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Newsletter: Opinion: Those delicate, over-parented flowers at Yale

Yale University students and supporters participate in a march across campus to demonstrate against what they see as racial insensitivity at the Ivy League school on Nov. 9.

Yale University students and supporters participate in a march across campus to demonstrate against what they see as racial insensitivity at the Ivy League school on Nov. 9.

(Ryan Flynn / Associated Press)

Good morning. I'm Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, the 47th anniversary of Yale going co-ed. Speaking of Yale ...

We've always had political correctness to kick around, and it's taking a major beating this weak as the public reacts to upheavals at the University of Missouri and Yale over incidents that students say perpetuate racism on their campuses.

But what makes today's protests different, writes columnist Jonah Goldberg, are hypersensitive students. What we might be witnessing at Yale, he says, is the product of both political correctness and a generation of kids raised by "helicopter parents":

Lamentations about [political correctness] were commonplace when I was in college 25 years ago. Does anyone, other than a few campus hotheads, actually believe universities are more intolerant, bigoted and racist than they were a generation ago?

What has changed are the students. Yes, there has been a lot of ideological indoctrination in which kids are taught that taking offense gives them power. But, again, that idea is old. What's new is the way kids are being raised. ...

The rise in "helicopter parenting" and the epidemic of "everyone gets a trophy" education are another facet of the same problem. We're raising millions of kids to be smart and kind, but also fragile.

And what happens when large numbers of these delicate little flowers are set free to navigate their way through life? They feel unsafe and demand "safe spaces." They feel threatened by uncomfortable ideas and demand "trigger warnings." They might even want written rules or contracts to help them negotiate sexual relations.

In other words, this is the generation the mandarins of political correctness have been waiting for.

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What if the Missouri students were Jewish and protesting anti-Semitism? Matthew Fleischer, who shares stories of growing up the target of anti-Semitic intimidation, writes that they might not have had to resort to such extremes to have their concerns over racism addressed. Meghan Daum tells critics in the media to back off with their swipes at the twentysomethings at Missouri and especially Yale. Letter writers rise to the students' defense.

There are "thoughtful" atheists, and then there are ones Robert Barron doesn't like. The auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles hits back at those who he says preach "scientism," unfairly mock religion and see science and faith as hopelessly (and wrongly) incompatible. L.A. Times

Ben Carson's charming indifference to fact and reason isn't funny anymore. We might get a kick out of his belief that the pyramids in Egypt are really massive grain silos or his bizarre insistence that he really did violently attack his mother as a teen, but Doyle McManus reminds us that Carson wants to be president and Republicans appear eager to nominate him. "Even though Carson considers himself brilliant, he doesn't seem to care much about the actual duties of a president," McManus writes. L.A. Times

A cop who didn't shoot when he could have? That deserves an award. The Times' editorial board likes LAPD Chief Charlie Beck's idea to give out a Preservation of Life award: "The purpose of the new prize, as Beck explained it, is to celebrate situations in which deadly force could have been used by officers — but wasn't. That's particularly important at a time when a series of officer-involved shootings of unarmed black men, including Ezell Ford in L.A. last year, has started a national conversation about race and policing." L.A. Times

The charm of small-town America? Not in Southern California. The Orange County Register editorial board notes that the bottom five cities in a recent ranking of best and worst small cities in the U.S. are Lynwood, Compton, Bell Gardens, Huntington Park and Bell — all in Los Angeles County. Anyone who knows local history and politics understands that many of those cities have been ill served by corrupt officials and are dealing with generations of neglect, crime and environmental injustice. But the Register blames "high taxes and excessive regulations." Orange County Register

Want nonreligious parents to take their kids to church? You shouldn't. A certain Opinion newsletter writer and father of three children says kids raised in secular households appear to be doing just fine. In fact, a scientific study shows as much. L.A. Times

Don't tell me how to raise my kids, but do tell me how I can improve this newsletter. Email paul.thornton@latimes.com.


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