- - Monday, October 12, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I’m glad someone has a full-time job in America. The problem is it’s the left turning our young people into whining, and for many, functionally illiterate victims.

Controlling the intellectual outlook of students isn’t enough for academic liberals, they are now working to infantilize our bright and eager next generation into helpless, neurotic babies, who require — wait for it — “Comfort Animals” to help them cope with the pressures of college.

That’s right, The New York Times is reporting on colleges “debating” the rising demand for “Comfort Animals” on campus, a story within which they profile two young women who share their campus apartment with a 103-pound German Shepherd and a 2-pound dwarf rabbit. Because they’re “very anxious people,” have anxiety and depression, and one of them gets panic attacks.

Sympathetically, The Times assures us, “Anxiety, followed closely by depression, has become a growing diagnosis among college students in the last few years,” says the newspaper. “The calming effect of some domesticated animals has become so widely accepted that many schools bring in trained therapy dogs to play with stressed students during exam periods.”

“A growing diagnosis.” It used to be called “Being a teenager and moving away from home into a new and unique environment.” Now it’s an official mental illness.

There are many things wrong with this situation, so let’s start with the most dangerous development: the wholesale assessing of our young people as disturbed. By artificially enlarging the pool of “mentally ill” people to include those with transient and circumstantial emotional ups and downs, we are diluting our ability to truly recognize and properly deal with the genuinely disturbed.

We are seeing this folding of the mad into the cohort of normal people and its role in school shootings. You see, if a majority of people are “sick” then recognizing and removing the genuinely disturbed becomes politically incorrect and a more difficult prospect.

We also must be extremely concerned about subjecting young people who are anxious or depressed to an official psychological diagnosis so early in their lives and on an important lifelong record like their educational history. We can all agree that an anxious young woman does not fall into the same category as a schizophrenic, or any other psychotic who loses their connection with reality.

The government, of course, is obsessed with using a catch-all “mental illness” term in their efforts to further control the population, i.e. who is allowed to have a firearm. Our veterans who have PTSD have been unfairly caught in that net. Other repercussions could involve healthcare limitations as long as Obamacare or some other form of Single Payer is in play, allowing the government to determine who gets covered and how.

While at college there may be the immediate benefit of being allowed to have an animal in your dorm room, but by tagging college students early as mentally ill, we are moving in a direction where government can claim that the majority of Americans are sick and, well, in need of being controlled in comprehensive ways.

Caught in the middle of this story are the animals. Most of us enjoy the unique and comprehensive relationship we have with our pets. I’m a big animal rights supporter and understand the transformative power animals have in our lives.

Consider the two college students profiled by The Times, they probably barely have enough time to do their studying and tackle their job, let alone properly care for two other living creatures. The house-rules for the pets, the newspaper tells us, has the German Shepherd living in a crate in a bedroom, and isn’t allowed in the living room lest the 2-pound bunny is out and about (which, is why, I suppose, they named the bunny Theo as opposed to Amuse Bouche).

When the girls aren’t home Theo the bunny lives in a pen under a bed. Last time I checked, there was no sunlight or any other quality of life under a bed. Our pets are indeed life-savers for many of us. My dog Sydney, a rescued shepherd collie mix, is now 12 years old, and I’ve learned a lot about unconditional love and the responsibility that comes when a creature relies on you exclusively.

Our pets aren’t objects to be stored away and brought out when it’s convenient like a pair of rain boots or a favorite scarf; it is a symbiotic relationship, and there is a responsibility we have to living beings and their quality of life, a duty that for most college students living in a dorm cannot be met.

Anxiety and depression are two emotional experiences most of us have when shifting into a new life, especially one that takes us away from family and friends. Gone, it seems, are the days when going to college was specifically the chance to meet new people, hear new ideas, refine your own understanding of the world, and be thrust out of your comfort zone.

Now, everything is a “mental illness,” a stamp that can adversely affect the rest of a person’s life. This as the liberal agenda is so busy inculcating young people to be needy and helpless, they’re also abandoning them intellectually.

According to the Wall Street Journal reporting on the results of the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus earlier this year, “Four in 10 U.S. college students graduate without the complex reasoning skills to manage white-collar work, according to the results of a test of nearly 32,000 students. …”

Ironically, the test also found that the 40 percent of students “graduate without the ability to read a scatterplot, construct a cohesive argument or identify a logical fallacy,” which is exactly the ignorance liberals require of others lest they be exposed for the frauds they are.

⦁ Tammy Bruce is a radio talk show host.

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