College in the Age of Hillary Clinton: The War against Free Speech
A rhetorical question: Has a series of political neutron bombs irradiated the nation’s colleges and universities, keeping the infrastructure in tact — preserving the granite and limestone buildings, the brick bell towers, the Gothic libraries and the stately residential halls — while leaving the majority of students inured to the very principles of academic life and personal inquiry?
If freedom of speech is any indication of the moral health of this class, then these students are far sicker than one can imagine; they constitute a new undergraduate population with extreme sensitivity to any intrusion upon their intellectually contaminated universe, on the one hand, while appearing (on their better dressed days) like the editors and arbiters of taste they purport to be, on the other.
But the speech they claim to uphold, the liberties they swear to defend, are as conformist as they are constrictive; as liberal as they are leftist, without room for — without the ability to comprehend the need by and the existence of — advocates of competing points of view, from libertarians to conservatives; the latter as absurd to this faux group of thinkers as surrendering the governance of the university to, say, a retired general who waged war against a continental foe whose corruption of society — from the takeover of the universities to the racial classification of citizens by the lights of perverted science — resulted in the wholesale denial of reality, giving us an Aryan version of physics and a master race of Teutonic lineage and Nordic looks.
In this case, were Dwight D. Eisenhower to return to Columbia University — were he to once again assume the presidency of this school — he would find an institution nearly as restrictive as the places he liberated from the yoke of Nazi tyranny. Indeed, Columbia is no worse than so many comparable colleges and universities, in which the school newspaper is more likely to run — or have already printed — an ad denying the Holocaust than a piece defending the moral integrity of the State of Israel.
Such is the status of freedom of speech among a meritocratic elite that deems itself worthy of enforcing standards not of justice or morality, but of its own perceived rules of civility — a power bestowed not by the First Amendment, but a right conferred by stratospheric test scores and grades; as if the SAT is validation of the most virtuous among us, those who mistake intelligence for wisdom and act accordingly.
For these secular priests and priestesses, to govern, even in a simulacrum of the democratic process with its committee hearings and gavels-as-calls-to-order, is to choose. The irony is that, for all the talk about choice (to end a pregnancy), and for all the rules about the many degrees of consent (to distinguish between foreplay, sex and rape), there is no choice but one: Surrender.
Surrender your choice to protest the presumption of guilt over the presumption of innocence. Surrender everything, including holding hands, for fear that you will be shunned as a sexual predator, or expelled for a crime with no name. Surrender your civil rights to the policies of a private court, period.
The path of least resistance, for freethinkers, is, not surprisingly, the same one this ruling class demands — silence.
There is something obscene about enduring four years of self-imposed silence, never countering emotion with facts, never disinfecting lies with truth; suffering as a student without a college, or being a man or woman without a country. Indeed, there is something grotesque about paying $200,000 to remain silent — in and outside the classroom — as agitators-in-training, grievance counselors and tenured radicals extol the necessity of free speech while they simultaneously erode it.
For good men — and women — to do nothing in this situation, for them to regurgitate professorial talking points about institutionalized racism and the triumph of fascism, for them not to expose the idiocy of trigger warnings, or rather, the absence of said warnings while reading the works of Toni Morrison versus the Niagara of tears when asked — asked! — to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is to abet the fulfillment of this assault against free speech.
The other side expects this reaction; it posits its worldview on the victory of intimidation disguised as tolerance, the purging of dissidents by a combination of manufactured hysteria and the enforcement of speech codes that are as demented as they are draconian. This is the new normal of life within the academy, where there is no contest of ideas, no exchange of opinions, no debate about matters of common sense.
The question is, How much longer will parents underwrite, and will students go into debt to finance, a degree purchased by silence, secured by misery and received with anger?
I predict a day of rage — days of rage — where, to borrow a page from the history of the left, students will occupy the corridors of power and stage a strike against their submission as the raw material for authoritarianism and the gangster-like tactics of the modern university.
Conservatives are too, well, conservative to resort to violence — which is a testament to the decency of this ideology and the respectability of its adherents. But they will not forever stay silent; they will not passively accept the abuse hurled against them, the slander directed toward them, the libel published about them.
The point will soon come — it may be but a semester away — when a student will stand athwart this locomotive of lies, and shout against the whistle and steam of this siren against freedom, and say, “Stop!”
When that event happens, the free speech movement will move faster than that mighty engine of agitprop — and it will gather passengers from colleges throughout New England, New York, Chicago and the West.
That moment is overdue. We should welcome its arrival, and celebrate its collision against the forces of ignorance, intolerance and ignominy.
We have it in our power to open the academic gates of freedom. With the blessings of Providence, and the will to do right, we should take our stand for liberty.