Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
We spent the second half of the last century in a long war with a bunch of leftists who wore funny clothes and shouted a jargon of incomprehensible slogans.
These days you can only find them in North Korea and on your local college campus.
As free speech disappears from campuses faster than beer during Hell Week, here’s your guide to understanding what the people taking away your free speech are saying while they pepper spray you.
Free speech is actually not at all endangered on campus, according to the Wellesley News which defines free speech as any speech that protects the underprivileged. The only free speech is left-wing speech. Any other speech is a form of oppression against the underprivileged who have the privilege of calling it out by harassing anyone who engages in it to protect their existence from your existence.
That includes lying down in the middle of freeway traffic so as to impede white supremacy by preventing teachers from getting to work, kids from getting to schools and ambulances from transporting dying patients to the hospital. This calls attention to the plight of angry African Studies majors who almost read “Between the World and Me” and named their gerbils after wanted terrorist Assata Shakur.
All non-social justice forms of speech are hate speech. These include supporting Trump, quoting the Bill of Rights or refusing to check your privilege. Checking your privilege determines how much free speech you really have. The privileged have the least free speech because of their burden of privilege and the underprivileged are privileged with the widest latitude of free speech.
This includes bursting into the library and shouting racial slurs while everyone is studying for their finals.
Objecting to racial slurs, death threats, fake hate crimes, machete attacks, pepper spray and/or arson is “tone policing”. Policing the tone of angry left-wing minority hooligans who have Tumblr pages full of clips from The Boondocks is deeply wrong and you need to check your privilege. They are already performing enormous amounts of “unpaid emotional labor” by just existing in white spaces and then trying to educate you about your privilege and their agony by yelling racial slurs in your face.
It doesn’t help when you refuse to be educated about your privilege and instead whitesplain, mansplain, hetsplain or cisplain to them about the challenges you have overcome. If you aren’t enduring daily “microaggressions” when people fail to use the correct personal pronoun that reflects your agender identity (Zer or Ler are both acceptable) then you have no idea how privileged you are.
Existence is resistance. The mere existence of an agender Muslim Eskimo Lesbian who is differently abled on account of Zer’s learning disability is an act of resistance against a system of white supremacy filled with unthinking privileged cis and het normative people like you.
Every time that Zer encounters anything from a bathroom sign to a wedding cake that normalizes heterosexual and cisgender people who are racist enough to love the opposite sex and believe that they’re still men and women, it is triggered and must defend its existence. This requires it to perform enormous amounts of unpaid emotional labor from which it must retreat into self-care mode where it binge watches a season of Orange is the New Black while shoveling pints of Ben & Jerry's into its maw and then demands class credit and a grant for all that unpaid emotional labor.
Failure to accede to its demands is also a microaggression.
Unpaid emotional labor is any emotional friction resulting from Zer fighting back against being marginalized, triggered and bloated. Social justice crybullies will often demand to be paid for their emotional labor. The emotional labor they demand to be paid for includes yelling at people on Twitter, posting social justice cartoons on Tumblr and reporting people for offensive Halloween costumes.
Zer must exist in a fascist space that normalizes whiteness, heterosexuality and cisgenderisms. When all the unpaid emotional labor of hating everyone around Zer gets tiring, it retreats into a safe space that bars everyone who isn’t different. White cishet allies may or may not be allowed into the safe space. Even when they’re allowed, they can be kicked out at any time when they refuse to be educated on how they deserve to have racial slurs yelled in their faces and instead resort to “white tears” and “splaining”.
The ideal campus would be a total safe space with no hate speech or non-different people allowed. All the buildings would be renamed after indigenous Marxist terrorists and all the STEM majors would have to spend 5 years taking mandatory social justice courses. College would be free and all the emotional labor of yelling at people on Twitter about the Redskins would finally be paid for with grants and subsidies.
Sadly that day is not yet upon us. But the forces of social justice on campus can labor to bring it closer by calling out hate speech. Calling out hate speech means attempting to educate them about their privilege by yelling slurs in their faces or reporting them to the Office of Campus Safe Space Security. If that fails, further call outs can include violently assaulting speakers and anyone who interacts with them in any way, setting random fires around campus and faking hate crimes to spread awareness of hate speech.
If this fails, other options include a hunger strike, blocking college officials from getting to their cars while accusing of refusing to interact with students and bomb threats. Calling out hate speech by sending yourself fake racist notes and grabbing a professor by the hair for interacting with someone that someone on DailyKos said was a racist are also completely legitimate vehicles for calling out hate speech.
And your tone policing is not appreciated.
Free speech was one of those ideas that came along with the spirit of inquiry. It might have been necessary in the past when we did not have the answers to all of the questions. But now that intersectionality tells us exactly how to achieve social justice, any further debate only impinges on the rights of the oppressed. There is no need for a marketplace of ideas or room for dissent.
As the co-founder of the ACLU once put it, “I champion civil liberty as the best of the non-violent means of building the power on which worker's rule must be based... When that power of the working class is once achieved, as it has been only in the Soviet Union, I am for maintaining it by any means whatever."
If you stop by Berkeley or North Korea, you can see what “any means whatever” really entails.
Free speech, like democracy, is a train. And it’s meant to stop in only one place. When it doesn’t stop where you want it, you resist by fighting to undo the results of an election or assaulting speakers you disagree with. That’s not fascism. It’s social justice. The two just happen to have a lot in common.
The essence of totalitarian privilege is the insistence that your identity and politics endow you with unique rights and powers. Orwellian word games can mask privilege as the intersectional lack of it, but it’s still all the same. Oppressors begin by insisting that they are the oppressed. Wars start in the name of peace. Social justice is eliminated in the name of social justice.
It’s not the end of free speech, the campus crybullies insist. It’s just the end of speech that is free.