Hell must be freezing over: there’s good news out of academia. It’s sorely needed, too. These days, university and college campuses are under constant siege by hyper-sensitive multiculturalist students bent on smothering open debate and silencing opposing viewpoints — let’s call them the Thought Police. Most recently, at the University of California, Irvine, a group of students voted to ban the display of the American flag for the sake of “inclusivity.”
But wonder of wonders: the heads of UCI’s student government have now smacked the vote down with a good old-fashioned veto. Listen up, campus conservatives: this is a case study in how to fight back against the Thought Police.
The Thought Police are easy to spot — they’re the ones demanding vice-like control over campus discourse and shrilly accusing their opponents of bigotry. In 2014, Brandeis University planned to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s rights advocate and a staunch critic of Islam. The Thought Police in the student body harried the administration and slandered Hirsi Ali until Brandeis rescinded its offer.
When Hirsi Ali was invited to speak at Yale, the Thought Police there accused her of hate speech and cast aspersions on her academic credentials in the desperate hope of shutting her up. Not long ago, the Oxford branch of the Thought Police gleefully smothered an open debate about abortion on the grounds that both speakers were male. Anything to avoid the horror of encountering an opposing viewpoint.
Among their peers, the Thought Police defend their position via intimidation, aggression, and abuse. Students who speak up in favor of free expression are often insulted and ostracized. When University of Michigan student Omar Mahmood satirized his school’s oppressively PC campus climate, he was mercilessly bullied and kicked off of the student newspaper.
Others who contradict progressive dogma get publicly excoriated, online and in person, as “fascists,” “repulsive,” and worse. Anything that smells even faintly of patriotism or free thought has to be stamped into dust.
So the UCI Thought Police condemned all flags, especially this country’s, on the grounds that they uniformly promote imperialism and oppression. They voted to remove the American flag from the student government lobby because, as their bill explains, “[F]lags construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards for others to obtain which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality, and democracy.” The students went on to make their stance clear: “freedom of speech,” they wrote, “can be interpreted as hate speech.”
Ladies and gentlemen: the Thought Police at work. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
Now, when you’re locked in a battle with the Thought Police, how do you dodge their relentless vitriol and identity politics to come out victorious?
Well, you’ve got to hit them where they’re oh, so weak: the flimsy logic of their untenable arguments. Take this UCI bill, for example: the thing is a travesty of reasoning and ideology, not to mention English grammar. It’s written in that illiterate, pseudo-erudite jargon of radical activism that is the lingua franca of Thought Police everywhere.
The idea that flags are morally indistinguishable from one another because they are all symbols of countries is infantile. It’s like saying that bottles of milk and bottles of lighter fluid are identical because they are both containers for liquids. Take a swig from a bottle and you’ll realize it matters very much what kind of liquid, exactly, it contains. Take a stand for a flag and you’ll realize it matters even more which country, exactly, it symbolizes.
And of course, as it happens, the American flag symbolizes the country whose ideals afford those students at UCI the freedom to stumble into their fatuous half-theories in the first place. Fighting make-believe oppression isn’t half so much fun if you’re not doing it under the Stars and Stripes — if you’re doing it, for example, in North Korea.
Where they’ll kill you.
The American flag represents the intellectual air those students breathe and the soldiers who defend their luxury, not to mention the government that funds the literal existence of their university. Every college freshman — every sixth grader — is old enough to make these rudimentary observations. And also, incidentally, to compose a sentence whose subject agrees with its verb.
But no matter how feeble their reasoning is, the Thought Police often reign supreme on campus. That’s why it was so gratifying to watch when the UCI executive cabinet, the head honchos of the student government, gave a textbook demonstration of how to deal with this kind of bloviating nonsense. When they vetoed the bill, they wrote,
It is these very symbols [i.e. the flag] that represent our constitutional rights that have allowed for our representative creation and our ability to openly debate all ranges of issues and pay tribute to how those liberties were attained.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. And it didn’t stop there. The UCI chancellor, Howard Gillman, wrote that the bill was “outrageous and indefensible.”
And in an act of almost-unsung valor, one courageous ROTC student volunteered to stand guard over the flag until the veto vote was counted. So if you’re out there, campus conservatives, take heart: the battle isn’t hopeless and defeat isn’t a foregone conclusion.
When reasonable academics defend obvious truths with intellectual integrity, liberty can win out.
The UCI flag controversy isn’t over — the campus is still in turmoil and the story is now national news. But on college campuses, where victories for sanity and reason are often few and far between, it’s good to see students standing up for what’s right and winning.
So to UCI, I say, good going. The Campus Conservative’s Field Manual salutes you. And long may your flag fly.
If you’ve had a run-in with the Thought Police and you’ve got tips for taking them down, don’t hold back! Post your advice in the comments. (Editor’s Note: Also tweet your ideas and links to us as we continue to grow and expand this series: @PJMedia_com @HashtagHercules @DaveSwindle!)
And as always, check back soon for more installments of The Campus Conservative’s Field Manual.
image illustration via here.