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September 30 2014

Paglia: The Modern Campus Can’t Comprehend Evil

Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.

--Camille Paglia in Time magazine

Paglia’s column is pegged to the disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham two weeks ago, who, at this writing is still missing. A 270-pound man who fled the state and was brought back is being held in connection with the apparent abduction.

Unlike the exaggerated rape culture on campus (and this isn’t to say that rape isn’t serious—it is; it is a serious crime), this apparent abduction could not be more real. Paglia writes:

Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.

In the provocative essay, Paglia explains why modern college students, trained to regard sexism or imperialism or racism as the roots of all problems in society, don’t understand something more atavistic: evil.

If, as grows increasingly likely, the Hannah Graham story ends tragically, it won’t be because of misogyny.

It will be because of evil, something about which the modern world is, as Professor Paglia argues, ill-equipped to talk.  



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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