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    The student Left’s culture of intolerance is creating a new generation of conservatives

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    sinister_midget
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    The student Left’s culture of intolerance is creating a new generation of conservatives

    Post  sinister_midget on Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:14 pm

    The student Left’s culture of intolerance is creating a new generation of conservatives

    Student demands for censorship get a lot of coverage. Spiked Online’s Free Speech University Rankings, now in its third annual edition, argues that there is a “crisis of free speech on campus”.

    By analysing the censorious policies and actions that have taken place on British campuses, Spiked concluded that 63.5 per cent of universities actively censor speech and 30.5 per cent stifle speech through excessive regulation. You can barely go a few days without encountering a new op-ed covering censorship on campus.

    Maajid Nawaz describes the students demanding censorship as members of the “regressive left”. Milo Yiannopoulos calls them “snowflakes”.

    With all of this book-burning and platform-denying madness sweeping up much of the media’s interest in campus culture, the gradual rise of another group of students has gone under-reported. British and American millennials and post-millennials – also known as ‘Gen Z’ – are warming to conservatism.

    To understand why this is happening, it is important to consider the vast changes that have taken place in Western student politics over the last fifty years. 

    Students were once in favour of free speech. In the mid-1960s, students of the University of California, Berkeley undertook a mass-movement for free speech. Under the leadership of Leftist heroes like Jack Weinberg, Bettina Aptheker and Jackie Goldberg, students demanded that the university administration retracted their on-campus ban of political activities. They demanded their freedom of speech. Mario Savio delivered what is generally recognised as the iconic speech of the University of California, Berkeley's (UCB) free speech movement. Here is the speech’s most powerful section:

    “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

    Savio’s speech helped push the movement towards success. Berkeley students won their full rights. Students, now liberated from the “machine” of university censorship, were able to create the anti-Vietnam student movement, another famous campus protest. 

    Nowadays, the student Left are unwilling to honour Savio’s legacy. On the 2nd of February, violent protests at Berkeley shut down a talk by popular conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos. Instead of maintaining a liberal and free atmosphere for speech and argument, Berkeley students have become the gears, wheels and levers of the machine that Savio wanted to stop.

    In the space of fifty years, Berkeley students have gone from rioting against a university administration that limited their freedom of speech to violently opposing the presence of a speaker they disagree with.

    In the modern era, students have often been attracted to the politics of the Left. 1968 saw pivotal student protests around the world. In the United States, students were central to the civil rights movement. In France, students joined forces with millions of striking workers to protest against capitalism.

    The conservative philosopher Roger Scruton was in Paris during the 1968 riots and has said that it was whilst witnessing the uprising that he became a conservative.

    The violence at Berkeley mirrors the street protests in Paris from 1968. Privileged and excitable students living in one of the most blessed parts of the world went out and created havoc in order to overthrow an opponent that they refused to tolerate. The Parisians, at least, had a deeper political cause – but the Berkeley students carried out the ugliest form of protest. It is the form of protest that says “I don’t like that view, therefore you must not be allowed to express it” and it is causing a lot of students to have their own ‘Scruton moment’.

    There have been several responses to campus censorship in the United Kingdom and the United States. One of the most interesting developments has been the rise in demand for conservative thought. In the United States, college tours by speakers popular with conservatives such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder, Ben Shapiro and Christina Hoff Sommers have become huge events. There has been a spike in membership in conservative college clubs including Young Americans for Liberty, which boasts 804 chapters filled with 308,927 members.

    My son isn't in college. But he's definitely strong in the conservative direction.

    My wife says he's just like me. He's not. I don't want him to be. I want him to have his own mind, not mine.

    There are areas where we disagree, though not many. I turned him onto some conservative things (most notably LevinTV, now CRTV - he's waiting for me to renew the subscription so he can catch up). But he tells me about people I never heard of and some people I have. I take names to him that I find out he's been listening to for a long time.

    He's 18, exactly the age the left wants to mold into mush-mind. His mind is open, but not to stupidity.

    I'm not going to say he's among a majority, or even a large percentage. But there are far more like him than anybody knows. And even the leftists he knows are at least open-minded enough to listen, debate and possibly even alter their thinking if the evidence to do so is strong enough. They spend less time looking for excuses about why things are the way they are. They don't watch CNNNBCCBSABCMSNBCBBCCSPAN, so they're not getting that influence. They still get subjected to some of the same forces. But not enough to lock them into the left's camp.

    The future may be brighter than we've known. It's not certain. But it's surely less likely to collapse than we sometimes believe.

      Current date/time is Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:35 pm