Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
There is a place in America where civil rights don’t exist.
The First Amendment doesn’t apply. Neither does the Sixth Amendment. (Never mind the Second.) Not only Freedom of Speech, but Freedom of Association (NAACP v. Alabama) is under fire.
Snowflakes. Oversensitive. We’ve all heard those accusations leveled at college students. Are millennial college students really an oversensitive generation? Or are they right to be oversensitive.
Two types of people are sensitive; the entitled and the endangered. It’s reasonable to be paranoid about subtle social nuances if you live in a totalitarian state where the wrong word or look will be punished. Where someone is always watching for even the most minor acts of political incorrectness.
College students are afraid. And they should be.
The average college campus with its speech codes, thought policing, violent protests and kangaroo courts has no resemblance to anything else in the United States of America.
Colleges are totalitarian states. And they are the blueprints of the left’s plan for the entire country.
Individuals have no rights on campus. Intersectional tribes do. The way that these tribes negotiate conflicting rights is a mix of Kafka and Orwell. In Orwell’s homeland, Oxford University’s Equality and Diversity Unit (a name that could easily have leaped from the pages of 1984) warned students that failing to make eye contact was a racist microaggression. The usual sensible responses accomplished nothing. Then autistic students complained that the microaggression guidelines were themselves a microaggression against students with disabilities. And the “Unit” quickly apologized and retreated.
The absurdity of the situation reeks of old Soviet anecdotes. But the same system exists in the United States.
An individual’s right to free speech on campus derives from his membership in a group. What might be dangerously offensive from a white man is fully legal when coming from a Latino woman or a Muslim man.
Not just the speech, but the evidentiary process is fundamentally different based on group membership. Hysterical panics by favored minority activists lead to quick and illegal sanctions against students and faculty with no regard for the facts. Facts, like truth, are viewed as favoring white males.
“The idea that there is a single truth–‘the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West," African-American students at Pomona College wrote. "This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples.”
We used to ask who was afraid of the truth. Now we have the answer.
Truth is a construct. The search for truth endangers minorities. That isn’t just true in the intellectual sense, but in the evidentiary one. If you try to determine whether a hate crime really happened or whether discrimination really exists, you are endangering their ability to exercise power through claims of oppression.
Facts and truth create unsafe spaces for politically correct tyranny. Safe spaces are places where truth and civil rights don’t exist.
The United States (not to mention capitalism and imperialism) were built on the notion that truth exists. So was our system of law. People are considered guilty until proven innocent because we believe that it is possible to find the truth. But if there is no objective truth, only subjective narratives, and social justice mandates to unpack our knapsacks and cast aside privileged narratives, then the privileged are guilty. And they can never be proven innocent without endangering the privileges of the oppressed.
That’s not an abstraction. It means that if you are accused of a microaggression, you are guilty. If you made too little eye contact or too much eye contact, you are guilty. Your explanations don’t matter.
Truth doesn’t matter.
Campus kangaroo courts operate in this post-truth space. Accusations don’t depend on proof, but on membership in the right identity group. Accusations of oppression must always be treated as valid. But accusations by the privileged can and should be ignored. That is how social justice works.
Crimes are collective. As are punishments. Individual guilt and innocence is a function of collective guilt and innocence. It doesn’t matter what you did. It only matters what group you belong to.
On campus, as in prison, there is safety in an identity group. Only the group has the power to protect you. But even within the group there is never any true sense of security. Intersectional tribalism is always being negotiated and renegotiated. The microaggression you condemn might very well turn out to be your own. No matter how oppressed you are, someone is always more oppressed.
The wrong joke, costume, idea, inference or even lack of eye contact can make you a criminal.
Innocence is not an option. The very concept of white privilege indicts you for crimes that you had no idea you were even committing. At worst, your very existence is an affront. And ignorance is no excuse. Whiteness, masculinity, femininity, heterosexuality and even Americanism are pre-existing crimes that require an endless process of atonement which by its very nature will always be incomplete.
You oppress by existing. To defend yourself is to further oppress your accusers by rejecting their pain. As in all totalitarian systems, your claims to innocence only deepen your guilt by challenging the moral authority of your accusers. The safest response is to confess and learn to love Big Intersectionality.
Colleges have always been the training ground for the leaders of tomorrow. The blueprints for a new society begin there. If you wanted to know what leftist ideas would be going mainstream in a decade, you went to a fashionable college. The leftist idea that is going mainstream is a totalitarian state.
Microaggressions, safe spaces, tone-policing, identity caste systems, no platforming and the end of truth aren’t just some silly campus nonsense. They are the blueprint for the future of the United States.
Violence against free speech migrated from the campus to the city street. The rejection of truth and facts climaxed with rejecting the outcome of a presidential election.
Imagine what tomorrow’s leaders would be like if they all got an education in North Korea. That’s the crisis we face today. The leaders of tomorrow are coming of age in the totalitarian campus states of today. When one of those polls emerge showing that 7 out of 10 college students want to ban offensive speech, it’s not a generational phenomenon so much as it is environmental indoctrination.
The left’s experiment in college totalitarianism has normalized an environment in which free speech and individual rights don’t exist, in which truth and facts were invented by imperialists, and in which a single cultural misstep can have shattering consequences for anyone who isn’t part of the right identity clique.
Today’s campus is unsafe for America. Taxpayers have invested enormous amounts of money into funding an educational system that rejects everything that makes our society work. If that does not change, then our society will be destroyed by the consequences.
The battle over freedom on campus is the battle for freedom in America.