February 5, 2007

"Free speech should belong mainly to the powerless..."

I Highly recommend John Leo's article in City Journal, Free Inquiry? Not on Campus

I'm sure blog readers are already aware of campus speech codes. But they are worse than you think, and they are increasing. If you have suspected that they are anti-conservative and anti-Christian, you are right. And the intention is to have them extend far beyond just the academy. In Canada and Europe whole countries are becoming like our campuses...

....Much campus censorship rests on philosophical underpinnings that go back to social theorist Herbert Marcuse, a hero to sixties radicals. Marcuse argued that traditional tolerance is repressive—it wards off reform by making the status quo . . . well, tolerable. Marcuse favored intolerance of established and conservative views, with tolerance offered only to the opinions of the oppressed, radicals, subversives, and other outsiders. Indoctrination of students and “deeply pervasive” censorship of others would be necessary, starting on the campuses and fanning out from there.

By the late 1980s, many of the double standards that Marcuse called for were in place in academe. Marcuse’s candor was missing, but everyone knew that speakers, student newspapers, and professors on the right could (make that should) receive different treatment from those on the left. The officially oppressed—designated race and gender groups—knew that they weren’t subject to the standards and rules set for other students.

Marcuse’s thinking has influenced a generation of influential radical scholars. They included Mari Matsuda, who followed Marcuse by arguing that complete free speech should belong mainly to the powerless; and Catharine MacKinnon, a pioneer of modern sexual harassment and “hostile environment” doctrine. In MacKinnon’s hands, sexual harassment became a form of gender-based class discrimination and inegalitarian speech a kind of harmful action....

Whenever you hear leftizoids claiming they care about "Freedom of Speech," they don't mean what you and I mean.

Posted by John Weidner at February 5, 2007 6:46 AM
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