The victims of Marxist dictatorships or the Soviet Union and China were mostly faceless figures, sometimes caught in grainy black and white photos, often with no names or backstories. Here there are full color photos and videos, personal stories of families, mothers and children, and the elderly, all looking from the ‘Kidnapped’ posters being torn down from college campus walls.But the smiling children looking back from the posters might as well have been kulaks in Russia or intellectuals in Cambodia for all the empathy they elicited. Seeing them only infuriates college kids busy righteously advocating for Hamas as a queer liberation movement. It spoils their plans for a class walkout while chanting, “Free Palestine” and waving their puny fists in the air conditioned air. Hamas understood that documenting its atrocities would make it more appealing, not only to fellow Islamists, but also to leftists. The ‘dumb college kids’ aren’t alienated by atrocities, they’re drawn to them. And it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the last century to think otherwise. The dumb college kids may be dumb, but so was your average Nazi goose stepper or Bolshevik thug. The mobs who clamored to see heads roll around the guillotine were not geniuses. But much like the Gaza civilians that crossed the fence to take part in the murder and rape, they know what they like. And what they like is chaos, violence and seeing things burn. Your average dumb college kid isn’t born evil because she misses BLM rallies and traded in her black power fist banner for a PLO flag, but neither were the German teens who filled stadiums to listen to Hitler or their Chinese counterparts who giggled while their teachers were beaten during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. As Alinsky said, “a good tactic is one your people enjoy.” And, “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Consequences are things that come along later. Some people grow up enough to realize that they had been part of something monstrous. “It was quite fun,” a former Red Guard member recalled. Then she was actually told to beat people and ran away. “God bless me, I didn’t beat anyone back then. If I had beaten anyone how could I have lived with myself all these years?” Some of the college kids cheering Hamas now may have their moments of reckoning. Or not. But dismissing them as just ‘dumb college kids’ is how campus extremism becomes softened, normalized and even celebrated. Decades of pop culture turned seventies domestic terrorists into activists who never meant to hurt anyone and were just upset about the Vietnam War. Che went from a symbol of mass murder and repression to slightly edgy youthful rebellion. The old Communists were idealists who wanted to make America into a just and equal society. These are some of the examples that today’s campus radicals cite when arguing that history will vindicate them. Eventually the bodies are buried and the radical artists and writers turn out to be much more important than all the dead in Russia, China, Cuba and Cambodia. Everyone can name Ernest Hemingway and Noam Chomsky, but who can name a million corpses? Supporting mass murder isn’t a phase. It’s evil. The Hitler Youth weren’t just ‘dumb kids’ even if they were dumb kids. Patronizingly dismissing leftist extremism as a phase or a coming of age ritual normalizes our version of the Hitler Youth. And then we wonder at the spectacle of crowds of college kids cheering “armed resistance” against the ‘Zionist occupiers” and wonder over how they could possibly do such things. What do we think has been the norm on college campuses for at least 50 years? Liberals utterly failed to draw a red line with the Left. The constant dismissals of leftists as passionate but misguided, as having the right views but the wrong tactics, led to this. The liberals fell to the Left. And then the most extreme parts of the Left cannibalized the rest. College campuses, always radical, became nests of the most extreme politics in the country. Dismissing all of this as ‘dumb college kids’ or ‘youthful passion’ is how we got here. An 18-year-old, never mind a 22-year-old, is old enough to go fight a war, yet we act as if he has no moral agency because we’ve accepted the idea that college is a time to test out political extremism. Or at least leftist adjacent political extremism. (College kids advocating for white supremacist groups don’t meet with the same kind of tolerance as advocating for Hamas.) Morality doesn’t come from the absence of standards, but the insistence on them. Americans spend countless billions each year subsidizing higher education. We deserve more from universities and from their graduates. What we are seeing is not just an immediate failure, but a century of betrayal by academia which has been serving up apologetics for politically correct mass murder since the days of Lenin and Stalin. When its views are unpopular, it hides behind free speech, and when it feels its strength, it purges dissenting students and professors. The greatest extremist threat in this country isn’t coming from a few KKK members living in trailer parks, but from the nation’s most prestigious Ivy League universities. It’s time for either academia to rethink its relationship to political extremism or for the country to rethink its relationship to a system of higher education that teaches students to support mass murder. The Nazi party had its strongest base of support in German universities. As did the Communists of the Soviet Union. Our ‘Hitler Youth’ on both sides of the political spectrum are invariably college graduates. We broke up the KKK, it may be time to break up Harvard.