In the first “official issue” of a newsletter titled Social Justice Collective Weekly, a publication based in the University of Colorado Springs, a writer named Terry Stenawitz writes the following:
“A four-year, traditional university is supposed to be a place of learning, of understanding, of safety and security. However, there is an element among us who may be frustrating those goals: Veterans.
“UCCS [University of Colorado Springs] is known for its number of veterans who are full and part-time students. But these veterans of much the school prides themselves on may be hurting the university.
“First off, many veterans openly mock the ideas of diversity and safe spaces for vulnerable members of society. This is directly in contradiction to the mission of UCCS. Many veterans utter the mantra that they, “do not see color”. But the problem lies in their socialization into the military culture that is that of a white supremacist organization. They have been permanently tainted, and are no long fit for a four-year university.
“Second, many students are frightened by the presence of veterans in their classrooms. Veterans usually have an overwhelming presence in the classroom, which can distract other students. This is usually true for vulnerable individual such as LGBTQQI2SAA, who have been known to be the butt of insensitive jokes made by veterans.
“Finally, veterans usually are associated with extremist right-wing groups such as the tea party and the NRA. In order to provide a safe space for all students, extremist right-wing groups must be suppressed on campus. This would include their followers: veterans.
“That is not to say that veterans should not be allowed an education. Veterans should be allowed to attend trade schools, or maybe even community college. But, in order to protect our academic institutions we must ban veterans from four-year universities.”
Read the actual flier, which was photographed by a passerby:
Ignoring the multiple grammatical and spelling errors prevalent in the announcement that veterans are unfit for college life, there are multiple concerning statements throughout this entire piece of drivel. Firstly, the newsletter begins on a very presuppositional proposition: that is, that veterans are an inherent threat to learning, understanding, safety, and security. The newsletter claims that veterans, by the very fact of being a veteran, are incapable of harboring any of these tenants. The beginning paragraph initiates an argument with the proposition of dehumanization, demonizing military veterans by generalizing all who hold such an office as “extremists.”
As any veteran could tell you, learning, understanding, safety, and security are all vital aspects of operating within a militant framework. As soldiers, individuals must learn an entirely new way of life, understand the mindsets of their superiors and fellow soldiers, and the very ideas of safety and security are what direct folks to enlist in the first place. To suppose that American veterans are foundationally set in opposition to these things is entirely unfounded, and the rest of an argument then hinges on an unproved proposition.
Throughout the newsletter, Stenawitz creates a collectivist identity for an entire group of people (i.e. veterans). Without citing sources to back up any of her claims, sweeping generalization such as, “many veterans openly mock the ideas of diversity and safe spaces for vulnerable members of society.” Although this statement might be true, it might also be untrue, and the concept of creating a rule based on exceptions is foundationally flawed. What Stenawitz is proposing is action against thoughts, and in doing so, is inventing “thought crime,” as if such a preposterous thing could exist.
But, this is not the first time the progressive left has insisted on instating punishments for individuals who think a certain way. Beginning with safe spaces and the conceptualization of hate speech, the progressive left has gradually begun to censor certain ideologies and proponents of conservative positions. So, even if it were true that a majority of military veterans mocked concepts such as “diversity” and “safe spaces,” such actions are within their rights as human beings.
Stenawitz has demonized an entire group of people who have dedicated a sizeable portion of their lives towards maintaining a national environment of learning, understanding, safety, and security. The United States has the greatest universities in the world, and out of the globe’s top 10 universities, 8 belong to the U.S. This is not divorced from our country’s dedication to defending freedom of ideas, speech, and expression, defended and maintained by our military and police.
By labeling her country’s most ardent defenders as “white supremacists” without any justification or supporting statements whatsoever, Stenawitz continues in the false identification of conservative values (which our military framework certainly expresses in practicality) with “white supremacy.” Furthermore, she admits that veterans claim to not see color directly before labeling them as “white supremacists.” Unfortunately for the logic of Stenawitz, white supremacists do not typically admit a colorless society.
The very same fallacious argumentation is repeated in her classification of the Tea Party movement and the National Rifle Association as “extremist right-wing” groups. The former organization is renown for its strong libertarian approach to federal government, an insistence on lowering the national debt, and allocating (universal) healthcare out of the public sphere of influence. There is absolutely no racial motivator in any of its policies, and ethnicity is never referred to by Tea Party figures in a negative sense. Once more, there is nothing to support to claim that such an entity is right-wing extremism, which has been defined rather as an ideology incorporating nationalism, racial supremacy, and anti-Semitism.
The latter organization, the National Rife Association (NRA), is a nonprofit organization dedicated towards defending the Second Amendment and promoting gun safety and competency. Membership surpassed 5 million in 2013, meaning that Stenawitz is of the opinion that over 5 million Americans are members of an extremist right-wing organization bent on nationalism, racial superiority, and anti-Semitism.
The generalized association that Stenawitz claims is latent in every military veteran is non-universal. As there are only 5 million members in the NRA and 22 million veterans in the U.S., it would seem that at least 17 million veterans have no formal membership with the NRA, if one were to assume that only veterans comprise the NRA.
In the final paragraph, the newsletter discloses that veterans should not go uneducated, but should instead attend “trade schools” or “community colleges,” both of which do not always offer the fullness of academic flexibility available in four-year universities. Furthermore, in attempting to achieve a classless society where nobody is discriminated against, Stenawitz has proceeded to discriminate against an entire job position, viewing them negatively as a people group who should not be tolerated in academic environments; instead, according to Stenawitz, veterans should become lower-class citizens and attend lesser institutions of higher education. The hypocrisy and logical inconsistencies are endless.