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Equality not required.

May 30, 2017

Yesterday we celebrated the lives of men and women who defended to the death the rights of all people to be free from tyranny and suppression of liberty.

You can’t help but wonder what they would think of the state of the country they fought and died  for today.  So many things are the antithesis of what they were defending.

For example, the rise of faculty condoned anarchist behavior and hate speech on our college campuses.

For some reason, lately  it seems the only time hate speech and violence are OK is (a) if it’s directed at a white person by any other race, and (b) when it happens on a college campus.

The latest exhibition of that to hit the news is the report that a white, self-described “deeply  progressive person” and a biology professor at a taxpayer-funded college was accosted by a group of students. They objected to his email defying the student demands (the students say it was an “invitation” to leave the campus) that all white people leave the grounds of  Olympia, Washington’s Evergreen State College for a day.

The professor’s email, said to have been reproduced in its entirety in this May 26,  Washington Post article attributed to Eugene Volokh took issue with the students turning what had traditionally been a day dedicated to voluntary and college-sanctioned off-campus acts of protest into a forcible banishment of white people from the grounds of the college.

It is worth watching the video of Professor Bret Weinstein’s recitation of the events of May 25 to get his side of the story in his own words, including his verification of the report that he was told to stay off-campus because the campus police could not guarantee his safety. He ultimately did have to hold classes off campus.

It’s interesting to note that not only were the students not disciplined for their actions, but the college, perhaps bowing to the threat of violence from the students, is said to be honoring most of their list of demands.

While the college president is reported to have denied the demand that Professor Weinstein be fired, he apparently made a number of other concessions to them, including the guarantee of more “safe spaces.”  Safe from what? Opposing viewpoints?

This story would be bad enough if it was an isolated incident, but as we can all see for ourselves, it isn’t. Although it’s doubtful that most of the stories are ever profiled on national programs, anecdotal reports from students suggest it is happening all over the country, with one young man saying his campus feels like a war zone.

It is so, so tempting to sit back and say “Hey, liberal progressives, how do like it when the culture you have spent two generations creating turns on you?”

It’s also tempting to say that what these spoiled brats need is a good swift kick in the pants.

It’s tempting but it’s wrong. This isn’t just a college phenomenon.  Over the past 50 years it’s become a deeply rooted sub-culture that starts indoctrinating the kids as early as first grade.

It continues right through school and even into the workplace. Every high school and college student in the country learns early on that exercising their right to freedom of thought and expression can drop their grade point average considerably if the instructor is a liberal. The power of the grade is a powerful intimidating influence.

Perhaps that explains why a recent survey shows nearly twice as many first year college students identifying as liberal or far left than as conservative or far right (35.5% to 22.2%).

This can still be handled, but it can’t be done by excusing the behavior, or ignoring the philosophy behind it.

Judging strictly by the displays and attempts to justify them, this seems to be partly about Donald Trump winning the election, and partly about, as one student’s tee shirt put it, “We must make white people suffer for 200 years like my people did.”

So what could we do that might be constructive?

School boards could adopt district-wide policies requiring instructors to keep their personal political views out of the classroom, and grade according to academic standards, not political, ethnic or racial allegiances. Subtle pressure, such as assignments that are intended to create division between students along racial or socio-economic lines should be disallowed.

Colleges could resist pressure from alumni donors to offer classes favoring a specific political philosophy, a quid pro quo often tacitly required in exchange for funding campus infrastructure.

The judicial system could better define free speech. There is a disturbing trend to hide behind the First Amendment while simultaneously repressing the free speech of others, or while advocating violence.  There really is a difference between inciting a riot, and expressing your personal opinions.

This was not students exercising their right of free speech at Evergreen. It was a mob.

Ideally, every one of those Evergreen students that defied the police, threatened the professor and the college itself with violence, and held the campus police hostage in their own offices should be expelled, and charged with criminal violations where appropriate.

That’s what should happen, but it seems that it never does, and it didn’t happen this time either.

These aren’t underprivileged and underemployed youth, any more than a newborn rattlesnake is just a cute little worm.

Remember, given the right circumstances, even a baby rattlesnake can hurt you if it gets close enough to bite.

From → op-ed

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