It sometimes feels in America today, one writer so aptly wrote, that we went to sleep in the America of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE and woke up in THE HUNGER GAMES.
From an America where the First Amendment of our Constitution and its free speech provisions prevailed to an America where there is now an all-out war on free speech.
Many believe that colleges and universities are the root cause of this frightening and unconstitutional movement. In today’s academia, colleges do more than educate, much more. They shape, mold and even require the attitudes of the next generation. The professors, administrators, presidents and even the Board of Directors of these universities want to shape the future of America AS THEY WANT IT TO BE!
College today is where students and those soon to be journalists learn that OBJECTIVITY IS AN ILLUSION. There is no such thing as fact or truth, especially in any absolutist way. Rather all that matters is perception, how what is or what happens is perceived by or matters to an individual. Colleges call that LEANING FORWARD, creating new models for standards and denying the old. The college today is where soon to be jurists are taught that their versions of social justice ought to trump the Rule of Law. In short, as these new and radically changed models of truth and right emerge, and with them progressive change in social justice, all such conclusions and perceptions are what really matters and, no matter the Rule of Law and all of the laws, they are to be ignored or rendered void in the aggressive pursuit of this new form of social justice. At the heart of these new social norms is the angry, aggressive attack on FREE SPEECH.
We have all heard of the silent generation, the baby boomers, the millennials, the centennials and Generation Y, have we not? But now comes the next iteration, the next stereotyping of the young, the birth of yet a new generation which pundits have termed:
These stereotypers in their infinite wisdom have included any person born in America from 1993 to the present as Gen Z, a generation of young people who will be much larger and more powerful than Gen Y, the millennials or the boomers. They will be the most powerful demographic in U.S. History. They will shape this nation’s future and, they make up the population of the high schools, colleges and universities and grad schools of today and they are the ones who seem to be leading the attack on free speech, and freedom of conscience, and freedom of association, and freedom of press and especially all of the rights granted by the First Amendment of our Constitution.
They seem to be the generation, this young demographic, which believes in speech codes, free speech zones and aggressive behavior, even violence at times to shut down what they term as offensive speech. In colleges and universities and even high schools, they are thereby creating what one writer called:
AN INFANTILIZED CAMPUS CULTURE
Which is increasingly hostile to free expression. In fact, these new and aggressive PROGRESSIVE WARRIORS believe that they and consequently others should be PROTECTED from this offensive speech and especially the offensive speech of controversial or different-thinking speakers. So that, they create on college and high school campuses what is called the DISINVITATION SEASON, forbidding those with differing points of view to speak. What a tragedy for America. This radical, anti-free speech era, the era of THE HUNGER GAMES is fostered by tens of thousands of professors and teachers, liberal, even radical to the core as they seek to rebuild and reshape America in this radical, progressive way. They seek to evisceration of the First Amendment and all of its precious rights. They fan the flame of hatred and hostility on so many college campuses and even encourage the spreading of this Constitutional disease to high schools. Interestingly, they the radicals are encouraged by the support and most importantly the money of men like Bill Gates and the most evil man on the face of the earth George Soros, men and women and many more like them donating tens of millions of dollars to radical organizations to reshape America, and to even rewrite its history. Those of us who passionately believe in free speech no matter how supposedly offensive are in the battle of our Constitutional lives. Are you ready for the fight or are you already in it? If you are conservative or Christian, you better believe you are IN IT, and up to your ears. The rights which you now take for granted, like controversial dialogue on issues, or testifying or witnessing for the Christian faith are indeed under attack and may soon be banned altogether as crimes against another.
A recent poll revealed that fewer than 50% of high school students agree that people should be free to say things that are simply OFFENSIVE to others. In other words, less than 50% of all high school students think that you ought to have the right under the Constitution to say what you wish even if it is offensive to someone else. That speaks volumes about Gen Z, those born from and after 1993, does it not? Approximately 3 out of 4 high school students are ambivalent about the First Amendment, that is whether or not it is right with respect to free speech and much of the rest care little or do not bother to think about the First Amendment. Many more high school students believe that citizens should not be allowed to express unpopular opinions. Keep what I do not like to hear to yourself. And most shockingly, one poll indicated that barely one in five high school seniors have a decent understanding on how the American Constitutional system of government really works! What a tragedy for America and especially for those of us born before 1993. Sooner or later, we will live under the reshaped entirely different America Gen Z will forge.
And again, colleges and universities are the root cause of this dictatorial and unconstitutional phenomenon. Academia has forgotten the academic freedom is a public trust. It confers on people and institutions a zone of autonomy for discovering and disseminating knowledge, debating important ideas, and examining premises. And this zone of autonomy for discovering is bounded by respect for truth, dialogue and the rights of others. Such a philosophy, such a way of academic functioning seems long gone in this day and age. And that is a tragedy for America, for Western civilization, for the handing down of traditions and values from one generation to the next and if carried out to its logical conclusion will mean the end of democracy and our American way of life.
Think of the progression of this anti-free speech movement. There was to begin with debate about so-called OFFENSIVE SPEECH. If the speaker’s words were offensive, the listener could simply react and counteract the offensive speech or, walk away. End of the matter. Each exercising First Amendment rights, the speaker fully free to say whatever he wished no matter how offensive and the listener fully free to not listen than walk away. And that is precisely how the First Amendment should work.
But now, if your speech is in fact offensive or worse controversial, then you can be banned from speaking in public, or on campuses, or in group sessions, and certainly in classrooms. And, if that so-called offensive speech occurs, the speaker can be harassed, threatened, shut down or even prevented altogether from speaking. Gen Z at work in all of its aggressive, mob-action-like hostility toward others with differing points of view.
Then, offensive speech rises to the next level:
It seems that no one is really sure what the definition of hate speech is. Hate speech is often defined by the individual as speech which may produce the most angry reaction, the deepest and differing emotional response to what is heard. For example, if words indicate that the speaker does not agree with the gay agenda, the listener cries hate speech, hate against all gays as a group and the individuals therein. He who is hurt first and claims hate speech wins the day.
Or, perhaps abortion. To believe in the protection of the right to life of an unborn child can be labeled hate thoughts and speech against women and their so-called rights to abort the life of an unborn baby. And the illustrations go on and on in the world of Gen Z. The real problem is that many states have categorized so-called hate speech as:
So that words and even actions as a result of words which produce certain deeds can be labeled as hate crimes with severe penalties. Nothing can damper free speech more than that.
And then the third level. There is now a movement on college campuses and universities to label offensive speech as they view it, and hate speech as they view it as VIOLENT SPEECH. That is, speech which produces violent reactions in the listener, violently harming that listener so that the actual words themselves are viewed not as speech but as:
So, for example, if a Christian testifies to the need for salvation and a fundamental change in an existing un-Christian, so-called sinful lifestyle, through Jesus Christ, the listener can perceive that as an attack on character resulting in a violent reaction to those words which are themselves ACTUAL VIOLENCE. That would have been 50 years ago an absurd projection. Today, most unfortunately, it is and about to be more so REALITY. Get ready to get MUZZLED if in fact you are conservative or Christian, my fellow Americans. You are the propagators of hate speech, violent hate speech and you are not only offensive, you are about to be labeled CRIMINAL.
Back to college campuses. At UC Berkeley, violent mobs smashed property and set fires because they did not want conservative speakers to speak on campus. At Middlebury College, a bastion of progressivism, rioting students put a professor in the hospital for daring to invite a controversial author to campus. At Yale University, students hounded a professor to resign for suggesting that it would be wrong to outlaw insensitive Halloween costumes! Just three of hundreds of such incidents happening on college campuses everywhere.
Colleges and universities educate, shape and coerce in so many ways driving home to students what one writer called the fields of queer theory, communist economics and a brand new form of totalitarian social justice. These universities offer courses, dialogue and indoctrination on topics such as:
What is it like to navigate elementary school as a six year old transgender girl?
How have capitalist economies always and everywhere relied upon forms of racist domination and exclusion to grow and succeed?
Should Karl Marx be given another change?
What are the legal frameworks of whiteness and how is whiteness enacted in every day practice?
With this kind of indoctrination, is it any wonder that we the adults should be very concerned about Gen Z, what they believe, how they will act themselves as adults and what kind of world will they fashion in which we the people will have to live in? But even at UC Berkeley, the epicenter of anti-free speech, the university’s new chancellor, Carol T. Christ has vowed to restore free speech on campus saying in August the following:
“It is critical for the Berkeley community to protect this right (free speech). Resilience is the surest form of safe space and we would be providing you less of an education if we tried to protect you from ideas that you may find wrong, even noxious.”
Well said, Ms. Christ, well said indeed. But seeing is believing or rather, hearing free speech at work is in fact believing. Make those good words about real free speech happen, Ms. Christ for if it can be done at UC Berkeley, it can be done anywhere.
And finally, state legislators are stepping up to protect expressive rights on campus. Legislation to protect free speech on campus have become law in Tennessee, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina and Utah and there is similar legislation pending even in California, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin. Muzzling free speech on college and even high school campuses is now being recognized as a serious, INCREDIBLY SERIOUS problem which must be dealt with now or the harm in Gen Z and ever after can be permanent.
So, my fellow Americans, you are neck deep in the battle for free speech whether you know it or not. No matter how obnoxious or offensive speech may be, it is the right of the speaker to speak those words, THE ABSOLUTE RIGHT, the Constitutional right. And no one should have the right to label speech as hate speech and further muzzle free speech. And no one, but no one should have the right to equate speech with VIOLENCE, no one, no college campus, no state, or no federal government. NO ONE! Our founding fathers warned us that the end of free speech results in the end of democracy. If free speech exists no more, America itself will cease to exist and with it its democratic way of life. So, my fellow Americans, fight the fight of faith and fight the fight of free speech. And fight it hard and win, or lose a fundamental right forever, FOREVER!
And again, the words of former President Ronald Reagan:
FREEDOM (FREE SPEECH) ONCE LOST IS