Some people are so upset with countervailing opinions that they feel the only solution is to silence them. That was written by a Harvard Crimson biweekly columnist named Sandra Y.L. Korn, who said exactly that in her recent column “The Thin Red Line.”
Korn wrote, “No academic question is ever ‘free’ from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?” Then she continues her stifling and almost Nazisque remarks with “Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of ‘academic justice.’ When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.”
When you create any oppression of freedom of speech, no matter how well meaning, it will become a totalitarian situation. Who gets to decide what is racist, oppressing or any other political standard? And that is the problem. It is ironic, but while the intended purpose is to allegedly end oppression, such an idea is the beginning of oppression.
There is only one way for free speech and academic freedom to exist and that is in an environment of complete and absolute freedom of speech and academic freedom, no if, ands or buts. Yeah, sure, there are a very few exceptions such as yelling fire in a crowded area, but that wasn’t the purpose of (constitutional) freedom of speech and freedom of ideas. The purpose was to allow complete and unfettered freedom with respect to political speech.
So when this liberal, pseudo intellectual Korn wrote, “No academic question is ever free from political realities,” she wants to stop any activity, thought or writing that she thinks is “oppressive.” Next thing she will want is a good old-fashion book burning. Maybe her first bonfire will include the works of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Sowell, William Buckley, Rush Limbaugh, Jonah Goldberg, Roy Spencer, George Will, Charles Krauthammer and the list goes on. To her thinking these are all oppressive thinkers and their books, speeches and writings would be banned from Harvard as well as their philosophy and thinking.
Perhaps Korn realizes that liberalism is such a false idea that it cannot compete without subjugating any competing ideas or philosophies, hence the abolition of academic freedom. But what will happen is eventually she won’t be in charge of political thought, and then she too will be purged from the system.
The reality is that Korn is a radical liberal if not socialist/communist in which their favorite word is “justice” and whose real meaning is the confiscation of property from those who have it and give it to someone else who they (Korn, et al) deem deserving or to whom a favor is owed. Or even worse, abolish all private property, both real and personal in a society in which the government owns everything and if you want a good apartment you have to be connected to the commissar in control of that property.
Korn would next take control of the public airways and other forms of media to control their speech. Fox News, abolished. All conservative radio shows taken off the air. Next would be control of the Internet and if you think the NSA problem is an issue now, they will try to implant an electronic device in all newborn babies to monitor their movements, associations and learn their thoughts. Sounds like 1984 or Animal Farm, but with college anti-intellectuals like Korn who want to eliminate academic freedom and replace it with indoctrination, it is the beginning of an Orwellian society.
One thing you never hear is Fox News calling for restricting any thought. They continually invite opposing viewpoints to come on their various shows. They don’t want rivals off the air by decree. It seems competition works better as they have nearly destroyed CNN’s viewership. For some reason viewers prefer Fox over CNN.
What Korn actually demonstrates is that her ideas can’t compete against other ideas. Her solution is to ban, abolish or eliminate by force those ideas that compete against hers. That is totalitarianism by any other word.
Larry Weitzman is a resident of Rescue.