Not long ago, universities in the United States were a place where students could go to expand their horizons and expose themselves to viewpoints different than the ones they grew up hearing. Universities were a launching pad into the real world – a world where people must learn to keep an open mind and work with others even if they don’t agree with them.
Unfortunately, those days are in the past. Now, most of the nation’s universities are a factory for far-left ideologies, producing students who all act, think, and behave in the exact same way and teaching them to quickly suffocating any ideas that don’t fit within their narrow viewpoint.
It’s gotten so bad recently that free speech itself – one of the most fundamental pillars of our great nation – is in danger. This serious issue is one that Senator Chuck Grassley recently addressed in a congressional hearing where he chastised American universities for their assault on free speech.
Senator Grassley opened his remarks by saying, “Higher education rests on the free flow of ideas. Education requires that positions be held tentatively, tested by opposing arguments that are rationally considered, and evaluated. All colleges, therefore, must protect free speech. Public institutions must adhere to the various guarantees of the First Amendment.”
The Iowa lawmaker went on to cite a number of troubling incidents in which universities allowed students to violently prohibit professors, speakers, and other students from expressing opinions that they disagreed with.
At UC Berkeley, belligerent mobs of students protested the fact that conservative figures including Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos were scheduled to speak at the university. Rather than discipline the students and getting their campus under control, UC Berkely officials canceled the events.
At Middlebury College, students went as far a pulling a fire alarm and physically assaulting an event moderator to keep Dr. Charles Murray from speaking. In spite of the fact that the professor moderating the event was so seriously injured that she is still recovering, the punishment that Middlebury College handed down to the students responsible amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist. No students were expelled or even suspended, and Dr. Charles
Murray said that the lax consequences of their actions would do nothing to discourage incidents like this from happening again in the future.
Thus has been the status quo for universities as of late. Students are indoctrinated that any viewpoint they disagree with is “hate speech”, and when these students lash out violently against those they disagree with, the university casts a blind eye.
Later on in his testimony, Senator Grassley said that, “On too many campuses today, free speech appears to be sacrificed at the altar of political correctness. Many administrators believe that students should be shielded from hate speech, whatever that is, as an exception to the First Amendment. Unfortunately, this censorship is no different from any other examples in history, when speech that authorities deemed to be heretical has been suppressed based on its content.”
Indeed, what’s happening in our nation’s universities does have frightening parallels. In a nation where ideas are restricted and opposing viewpoints are shouted down, democracy cannot flourish. It’s not difficult to imagine the suppression of free speech in American universities being the first rung on a ladder to a system such as North Korea’s, in which people are arrested for expressing any opposing viewpoint.
Regardless of whether you are a conservative, a liberal, or anywhere in-between, we’re all Americans, and as Americans, we must recognize the threat that stifling free speech presents to our democracy, especially in places tasked with making our youth more economically valuable.
If we continue allowing universities to perpetuate this lie that opposing viewpoints are automatically hateful and dangerous, then the results are going to be catastrophic. If we continue allowing violent actions such as those taken by the students at UC Berkeley and Middlebury College to go completely unchanged, then the results are going to be catastrophic.
The recent congressional hearing on whether or not universities were guilty of suppressing free speech as well as the testimonies from brave leaders such as Senator Grassley is a step in the right direction, but there is still plenty of work to be done before we are able to correct this serious issue.
~ Conservative Zone