Return of the Blacklist: The Left Shuts Down Free Speech

It was only a matter of time.  Mimicking what leftists themselves might call McCarthyism, the left is demanding a blacklist of those who oppose its political ideology.  Dani Rodrik, professor of international political economy at that bastion of leftism, Harvard University, has urged the academic world to stop offering jobs or honors to anyone who has served in the Trump administration.  This ought not to come as a surprise.  It reflects what author Mark Levin calls "the fascist, totalitarian mindset that is modern academia."

Rodrik insists that universities "should uphold both free inquiry and the values of liberal democracy."  Then, in a clear demonstration of leftist hypocrisy, he insults those values by demanding that Trump's supporters be placed on a blacklist.  They should be prohibited, he says, from receiving "even a semblance of honor or recognition" from "the gatekeepers of higher learning."

Rodrik, who advocates income redistribution and opposes the free market system, accuses Trump of running an "odious presidency."  "We do not, after all, have a normal administration that can be served honorably[.] ... Those who serve with him are necessarily tainted by the experience."  No exceptions.  "Having served in this 'odious' administration," reports, "you should now be barred for life from any form of service in academia."

Like its fellow travelers the New York Times and the Democratic Party, Harvard has lost its credibility.  These organs of the left have one thing in common: they are against free speech.  In spite of Rodrik's phony defense of "free inquiry," try to get hired at Harvard if you espouse conservative ideas.  A respected poll has pegged liberal faculty at four-year colleges and universities at 87 percent.  Another study identified Democrats to Republicans in journalism departments of 1,500 universities at 20-1, and a whopping 33.5-1 in history departments.  Today's college campuses have become fueling stations for the left.

How did this happen?  According to Ben Shapiro, author of Bullies, college administrators decided in the 1960s that it was "easier to appease rampaging leftist students than to deal with them.  They came to an agreement with the wildebeests: stop taking over the buildings and locking the doors, and we'll start teaching you about how America sucks."  Gradually, that translated into liberalism becoming a prerequisite for getting hired.  Many campuses require new faculty members to sign a diversity statement.  "What diversity oaths seek," says Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, "is to maintain political conformity among the faculty indoctrinating our impressionable, intellectually immature young people.  The last thing that diversity hustlers want," Williams concludes, "is diversity in ideas."

Intellectual freedom on campus is flirting with extinction.  When I attended college, students demanded more freedom of expression.  Today's students, says Scott Greer in No Campus for White Men, demand less freedom and actually want to limit free expression.  Political correctness on campus is giving rise to a new generation poised to throw free speech out the window.  Activists believe that free speech is their exclusive province.  Contrary opinions are oppressive and labeled hate speech.  "Campus leftists," says Greer, "are able to suppress all dissenting speech for the supposed good of mankind."

Academia has "invented a labyrinth of anti-free speech tools," says political commentator Kirsten Powers, that are "weapons to silence anyone who expresses a view that deviates from the left's worldview or ideology."  George Orwell warned about this problem in Nineteen Eighty-Four.  The U.S. experienced a taste of it in the 1950s as Joseph McCarthy tried to shut down communists in the upper echelons of American society.  Now the left is getting revenge by attempting to silence the right.

Because Harvard wields a great deal of influence, Rodrik's proposal will be taken seriously by other campuses around the country – most of which are controlled by the left.  What can be done to prevent an intercollegiate blacklist?  David Horowitz, author of Big Agenda, urges a campaign that will force universities to add "intellectual and political diversity" into their mission statements.  This might compel them to hire conservative professors for a long overdue change.

The alternative is a disturbing view of the possible social and political discourse in America's future.  If academia imposes a blacklist on conservatives, will the corporate world and government agencies be next?  The kids marching today to shut down Trump-supporters or anyone else they don't like, says Scott Greer, could well be the senators, judges, and newspaper editors of tomorrow.  "Give me four years to teach the children," said Lenin, "and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."

Ed Brodow is a political commentator, negotiation expert, and author of seven books including his latest, Tyranny of the Minority: How the Left Is Destroying America.

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