The next generation of academics, and journalists, are being indoctrinated into not even knowing what free speech means.
You should probably be worried if an entire generation is being brought up and educated to think that Free Speech should come a distant second to a vague sense of collective comfort. Apparently, some people think that’s not a big priority, however. It’s been implied that in my articles I might make too big a deal of the largely youth-driven “Tumblr Leftism,” paying attention to the wrong things.
For those of you who don’t know, tumblr is a huge social-media website, largely based on the posting of images and memes, that is used (among many other things, like Twitter) by what are highly-inaccurately called “social justice warriors” (a terrible term, because it implies that social justice is the problem, or that the pseudo-activists that weaponize it to promote censorship are somehow ‘warriors’ and not just a gang of narcissistic power-hungry abusive frauds). It’s the sort of place where people talk about how important an issue it is to ban clapping at feminist conferences so no one gets triggered, but think that it’s ‘problematic’ to condemn ISIS for murdering and oppressing women because that might be racist.
(The person in this image? This is a social justice warrior. The “tumblr feminist” morons who can’t be bothered to support her? Pseudo-activists.)
But the argument is that even if I find these people annoying, there are other groups that are much more dangerous because the tumblr activists have ‘no real power’. Sure, they have the power to organize blacklisting attempts to try to ruin people’s careers (including mine, for example, using complete fabrications and lies). But they don’t have the power to really influence things on the world scale, the argument goes. This comes hand-in-hand with the accusation that I’m not paying attention to authoritarians with what they presume to be real power to cause harm, like “Christian Theocrats” (gee, I guess they missed the three articles in a row I did on that subject).
Never mind that these critics are wrong in claiming I’m being one-sided in my opposition to autocratic collectivism in any form (I have, every time, said that the only division that matters isn’t left or right, it’s about whether you’re on the side of Han Solo or the Empire), the bigger point is that they’re wrong about the danger level of the college-liberal pseudo-activists.
Why? Because even if right now these people have relatively little power at the level of federal politics or international affairs, they have enormous power in the college campuses and in educational institutions in general, and like any illiterate Pakistani girl being denied a chance to go to school at gunpoint can tell you, education is both the wellspring of power and freedom. And these pseudo-activists are poisoning that well here.
How badly are they doing this? So badly, it would seem, that colleges throughout the English-speaking world have gone from being bastions of dangerous thought to being gulags of dangerous thought-control, where if you are a student or faculty you have to be constantly careful not to say or even think the wrong ideas, the ones that the Outrage Patrol deem worthy of destroying you for. Once in a while, you see the people my critics think of as being in “real power” trying to enforce censorship against ideas they find dangerous, but even then it’s in half-hearted word-controlled lingo out of fear of ‘offending’ the fantasies of the pseudo-activists). But much more often, it is the pseudo-activists directly engaging in censorship.
Do you demand proof? Fine! Let’s look at a short list of things that the pseudo-activists have banned or tried to ban on university campuses lately, in increasing order of mind-boggling absurdity:
- Smoking! (not pot smoking, but rather the old-fashioned kind)
- E-cigarettes too!
- Alcohol, of course.
- How about alcohol in white fraternities only, but not black ones (because that would be racist!)?
- Bottled water!
- The Vagina Monologues, because it might be prejudiced against women without vaginas.
- Christian student clubs… because they wouldn’t let non-christians lead Bible study.
- The American flag (Yes, in a U.S. College — because it’s a “symbol of patriotism,” which we know is bad.)
- WORDS — including “crazy” or “illegal alien”
- More words, including “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
- Would you believe the U.S. Constitution?
- How about the U.S. National Anthem (because it’s too “militant”)?
- How about Jewish students being banned from holding office in student government (because the one minority that pseudo-activists never seem to have a problem with discriminating against are Jews)?
- That last one becomes a bit less surprising when some colleges are banning the very suggestion that Israel has a right to even exist.
That’s quite a long list, and I’m sure you could find a lot more (for example, I didn’t even touch on the wave of protests meant to silence speakers on campus that in some way or another express views opposite those of the pseudo-activist Collective). But the bigger problem isn’t just the censorship itself but the way that this mentality is redefining the very notion of ‘free speech’. To give just one more example, and explain why this is such a problem, consider the case of the recent banning of the movie American Sniper followed up by disruptive protests meant to cancel the screening after it was reinstated.
In a response to that, over on the Huffington Post, a University of Michigan student-journalist named Neel Swamy wrote an article excusing the censorial atmosphere and trying to argue that some ‘hate mail’ that was received on account of the banning was somehow ‘proof’ that the censorship was justified. While pointing out that he himself has not seen American Sniper, he stated: “As a student journalist, I will be the first to say that I advocate free speech” – even as he claimed that the right to free speech is in competition with “the desire to establish an inclusive environment”, and that we have to respect the “right” of the University “to intervene when the emotional or physical safety of its students” is compromised.
So, in other words, this up and coming future journalist, working in a field that should be our first line of defense for the freedom of speech, believes that ‘free speech’ means that you should only ever be allowed to say things that don’t emotionally upset people. THAT is the danger of Tumblr Leftism. That is why the danger represented by them is much greater than the tired, waning power of religious autocrats (however bad their attempts at censorship might be). Because this mentality that believes somehow “not being offended” is a right, and a GREATER right than the freedom of speech (which, unlike the former, is an actual real and inalienable right), is latching onto and indoctrinating the people who will control the media and set the policies of the next generation.
You know, I haven’t watched American Sniper either. Not because of whatever its political message is, but just because I have a lot of other shows and movies I’m more interested in watching. If I felt offended by it, though, I might choose not to watch it. That’s my right. It’s NOT my right, and not ever my right, to decide that YOU shouldn’t get to watch it either, though. But increasingly, the pseudo-activist mobs that have infiltrated our education system are giving people a definition of free speech that suggests they should get to curtail any kind of speech that they personally decide wouldn’t be safe for them, for you, or for others they falsely claim to represent.
There’s nothing in the world that is more dangerous to our civilization than that idea.
Kasimir Urbanski doesn’t write on a specific subject; he’s EveryJoe’s resident maniac-at-large. A recovering Humanities academic and world-traveler, he now lives in South America and is a researcher of fringe religion, eastern philosophy, and esoteric consciousness-expansion. In his spare time he writes tabletop RPGs, and blogs about them at therpgpundit.blogspot.com.
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