The Real Threat to Speech on Campus

Here’s a forceful rebuttal to the Fox News faux outrage machine pushing the myth of out of control “political correctness” on college campuses.

Who’s Really Placing Limits on Free Speech?

Steve Nass, a state senator from Whitewater, has urged university leaders not to give way to “the political correctness crowd demanding safe spaces, safe words, universal apologies for hurt feelings, and speech/thought police.” But last July, Senator Nass also sent a letter to university leaders to complain about an “offensive” essay assignment on gay men’s sexual preferences. A few days ago he said that a university program that explored masculinity “declares war on men” after asking, “Will we have the courage to reform the U.W. system in the 2017-19 biennial budget?”

Conservatives have been at war with education itself, but public education especially, and the liberal nature of higher education with specific vociferousness.  An educated public is less likely to vote narrow mindedly and remain (both physically and intellectually) in the church going rural America that the GOP has come to represent.  The conservative attacks involve broad demonization of higher education as elitist and “out of touch” despite its actual broadening of personal horizons.  The biggest  threat from conservative politicians is budgetary as public universities and colleges of late have to deal with threats against their funding if they do not bow to the dictates of petty conservative scolds.

Part of the denigration myth they have created involves that conservative created phenomena known as “political correctness” a think-tank created phrase concocted to counterpunch against the liberalization of society wherein conservative speech is limited by being forced to respect other people’s sensitivities.  As society continued to adopt the values of liberalism and made more and more boorish behavior unacceptable, the threshold for outrage continues to rise so that now it’s a big story on Fox News if some students protest a speaker they don’t like or if somebody demands a “safe space” from racism and bigotry.

Do people sometimes go overboard voicing sensitivities that others might not share or understand? Of course.  Should that be a political debate?  No.  Educators can handle those things just fine, unless of course you’re dedicated to undermining the value of education, the standing of educators and using education itself as a buzz word to foment sputtering outrage among your older, less educated viewers/readers – then everything is fodder for your phony outrage machine.

Make no mistake it’s the conservative side that is constantly complaining about professors liberalism and the purported inappropriateness of courses offered to students. Politicians get to grandstand and leverage school budgets to shut off debate, demonize professors and look like heroic budget hawks to their fawning fascist followers.

The worst part of the success of conservatives in inculcating “political correctness” as a concept into the national debate is how many supposed liberals have adopted it’s mythologies as a reality to seriously bemoan.  When comedians with tired acts can’t get laughs on college campuses and blame it on political correctness a conservative angel gets its wings or shoots the wings off an endangered bird, or something.

 

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