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Campus Dissent Felled by Resurgent Orwellian State

As published in Newsmax

It's open season on the few remaining academics with the courage to differ from campus political orthodoxy.

Imagine that you are a political science professor teaching a course on "Racism in America." You describe a lynching and read out loud Martin Luther King's famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" which includes the N-word. You will be investigated by your school for being racially insensitive and incendiary.

That's what happened to Professor W. Ajax Peris at UCLA.

Imagine that you are a law school professor and you posted on your personal blog an entry criticizing the rioting, arson and looting occurring across the nation in response to George Floyd's death. You point out that the Black Lives Matter narrative, "Hands up, don't shoot!" is based on falsehoods.

You, too, would be castigated and libeled by your dean. That's what happened to Professor William Jacobson of Cornell University, who faces a student boycott of his classes and is being attacked by 21 faculty peers who called him a racist in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Imagine that you are a distinguished economist who criticizes BLM for their "defund the police" advocacy. Your university suspends you as editor of their prestigious Journal of Political Economy.

That's what happened to Professor Harald Uhlig of the University of Chicago.

The school also chose to investigate him for classroom discriminatory behavior alleged to have occurred six years ago. Uhlig's shaming and de-frocking by the university caused the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to terminate his position as "scholar."

If you were the recently hired dean of UMass Lowell's School of Nursing and, in a communication expressing sympathy for the BLM movement, included the words, "Everyone's life matters," you will be fired from you position. That's what happened to Dean Leslie Neal-Boylan.

Faculty members who, in any way, contradict the prevailing narrative of systemic American racism or demonstrate insensitivity toward "protected groups" must be prepared to have their reputations, careers and livelihoods destroyed.

Those who control our universities claim that our First Amendment right to free expression is used as cover for hate speech attacking Blacks and other minority groups. They reject this constitutional principle as the outdated thinking of old white men.

The primary function of a university is no longer to discover and impart knowledge by means of research and teaching. Instead, the current mission is to promote social justice for those claiming to face oppression from the "powerful white privileged."

Maintaining the campus as a safe environment for these "victimized" groups, one that promotes their feelings of self-respect and wellbeing, is considered essential to this purpose.

In a 1974 report, Yale University affirmed the importance of freedom of expression, even of hateful ideas, in achieving the university's goals: "The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.

"Free speech is a barrier to the tyranny of authoritarian or even majority opinion as to the rightness or wrongness of particular doctrines or thoughts. . . . It may sometimes be necessary . . . for civility and mutual respect to be superseded by the need to guarantee free expression. The argument that free speech that violates social and ethical considerations entitles others to prevent speech they may regard as offensive must be rejected."

That was then. Today, colleges and universities espouse the idea that eliminating hate speech is more important than protecting free speech. And hate speech is defined as any speech or expression that can be construed as malicious advocacy of racist or imperialist ideas or is "insensitive" to the "powerless."

Such speech is not tolerated.

Criticism of the BLM movement is seen as an attack on all Black people. Discussion of welfare policies is labeled a racist dog whistle. Using words like "wife," "white paper" or "illegal" immigrant is condemned and violators are forced to re-educate themselves through diversity, sensitivity and gender-identity training.

In a 2017 Gallop/Knight survey, 64% of college students felt that hate speech should not be protected by the U.S. Constitution and 73% supported policies that legally restrict offensive slurs.

What has happened on campus has migrated to the public square — to our politics and culture. If you doubt that, open a newspaper, turn on the TV, watch a movie, read a book.

In his novel "1984," George Orwell wrote about a society where free speech and thought are outlawed and conformity of thought is demanded: "Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. … History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."

Sound familiar?

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