There were few media reports of last week’s incident at New York’s New School, when Senator John McCain was booed and heckled by staff and students whilst attempting to give a commencement address. He had been invited to do so by the school president, former Democrat Senator Robert Kerrey. Both McCain and Kerrey are war heroes.
Kerrey himself was heckled and one student shouted out that he was a “war criminal”. There are at least two reasons why the mainstream media mostly ignores this type of behavior in educational institutions. One is that reporters and their editors share the intolerant extremist political views that dominate all public and some private places of “learning”. Thus they are neither outraged nor mildly disapproving. More likely they are moved to chuckle in approval. A second reason is that the Media Class would prefer that the general public not be made too aware of the leftist political intolerance that reigns in the places where the next generation is receiving indoctrination. It is careful to ensure that the general public in the USA, largely conservative and Christian, not be aroused to the kind of indignation that might result in a reaction. The Media Class’ leftist agenda is best advanced by stealth! Indeed it cannot be advanced by any other means except unconstitutional judicial processes.
The reason why conservatives more or less accept a media blackout on such news is that Leftist intolerance on campus is so universal. Conservatives have ceased to be shocked by it. Rather, they regard it as the normal state of affairs. Indeed, they would be surprised if any views outside of the politically correct script were permitted, even in academia’s most official events. It is barely possible for mainstream views to be expressed in even the most remote corners of a campus. Perhaps we should ask ourselves how we got to this outrageous state of affairs and then stop accepting it.
None of the rationalizations for acceptance stand examination. For example it is not true that academia has always been the home of radicalism. It is true that radicalism has usually been tolerated on campus and amongst the young intelligentsia, but that is a far remove from having it drive out, by force, all other viewpoints. When I was a schoolboy, my teachers were extremely careful to conceal their politics, if indeed they held any strong opinions. It was not considered morally right for teachers as public servants to misuse their power to influence their students to any political viewpoint. Furthermore, most believed that public neutrality was the professional way to behave. Even in private life, educators mostly preferred to keep a low profile in politics and other controversial matters. In this way, they retained a certain dignity in the eyes of their students. Today, such standards of behavior seem almost unworldly, even as educators enjoy little respect from both students and public
As for shouting down invited speakers, we have only for a moment to consider the concept of good manners. What happened to it? I remember the first time (as a very militantly Marxist teenager) I went to Hyde Park Speakers Corner on a Sunday afternoon. There was a wide range of views being expounded from the soapboxes and some speakers were gently heckled. It was all very good humored and no-one was ever shouted down, let alone physically intimidated. Surely we should not accept the idea that students and staff can shout down invited speakers on public property. This is a serious breakdown in behavior and we should have high expectations about behavior in public educational institutions. And what of the concept that public education should encourage the broadest dialogue of ideas? Even more to the point, what about free speech? Some conservatives, eager not to have to confront unpalatable truths, argue that the young are always radical and intolerant but change with worldly experience. In other words, none of this loutish, bullying behavior is new and it is all down to youth. They would argue that I am an example of this, being once a Marxist and now a radical conservative. There is a difference, however, and it is an important one not to be overlooked. I was forced, as an impressionable youngster, to witness good manners, good-humored toleration, fair play in the public arena and the neutrality of public servants. The young, who with their mentors now shout down John McCain and anyone else not of the Hard Left, are being apprenticed to something very different. Those who grew up in Stalin’s educational establishments in the 1930’s learned how to shout down Trotskyists, wreckers, saboteurs and enemies of the people. Later they were more than willing to physically dispose of them in the tens of millions. The new generations of students here are receiving their apprenticeship in Leftist totalitarianism.
On this website we are under no illusion that the now-dominant Media Class is shaping society to suit its own needs. In the distant past, the media was a watchdog on the sidelines of power and one of its functions was to bring the news to the people. Radical and Right do not subscribe to the view that the media once had great principles or was a Fourth Estate with a quasi constitutional mission, but in its disorganized way it kept the people informed. Today, it is THE power and it keeps people in the dark, whilst it pushes forward with a dangerous, largely concealed agenda.
The Media Class conceals from the public the totalitarian behavior on campus because it approves of the training in intolerance that students are learning and practicing. Americans should be greatly alarmed. In the UK, where freedom and free speech have no constitutional protections, the Media Class now conceals all news of the daily physical attacks by Leftists on nationalists and their property. Shadowy organizations of thugs and union bosses make political campaigning all but impossible for the British National Party. Even worse, the mainstream media conceals news of police arrests and detention of nationalists without cause or charge.
The stifling of free speech in the UK began on campus many decades ago and enjoyed media secrecy. Today, all British citizens are denied freedom of speech and political action and most are only dimly aware of the fact. The lesson is clear. American conservatives would be wise to actively resist Leftist control of college campuses and insist that education becomes once again politically neutral. At the same time they should accept nothing less than civilized behavior from staff and students. Political activity and expression has no place in educational institutions. The best way to protect free speech and the freedom of political ideas is to restrict it to the places where it belongs- the public square, the market place, meeting halls, the hustings and in everybody’s private life. In such places, all ideas are truly out in the open and the young will be exposed to all viewpoints.