Free speech has been in decline for years on American campuses as extreme leftist censorship has taken hold. Speaking one’s mind in the most basic ways is now verboten.
Below, the face of America’s Pol Pot: in 2015 communication professor Melissa Click at the University of Missouri called for “muscle” to eject a badthink student journalist from her protest zone—she was later fired.
President Trump recently pledged to cut federal funding to universities if they don’t support free speech, which will set up major ideological stresses, as Victor Davis Hanson pointed out in a discussion with Tucker Carlson. But there is big money involved, so the academy will be forced to adjust somewhat by using weasel words but certainly with no change of heart.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I am proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars.
TUCKER CARLSON: That was the President over the weekend at CPAC. American colleges once had the freest speech in the world and that was directly related to the fact they were the best in the world. Now American higher education is increasingly dominated by fascists who tolerate but a single set of ideas. The President’s executive order presumably will seek to change that. It’s unclear exactly what it will say. Well, obviously we’ll follow it.
In the meantime, Victor Davis Hanson is a college professor himself. He is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of the new book, “The Case for Trump,” which is out tomorrow. He joins us tonight. Professor, thanks very much for coming on. Congrats on the book.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Thank you very much, Tucker.
CARLSON: So what do you think this executive order is likely to say? What should it say?
HANSON: Well it’s trying to restore some balance on campuses and it functions, I think at two levels. Politically it sort of forces the parents of free speech and that’s what the Democratic Party says they are going back to the Berkeley free speech era and the ACLU.
It says you have to be for free speech, but if you’re going to follow Trump’s executive order, that you have to be for Trump. They can’t be for Trump, but anything Trump says, he’s for they’re against. But to be against Trump is against free speech, so how do they square that circle?
I think the way they do it is through Orwellian language, so what they mean is free speech is hate speech because you could be cruel to some group and censorship is called trigger warnings, segregation as safe spaces and having some skepticism that man-made global warming is sort of creationism or denialism.
So in their way of and I’m saying they’re going to make these efforts, Tucker, because there’s $26 billion dollars at stake in federal support for higher education, so they’re going to be for free speech. It’s just not what you and I and most Americans call free speech.
CARLSON: So, I am a little bit confused. So obviously, higher education is destroying the country. It’s feeding this poison into the bloodstream making young people hate themselves, hate the country, not educating people and leaving everyone in debt, so it’s a disaster. Why wouldn’t the President unilaterally to the extent he could you just shut down federal funding for it until they do this and a lot of other things to make it a serious sector once more?
HANSON: They will and I think he will try to do that and I’m thinking, I’m hoping he’s successful like you are, but I think what they’re going to say is, “Oh we believe in free speech,” but people who want to engage in free speech say mean things, so we can’t let them hurt people and we believe — we don’t believe in censorship, but Mark Twain can be insensitive, so we’re going to trigger warning or not read certain passages or we believe in integration of course in the Civil Rights Movement, but we feel that it’s too hurtful for people so they have separate racially segregated dorms and that’s how they operate.
They change the language and they think that by changing the language, they change reality, so then they come back to Trump and they think, we solved the problem. We can beat for free speech and we can be against Donald Trump because that isn’t really free speech. It’s trigger warnings and micro aggressions and safe spaces and denialism. That’s what they do and I don’t think they’re going to be able to pull it off, but they’re in a very bad predicament, Tucker.
This is the party of the left that is going to have to oppose a motion to ensure free speech.
CARLSON: Well, it’s bewildering to those of us over 40; I hope they push this really hard. Professor, thank you for joining us tonight and again, congrats on your book.