Academic Freedom or Academic Censorship?
by Dr. Larry Fedewa
Many Americans have been shocked and dismayed by the lawless behavior of students on several campuses protesting conservative speakers, harassing conservative students, and censoring student publications. What is going on? What has happened to the university as the bastion of free speech?
There are two keys to understanding these demonstrations:
- First, these student protests are flourishing in an environment fostered by the faculties at these institutions; and
- Second, the faculty preaches dogmas which mark a generational shift in values.
The fundamental analysis therefore must begin with the faculty. Student behavior is primarily an acting out of faculty teaching. Administrators, while generally sympathetic to the students, are caught between angry students and their Boards and other supporters demanding a stop to these outrageous demonstrations.
What is the faculty teaching and why?
An ideology has developed over the past two generations which has several names, such as the New Left, secular humanism and others, as well as several differing versions. The dedication to this ideology on the part of its true believers cannot be overestimated. It is based on a series of high moral convictions which are common to most variations of the new doctrine:
- the absolute equality of ALL human beings, no matter their age, race, gender, physical capacities, religion or social position;
- a central reality of this dogma is the existence of a universal racism in the America;
- the absolute obligation to oppose ALL limitations on human behavior whether religious, civil law, or cultural prejudice;
- to protect and foster government control of all institutions
- any means of furthering these ideals is justified, including physical violence and terrorism, since there is a war against traditionalists for control of society.
These high moral goals motivate the feeling of superiority which is characteristic of the New Left, as well as the ferocity with which they attack their opponents. In the most dedicated adherents of the New Left, there is a religious fervor not unlike that which motivates the radical Islamists. Those who disagree must be defeated at any cost, even at the cost of their destruction. The New Left are not as violent as the Islamic extremists, but there are similarities.
The New Left’s 2008 victory
In 2008, they finally won their long battle for control of the American government. They elected Barack Hussein Obama as President with a Democrat Congress to back him up. It took the Great Recession to do it. But the New Left — spawned by the crisis of 1968, hardened by 40 years in the wilderness, and preaching an expanded view of human equality, anti-war idealism, anti-business bias, an anti-family and anti-religion world-view – the New Left now finally controlled the federal government of the United States of America.
The New Left’s reaction to the 2016 election of the deplorable Donald Trump
The main reason for the extreme reaction of the New Left to the election of Donald Trump is that they were convinced they had finally won their generational battle with the silent majority. They were so intoxicated by the victories of Barack Obama – especially after he defeated businessman Mitt Romney in 2012 – that LOSING was unthinkable! They had been confident that they now controlled the future of America.
The New Left values dominated, they believed, the new American culture, never again to be denied. The Democrat Party, one of only two major political parties in the United States, had become the vessel of the New Left, and was considered by all the New Left press and pundits to be firmly enthroned as the majority party for the foreseeable future. Their agenda had already skipped over the 2016 election and concentrated on what their next priority, climate change, meant to the world.
Then the deplorable Donald Trump won the presidency! His Republicans won both Houses of Congress, and most of the governorships and state legislatures! The man who had threatened to undue most of what Obama did was now in the position to do it!
How could this happen? Their answer: The New Left had allowed the Old Left to control the Democratic nomination until it was too late. Throughout the campaign that followed, they were continually referred to as “the status quo”, and most gallingly as “the establishment”! That critical mistake, they opined, opened the door to the silent majority – who finally spoke.
Does it mean, they asked, that we are now destined to return to the shadows, that we never really won the hearts and minds of the American people? That America is condemned to live forever in free market capitalism, restricted immigration, a monetary economy, a war-like world? Must we now accept the possibility that all our beliefs about the society and the nature of human beings have been false?
The New Left enclaves: universities, big cities, and the media
In New Left enclaves, such as the universities and the big cities and the media, the outcome of the election just cannot be accepted without a fight. “Send out the students, the activists, the camp followers – TV will cover. Somewhere someone will figure out a way to destroy the opposition, reverse the election, and return the nation to sanity.”
Opposing the university’s New Left
This is what we are up against in the universities and in American society. The only way to regain control of the hearts and minds of our youth is to teach them ourselves the meaning of the Constitution, the value of capitalism limited by laws, and the moral values of our religious heritage. Most of all, it is up to parents, coaches, and clergy to arm our own youth with the understandings to stand up against the faculties who proselytize the doctrines of the New Left in our schools. This begins with local school boards, with student-centered financing of education, with sharpened protections of free speech on our campuses — especially publicly funded institutions — and by protection of students who are in effect whistle-blowers on extremist teachers and professors.
All such activities must be conducted with a careful view toward protecting the freedom of speech even of the extremists. That can only be done with a liberal use of freedom of choices by individual students, namely, careful selection of schools and colleges and scrutiny of required courses, and of parents supporting school choice. Persecution of violators, however defined, would simply desecrate the mandates in the American
Constitution. Witch hunts are not recommended. We can only fight excesses of freedom by providing more options of freedom. But fight it we must – or we will lose another generation of young Americans!
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