Monday, April 11, 2016

Be Careful What You Say

The 4/8/16 Wall Street Journal reports on a story out of Marquette University. As we know, universities are no longer bastions of free speech. A teaching assistant told her class that same sex marriage was no longer subject to debate, and that "everyone agrees on this." One student objected, but to no avail. Rather, he was told that "there are some opinions that are not appropriate, that are harmful, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions..."

When the student continued to protest his right to express a contrary opinion, he was told: " can have whatever opinions you want but I can tell you right now, in this class homophobic comments, racist comments and sexist comments will not be tolerated." The problem, of course, is who gets to decide which comments are homophobic, racist or sexist. The other problem is that this TA is essentially telling students that "offensive" speech is not to be tolerated. However, the First Amendment says otherwise. The student then protested to a professor, who had the misfortune of speaking the truth - rather than adhering to the left-wing party line.

The professor wrote about the incident on his blog, asserting that the teaching assistant used "...a tactic typical among liberals now. Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed 'offensive' and need to be shut up." The teaching assistant subsequently received emails which were described as "vicious" in nature. The professor has been suspended by the Dean, being told he could not return until he acknowledged his behavior was "reckless," and apologized to the teaching assistant.

Reckless? The professor did use the TA's name in his blog. But he also told the truth about the TA's politically correct, anti-free speech attitude toward teaching. The TA should be called out for the "everything" is settled approach to teaching. Every left-wing issue is settled: climate change, gay marriage, open borders, a "woman's right to choose." There can be no disputing the left-wing agenda, making the university today simply another element of the left's propaganda machine, along with the entertainment and news media.

In the same edition of the WSJ was a letter to the editor from a retired Brigadier General from the USAF. This Brigadier General sought a teaching position at an Ivy League school. After meeting with the school president, some deans and other staff, the Brig. Gen. was offered a teaching position. A short time later the faculty senate reversed the offer, and the Brig. Gen. was advised "there was no place on a liberal university faculty for a former senior military officer." Imagine that; a man who served his country, allowing these ivory tower prima donnas to maintain their freedoms, and their facade of separation from the country that gives them so much, was not deemed worthy enough to teach alongside them.

Yet another letter to the editor in the same edition of the WSJ said it best in describing what the left thinks of the right: "What isn't consistent with the stated aims of higher education are the goals of conservatives and libertarians, which are not in the interest of the vast majority of humankind, nor do they have a moral or ethical component." How many leftists actually believe this drivel? Conservatives are neither moral nor ethical? Not a single conservative value or policy benefits humankind? Not free speech, not freedom of religion, not capitalism - which has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system in history. Sadly, this writer may have little to fear, as we see below.

Two law professors at UC Irvine, Howard Gillman and Erwin Chemerinsky, wrote an opinion piece in the 3/31/16 LA Times, discussing their freshman seminar on free speech on college campuses. Wrote the two professors: "From the beginning of our course, we were surprised by the often unanimous willingness of our students to support efforts to restrict and punish a wide range of expression." But should they have been surprised by the unanimity against dissent; against "offensive" speech? Teens are constantly exposed to a media which is filled with the ideas expressed in the above paragraph. We know that college professors are overwhelmingly liberal, perhaps the same applies to high school teachers.

These two professors concluded that they were able to teach some of their students the significance of free speech, while some were unmoved in their willingness to shut down "offensive" speech. What is the real lesson? Given the total inundation of liberal ideology to which our youth are subjected, it seems to me that a significant amount of deprogramming is needed to counteract the pervasive brainwashing.