Stifled Voices: Universities Are Leaning Into Authoritarian Marxist Tactics to Silence Dissent

AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File

Marxism isn’t just a set of ideas being promulgated in the realm of academia, it is increasingly becoming the rule of law on university campuses across the country. It seems there are even more stories detailing how educators, administrators, and even students are enforcing far-leftist beliefs on those involved in higher education.

What is chilling about this current trend is the reality that these ideas are not being spread through persuasion and thought-provoking discussions. Rather, they are being foisted upon people under the threat of punishment for those who do not comply with the precepts of woke Marxist thought. Even professors are not immune.

Several college professors have been fired from their jobs over the past few years for speaking out against DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) initiatives, as well as other examples of wokeism that have pervaded most universities. These firings highlight a disturbing departure from the foundational tenets of free speech and debate within the halls of academia.

Matthew Garrett, a former professor of U.S. History and Native American history at Bakersfield College in California, was fired in May over disagreements on several progressive ideas. He is now suing the school to get his job back.

He fears colleges have lost their purpose in fostering free speech and debates over opposing ideas, in pursuit of a singular political viewpoint.

"The college is no longer a place where you can have these interesting debates on ideas. That's the purpose of college, right?" Garrett said. "We created the university, a thousand years ago, in order to flesh out these ideas and figure out what is truth, to figure out what is right. And you do that by clashing ideas together, and you sort through it all. And you can't do that anymore in the modern university because it's a violation of these new sacred cows that can't be touched."

Garrett continued, noting that DEI is “perhaps just a façade to get toward narrowing the pool to the people they really want,” and insisted that the whole endeavor is about “finding people who have the same viewpoints” by using diversity trainings and mandates “to really filter out people that don’t have the right viewpoints.”

David Richardson, a history professor at Madera Community College in California, was suspended for bringing “anti-woke” chocolate bars poking fun at pronouns to a school event. This offended one of his colleagues, who complained.

Richardson is also suing his school:

Richardson is a plaintiff named in the FIRE lawsuit against California's community colleges over its new mandated diversity requirements. Like Garrett, he thinks these standards "eliminate" diversity of viewpoint and create a chilling effect on free speech.

"I know that there are a lot of people, faculty members out there who don't agree with this. But they're too intimidated… That part of it is a little bit frustrating, because I think if more people actually stood up, it would be much more difficult for the administration to sort of ram these things through," Richardson said.

Lastly, biology professor Dr. Johnson Varkey also lost his job at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas, for discussing differences between women and men:

Last November, some students walked out of his classroom after he stated sex was determined by X and Y chromosomes. Despite the fact that Varkey taught from a school-approved and science-based curriculum, St. Philip's College said his teaching was religious and terminated him in January. He recently filed a religious discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

"As an adjunct professor, Dr. Varkey taught Human Anatomy and Physiology to more than 1,500 students since 2004. He consistently received exemplary performance reviews and was never subject to discipline in his two-decade career. He never discussed with any student his personal views—religious or otherwise—on human gender or sexuality," First Liberty Institute, the law firm representing Varkey, said. The firm is demanding he be reinstated to his position.

These are only a few of the many instances in which professors and students have faced punishment for expressing viewpoints that run afoul of the Woke Sanhedrin. This paradigm has become commonplace on far too many campuses. But if one stops to think about it, it seems clear that this behavior is natural to the Marxist mind.

The notion that dissent should be strictly penalized is part of the hard left’s political DNA. Those living under authoritarian Marxist governments, historically, have dealt with various consequences for speaking out against the established order. These punishments included imprisonment and even death.

Sure, in America, Marxist authoritarianism manifests as getting someone fired from their job, not imprisonment. But the mindset behind both approaches is similar. The notion that people should be allowed to debate ideas freely is anathema to the Marxists, who believe their views should be adhered to no matter what the people think. This is why they have no problem using authority or government to mete out serious consequences to those who dare go against the grain.

On its face, the idea of fostering an environment in which people from differing backgrounds and cultures can thrive and contribute isn’t a bad one. There is nothing wrong with diversity, per se. But the progressive version of the idea is precisely what Garrett said it was: a way to weed people out and force their ideology on everyone else regardless of what they think. This is quintessential Marxist authoritarianism, and, unfortunately, it has taken over academia.


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