Crybully Assaults on Free Speech: From Mizzou to Yale and Beyond

Members of the Concerned Student 1950 movement speak to the crowd of students on the campus of University of Missouri - Columbia on November 9, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. Students celebrate the resignation of University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe amid allegations of racism. (Photo by
Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Daniel Greenfield at FrontPage Mag writes that the marvelous term “crybully” was coined by Julie Burchill at The Spectatorwho described them as “a hideous hybrid of victim and victor, weeper and walloper.”

Greenfield defines a crybully as “the abuser who pretends to be a victim. His arguments are his feelings. He comes armored in identity politics entitlement and is always yelling about social justice, or crying social justice tears.”

Greenfield offers some examples of crybully tactics from campus crusaders:

Crymobs will “safebait” by yelling and pushing and then whining that the people they’re shoving make them feel unsafe. One crybully safebaiting tactic is to yell loudly, forcing anyone talking back to them to raise their voice. That’s when other crybullies begin shouting, “Don’t yell at her.” Crybullies will push into you and cry that you’re making them feel unsafe. They will hit you and when you raise your hands in self-defense, they will scream that you’re putting your hands on them. (All these safebaiting tactics and more can be seen in the Missouri video.)

Crybullies don’t think this behavior is dishonest because their pain privilege entitles them to tone police you, but you can’t tone police them. Their sweet social justice tears give them the right to yell at you, shove you or hit you. Crying over social justice gives them a license to bully everyone else.

If crybullies can’t safebait you, they will manufacture threats by faking hate crimes against themselves or phoning in bomb threats to validate their need for a safe space in which no one is allowed to disagree with them. Surviving their own fake crimes turns crybullies into social justice heroes.

It’s impossible to have a rational conversation with a crybully because it doesn’t walk to talk to you; it wants to loudly broadcast its feelings. As one Yale crybully wrote, “I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.” My pain. Me. Stop arguing with me and start paying attention to me right now.

This new incarnation of fascism isn’t really so much different than the old versions. They, too, had “grievances,” thought they were on righteous quests that no one could oppose in good faith, and believed in using power calculations to assign rights. Like today’s Social Justice Warriors, the fascists of the early 20th Century thought dissent was intolerably dangerous, because it diluted the power of the righteous and interfered with their sacred mission. The major difference is that old-school fascists were swaggering and confident, seeing little need to “safebait” anyone to manufacture an excuse for getting rough.

As for the business of using power calculations to assign rights, you’ll find no more chilling modern example than the Social Justice Warrior’s conviction that the First Amendment should be done away with, because no one has a right to invoke “free speech” against them. They are not shy about portraying the defense of universal free speech as a trick, perpetrated against them by nefarious bigots.

Here’s an undiluted expression of the idea from Jelani Cobb, writing at the New Yorker:

The freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered. The enlightenment principles that undergird free speech also prescribed that the natural limits of one’s liberty lie at the precise point at which it begins to impose upon the liberty of another.

If that sounds nonsensical to you, you haven’t spent enough time studying the mindset of the New Fascists. They don’t think of “liberty” as universal, inalienable rights enjoyed by all. They work things out on a moral spreadsheet, and if your free speech bothers someone with a higher Victim Status rating, then your freedom of speech must be sacrificed for the better person’s “right” to not hear ideas they find discomforting. This is not far from the sort of thinking that holds a woman’s “right” to birth control means other people should be compelled to pay for it, and if they refuse, they are “denying her access to contraceptives.”

In other words, it’s collectivism, red in tooth and claw.

The great collectivist project of the modern era is to make law-abiding people see themselves as criminals, so they will accept the expansion of centralized power. Normal people think of government force as something to be deployed against lawbreakers. To accept the rule of Big Government, they must be taught to see society as a huge criminal operation sorely in need of incarceration. Only a Nation of Criminals will accept absolute rule by the wardens of Big Government.

The fashionable new charges of “systemic racism” and “systemic oppression” are a classic Nation of Criminals gambit. “Systemic racism” means “we don’t have to prove anything – the volume of our unsubstantiated allegations is enough.” So what if a lot of the complaints, or even most of them, turn out to be hoaxes?  Systemic racism is the Deeper Truth. The system is guilty, guilty, guilty and must be punished, and there’s no time for a trial.

Today “the system” means the hapless university administrators who helped miseducate these kids into a crymob; tomorrow it will be the nation they graduate into, clutching useless degrees and carrying six figures of student loan debt on their backs. Skilled work in the private sector is being systematically wiped out for Americans with the H1-B visa program, while illegal immigration wipes out entry-level jobs and drives wages down. There won’t be anywhere for many of these kids to go, except either forming professional grievance organizations, or working for the very same government that drove up tuition costs and saddled them with all that debt. Their demonstrably effective skills revolve around getting other people fired. Quite a racket the Left has going on campus, isn’t it?

Over at Ithaca College, where students decided to hold a “Solidarity Walk Out” for the crybullies of the University of Missouri, one speaker put it this way:

Our hearts are heavy with the pain of Mizzou and Yale and Smith and every person of color on a college campus simply because of the color of their skin, the texture of their hair or their ancestry. This a problem of the nation. However, how can a campus dedicated to preparing us for the real world not actively foster growth to our consciousness of oppression and privilege?

She’s saying adequate preparation for the “real world” involves developing an enhanced “consciousness of oppression and privilege.”  There will be many fingers of blame pointed at the Nation of Criminals when these children matriculate.

(Allow me to take a moment to blow a raspberry at everyone who got mad at me for linking the Mizzou and Yale stories together from the start. Fine, don’t take it from me, take it from the activists themselves.)

Back at Crybully Ground Zero, the vice president of the Missouri Students Association, Brenda Smith-Lezama, growled that she’s had it up to here with all you oppressors and your tricksy talk of free speech:

I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here. I think that it’s important for us to create that distinction and create a space where we can all learn from one another and start to create a place of healing rather than a place where we are experiencing a lot of hate like we have in the past.

She won’t be any more interested in hearing about your First Amendment rights when she grows up and decides your ideas are popping the delicate soap bubble of her ideological safe space.

Some of us were surprised, and appalled, at how quickly freedom of speech was thrown overboard during sharia law controversies, such as the Mohammed Art Contest in Garland, Texas.  There’s nothing surprising about that at all.  Today’s Left is committed to this notion of limited rights, allocated by the elites according to their judgments of power, victimhood, and ideology. They’re ready to work out deals with censors like the Islamists, because the speech Islamists want to ban is of trivial importance to the Left anyway, and it furthers the cause of making society comfortable with righteous censorship.

It can be summed up with two core principles: there are no inalienable rights, and no one has the right to resist collective judgment. Freedom of speech is merely the latest right to be seized and redistributed in the name of collectivist “justice.” Our universities are about to unleash a tidal wave of young people who think winning an argument means making the other side shut up.


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