Today’s college campuses are rapidly becoming anti-free speech zones as political correctness policies continue to crop up like thistle patches. But more and more students are fighting back against the totalitarian tide. We took a moment to wonder, how are they not yet expelled?
It’s true that student unions are running the show these days in America’s and Europe’s college campuses. It has become quite fashionable to shut down conservative and libertarian ideas out of hand by slamming their champions with allegations of harassment, hate speech, and even rape apology.
But the Safe Space Policy warriors of today’s student unions are not a flash in the pan. They are the product of policies and enduring trends in leftist ideology which has reined in the institutions of higher learning since the late 1960s.
Student Unions are being used like truncheons against anything or anyone who disagrees with progressive values. It’s gotten to the point that even referring to a person as an ethnic minority which might be superficially similar to the one they actually represent could get a person marked down as a hate criminal resulting in serious academic repercussions.
How do they get away with it? By claiming that their bans, prohibitions, book burnings (yes, this is not an exaggeration- they are burning books), have been demanded by a democratic mandate. They claim their policies are, in a word, popular. That is a bald-faced lie, as any tour of American campuses will show within minutes.
Most students are not totalitarian leftists with an ax to grind. Many, however, think otherwise- that is- they believe the democratic consensus the SUs are claiming really exists. They have been fooled. The end result is that most college students are frightened into silence. After all, the consequences of free speech- while unpopular- are still real.
As always, thankfully, there are a few who will not be intimidated and will not be silent. Many politically minded students who happen to disagree with the far left have simply taken their soap boxes off campus.
George Lawlor, who dared to express dissent against mandatory rape classes for boys, said that a decent, respectful young man, aged 19, 20, 21, should not have to be subjected to the insult that he is a rapist in the making and be made to take a class which assumes that he is simply because of his gender. Lawlor recalls being threatened, harassed and even eventually attacked for his views- leaving one with the question of who the real hooligans are.
Eleanor Sharman and Jake Hurfurt started an independent student newspaper called Versa in order to be able to write stories that may conflict with school sanctioned views. Sharman speaks of the “self-care culture” on campus, which expects young women to believe that they are bitterly oppressed by a patriarchal system. Young women are asked to participate in finger-painting, knitting, and other such infantilizing group sessions in the name of feminism and empowerment.
It is a culture, she argues, that belittles women and turns them into permanent children, unable to endure disagreement long enough to form high-quality arguments of their own. Rather, than engaging in debate, they run to a campus safe room and file assault charges against anyone who challenges their political views.
Jake Hurfurt says student protests have turned toxic. Student protests against conservative speakers and ideas have the goal of barring access to events and shutting down groups they disagree with. This- rather than simply standing in protest outside of an event which they happen to disagree with in order to simply have their views heard- is a product of the totalitarian mindset, and the student unions are supporting it. It is as if extreme left wing views have special protection on campus while libertarian and conservative views are seen as fair game.
Jacob Williams started a student paper called No Offense which was to be an ongoing collection of conservative arguments on subjects that have become articles of faith on the left. The paper helps exposed freshman students to ideas from which they would otherwise be sheltered from their entire academic careers. The Student Union forbade him from disseminating the first issue at a student fair and an anonymous party filed accusations of hate speech against him. He was not charged after a brief police investigation, but not all students like him are so lucky.
The rise of the totalitarian student left has been growing for decades and is now coming to a head. The good news is that their movement has become so insular that it cannot form cogent arguments. The bad news is they represent a very influential force in western society. Only now, when the PC extremists have begun to overstep their bounds has sympathy for their political opponents begun to grow- and chances are- the future of the free world will depend on them.