April 30, 2022

The progressive elites are having a meltdown following the announcement of Elon Musk’s buyout of Twitter. At The View, the ever-thoughtful Sunny Hostin proclaimed that Elon Musk only wanted to protect the free speech of “straight white men.” At NBC, correspondent Jo Ling Kent predicted a surge in safety problems “especially for women and minorities.” CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell warned that Twitter will become a “haven for disinformation and hate speech.” 

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Nothing of the sort will happen, of course, except for the overblown incantations of the Cultural Marxists. 

And what about colleges and universities? Thanks to the vagaries of political correctness, U.S. colleges have become an intellectual backwater. The effects of Marxist ideology are evident in terms of widespread speech codes, promotion of “critical” theories, and other campus practices that seek to vitiate basic cultural precepts. 

The dismal state of campus free speech is revealed by a recent survey of 481 colleges that reported only 12% of colleges received a “green-light” rating. But a green-light score is not as impressive as it sounds. It only means that the school has no written policies that directly imperil free speech. The rating does not signify that right-of-center student groups can hold events without harassment, that professors allow free-wheeling classroom debates, or that white males are not subjected to villainous stereotypes. 

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Second are the “critical” theories, philosophies that classify, stereotype, and divide persons based on their race or sex. According to criticalrace.org, more than 200 colleges and universities around the country are now promoting Critical Race Theory. CRT’s first cousin, Critical Feminist Theory, dogmatically insists that gender oppression is endemic in American society, and is widely embraced by university women’s studies programs. 

Noting that the educational system is “central in transmitting and preserving the ideology of whatever class dominates society,” Cal State University professor Glynn Custred explains that doctrines of critical race theory, intersectionality, and identity politics are “clearly rooted in Marxist doctrine.” 

And third are the persons who engage in “crazy-making,” practices that aim to undermine basic cultural precepts about human biology, race, and spirituality. These are a few of many examples: 

  • At Columbia University, women are now referred to as “people with uteruses.”
  • Carlow University in Pittsburgh hosted an event at which the speaker argued white people should “crucify their whiteness” and called for the embrace of “hopelessness.”
  • Duke Divinity School hosted a Pride Worship Service at which students prayed to the “Great Queer One.”

Recent developments offer hope that we may be breaking free from the intellectual straight-jacket that now encumbers campus discourse: 

  1. Oklahoma: Governor Kevin Stitt signed HB 3543 into law, which will establish the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee to review First Amendment complaints at public universities in the state.
  2. Florida: Last Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that the University of Central Florida’s broadly worded free speech policy violates the First Amendment. In a 38-page decision, Judge Kevin Newsom wrote the UCF policy “objectively chills speech because its operation would cause a reasonable student to fear expressing potentially unpopular beliefs.”
  3. Ohio: Shawnee State University agreed to pay philosophy professor Nick Meriwether $400,000 after disciplining him for not using a transgender student’s preferred pronouns.

Unfortunately, a new threat to campus free speech now looms…

In May, the federal Department of Education is expected to release a draft Title IX regulation that many fear will eliminate the presumption of innocence and reduce due process protections for students and faculty members accused of flouting campus speech codes.