A recent editorial in the Wellesley College student newspaper—Wellesley, as I’m sure you know, is the alma mater of Hillary Clinton—has justly set off ethics alarms across the political spectrum. That, at least, is good news: the hostility to free thought, expression and speech that I thought had decisively corrupted one side of that spectrum apparently is not as entrenched as I thought, or at least it is being diplomatically disguised.
The editorial with the Orwellian title of “Free Speech Is Not Violated At Wellesley ” (it would have been accurate if the headline read “We Think Free Speech Is Not Violated At Wellesley Because Wellesley Hasn’t Taught Us What Free Speech Is”), contained several month’s worth of Ethics Alarms Unethical Quotes of the Week, such as
Many members of our community, including students, alumnae and faculty, have criticized the Wellesley community for becoming an environment where free speech is not allowed or is a violated right….However, we fundamentally disagree with that characterization, and we disagree with the idea that free speech is infringed upon at Wellesley. Rather, our Wellesley community will not stand for hate speech, and will call it out when possible.
Translation: We don’t oppose free speech. We just oppose speech we disagree with.
Wellesley students are generally correct in their attempts to differentiate what is viable discourse from what is just hate speech. Wellesley is certainly not a place for racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia or any other type of discriminatory speech. Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech.
By this definition, the editorial itself is hate speech. This is the kind of rhetoric that Captain Kirk used to make evil computers blow their circuits on “Star Trek.”
The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government. The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.
Now we know they don’t teach American History at Wellesley as well as philosophy and logic.
We have all said problematic claims, the origins of which were ingrained in us by our discriminatory and biased society. Luckily, most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way. It is vital that we encourage people to correct and learn from their mistakes rather than berate them for a lack of education they could not control. While it is expected that these lessons will be difficult and often personal, holding difficult conversations for the sake of educating is very different from shaming on the basis of ignorance.
Wait, wasn’t this endorsement of indoctrination written by Lenin or Stalin? Surely this section should be in quotes with attribution.
This being said, if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted.
I’m sorry, I just ran screaming from my office and momentarily lost my train of thought.
Pointing to the worst sections of the editorial fail to convey its gobsmacking intellectual flaccidity, smug certitude and hostility to the open exchange of ideas. We know where this came from, too: the education at Wellesley. This month, six Wellesley professors who comprise the college’s Commission on Race, Ethnicity, and Equity signed a letter maintaining that Wellesley should not allow challenges to the political and social views that the campus has decreed are the correct ones, arguing that speakers who are brought to campus to encourage debate may “stifle productive debate by enabling the bullying of disempowered groups.”
In other words, Wellesley has to destroy debate in order to save it. “There is no doubt that the speakers in question impose on the liberty of students, staff, and faculty,” the professors wrote in an e-mail to the campus community.
Defenders of the college’s honor argue that the editorial should not be seen as representative of the student body. That may be, but there does not appear to be any significant opposition to it on campus. Of course, this may be because the editorial seems to be calling for violence against dissenters.
1. The left-wing media doesn’t appear to think this story is newsworthy. On Google News, the following publications have reported that a major liberal arts college’s paper endorses campus censorship and “hostility” against speakers and students who have not been sufficiently indoctrinated: The Federalist, The Weekly Standard, The Daily Caller, Townhall, and the Boston Globe, which is Wellesley’s local paper. That’s it. No New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, and the rest.
The reason is obvious: if you are going to boil a frog alive, you don’t tell him he is being boiled.
2. Let me be clearer still: the mainstream media doesn’t think it’s alarming or even news that college students reject free speech because most journalists embrace the same ideological goals, and are doing their best to accomplish those goals by manipulating information and public opinion.
3. Any parents who read that editorial and continue to pay over $63,000 per year to send their child to Wellesley are irresponsible fools. I would pull my son out of such a school in the blink of an eye. The editorial is signature significance for an ideologically extreme, warped, totalitarian anti-American campus culture, and no caring parent would allow his or her children to have their brains and values marinated there. Paying to have your children politically programmed with their minds closed rather than expanded is lunacy.
4. Of course, the typical family that would sent a child to Wellesley is likely to be like the pod-parents in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” placing the soul stealing and conformity-delivering alien pods in the beds of their sleeping kids. If you send a son or a daughter to Wellesley, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley or dozens of other “elite” institutions, you are paying for their indoctrination in alien values.
5. It is also worth noting that the editorial is atrociously written, and the linked version was re-edited after it was mocked for its ineptness. For example, “We at The Wellesley News, are not interested in any type of tone policing” was originally published as “Tone policing is a practice that we at The Wellesley News are not interested in any type of.” $63,000!
When the editorial sparked hostility on social media, the paper or the university quickly made the editorial unavailable on-line, substituting a mysterious page that implied that the reader’s browser or ISP was at fault. Then the editorial reappeared with the worst of the writing repaired, but the hostility to freedom of expression remaining.
So they apparently don’t teach you to write at Wellesley, but they do teach you to lie.
For the greater good, of course.
Source: Boston Globe