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You Can't Fight Campus Illiberalism With More Illiberalism

Added 10-21-21 12:21:01pm EST - “Free speech on campus is in jeopardy. But many people on the left and the right are rising to fight for our liberal democratic values.” - Reason.com


Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “You Can't Fight Campus Illiberalism With More Illiberalism”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Veronique de Rugy | 10.21.2021 11:42 AM

I consider my children to be extraordinarily lucky to be born and live in the United States. When I moved here from France in 1999, I believed that, while far from perfect, America still very much embraced the values held by its founders, especially a respect for pluralism and viewpoint diversity.

In fact, I've long believed that the First Amendment's protections for freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition are indispensable ingredients for the success of a country with hundreds of millions of diverse people whose ancestors arrived here from all over the world. By the time I moved here, many battles to extend freedoms to black and other minority citizens, as well as to religious associations on American campuses and elsewhere, had already been won by First Amendment litigators. As a result, I took this extension of freedom for granted. But I know now that it took much too long for these rights to be extended to all, and there's still a lot to be done.

As my eldest daughter just started college, I've found myself worrying that academic freedom and viewpoint diversity are now in jeopardy. The deterioration of the culture of free speech is documented by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in their 2015 book, The Coddling of the American Mind. They explain how students, who not too long ago had to be protected from speech codes on campus, are now asking administrators to protect them from speech they don't want to hear. They believe that words that don't conform to their constantly shifting standards are a form of violence. As a result, incidents on college campuses have multiplied, leaving many students and faculty terrified of saying the wrong thing.

Sadly, some conservatives are fighting this left-wing illiberalism with their own illiberalism. Some even argue that liberal democracy's time has passed. They embrace nationalists like former President Donald Trump and Hungarian strongman Prime Minister Viktor Orban as role models in the hope of rescuing America from what they see as the degenerate culture of the left. In response to abusive mask mandates, they impose anti-mask mandates extending to the private sector, and they fight the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools with problematic and illiberal bans of their own.


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