Today, our college campuses are being overrun by tyranny. It’s not tyranny of the majority, which is a favorite cliché of the left. It’s tyranny of those operating outside the boundaries of conventional authority. Radical leftists (mostly students) who feel empowered by recent socio/political shifts to take the law into their own hands and trample the rights of others in the name of social justice.
We will save the debate of the erroneous concept of social justice for another time. Sufficed to say, those students have chosen to overstep their conventional boundaries as young people on a quest for knowledge and transform themselves into radical activists in pursuit of their own view of the truth. These students are happy to resort to extreme ends to achieve their goals. Said ends include the heckler’s veto; yelling down a controversial speaker until they are no longer able to continue their speech, social media bullying campaigns against unpopular figures that include profanity-laced epithets, threats of violence to squelch a speaking engagement and even violence itself.
Said incidents include, but are not limited to:
• At California State, a conservative student group invited Ben Shapiro to be a guest speaker on February 25, 2016. Students Emailed the president of the college and complained that they felt “uncomfortable” and “unsafe” at the notion of Shapiro’s speech. One student even compared the event to an undercover KKK rally. The president subsequently canceled Shapiro’s speech, but he showed up and spoke anyway. Those hoping to attend the speech were barred by angry protesters who formed human chains in an attempt to prevent people from entering the building. After the speech, students refused to let the president leave until he explained himself and demanded that he be fired.
Note: I listen to Ben Shapiro’s podcast almost daily and he is about as far from the KKK as you can get.
• In 2015, a lecturer at Yale resigned after she was harassed by students after suggesting that Halloween costumes deemed offensive or insensitive by some minority groups should not be censored. When her husband, a Sociology professor at Yale, came to her defense, he was also harassed and took an indefinite break. You can find a video on YouTube of an angry student mob confronting a Yale administrator and shouting him down.
• In March, 2017, students at Middlebury protested conservative Charles Murray’s speech on campus. He was forced to give his presentation via video feed from a private room. When he tried to leave under the escort of a liberal professor, they were set upon by an angry mob composed of students and professional agitators. They were barely able to make it to a car when the professor received whiplash and a concussion from violent assaults. Even when they tried to drive away, the mob held the car back until a path could be cleared by security guards. As of this date, the students who were identified as participants in the violence were given only reprimands.
• In 2017, Berkeley canceled a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, after the campus erupted in violent riots that resulted in the destruction of property, including a Starbucks. Two months later, a speech by Ann Coulter was also canceled after threats of violence.
• Last week, a professor at Evergreen college in Washington was forced to leave campus and teach his class in a public park after police told him he was unsafe. This after he protested a student movement to compel all white people to leave campus for a day. As of this date, Evergreen’s administration has taken no action to resolve the situation.
I’m not including the recent student walk-out during Vice-President Pence’s commencement speech at Notre Dame in this list of transgressions, as there was no suppression of free speech during that event. It was a childish and churlish display, but it was only a display.
Why is this happening?
You will hear all sorts of explanations from the afore-mentioned social justice warriors waging a righteous battle against bigotry and inequity to the positive power of angry young people trying to change the world for the better. They are all crap.
Nothing feels better to a person in their late teens/early 20’s than a belly full of power. When spineless school administrators and sympathetic faculty demonstrate to them that they can yell, scream and break stuff in the name of a righteous cause without consequences, they will take the ball and run with it.
Another component is the scholastic environment itself. Since the 1960’s, college campuses have been ground zero for the cultural revolution. It started with sit-ins, love-ins, riots and all-around bad behavior in the name of condemning the general crime of social injustice, as well as the specific crime of the Vietnam War. Many of those students misbehaved without consequences. Many of those same students got older, but never grew up. They realized that they had won major victories in society, so they became professors and decided to seed the next generation of social justice warriors.
Yet another component are those spineless administrators, along with morally tepid politicians, who merely turn a blind eye to the problem. When violence and intimidation does erupt, they choose to sweep the larger problems under the rug in the hopes that they will go away.
So, what are the solutions for the budding problem of Orwellian totalitarianism in our institutions of supposed higher learning?
Another favored (and erroneous) cliché of the left is, “Violence never solves anything.” Sadly, the cupcake crowd didn’t get the memo. Therefore, hard lines must be drawn. Administrators must set them at the point of violence, harassment or intimidation of anyone living or visiting a college campus. No exceptions can be made on the basis of age, class, race, sexual orientation, etc.
If the passive and cowardly administrative class refuses to insure that the constitutional rights of every single person on college campuses, whether student, faculty or guest, will not be protected, then they should be called in front of their state legislative bodies, or Congress, to explain why they should continue to receive government funding? Nothing gets a bureaucrat’s attention quite like threatening his/her pocketbook.
Until the government steps in to take a closer look at this matter, the power of the lawsuit will have to reign supreme. To that end, I encourage everyone who cares about this issue to check out the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE.) I have just given them a donation and hope others will as well. For some time, they have been on the front lines of the encroaching suppression of free speech and the free exchange of ideas on American college campuses.
Folks, these incidents of suppression of free speech are but the tip of the iceberg of the problems on today’s college campuses. I haven’t even mentioned the so-called “free speech zones,” or speech codes, or safe spaces, or the curriculums themselves, or the treatment of male students accused of rape. I am not embellishing when I say that this is a deep-rooted problem in our country today.
A school teacher I know (a Democrat), said that our colleges are no longer places where critical thinking is a priority. I wholeheartedly concur. I have a niece and nephew who just graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago and I am not optimistic about their continuing education. Yes, they are white and, by the standards of higher academia, they come from privilege. Does that mean they should not be granted the same constitutional safeguards guaranteed to everyone? Do they lose all freedom when entering the university bubble? If so, it’s time to resist!