Prof. Bauerlein, unmoored from any understanding of history or culture.
These intellectual “drifters,” including the likes of the “threatened” Stanford law students, tend to make up for their shortcomings by engaging in the mass bullying that has become commonplace on college campuses.
Worse still, however, is the fact that, due to their intellectual vacuity, Gen-Z snowflakes appear easily manipulated by others, including those who do engage violently. This is the case with the ongoing construction of a police training center just outside the city of Atlanta, where outside agitators have joined with Snowflake tree huggers to destroy equipment, threaten construction crews, and engage in gun fights with police.
There is indeed a very mean underbelly to this Snowflake Generation.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.