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Have Our Students Turned into Moral Monsters Who Hate Free Speech?

by Dennis Prager

After a half-century of rhetoric about conservatives, liberals shouldn’t be surprised when students treat Charles Murray like a mortal enemy.

In the last few weeks, there has been a spate of columns by writers on the left condemning the left-wing college students who riot, take over university buildings, and shout down speakers they differ with.

These condemnations, coming about 50 years too late, should not be taken seriously. Take New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. His most recent column is filled with dismay over the way Middlebury College students attacked Charles Murray and the liberal female professor who invited him to Middlebury (she was injured by the rioters).

I have no doubt that Bruni is sincere. Sincerity, however, is completely unrelated to wisdom or insight. Here’s the problem: It is the Left that transformed universities into the moral and intellectual wastelands most now are.

It is the Left that created the moral monsters known as left-wing students who do not believe in free speech, let alone tolerance. It is the Left that has taught generations of young Americans that America is essentially a despicable society, racist and xenophobic to its core.

It is the Left that came up with the lie that the university has been overrun by a “culture of rape.”

It is the Left that taught generations of Americans that everyone on the right is sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist, and bigoted. It is the Left that is anti-intellectual, teaching students to substitute feelings for reason.

It is the Left that removed the portrait of Shakespeare hanging at the English department of the University of Pennsylvania because Shakespeare is a white male — thereby teaching college students that art is not measured by excellence or by the pursuit of truth but by race, gender, and class.

It is the Left that has transformed the Founders of the United States from great men creating the freest and most affluent society in human society into rich, white, racist males who created a racist, colonialist, imperialist, women-hating, foreigner-hating, non-white-hating society.

Middlebury College students turn their backs to Charles Murray, unseen, who they call a white nationalist, during his lecture in Middlebury, Vt., Thursday, March 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

Middlebury College students turn their backs to Charles Murray, unseen, who they call a white nationalist, during his lecture in Middlebury, Vt., Thursday, March 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

Two of Frank Bruni’s fellow New York Times columnists — Paul Krugman and Charles Blow — vie with one another to write hate-filled hysteria regarding conservatives, Republicans, and the president. What are students who read Blow supposed to conclude when Blow declares President Donald Trump “madman of the year,” “a parasite,” and a “demi-fascist,” and writes that the battle against Trump is “about democracy and fascism, war and peace, life and death”? Can we expect them to conclude that they should be respectful of conservatives who come to campus?

How are students who read Krugman supposed to react to Republicans coming to their campus? On the very day in January 2011 that Jared Loughner murdered six people and gravely wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., Krugman wrote that the murders were a result of hate-filled rhetoric coming from conservatives and Republicans:

“When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen? Put me in the latter category. . . . It’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence. Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: It’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.”

Why would students want to allow people who engage in “eliminationist rhetoric” to speak on their campus?

And what about all the leftists who routinely use the word “resistance,” a word connoting a battle against Nazi-like tyranny, instead of the usual word, “opposition,” to denote political disagreement? What should students conclude about that? Isn’t rioting a legitimate form of “resistance” when a representative of “tyranny” comes to campus?

To cite but one more example, if students believe the left-wing hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, when it labels Ayaan Hirsi Ali an “anti-Islamic extremist,” is it any wonder that they and their professors at Brandeis University would rescind the university’s invitation to this courageous Somali-American woman, the great defender of women in the Islamic world?

After this half-century of left-wing teaching and hateful rhetoric, the tears of the Frank Brunis and others on the left mean nothing. Their leftist thinking spawned this catastrophe. Until they take responsibility for it, they are not to be taken seriously.

Short URL: http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=8480

7 Comments for “Have Our Students Turned into Moral Monsters Who Hate Free Speech?”

  1. Nancy West-Diangelo

    It’s as if we’ve lost the ability to listen critically. If the point of the work we do with our students is to teach them to think critically, shouldn’t they be able to do the same thing when attending a lecture? The substance of the lecture is, of course, important and merits thoughtful debate, but unless our students are prepared to listen—even to ideas they find repugnant—aren’t we failing to do our jobs?

  2. Michele Spino Martindill

    White supremacy has had hundreds of years to dominate campus environments and doesn’t need to be given any more space to spew its hatred. There is no such thing as free speech; all speech comes with a responsibility to support it with research and to not use it to further oppress marginalized groups. If white supremacists are attacked on campuses, consider it self-defense on the part of the groups white supremacists are trying to silence.

  3. Freddi-Jo Bruschke

    Seriously? The Southern Poverty Law Center is a “left wing hate group”? Tolerance does not mean you get to say whatever you want without receiving critique. Critique does not make you a victim.

    • Critique is one thing: preventing someone from even speaking is another. There has been a definite tendency among many left-leaning groups like BLM to shut down campus speakers with whom they disagree. I don’t know any groups on the right that have been doing this.

    • Tolerance certainly doesn’t mean you get to say things you cannot prove, about things that ought to be subject to proof, in an academic setting.

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