Where’s the di­ver­sity of opin­ion?

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - OPINION - Con­tact Cal Thomas at tcaed­i­tors@tribpub.com.

If it were a plague, the gov­ern­ment would rush to quar­an­tine the in­fected, as oc­curred dur­ing Europe’s Black Death in the 14th cen­tury.

An im­mi­gra­tion de­bate at Seat­tle Univer­sity School of Law is a plague of a dif­fer­ent sort, but deadly in a dif­fer­ent way. The vic­tim here is the right to free speech.

The Wash­ing­ton Free Bea­con re­ports that An­nette Clark, the dean of Seat­tle Univer­sity’s Law School, has re­voked the school’s spon­sor­ship of a Fed­er­al­ist So­ci­ety event. The rea­son? The pro­posed de­bate on im­mi­gra­tion, hosted by the school’s Ac­cess to Jus­tice In­sti­tute, might be “harm­ful” to mi­nor­ity stu­dents and “un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants,” aka peo­ple who broke the law to get to Amer­ica, though we are not sup­posed to talk like that these days.

At first I thought it was a joke. It is. But a joke played on those elites who claim to be­lieve in tol­er­ance, aca­demic free­dom and in­clu­sion. Dean Clark’s edict re­flects her and the school’s in­tol­er­ance, aca­demic pro­pa­ganda and ex­clu­sion of any view that does not con­form to the univer­sity’s im­posed ide­ol­ogy. Isn’t this the stuff of reed­u­ca­tion camps and gu­lags?

Many col­lege cam­puses claim de­vo­tion to di­ver­sity, while prac­tic­ing and im­pos­ing con­form­ity. To them, di­ver­sity has to do with skin color, eth­nic­ity and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. It is sec­u­lar liberalism dressed up in dif­fer­ent garb. Real di­ver­sity would in­clude peo­ple of dif­fer­ent opin­ions.

At Seat­tle U’s Law School, the Fed­er­al­ist So­ci­ety, a con­ser­va­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion that be­lieves in an orig­i­nal­ist view of the Con­sti­tu­tion, was pre­par­ing for an im­mi­gra­tion de­bate.

The last I checked a de­bate is sup­posed to in­clude op­pos­ing points of view. The pur­pose of a de­bate is to in­form peo­ple so they can de­cide which view is su­pe­rior to the other. In the ‘80s, these were the kinds of de­bates in which I par­tic­i­pated on many col­lege cam­puses. With only a few ex­cep­tions I was granted a re­spect­ful hear­ing, as was my de­bate op­po­nent. Of­ten we would at­tend a din­ner be­fore the de­bate, or a re­cep­tion af­ter­ward, where stu­dents and fac­ulty could ob­serve us in­ter­act­ing with deco­rum, hu­mor and mu­tual re­spect.

In­vi­ta­tions to col­lege cam­puses be­gan dis­ap­pear­ing in the ‘90s and I haven’t had any since.

The sto­ries of high-pro­file speak­ers be­ing de­nied the right to speak or shouted down and demon­strated against should they ac­tu­ally make it onto a cam­pus are le­gion.

The kind of cen­sor­ship prac­ticed in Seat­tle is not unique to that school ei­ther. It is trend­ing across the coun­try. In­creas­ingly, cam­puses have be­come “safe spa­ces” so that “snowflakes” will not be trou­bled by ideas that rat­tle their still de­vel­op­ing brains, which should, in­stead of stag­nat­ing, con­stantly evolve.

If they think they al­ready know ev­ery­thing, why spend time and money go­ing to col­lege?

The greater ques­tion is this: Why do so many par­ents, es­pe­cially con­ser­va­tive par­ents, send their chil­dren to schools that un­der­mine their faith and val­ues, dis­tort his­tory and pro­mote causes that will not help them get a job once they grad­u­ate?

A corol­lary ques­tion: Why do stu­dents take on so much debt to at­tend univer­si­ties where their “con­sciences” might be raised on the lib­eral side, but where they are shielded from what real life looks like?

Nat Hentoff, the late lib­eral jour­nal­ist and so­cial critic, said the an­swer to speech you don’t like is not less speech, but more speech.

The stu­dents at Seat­tle Law School are be­ing de­nied a well­rounded ed­u­ca­tion by the speech and thought po­lice. Stu­dents should de­mand that a por­tion of their tu­ition be re­funded and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should con­sider deny­ing tax sub­si­dies to in­sti­tu­tions of “higher learn­ing” that prac­tice cen­sor­ship.

Cal Thomas

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