Recently, University of California Berkeley canceled a speech that Ann Coulter was scheduled to give in May 2017, saying that they could not guarantee the safety of the speaker. This cancellation was sharply criticized by, among others, Bill Maher, who holds opinions the opposite of Ann Coulter in every way. He says they disagree about everything….except the right of “free speech” and the importance of being allowed to listen to those who disagree with you. I love what he said about beserkeley, I mean Berkeley. “It used to be the cradle of free speech, now it’s just a cradle for f____n babies.” Right on Bill. At least he is capable of seeing the bigger picture.
The university later reversed the denial. For those of you who are too young to remember or too apathetic to care, or unable to take a break from tweeting, instagramming or snapchatting, the “free speech movement”, FSM, was a series of protests and demonstrations that students initiated between October and December of 1964 on the Berkeley campus, but mainly a “sit in” by 1,000 students in Sproul Hall. They demanded the University stop restricting political activities on campus. When the chancellor asked them to leave, some did but most didn’t and things turned violent shortly thereafter. 796 were arrested. The University capitulated and relaxed the rules against political activity on campus and declared Sproul Hall a place for open discussion. However, this so-called FSM was hardly a new phenomenon.
That was then. How did a desire for open discussion morph into the desire to muzzle anything that disagrees with the current political orthodoxy? Here is a better perspective on the history of free speech. fsm isn’t new How did “political correctness” become the norm on college campuses across the country and the world? The secret is in the playbooks of the spiritual fathers of political correctness: Hitler, Lenin, Marx, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and their disciples. Yes, I assert that the campus thought police and their ilk have as spiritual fathers all the brutal dictators in history AND the vicious oppressors of today’s news (ISIS anyone?).
I use the word spiritual purposefully! What they all have in common is the spirit of totalitarianism. This earth is a place of spiritual warfare, and rarely does anyone possessed of a spirit realize who or what is “pulling their strings.” This spirit is manifested by the desire to control, not simply influence how and what other people think, live and do. It brooks no dissent or discussion, since such a desire can never be admitted or exposed. When challenged, people possessed by this spirit either suppress discussion if they control sufficient force, or they attack the motives and character of the questioners if they can’t shut them up physically.
The truth doesn’t fear dissent and welcomes disagreement. Lies are the opposite. Do you really want to know who loves truth and who loves lies? Look at who persecutes whom. Those who persecute dissent are generally those who need to defend their lies, whether a false religion or false political system. Apart from that, those who hate and fear anyone who is different, or whose customs they don’t understand, are also protecting lies they tell themselves.
But there is persecution, then there is PERSECUTION! The latter is killing, maiming, slavery, rape, burning of homes and churches, preferably with the victims inside. Think ISIS. Then there’s persecution, which might be snide remarks, name calling, looking askance. In most Western countries, which is it? They aren’t the same, not even close. Maybe it’s because I live in the USA, but I am bombarded with articles and headlines about persecution here, and it seems to garner more opprobrium than PERSECUTION of Christians in Muslim and Hindu countries. So who are really the most vicious oppressors today?
As bad as the wolves in sheepskin on campus are, they don’t have the weapons or brutality to PERSECUTE. But it probably isn’t for lack of desire. (Also see my post on March 15, ‘The epidemic of ______ophobias and “hate speech”).