Very crudely re-stated, Moldbug’s Cathedral concept says that whatever is happening in the universities is an authoritative rough draft of what society more generally has coming to it. Politics is downstream of prestige culture, which the academy commands. So this is huge.
The American academy has become a self-propelling anxiety machine, in which steadily-consolidating totalitarianism and mental disintegration have been run-together into a circuit of amplification that no one knows how to turn off. Haidt and Lukianoff call it “vindictive protectiveness” driven by “emotional reasoning” which it in turn (nonlinearly) promotes. It corresponds to a systematic transfer of incontestable authority towards feelings of grievance. Questioning the dynamic is considered to be “blaming the victim” and thus a heinous crime in itself. Everyone gets out of the way, if they’re not indeed joining in. Madness intensifies. (It’s classic Left Singularity machinery.)
Nearly all of the campus mental-health directors surveyed in 2013 by the American College Counseling Association reported that the number of students with severe psychological problems was rising at their schools. The rate of emotional distress reported by students themselves is also high, and rising. In a 2014 survey by the American College Health Association, 54 percent of college students surveyed said that they had “felt overwhelming anxiety” in the past 12 months, up from 49 percent in the same survey just five years earlier. Students seem to be reporting more emotional crises; many seem fragile, and this has surely changed the way university faculty and administrators interact with them.
The universities — being craven concentrations of cowardice, when not actively evil — are scared to tell their students to stop being scared. Radical feedback runs away unchecked. Victimological terror is sovereign.
This is what is coming down the tracks, so fast that the headlights have started to dazzle people. Take a look at the future. It’s screaming.