Campus Progressives Are About to Fall Out of Love With Speech Codes

Credit: Alex Chris via Flickr Creative Commons

Credit: Alex Chris via Flickr Creative Commons


One of the wonders of this age is that we’ve seen universities, which were founded on the principle of intellectual freedom and inquiry, relegate free speech to ghettos called, in best Orwellian fashion, “free speech zones.” Professors give “trigger warnings” lest large numbers of their students be unable to handle uncomfortable truths…like there are only two genders. Alongside this, many institutions have actually banned speech that might lead to hurt feelings among certain privileged groups.

The two gaps in the whole fascist regime of limiting speech are white males, there are no legal limits on what you can say or even do to them, and Jews. Jews, in general, and Israelis, in particular, should be considered minorities and deserving of protection but because of leftist politics, they aren’t.

Thanks to Betsy DeVos, though, the left is about to discover that speech codes cut both ways.

In a recent letter to the Zionist Organization of America, a conservative group that has for years fought what it believes is widespread bias against Israel at colleges, the office said it would relaunch an investigation about Rutgers that closed four years ago under the Obama administration.

In the letter, the department said it would examine reports of discrimination on campus against Jewish people as an ethnic group and for the first time defined what it counts as anti-Semitism.

The letter listed Holocaust denial — a widely agreed upon sign of anti-Jewish beliefs — alongside common pro-Palestinian activist refrains, such as saying that “the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor.” Calling Israel racist was listed under “denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination.” Another example of anti-Semitism, according to the letter, included “applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

The definition, taken from the State Department and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, has alarmed student activists and pro-Palestinian groups that fear the Trump administration will launch more investigations on colleges for their students and professors’ pro-Palestinian activities that criticize Israeli policies. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the department can investigate colleges and universities that receive federal money for discrimination against race, color or national origin and revoke funding.

“This is an attack on the 1st Amendment,” said Samer Alhato, a Palestinian American student at St. Xavier University in Chicago and member of Students for Justice in Palestine, a organization behind protests criticizing Israel that has chapters on dozens of college campuses.

Just like the Vichy wing of the conservative movement is all happy with Google, Facebook, and Twitter restricting unapproved speech, I’m sure that in a few days some luminaries from National Review and Weekly Standard will be sniveling about how this rule is wrong and we all should be bigger and better than the other side so that our virtue will be unbesmirched when we’re marched off to the camps. In fact, I’ll be shocked if they don’t. But that really doesn’t matter. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The only way we are going to get these goobers to decide that having other people, possibly people who really don’t like you and who would like to see you die a slow and painful death, decide what you can say and when you can say it is a bad idea is to, as the prophet said, make them live by their own rules. This is one small step in that direction.

The fact that this new rule is causing howling shows just how deeply anti-Semitic these anti-Israel groups are and how used they are to being able to spread their hate and lies and have it amplified by university professors and staff who sympathize with them.

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