Post by Guest Blogger
On May 13, 2016, The Wall Street Journal, published an article entitled “Why Free Speech Matters on Campus” by an unlikely pair – the liberal billionaire Michael Bloomberg, former NYC Mayor and founder of Bloomberg LP, and the conservative billionaire Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries.
Said Bloomberg and Koch: “Across America, college campuses are increasingly sanctioning so-called “safe spaces,” “speech codes,” “trigger warnings,” “microaggressions,” and the withdrawal of invitations to controversial speakers. By doing so, colleges are creating a climate of intellectual conformity that discourages open inquiry, debate, and true learning.”
But who qualifies as a controversial speaker?
Apparently, anyone who worked in the foreign policy arena of the Federal government is unacceptable as a speaker. In a May 10, 2016, editorial, the LA Times notes that former Secretary of State and Ambassador to the UN, the liberal Madeleine Albright, was an unacceptable speaker at Scripps College. Scripps is a small liberal arts college for women in Claremont, California. It was not just the allegation by students that Albright has “blood on her hands.” According to the Times, 28 faculty members sent an open letter promising to boycott commencement ceremonies if Albright was speaking.
Said the boycotting faculty members: “…we should promote the advancement of women and transgender peoples broadly and not simply emulate and celebrate those individuals who participate in U.S. state power and wield its violence.” What we have are leftist professors who have no particular feelings for the greatest country on earth. Do our leaders use armies that engage in violence? Yes, but most often to combat violence by others. And these professors object to those who wield state power. But I doubt they are anarchists. I suspect many are socialists and Marxists who would have no problem seeing state power exercised according to their ideology.
But good for the LA Times in giving their own advice to the graduates: “Don’t be so damn sensitive. Don’t be so sure you’re right. Don’t be so quick to silence those who have a different point of view than your own.”
(I recently discussed how liberal commentator Nicholas Kristof, who writes for the NY Times, wrote an opinion piece in the paper about the Left’s dominance on college campuses. One Columbia Law School professor, Professor William Simon, took issue with Mr. Kristof, and his letter to the Times, along with my email exchange with him, formed the basis of my last two-part post on my blog.)
Back to Messrs. Bloomberg and Koch. After noting how college students have been given the power to shut down and prevent speech they oppose and claim as harmful, the two said this: “We believe this new dynamic, which is doing a terrible disservice to students, threatens not only the future of higher education, but also the very fabric of a free and democratic society.” That bears repeating. The leftist mentality on college campuses is threatening the “very fabric of a free and democratic society.” Bloomberg and Koch are expressing an idea that is completely opposed to Professor Simon’s idea that certain views are “legitimately disfavored” in academia.
Bloomberg and Koch continued: “The purpose of a college education isn’t to reaffirm students’ beliefs, it is to challenge, expand and refine them – and to send students into the world with minds that are open and questioning, not closed and self-righteous.” I could not agree more. But the fabric of our society has already been negatively impacted by leftist control of our colleges and universities.
In a new book by Kim Holmes, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and former V.P. of the Heritage Foundation, he discusses three categories of “tolerance” (actually intolerance) displayed by the Left. There is “peer pressure tolerance,” where one may have an opinion, but others need not take it seriously. The second level is “self-censorship tolerance,” where one may have an opinion, but must keep that opinion to himself. The third level is “mandated tolerance,” where you are not even entitled to hold certain opinions, “especially those involving sexual politics, religion, and anything that can be labeled as ‘hate speech.'” (From “The Closing of the Liberal Mind,” 2016, by the Heritage Foundation, and published by Encounter Books, pages 92-93.)
The latter category is prevalent on many college campuses. After all, that type of speech would constitute “microaggressions,” and “hate speech,” mandating “safe spaces” for today’s emotionally fragile college students. The greater problem is that these college students do ultimately leave academia, and take their closed minds with them into the larger world. We know conservative speakers are not welcome on most college campuses. But look what happens in the greater society. We see newspapers refusing to print opposing views on “global warming” or “gay marriage.” At Trump rallies, we are seeing violent protesters trying to shut down speech they oppose.
I am not speaking of peaceful protesters. I am speaking of those who will engage in various disrespectful and illegal activities, such as attacking police and police cars and burning American flags, in their efforts to block speech. I am not a fan of hate-speech laws. I am not a fan of laws in some European countries criminalizing certain speech. And I am not a fan of those who try to shut down Trump from speaking. Such tactics only reinforce my intended vote for Trump. Bloomberg and Koch worried that the lack of true dialogue on college campuses would “create graduates who are unwilling to tolerate differing opinions,” calling it “a crisis for a free society.”[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Bloomberg and Koch worried that the lack of true dialogue on college campuses would “create graduates who are unwilling to tolerate differing opinions,” calling it “a crisis for a free society.”[/pullquote]
The problem is that the Left dominates in the universities, in the media, and in Hollywood. College professors then teach their biased viewpoints to their students. Case in point: Ami Horowitz is a filmmaker who went to Portland State University. He stood in a courtyard telling students he was raising funds for “American Friends for Hamas.” (You can see this sad display of ignorance by college students on Youtube.) Horowitz is seen telling students things such as: “we want to fund operations against Israel . . . attacks we’re talking about are cafes and schools, you know – soft targets,” and “suicide bombers is all we’ve got, it’s the poor man’s F-15.”
And finally, he said this: “we’re looking to wipe Israel off the map,” and “we’re looking to destroy Israel. We don’t want just Gaza, we want to have all of Israel.” Being students, the amounts offered in donation to the cause to destroy Israel were small, ranging from $5.00 to $27.00. Said one student: “I’ve actually been learning about, in this last school year, about everything that’s going on over there, so I like the sound of what you’re doing. It sounds like a great thing to do.” If this student actually learned the truth, he would know that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. He would know that the Arabs have tried to destroy Israel numerous times, refusing to accept the existence of a Jewish State. And he would know that Hamas is a terrorist organization that also oppresses women and gays and non-Muslims. But the universities are dominated by leftist professors.
Said another student: “I’m totally against the Israeli genocide (of Palestinians).” Genocide? When and where? Would that be Israel’s war of self-defense against Hamas in 2014? A war that was precipitated by Hamas’ constant pounding of Israel with thousands of rockets? I wonder what this student learned from his professors.
College students are, for lack of a better word, being brainwashed. They are being fed left-wing ideology, without the necessary diversity of opinion. These students then graduate, having internalized what they’ve been taught, as the absolute truth. You cannot debate them because they won’t debate. They will express anger at opposing views and refuse to listen. Hearing an opposing view causes them to be uncomfortable, as they feel their self-identity is under attack. If you think I am only referring to recent college graduates you are mistaken. There are far too many adults who also refuse to read or hear a conservative viewpoint. While they never tire of mocking me, they will not debate me.[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]College students are, for lack of a better word, being brainwashed.[/pullquote]
You see, the fear expressed by Bloomberg and Koch about the future of our society is here now. We already have the threat to a “free and democratic society.” We have already reached the point of “crisis for a free society.”
This article originally appeared as a two-part series at http://www.truth-uncensored.blogspot.com/ and is reposted with permission. The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and are reposted for their perspective. They do not necessary reflect the opinions of ReligiousLiberty.TV or its editors or advisory panel.