On October 11, 2017, Charles Murray came to the University of Michigan to discuss the 2016 election. Some Michigan students, angered by what they’d heard about Murray’s 1994 book The Bell Curve, hijacked the event. When he began, they interrupted. There was coordinated cacophony from phone alarms. Someone shut off the lights and projected accusations of racism onto the wall behind Murray. Next, some students demanded he stop speaking. When other students and faculty prevailed to continue the event, the disrupters staged a mass walkout. It was a chaotic scene. But there have been worse incidents at colleges today, as Murray himself can attest. So the University of Michigan scene didn’t seem quite so bad.

How did the modern campus sink to a place where an event that wasn’t an epic disaster could come across as some kind of modest success simply because it came to a natural end?

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