“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”– George Orwell
Trigger warning: This column will include discussion of ideas that may conflict with your own and some might find “offensive”. 🙂
There is one area where suppression of free speech has blossomed. That is at our universities and colleges. It started ages ago. In 1993, it exploded into the consciousness of America when Eden Jacobowitz, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, disturbed by noise outside his dorm room yelled out his window “Shut up, you water buffalo.” The case challenged the right of free speech against a campus harassment code.
These speech codes created by the professors and left-wing administrators (mainly former professors) were being used to control two principal groups. First and foremost, fellow scholars seeking to become colleagues that had to run the gauntlet of becoming tenured. Second, students who wished to express contrary views in a classroom or in a paper. To a point those wielding these policies succeeded on campuses, but they created their own uncontrollable monstrosity.
The students started their own efforts to suppress freedom of speech. It became overtly public whenever a speaker deemed inappropriate in their positions was invited to a college campus. People like Ann Coulter or David Horowitz were being harassed off campuses. If they were allowed to speak they would be heckled instead of respectfully listened to or ignored. An opposing opinion became repugnant. The expression of open thought that universities for which were formed had become the suppressor. The guardians of free speech had been thrashed.
It then spread to college commencement speeches. People like former Secretary of State Condi Rice were run out of addresses. The professors and their minions would not allow an unapproved thought to pierce their ears. Only properly-vetted speakers who spoke “the gospel” were allowed.
Next it spread to comedians. You know — those people who have the job in our society to make fun of our worst tendencies. They make sure that we do not take ourselves too seriously. Not at colleges. Jerry Seinfeld, possibly the leading stand-up comedian of his generation, abandoned performing on college campuses because of the obliteration of free speech. When it went public he made clear he was not the only one when he said “I hear that all the time, ‘I don’t play colleges,’ but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC.” Chris Rock deserted the circuit and so has Larry the Cable Guy. The students don’t want to be offended.
The narrowest, most repressive minds are the closed minded Liberals who preach “diversity” and “tolerance”. Orwell could not better.
The students are now demanding what they call “triggers” (warnings about upcoming material) from their professors. The American Association of University Professors stated in a committee report, “A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students. This follows from earlier calls not to offend students’ sensibilities by introducing material that challenges their values and beliefs.” The professors are now experiencing the wrath of their creation.
The term “Microagression” was coined by Harvard Professor Chester M. Pierce in 1970 to describe insults and dismissals he said he had regularly witnessed non-black Americans inflict on Blacks. It has now been expanded to include any perceived insult against anyone who feels they have been insulted. As you know the largest university system in the United States (University of California) issued guidelines for professors to help them from hurting the feelings of their students. It was stated by the UC administration that they are just guidelines, but no one believes that and speech is once again suppressed as the students stomp out academic freedom in the name of protecting their little hearts from being hurt.
LGBTQI Departments at Universities,a whole vast bureaucracy dedicated to the prevention of “offense” in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity”.
Orwell could never have done better. The Doublespeak is breathtaking.
It used to be that the universities were the center of free thought. Scholars were the center of that going back to Socrates. Colleges were the center of the defense of free speech and resistance. If it was a revolt, it started with the students. The U.S. anti-war movement on college campuses in the 1960s was the center of the free speech movement. So were the fights against Communist regimes. The fights to overturn the dictatorships in Egypt and Iran were led by the students.
The most famous resistance within Nazi Germany was The White Rose (a film of the same name was made). White Rose were students from Munich University. The Nazis always feared the free speech of the intellectuals. Hitler would not have to do such today. In America the students are the center of the suppression of free speech.
Instead of defending the First Amendment the professors have created a monster which is halting the First Amendment and their own right of free speech. The people who are historically the highest advocates for free expression have become the shock troops of abolition of such. Never would dictators think the universities and their students would be the principal source of free speech suppression. Never would they dream that their main source of grief would self-inflict the squelching of speech.
Hitler would be proud. So would Stalin, Mao, the Ayatollah…….. (Bruce Bialosky)
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
“So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”
“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”
Perfect example: Commentor Monty Hebert on a WP article about this very topic:
<Kathleen> Parker is in agreement here with a book asserting that both college campuses and “the liberal media” suppress free speech! Her concern seems more than a little disingenuous given that some (though certainly not all) colleges are among the last places left where liberal is not a dirty word. Free speech on college campuses is about as big a problem as the so called war on Christmas and Christians or discrimination against white males. If Parker wants to address a real problem she should express alarm and outrage at the way millions of people in my home state of Texas and across the South have been manipulated via Fox News, radio talk shows and truly vicious internet sites into distrusting and even hating the federal government, and demonizing the president of the United States. It is not the left that has profited from abolishment of the Fairness Doctrine.
The Ministry of Truth’s perfect warrior for the faith.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Yet, there are on college campuses all over the country.
And this is our future.
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.