PC never died

Patrick Gibbons

In 1957 the U.S. Supreme Court said of the nation’s colleges, “Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die.”

However, since the 1980s American colleges have suffered under the bizarre and Orwellian thought police known as “Political Correctness.” Today universities censor students and professors on both the right and the left. If someone is offended, you lose the right to speak your mind – in some cases you lose the right to simply hold a perception (or a thought).

The censorship is almost always patently absurd. In 2007, a student was found guilty of “openly reading [a] book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject.” The student was reading a history book, Notre Dame vs. the Klan, focused on a street fight that took place between students and the Ku Klux Klan in 1924.

Remember UNLV’s dropped PC code that would have allowed people to call the campus police because of “bias”? The proposed code banned,

“verbal, written, or physical acts of intimidation, coercion, interference, frivolous claims, discrimination, and sexual or other harassment motivated, in whole or in part, by bias based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, religion, creed, sex (including gender identity or expression, or a pregnancy related condition), sexual orientation, national origin, military status or military obligations, disability (including veterans with service-connected disabilities), age, marital status, physical appearance, political affiliation, or on the basis of exercise of rights secured by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

(emphasis mine).

Vague speech codes and tiny out-of-the-way “free speech zones” are a direct violation of free speech in America. These policies allow universities to easily destroy whatever the administration does not like. In simple English, that is called “bullying.”

Want to form a club for students wishing to overturn the ban on concealed handguns on campus at Community College of Allegheny County, in Pittsburgh? Sorry, you’re banned from handing out your pamphlets.

Want to protest the construction of a school parking garage at Valdosta State University because of its harmful effects on the environment? Sorry, you’ve been expelled from school.

Want to protest budget cuts with your students at Southwestern College in California? Those professors were outside the free speech zone and were thus banned from the campus.

The authoritarian lessons learned by students from political correctness are simple – if you don’t like what your rivals say, you have the right to censor their ability to oppose your own position.

Read “PC Never Died” by George Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.