Walter Williams on Suppression of Free Speech and the Totalitarian Tendencies of Colleges in the U.S.A

On the heels of a post I authored yesterday, detailing the sad state of affairs with respect to suppression of free speech, as well as the anti-American and anti-Israeli atmosphere that exists on many if not most university campuses in the U.S.A. today. In that post, I offered an example of my own personal experiences at a major state university, as well as those of free speech advocate, and UNC Wilmington professor Mike Adams, and author Daniel Greenfield.

As if Walter Williams is reading The Reactionary Researcher Blog, he posted an article that offers a concise, no nonsense, scathing assessment of the current state of academia, as well as the total ignorance of this that pervades most of the U.S.A.

Parents, taxpayers and donors have little idea of the levels of lunacy, evil and lawlessness that have become features of many of today’s institutions of higher learning.

In support of his thesis, Williams offers the following examples (formatted and edited by TRR):

  1. During a campus debate, Purdue University professor David Sanders argued that a logical extension of pro-lifers’ belief that fetuses are human beings is that pictures of “a butt-naked body of a child” are child pornography.
  2. Clemson University’s chief diversity officer, Lee Gill, who’s paid $185,000 a year to promote inclusion, provided a lesson claiming that to expect certain people to be on time is racist.
  3. To reduce pressure on law students, Joshua M. Silverstein, a law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, thinks that “every American law school ought to substantially eliminate C grades and set its good academic standing grade point average at the B- level.
  4. [T]he University of California, Irvine’s student body voted for a motion, which the faculty approved, directing that the American flag not be on display because it makes some students uncomfortable and creates an unsafe, hostile environment. The flag is a symbol of hate speech, according to the student government leader. He said that the U.S. flag is just as offensive as Nazi and Islamic State flags and that the U.S. is the world’s most evil nation.
  5. In a recent New York Times op-ed, New York University provost Ulrich Baer argued: “The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks. It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community.

Though not included in the bulleted list above, Williams does note the troubling presence of so called “safe spaces” on university campuses, which according to Williams, culminates in a

climate [that] might be described as a mixture of infantilism, kindergarten and totalitarianism.

which has been largely facilitated by:

The radicals, draft dodgers and hippies of the 1960s who are now college administrators and professors are responsible for today’s academic climate.

In examining the bulleted list above, one is forced to wonder if the individuals involved with or responsible for the statements actually believe them, or if they’re just offered to lend support to their particular political, social, or institutional agenda.

  • Is it possible that professor David Sanders truly believes pro-lifers have an erotic reaction to images of aborted human fetuses, or is it just hyperbole meant to belittle, demonize, or otherwise marginalize those with whom he disagrees?
  • Can Lee Gill possibly not recognize that establishing different standards–for anything, even punctuality–for different demographics is itself inherently racist?
  • Does Joshua Silverstein truly believe that eliminating academic standards and rigor at law schools within the United States will be good for the legal profession or society in general?
  • Can can a group of college students in one of the U.S.A.’s most prestigious state institutions really subscribe to the completely ignorant statement–with respect to both history and current events–that the United States is somehow morally on par with ISIS or the Nazi Regime?
  • Does university provost Ulrich Baer genuinely not recognize that the only speech that needs to be protected is speech with which one disagrees, that so-called “hate speech” is really the only kind of protected speech?

While we can’t know that answer to these questions, I submit that in the end, whether or not people such as these believe their own rhetoric is relatively unimportant. The truly important thing is that they’re completely willing to espouse it publicly. In our soundbite driven media, an institution that has progressively become more shallow, more biased, and less driven by truth and facts, such tactics are effective. People are so bombarded with information, most of it highly trivial and largely irrelevant to their day-to-day lives, that they’re either unable or unwilling to think through the consequences or implications of even the most ludicrous statements.

Sadly, people believe they’re informed because they watched an entire segment about some specific topic on CNN, NBC, or FOX for that matter.

Sadly, people buy into the notion that 45 seconds of news, 15 of which is likely commentary, not facts, is somehow providing them with adequate information, from which they can develop an informed perspective.

Sadly, most people will never think critically about the news they do see, and will accept at face value, whatever they’re told, and because they float in an ocean of information, the hysteria of a few days prior is forced under and drowned by deluge of inaccurate or inane irrelevancies.

Is anyone still concerned about the so-called rising anti-semitism in America?
What about the anti-Semitic nature of Trumps cabinet picks?
What about the fact that just about every Democrat was shrieking for James Comey’s firing only a couple of short months ago?

The American public exhibits a staggering degree of collective ignorance and a noted lack of critical thinking skills. Williams believes that this is due in part to the “lunacy” that exists on university campuses, and I would add that the TV, and in particular TV news, also contribute.

One can only hope that at this point the news media falls on its own petard, which seems likely to happen. According to some polls, fewer that 1/3 of Americans trust the news media. I suspect that the number is even higher than that. I’ve never been polled, and probably wouldn’t respond to one if I were polled. I suspect there are large number of Americans that feel similarly.

With respect to the universities: Williams offers the best, and probably only solution to the problem:

Americans who see themselves as either liberal or conservative should rise up against this totalitarian trend on America’s college campuses. I believe the most effective way to do so is to hit these campus tyrants where it hurts the most — in the pocketbook. Lawmakers should slash budgets, and donors should keep their money in their pockets.

I agree entirely.

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