It was the late, not-so-great “historian” and rewriter of American history, Howard Zinn- a stone cold liberal of the worst kind (perhaps as low or lower than Noam Chomsky)- who said that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” But, how hollow those words ring true in today’s world, especially when the Left has seized the reigns of power in the media and academia. For you see, dissent in the mind of the liberal is only patriotic when that dissent is directed at anything other than compliance with their vision and agenda. It is an elitist attitude that they- and only they- know what is best or the correct course of action. It is intellectual snobbery devoid of intellect.
Now that they have seized these reigns of power, their goal is to actually stifle, suppress or drown out dissent. They will even stifle, suppress and drown out their own should they stray from the ideological line and dare to question- that is, dissent from- the liberal consensus.
It costs $60,000 a year to attend Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Commenting on this very subject, a student named Erin Ching actually wrote the following: “What really bothered me is the whole idea that at a liberal arts college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion.” One can dismiss the musings of a millennial still in the incubator of higher education, not the real world. But unfortunately, there are many, many other Erin Chings out there who think the same way. Ching may have inadvertently and accurately expressed the voice of a generation: Let’s celebrate diversity by enforcing conformity.
The world seems to be topsy-turvy these days. In days gone by, it was radical liberals leading free speech campaigns on college campuses- the most noticeable battleground in this area. Yet today, it is only conservative websites and writers who seem concerned about the stifling of opposite ideas. The notions of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” are a real thing on college campuses.
Thinking about it, the Left has actually reverted to an infantile or kindergarten mode of thinking. If you oppose these nonsensical inventions like trigger warnings or safe spaces, you are insensitive at best and a hater at worst. That is the mentality of a 5-year-old on the playground. But it is also sadly effective. Through the intimidation of labels on the true dissenters, it ultimately silences the dissenter.
It is also highly hypocritical. The Left is big on diversity when it comes to race, creed, color, national origin, or sex- even creating whole new classifications of sex based upon “identity.” Yet when it comes to diversity of thought which trumps race, creed, color, national origin and sex, there are no brakes on the suppression of that diversity.
In actuality, it is cowardice. They are afraid to hear any opinion or idea that goes against their mindset. For example, liberal campus speakers outnumber conservative ones 100 to 1 according to one analysis. But one would be hard-pressed to see safe spaces popping up or trigger warnings issued or demonstrations against the appearance of liberal speakers. Probability theory alone suggests there should be more such examples, but it is hard to come up with five.
It is one thing to rail against this state of affairs, but there are some within the conservative community who will not plainly point the finger at the Left. Even some letters by respected conservatives in newspapers fail to do so and pussyfoot away from placing blame on the Left. And it is not just academia. The Los Angeles Times adopted a policy of not publishing any article or letter to the editor that even suggests that man-made climate change is exagerrated or unreal. Imagine that: a pre-eminent climate expert who may disagree with the liberal orthodoxy is silenced by a “free press.” Popular Science followed suit.
Part of the problem is that conservatives focus their attacks and criticisms on individuals, not the entire Left. All the individual attacks are meaningless since the individual is simply a parrot of the “party line.” The entire concept of “political correctness” is that which is anything acceptable to the Left. If not acceptable to the Left, you are “politically incorrect.”
The great conservative William F. Buckley once noted: “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” Today, they do not even want to hear the possibility of opposing views. Instead, they erroneously label these opposing views “hate speech.” There are even some conservatives who view certain comments as “hate speech.” But the Left and even the conservative is hard-pressed to come up with a working definition of hate speech. It is isn’t that they want to ban “hate speech;” they want to ban speech with which they disagree.
Of course, there is the problem of enforcement. Perhaps when drafting these policies on college campuses, or even in legislatures, one should think ahead a little and say, “What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if those crazy conservatives seize the reigns of power? How will this law or policy affect me and my speech?” But that thought exercise may be beyond the grasp of the infantile Left.
The reason the Left endorses speech and thought suppression is not hard to discern: they do not like nor do they wish to have their beliefs challenged. Thinking that one is impervious to criticism and dissent is much better than actually confronting criticism and dissent. And thinking they are true “patriots,” they often when not outright banning certain speech or intimidating certain speakers, revert to stating that some speech that breaks from their orthodoxy is “problematic.” You know they think this when they start labeling the opposing speech with the “-ist” suffix.
One of the great ironies of this past election was the Left’s labeling of Donald Trump as a “hater,” a “divisive voice,” and as an authoritarian ruler wannabe bordering on fascism (when he wasn’t being called an actual “fascist”). What can be more “fascist” than colleges and universities and media outlets mimicking true fascism by ruining the careers of dissenters, penalizing dissenting students, not hiring dissenting voices, rescinding speaking invitations to dissenters, shouting down dissenting voices, etc.? The media and college administrators are today’s brown shirts with neck ties, tailored suits and man-buns.
As Purdue University President and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said, “If universities want to embarrass themselves with their behavior, allowing people to be shouted down or disinvited, that’s their problem. But if they’re spawning a bunch of little authoritarians with an inverted view of our basic freedoms, that’s everybody’s problem.” [Emphasis mine] Donald Trump was many things, but the one thing he was not was the bringer of fascism to America. The Left has already achieved that goal.