Do you think that the First Amendment protects your right of free speech at American colleges and universities? Think again. Protecting students‚?? ‚??self-esteem‚?Ě from ‚??offensive‚?Ě ideas has taken priority over the free exchange of ideas.
According to scathing new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), 55 percent of America‚??s colleges and universities maintain severely restrictive speech codes. These codes limit politically incorrect speech and often stop speech from happening altogether.
Some examples cited by FIRE at taxpayer-funded institutions include the University of South Carolina‚??s prohibition of ‚??teasing,‚?Ě ‚??ridiculing‚?Ě and ‚??insulting.‚?Ě The University of Connecticut requires all students and employees to ‚??refrain from actions that intimidate, humiliate, or demean persons or groups, or that undermine their security or self-esteem.‚?Ě
These codes are typical at modern progressive universities and often include entirely unconstitutional ‚??free speech zones,‚?Ě permitting free speech in extremely restricted areas and at restricted times, as arbitrarily chosen by the schools.
No wonder why great comedians like Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld have made headlines with their refusal to perform on US college campuses, citing the overly politically correct student audience with no tolerance for the slightest offense.
How can any comedy act possibly work under such impossible restrictions? How can we have policy debates on campus when conservative views are considered ‚??insulting‚?Ě, ‚??insensitive‚?Ě or even ‚??hateful‚?Ě?
If comedy or contrarian political thought can be labeled ‚??offensive‚?Ě or undermining ‚??self-esteem‚?Ě and banned, our future is dim. We are raising an entire generation of thin-skinned intolerant young people who will graduate with the expectation that they must never be offended by anyone when they enter the real world. Some education.
It‚??s time to use these preposterous speech codes against these schools, until they wise up and rescind them on their own. How can that be done? It‚??s time for conservatives and contrarian thinkers to start claiming ‚??offense.‚?Ě It‚??s time for them to claim their campus‚?? progressive thought has damaged their ‚??self-esteem.‚?Ě
Students can have fun embarrassing the daylights out of these schools‚?? administrations‚??with the desired outcome of the anti-free speech codes being rescinded, one by one.
Here are some ideas to try out:
– You‚??re a Christian student. Claim to feel intimidated and demeaned by liberal students and professors for criticizing your religious points of view on family values and God. You demand that all criticism of your faith and politically conservative social beliefs ceases immediately, lest you feel demeaned and your self-esteem lowered.
– You‚??re a woman taking a comparative religion course. Claim to feel threatened while discussing the religion of Islam. In many classes, the Koran is required reading material, and it describes Mohammed‚??s marriage to a 6 year old girl and sex with her when she was 9, along with countless other stories of Mohammed‚??s sanctioning of child rape, sex slaves and wife beating. You demand that the entire subject of Islam, and copies of the Koran, be completely banned from university as demeaning hate speech.
– You‚??re a pro-life female student. Claim to feel threatened and your religious beliefs violently attacked any time professors or students openly support abortion. Tell them you are having nightmares of doctors aborting your unborn baby, and your security is severely threatened. All discussion and speech supporting ‚??pro-choice‚?Ě and abortion must be immediately banned on campus.
– You‚??re a college male. Claim to have been made to feel demeaned and abused sexually by women on campus who have checked you out working out at the campus gym. These women‚??s dashing glances are surely sexual in nature. You demand that no women be allowed in or near the campus gym, in order to preserve your rights and dignity and prevent this obvious sexual harassment.
If you‚??re a student at one of these anti-free speech college campuses, try beating progressives at their own game by making them take some of their own bad medicine, and see how fast they change their intolerant speech codes. Get creative and have fun.
J.P. Moran is a Catholic conservative writer and a 20-year marketing executive.