Skip to comments.Is the tide turning against campus suppression of free speech?
Posted on 12/23/2017 12:40:43 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
Semester after semester, year after year, tensions on college campuses have escalated, with intolerance of dissent climbing to darkly censorious levels.
Facing Trump-fueled rage and censorship from campus leftists, conservative students reacted by bringing in the most offensive speakers possible, such as Milo Yiannopoulos. At the University of California, Berkeley, this rhetorical bomb thrower's opponents lit real fires and smashed the place.
Then at Middlebury College in March, protesters against Charles Murray, the conservative social scientist, disrupted his event so that he simply could not speak. They did not want debate. He was obliged to give his address on video from a secret location, but even then, student radicals hunted him down, rushed him and a Middlebury professor on a dark campus walk, and jostled and intimidated them, injuring the faculty member, who had to wear a neck brace as a result.
Students got on top of the hood of the car Murray was in, shouting and acting out in the uncivilized way that so many misguided people have come to regard as a manifestation of a social conscience.
It was a dark moment for academia, and most observers expected things to get worse. Speech was now condemned as violence, and violence (in an ideologically vetted cause) was speech. Dissent was no longer patriotic, and free speech was no longer a virtue.
So, tensions were high this fall as students returned to school just weeks after the violence in Charlottesville and a summer filled with political chaos. Bracing for tumult, Berkeley poured $600,000 into security for an hour-long lecture by Ben Shapiro, a mainstream conservative author. Images from campus before Shapiros appearance recalled a war zone.
But tensions fizzled, and nothing of real consequence materialized. Perhaps that set the tone for the whole semester. For no professors appear to have landed in the hospital with wounds inflicted by anti-speech leftists, and no violent anti-fascist mobs appear to have caused six-figures worth of damage to any university. There has, it goes without saying, been no correction of rampant liberal bias in higher education. But Middlebury and Berkeley may not have been harbingers of a dark future, and they could, indeed, turn out to be the darkest moments before the dawn.
Could it be that spring semester 2017 will turn out to have been a watershed, a turning point, the moment when campus radicals finally went too far and the forces of free speech began to push back effectively?
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released its annual survey of campus speech codes this week, and there was good news for proponents of free expression in the academy. The percentage of schools maintaining severely restrictive codes, categorized as red light codes, declined for the tenth year in a row, falling seven percentage points even from last years number. But the best news, according to FIRE, is that an unprecedented number of schools have eliminated all of their speech codes, earning the organizations highest green light rating.
Most of the 461 schools surveyed by FIRE fell somewhere in the middle, with nearly 59 percent earning yellow light status, meaning their policies still chill or outright prohibit protected speech, albeit to a lesser degree than at a red light institution.
The suppression of thought and expression on campuses therefore remains a bleak reality, but perhaps it is improving. The pause in anti-speech violence is a small cause for celebration.
But it is no cause for complacency.
The cause is advanced when the forces of open debate defend pluralism and free speech, winning over those who may not be ideological allies, but still want a fair fight. It is made well by inviting people such as Murray to air their views and listening respectfully to them. The cause is advanced when people, through their arguments and reason, demonstrate the value of hearing other perspectives.
These efforts, we can hope, have made campuses a bit more open, and if we continue in the vigilant defense of liberty, censorship and intolerance can be forced to retreat.
Allowing or welcoming dissenting opinions would, however, be the beginning, not the end, of a desirable re-enlightenment. When, in some distant future, higher education routinely favors free expression, it will at last be receptive to the idea that the academy's role should not be to prime impressionable students to discredit any idea to the right of Noam Chomsky. That's a battle conservatives want to join. In the battle of ideas, conservatism wins not least because, as Margaret Thatcher said, the facts of life are conservative.
That's why the Left doesn't want anyone to hear from the other side.
MAGA. Nite all.
Seriously, have you listened to some of these dumbasses? And that's just the "professors".
Just hire those who have gotten valuable educations or those who havent been broken and bent by leftist falsehood. Pretty soon the people who hire the lefties will lose their effectiveness due to leftie incompetence and leftie education will be devalued greatly.
As soon as someone realizes that these collage speech codes violate constitutional right of free speech and sue the institution, things will get interesting.
Well the left doesn’t know about FReepers and our ilk.
I got myself a beautiful NON electric, NON hybrid Dodge Challenger with a rebuilt exhaust that FLIES and remarkably gets 30 miles to the gallon.
But I would have gotten it if it got 20 to the gallon.
#### the left and the prior administration. I buy what I like.
“Students got on top of the hood of the car Murray was in, shouting and acting out in the uncivilized way that so many misguided people have come to regard as a manifestation of a social conscience.”...
“I feared for my life, just before I shot them!”
No. The fascists are in control.
Spot on. Affirmitive action forced by Obama, plus cheap and plentiful student loans,led to it all. Now we have an army of pissed off underperformers on campuses. The colleges dutifully created more lesbian basket weaving degrees for idiots, but that didn’t quell them.
Trump knows...he’s going after Harvard for discriminating against...wait for it...asian students! In admissions! Ha! When he wins, the pendulum will start to come back. And sweep away the idiots.
It will take awhile.
I went to UC Davis, which is not quite as bad as Berkeley, but certainly has its share of leftist unthinking professors. I was mostly insulated from leftist indoctrination, since I took nothing but science classes. As Margaret Thatcher noted, the facts of life do not support the left--e.g. yes, there are biological differences between men and women that cannot be negated just because a man claims he "feels like" a woman.
I would like to see students who have gone into massive debt getting some useless "studies" degree band together and sue the universities for misrepresentation and fraud. It is not productive when all of those recipients of useless degrees band together in whine fests like Occupy Wall Street--if only they would realize that their alma maters did them no good and assign the blame accordingly.
When I was in undergraduate school, I had an academic counselor whom I met with every semester to discuss my progress. Is that a common practice at colleges and universities? If so, shouldn't one of the functions of academic counselors be to get the student to do a bit of research and find out what the employment opportunities are in his/her selected field of study?
I sure hope so. I liked it better when only smart people were in college. These dumb libs think going to college MAKES you smart. That's not how it works.
These "persons of color" who quack the loudest about toxic masculinity and white privilege, in past days, would be going to beauty college if they were lucky.
It's just another sign of the fall of the American Empire. Now I know what a Roman felt like in the latter days of theirs.
Affirmative action (legalized racial and gender discrimination) was here long before Obama, and hasn’t slowed down a bit.
“Just hire those who have gotten valuable educations or those who havent been broken and bent by leftist falsehood. Pretty soon the people who hire the lefties will lose their effectiveness due to leftie incompetence and leftie education will be devalued greatly.”
I stopped hiring from Ivy League schools. No point in disrupting the work environment with entitled snowflakes. I now hire hungry kids, who will run through a wall to get something accomplished. HR hates it, but tough. They are my people so I look at the resumes first then give them to HR.
We got the sex maniacs in “Pecker”wood and in our govt on the run.
It’s time to go after the oversexed lefties in academia.
Imagine the twitching penises and roaming hands in that crowd...holding power over all those nubile young students.
Le’s encourage the students to come forward....those who’ve been molested by these leftie creeps, maybe promised better grades for sex.
“Affirmitive action forced by Obama”
It was going on long before Obama——he got to be president BECAUSE of affirmative action,starting with the Punahou School.
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