While the public’s attention has been largely focused on the Obama administration’s crusade against the Second Amendment, a more troubling development is taking place in the fight against free speech, and the First Amendment, a war waged far from D.C., on the campuses of America’s liberal colleges.
We read the following excerpt from the upcoming issue of the New Criterian, in which we find that 51% – or a majority – of college students favor “speech codes” (i.e., regulated “free speech”), with only 36% against, first with amusement (as we thought it has to be a joke) and then great concern (once we realized it is all too real) because it reveals that America’s best and brightest young minds have decided on their own that they don’t really need all those liberties enshrined by America’s founding fathers, especially if they “infringe” upon the current mania of “politically correct” everything.
A recent survey reported college students, by a margin of 51% to 36%, favor speech codes.
Williams College (Tuition and fees: $63,290) has undertaken an “Uncomfortable Learning” Speaker Series in order to provide intellectual diversity on a campus where (like most campuses) left-leaning sentiment prevails. What a good idea! How is it working out? The conservative writer Suzanne Venker was invited to speak in this series. But when word got out that an alternative point of view might be coming to Williams, angry students demanded her invitation be rescinded. It was.
Explaining their decision, her hosts noted that the prospect of her visit was “stirring a lot of angry reactions among students on campus.” So Suzanne Venker joins a long and distinguished list of people—including Ayaan Hirsi Ali, George Will, and Charles Murray—first invited then disinvited to speak on campus. It’s been clear for some time that such interdictions are not bizarre exceptions. On the contrary, they are perfect reflections of an ingrained hostility to free speech—and, beyond that, to free thought—in academia.
To put some numbers behind that perception, The William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale recently commissioned a survey from McLaughlin & Associates about attitudes towards free speech on campus. Some 800 students at a variety of colleges across the country were surveyed. The results, though not surprising, are nevertheless alarming. By a margin of 51 percent to 36 percent, students favor their school having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty. Sixty-three percent favor requiring professors to employ “trigger warnings” to alert students to material that might be discomfiting. One-third of the students polled could not identify the First Amendment as the part of the Constitution that dealt with free speech. Thirty-five percent said that the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech,” while 30 percent of self-identified liberal students say the First Amendment is outdated. With the assault on free speech and the First Amendment proceeding apace in institutions once dedicated to robust intellectual debate, it is no wonder that there are more and more calls to criminalize speech that dissents from the party line on any number of issues, from climate change to race relations, to feminism and sex.
And when brainwashing wins over the minds of the young generation, whether due to relentless propaganda, due to constant Apple Store “99 cent” diversions, due to a generational case of Stockholm Syndrome, or simply because said “brightest” minds were never that bright to begin with (the WEF ranked the U.S. at 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction) brainwashing wins, period.
Because if a majority of young U.S. intelligentsia freely hands over its one, most valuable civil liberty, then the nation has far greater concerns for its future than just how overvalued the so-called “market” is.