‘Shut up and get in the back of the bus’ To­day’s col­leges are more bas­tions of speech codes than bul­warks of free speech

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Everett Piper

An­other week in the news, and our na­tion’s col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties have proven once again they have com­pletely lost their minds — and their souls. The Col­lege Fix re­ports that the Univer­sity of North­west­ern—St. Paul (UNW), a pur­port­edly “Chris­tian” univer­sity, has blocked Star Parker, a con­ser­va­tive, pro-life, pro-lib­erty, pro-moral­ity, African-Amer­i­can woman, from speak­ing on its cam­pus.

North­west­ern’s rea­son for its cen­sor­ship? Ms. Parker’s per­sonal story of break­ing the cy­cle of poverty, ac­cept­ing per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity, re­pent­ing of the sin of abor­tion and chal­leng­ing her com­mu­nity’s gen­er­a­tional de­pen­dency on the wel­fare state (what she calls “Un­cle Sam’s Plan­ta­tion”) are deemed too “rad­i­cal” and “sen­sa­tional” for this Chris­tian school’s ed­u­ca­tional goals.

To be more spe­cific, the Univer­sity of North­west­ern’s ex­act lan­guage is as fol­lows:

“[T]here are quite a few con­cerns about Star. Our staff has been very adamant about bring­ing speak­ers to cam­pus who ed­u­cate and ex­pand world­views, but we re­ally don’t bring speak­ers who rad­i­cally hold be­liefs that UNW, as a whole, would not agree with. Again … UNW stays away from sen­sa­tion­al­ized speak­ers.”

In other words, this Chris­tian univer­sity be­lieves Star Parker’s call to stop the blame, stop the vic­tim­iza­tion, stop the divi­sion and to stop the ra­cial geno­cide of ex­ter­mi­nat­ing black chil­dren from Amer­i­can so­ci­ety un­der the ruse of “planned par­ent­ing,” does not lend it­self to “ed­u­cat­ing and ex­pand­ing the world­views” of its stu­dents. Such ideas are too “sen­sa­tional” and un­com­fort­able for this univer­sity, its stu­dents and its fac­ulty. They will not be tol­er­ated.

In case you missed it, what you just heard was pretty clear: “How dare this black woman come to our cam­pus and share ideas that ‘as a whole, we do not agree with’? Such up­pity ar­ro­gance! Who gave her per­mis­sion to speak out of turn? How dare she come into our neigh­bor­hood and come into our school and chal­lenge our su­pe­ri­or­ity. Who does this woman of color think she is?”

If you are sur­prised by this, you haven’t been pay­ing at­ten­tion. Day after day, you see it in the news. From Brown to Berke­ley, it is clear that to­day’s col­leges are more bas­tions of speech codes than they are bul­warks of free speech. Fac­ulty and stu­dents alike are be­com­ing more in­ter­ested in iden­ti­fy­ing “trig­ger warn­ings” than they are in en­gag­ing the truth.

The ivory tower is no longer a place of open de­bate and the free ex­change of ideas, but rather one of ide­o­log­i­cal fore­clo­sure and group­think. Your lo­cal univer­sity is now a vir­tual sanc­tu­ary city for ra­cial an­i­mus, balka­niza­tion and divi­sion. It is no longer a citadel of the unity, ver­i­tas and virtue.

The mod­ern univer­sity has be­come a mock­ery of its stated ideals. Ra­cial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion has been re­placed by crit­i­cal race the­ory. Ped­dlers of In­ter­sec­tion­al­ity now openly mock Christ’s higher call to for­give rather than fight against those with whom we dis­agree. “We shall over­come” has been re­placed by “we will crush you.” Sub­mit or be si­lenced. Con­trary ideas are ver­boten.

For­mer Stan­ford Provost John Etchemendy warmed of this in his 2017 speech to the Stan­ford Univer­sity Board of Trus­tees:

“Over the years, I have watched a grow­ing in­tol­er­ance at the uni­ver­si­ties in this coun­try … a kind of in­tel­lec­tual in­tol­er­ance, a po­lit­i­cal one-sid­ed­ness, that is the an­tithe­sis of what uni­ver­si­ties should stand for … This re­sults in a kind of in­tel­lec­tual blind­ness that will, in the long run, be more dam­ag­ing to uni­ver­si­ties … be­cause we won’t even see it: We will write off those with op­pos­ing views as evil or ig­no­rant or stupid, rather than in­ter­locu­tors wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion. We suc­cumb to the all-pur­pose ad hominem be­cause it is eas­ier and more com­fort­ing that ra­tio­nal ar­gu­ment. But when we do, we aban­don what is great about the in­sti­tu­tion we serve.” Richard Weaver told us, more than 70 years ago, in his sem­i­nal work ti­tled “Ideas Have Con­se­quences,” that ideas have con­se­quences. Ideas mat­ter. Ideas are al­ways di­rec­tional. They al­ways lead some­where. Good ideas lead to good cul­ture, good com­mu­nity, good govern­ment, good col­leges, good

The ivory tower is no longer a place of open de­bate and the free ex­change of ideas, but rather one of ide­o­log­i­cal fore­clo­sure and group­think.

cul­ture and good kids. Bad ideas lead to the op­po­site.

Abra­ham Lin­coln echoed the same when he ad­mon­ished, “The phi­los­o­phy of the school­room in one gen­er­a­tion will be­come the phi­los­o­phy of the govern­ment in the next.” Hitler even un­der­stood the power of ed­u­ca­tion and the power of ideas when he de­clared, “Let me con­trol the text­books and I will con­trol the state!” It is a law as ir­refutable as grav­ity: What is taught to­day in the class­room will be prac­ticed to­mor­row in your cul­ture. Ideas al­ways have con­se­quences. The ideas that dom­i­nate higher ed­u­ca­tion to­day are bank­rupt, and the con­se­quences are dire. The story of the Univer­sity of North­west­ern is no sur­prise. It should shock no one.

When you teach divi­sion rather than unity, vic­tim­iza­tion rather than virtue, ra­cial con­flict rather than ra­cial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion; when you teach these bro­ken ideas, decade after decade, it should not sur­prise you that the fac­ulty and staff at such a univer­sity — a Chris­tian univer­sity — can ac­tu­ally come the point of telling a black woman who dis­agrees with their bro­ken and racist ideas to shut up and “get in the back of the bus.” Everett Piper, pres­i­dent of Ok­la­homa Wes­leyan Univer­sity, is the au­thor of “Not A Day Care: The Dev­as­tat­ing Con­se­quences of Aban­don­ing Truth” (Reg­n­ery 2017).


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