Stop calling “snowflakes” snowflakes. Stop misrepresenting the greatness of the latter with the god-awfulness of the former, whose ranks include students and citizens too precious to offend and too prone to taking offense at almost everything. One is the result of a natural sequence of events, the consequence of which is a heavy yet silent downpour of beauty. The other is a storm of protest—an avalanche of anarchy—against criticism, independence, judgment, common sense, and conviction.
To conflate the two is to debase human nature by degrading the subjects of Mother Nature, including geometry, physics, chemistry, light, and life itself; because the complexity of an actual snowflake—which is a hexagon of happenstance, as remarkable as it is random—is a revelation of structure and a symbol of otherworldly significance in its own right. It comes to life by reflecting light, appearing (in full) through the lights of science; the same lights that scientists use to uncover the double helix within every living creature. It is also the life’s work of every chemist who teaches crystallography, which is the study of how atoms form solids.
This process is the stuff of poetry, prose, and politics, too. It appears throughout the Bible, so sins of scarlet shall be white as snow; so sins red like crimson shall be as wool; so the clothes of Jesus shall shine, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. It appears in verses by Shelley and Shakespeare, a radiant frost that glows with the rising sun, washing away the dirt of summer and bleaching the spirit clean until it is as white as driven snow. It appears in the thousand-plus pages of A Thousand Days, opening with the snow of a succession in power and closing the day after the death of John F. Kennedy, whose power was no more. It appears as an omen, with a snow almost as deep as the inaugural blizzard, ending as it began—in the cold.
It appears to be what it is: a medium with a multitude of messages. It falls from the heavens and graces the ground, grounding us with the grace of our heavenly Father. It is the artistic expression of science, though it expresses more than science alone can explain. It is the encapsulation of a true education, intelligible to those numerate enough to translate it and literate enough to understand it. It is the antithesis of the radicals who bear its name.
The cultural snowflakes are too fragile to possess such a sophisticated framework. They have assertions, not arguments, which are too simple to be sublime. The contrast between their virtual ubiquity—in colleges and universities—and the uniqueness of a single snowflake is like the difference between a hut and a house of many mansions. One provides shelter, without heat or air conditioning, or a kitchen or indoor plumbing. The other is a microscopic snapshot of form and function, with capped columns and baroque branches. It makes nature sing.
The irony is that a snowflake is so intricate yet so impromptu, suggesting the existence of an intelligent designer, while the snowflakes are so unintelligent as to make intelligent design inconceivable. It takes faith to believe in a designer we cannot see, when what we do see can cause us to lose faith in ourselves.
What I see is rage instead of reason, groupthink instead of independent thought, tribalism instead of trial and error. If the snowflakes bury this country with their illogic, blanketing the deserts and the plains with fury—bombarding the hills and the streets with fear—the sunshine of truth will be unable to melt their mountain of lies.
They already cover the doors of our chapels and classrooms, where preachers minister to our feelings, regardless of our fealty to God; where teachers preach a gospel of contempt against the contrarians in their midst; where emotion “trumps” enlightenment, forcing opponents to shut up or surrender. They may try to snow themselves in, preventing dissidents from entering these profaned sanctuaries of sectarian dogma and secular ideology. Eventually, however, cabin fever sets in; and the urge to escape is inevitable.
Eventually, someone asks a question. No matter how innocuous the query, there is no way to avoid it, because there is no way to police every thought and prosecute every thinker; because to question the most basic assumptions is a threat to the very foundation of all flimsy political façades; because these snowflakes are too delicate to withstand inspection; because they will dissolve if we have the courage to test—if we summon the will to contest—the integrity of their ideas.
Let us end this winter of our discontent by exposing the fraudulence of these snowflakes. Let us begin a new season of inquiry and introspection, where civility is our common currency and deliberation is the coin of the realm. Let us do so with all deliberate speed, because we have too much to lose—we have lost too much already—to content ourselves with minor triumphs and marginal victories.
Let us commit ourselves to welcoming the arrival of spring, where the snowflakes will thaw—and the cold will break—with the dawn of a new age of freedom of thought and freedom of speech.
Daylight will soon come, bringing in the light.