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