When I applied to college in the fall of 1992, I did it not because I had any groundbreaking aspirations, but because, quite simply, it was the next thing to do. Having attended a school whose sole point was to prepare students for college, and growing up as the son of intellectuals (both my parents have Masters degrees), one of whom is from a family of teachers, education was seen as an end, not a means. So, it was off to college, and all that college stood for.
Even then, though, I found myself nauseated by the attitudes of the poltical correctness activists. While the opinions voiced by students came in all types (albeit with an undeniably “liberal” slant), the loudest voices were those of the hypocrites. These were the people who stole, and sometimes burned, all the copies of the Daily Californian that they could find whenever the student-run (but not university financed) paper took a position contrary to what the leading lights of the Progressive movement deemed acceptable. One such excuse was the publication of a full-page ad denouncing Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The denunciation had to be in the form of an ad, paid for out of a private person’s pocket, because the paper was officially impartial. The paper defended the decision to allow publication of the ad as a purely business decision; that wasn’t good enough for the activists, who even torched one of the distribution stands.
Even worse was when the power got to the heads of the student activists. In the spring of 1995, during the campaign season leading up to the student senate elections, the Daily Californian was again targeted, with copies stolen and distribution stands defaced, when the paper endorsed a candidate for a major position in the student government. At the time, the two major student political coalitions were, loosely speaking, the Progressive activists, and the non-aligned coalition, which included among its constituent groups engineers and, worse, conservatives.
It was easy for me, as a science major, to get by without much of an attempt at indoctrination by the faculty. Perhaps, also, I was lucky to have gotten in at a time when the forced indoctrination hadn’t yet gotten to a fever pitch. To be sure, there were a lot of bullshit classes on offer, taught by what one suspects are almost-failed academics. But for the most part, there was little indoctrination.
As Penn and Teller describe, however, that’s no longer the case, at least in liberal arts curricula:
Mad Minerva says it better than I can:
If you’re a novice about the campus cult of diversity and political correctness, you will find this interesting indeed. As for me, this is the sort of thing I live with! Notice also one statement that shows up in the video: the idea that if Person A is offended by Person B’s words, then the campus should make Person B shut up. Here’s the core of the First Amendment battles on campus: if you have free speech, sooner or later somebody will get offended. But that’s part of free speech. You have a right to free speech, not a right to never be offended.
And, of course, as I like to point out to people, without free speech it’s much harder to tell who the idiots are.
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]