The Death of Free Speech in America

The Death of Free Speech in America

© David Burton 2018

Death of Free Speech in America

     Free speech is being stifled everywhere in America. On college campuses, the elite liberal right shouts down all who differ with their beliefs. The egghead professors and administrations in their smug ivory towers turn away all opinions and beliefs different from theirs. In many institutions of higher learning, the thought-Gestapo brainwashes the minds of the students and ensures that only their opinions and agendas can be openly presented.

     The process of demonizing free speech extends to the whitewashing of history when statues of famous Americans are torn down, streets named after prominent citizens are renamed, when previously innocuous sports team names are expunged because some historical revisionist has decided the team name is offensive to them. Certain perfectly good American/English words are now deemed verboten by PC-police decree.

Intolerance on American College Campuses

     “We are suffering from a large-scale culture clash in the United States. Strains of anxiety and vitriol pervade our daily discourse where we’d be better served with laughter and congeniality.
     “So why are we so divided? What is feeding it?
     “A good touchstone for where we are and where we are heading as a society is our college campuses. . . .
     “. . . In many colleges, students lived a four-year experience where free speech was a tenet afforded only to some, not all. In fact, the wrong speech could get you in trouble. Who determined what speech was wrong? Almost always it is postmodernist, progressive academics and their compliant student enforcers. Any diverse opinion was deemed hate speech and the mantra in radical liberal circles is, ‘Hate speech is not free speech.’
     “So, anybody who did not strictly adhere to their ideology was to be shut down. On campus, where the faculty is generally liberal, administrators are even more so, and their numbers have doubled in the past 25 years, which makes it easy to set the political agenda and enforce it within the walls.
     “The biggest threat to their culture encampments comes from the outside, and that is why so many high-profile speakers are harassed, intimidated or just shut down.
     “Entry-level college radicals have become ‘social justice warriors’ and their mission is to disrupt free speech, as they did at UMass Amherst in 2016 when Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder and Christina Hoff Sommers attempted to speak.
     “This is happening across the country at places such as the University of California at Berkeley, Middlebury College and Evergreen State University, just to name a few. Even classical liberal professors have been targeted with harassment . . .
     “Last month at Portland State University, when biologist Heather Heying made the point that women and men are biologically different, protesters in the audience screamed and excoriated her and tried to damage the sound system before they were removed. ‘We should not listen to fascism. Nazis are not welcome in civil society,’ a protester scowled.
     “Those are the examples of speakers who actually made it to campus. Many didn’t.
     “A quick glance at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education database shows that in 2017 and 2018, so far, there were 21 speakers invited to public and private institutions in the United States who were then ‘disinvited’ due to pressure from the left. . .
     “To be fair, there were three invited speakers disinvited due to pressure from the right. A recent example was right here at Harvard University, where Chelsea Manning was to speak as a visiting fellow until that invitation was rescinded. {Chelsea Manning is a trans woman and former United soldier convicted by court-martial for disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents. She was imprisoned between 2010 and 2017. Manning was charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which was the most serious charge and could have resulted in a death sentence. She was sentenced to serve a 35-year sentence at the maximum-security U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. On January 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted Manning's sentence to nearly seven years of confinement dating from her arrest.[1]}
     “Maybe the best barometer for the climate of speech on college campuses is that many comedians have had it with the social justice warrior class and are happy to stay away.
     “Comedian Joe Rogan, who grew up in Newton {Massachusetts} and cut his teeth in the Boston comedy circuit, addressed the matter earlier this week on his ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ podcast: ‘You can’t do colleges. It’s not worth it.’
     “Local comic Paul D’Angelo quit doing college gigs years ago because ‘the kids were too judgmental. You’d hear a certain murmur of disapproval in the crowd. After a while I said, ‘Forget this.’?’
     “ ‘Jerry Seinfeld quit colleges . . . You can judge or you can laugh, but you can’t do both at the same time.’
     “Exactly. This seems like an excellent time for us to holster the judgment and do more laughing. Throughout the culture.” (Ref. 2)

     Free speech on America’s college campuses has been stifled for several years now. But, what is perhaps even more unsettling, this trend has morphed into the vicious and intolerant exposition of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric.

     “Top colleges throughout the United States are experiencing an unprecedented rise in anti-Semitic incidents and anti-Jewish behavior, according to a study that determined the behavior is being fueled by a rise in the number of campus organizations promoting inflammatory anti-Israel propaganda.
     “The survey, which focused on 113 U.S. campuses with large Jewish populations, concluded that at least 70 percent of those schools surveyed experienced ‘one or more kinds of anti-Semitic activity’ in the past year.
     There were more than 300 anti-Semitic incidents in total at these schools in 2015 alone, according to the report . . .
      - - -
     “The largest amount of anti-Semitism by incident occurred at Northwestern University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Davis.
      - - -
     “The study also found a ‘strong correlation between the presence of faculty who have expressed public support for an academic boycott of Israel and anti-Semitism.’
      - - -
     “ ‘This study must serve as a wake-up call to university leaders that there is a distinction between scholarly debate and criticism of Israel’s policies—all welcomed on a university campus—and anti-Zionism which is anti-Semitism and fuels anti-Semitic activity’ . . . ‘It’s time university leaders acknowledge the elephant in the room.’ “ (Ref. 3)

     Accompanying the rise in college anti-Semitism has been the increase in anti-Israel rhetoric, anti-Israel actions and attempts to eliminate any calls for support of the Jewish nation. Cries for Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) of Israel are viscously loudest at our colleges and Universities.

     Free speech on campus at Auburn University came to an end before an alt-right white nationalist could even begin his speech. Students said an alt-right white nationalist supporter began jawing with an anti-fascist protester over the alt-right white nationalist 's right to speak. A punch was thrown. The scuffle was over in seconds with both men carted off to jail. Auburn had tried earlier to cancel the speech, but a federal judge forced the public university to let him exercise his First Amendment rights.

     “The episode comes amid . . . a growing intolerance for the exchange of ideas at American colleges and universities. In recent months battles over free speech on campuses have descended into violence across the nation.
     “The University of California, Berkeley, erupted into near-riots in {2017} during protests against {a} professional provocateur . . . and again . . . over President Donald Trump. When political scientist Charles Murray spoke . . . at Middlebury College in Vermont, protesters got so rowdy that a professor accompanying him was injured.
     “More and more American universities are avoiding controversial speech altogether by banning polarizing speakers. . . . Berkeley said it would seek to cancel {a} scheduled speech by {a} right-wing pundit . . . citing safety concerns.
     “And students say the middle ground on campuses is in danger of becoming quicksand, a place where neither side dares tread.
      - - -
     “Students are quick to shut down opposing ideas.
     “Assaults on college free speech have been waged for decades, but they used to be top-down, originating with government or school administrators.
    ”Today . . . students and faculty stifle speech themselves, especially if it involves conservative causes. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “. . . the issues college students rally around today come ‘embarrassingly from the left.’
     “Oppose affirmative action or same-sex marriage and you're branded a bigot. . . . Where debate once elevated the best idea, student bodies are now presented slanted worldviews, denying them lessons in critical thinking . . .
       - - -
     “Liberals are more likely than conservatives to suppress speech.
       - - -
     “Meanwhile, left-leaning speakers routinely appear on university campuses without fuss.
     “The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education maintains an incomprehensive database of more than 300 attempts to disinvite campus speakers since 2000. About three-quarters of the attempts involved pressure from liberals.
     “Evolution and Israel are among the most controversial topics. But more often the disinvitation attempt stems from disagreements over immigration, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or abortion.” (Ref. 4)

     For more about anti-Semitism and radical liberal intolerance on American college and university campuses, go to Our Un-American College Campuses (Ref. 5)

Rewriting History to Satisfy Historical Revisionists

     “A liberal, the old joke attributed to Robert Frost goes, is someone too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.
     “Something similar is going on with Catholics here in the United States. Just ask Iggy the Crusader, who for years served nobly as the mascot of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester Massachusetts.
     “Holy Cross is throwing Iggy under the bus.
     “This was a necessary step in the larger effort to purge the school of any association with the Crusades. ‘The visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and violence of the Crusades,’ the Rev. Philip Boroughs, president of Holy Cross, said in a statement. {After all, some members of ISIS, al-Qæda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and similar Islamic organizations are offended by anything related to the Crusades.}
     “This is all ludicrous.
     “Let’s start with poor Iggy. Knights are not synonymous with the Crusades. There are knights in ‘Game of Thrones.’ Do you immediately think of the sacking of Jerusalem when you watch that show? How about when you play any of a gazillion video games, or even the old-school Dungeons and Dragons? How about when you watch King Arthur movies? Or when you listen to ‘Knights in White Satin,’ Giorgio Moroder’s disco homage to the Moody Blues’ ‘Nights in White Satin’?
     “Maybe you do. But if that’s the case — if you see a knight in shining armor and immediately think of ‘the reality of the religious wars and violence of the Crusades’ — well, that’s on you.
     “Let’s be honest: If you’re the sort of person who can’t let go of Christianity’s role in the Crusades nearly 1,000 years ago, excommunicating Iggy won’t solve the problem.
     “And yet, Holy Cross is just the latest of many institutions to abandon any association with the Crusades. Campus Crusade for Christ shortened its name to Cru a few years ago because the C-word had become too radioactive.
     “ ‘It’s become a flash word for a lot of people,’ . . . especially in the Middle East. In the ’50s, ‘crusade’ was the evangelistic term in the United States. Over time, different words take on different meanings to different groups.’
     “That’s all true. The word ‘crusade’ does have different meanings to different people.
     “And that’s the irony. For most of last millennium, if you talked about the Crusades, you’d offend Christians. Why? Because the Christian West lost the Crusades, for the most part. Meanwhile, Muslims rarely talked about the Crusades, and if they did it was a matter of pride.
     “In the last century or two, the story of the Crusades was rewritten to fit an anti-imperial, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist narrative. The European invasion of the Middle East was the first chapter in the evil empire that was Western civilization.
    - - -
     “But what I object to is this reflexive assumption, peddled by a diverse unintended coalition of Western social-justice warriors and Muslim radicals, that the West is the villain in every tale and that to demonstrate a progressive worldview, Christians — and Westerners generally — must shed their own cultural heritage to appease people looking to be offended by things they don’t understand.” (Ref’s 6)

     The headlong stampede to remove any-and-all things even remotely potentially offensive to somebody has rapidly progressed beyond common sense. To the PC-police and the thought-Gestapo, history must be rewritten or erased. Words must be eliminated from the common language. Icons, mascots and symbols must be done away with. Everything must be painted a uniform shade of nondescript white. The Thought-Gestapos are now taking charge!

Rise of the Thought-Gestapo in America

     Here in Boston and the rest of ultra-liberal Massachusetts, the rush to expunge any hint of racism, sexism, and you-name-it-ism, proceeds at breakneck speed. An outcry has arisen concerning the former long-time owner of the Boston Red Sox, Tom Yawkey. Mr. Yawkey was reportedly a racist before and during the early years of his ownership of the Red Sox. As proof of this, critics of Mr. Yawkey point to the fact that the Red Sox was the last major league baseball team to sign a Black baseball player.

S     It’s asserted by some that Boston is, in some sense, parochial. Some would say “notoriously” parochial, as if it were a bad thing to cherish neighborhoods and memories, but they can be forgiven because, like Red Sox owner John Henry, they probably just blew in from someplace else. Mr. Henry is one of the lynching party, who are clamoring to obliterate the memory of Tom Yawkey by changing the name of the main street next to the home of the Red Sox, Fenway Park, from its current Yawkey Way back to its original name of Jersey Street.

     “. . . Henry’s plea {is} to make Yawkey persona non grata on the basis of having been a racist.
     “In the name of fairness, that inflammatory indictment demands a lot more thought than Mr. Henry has given to it, claiming to be ‘haunted’ by the mention of his predecessor’s name. < br/>       - - -
     “So . . . how should we feel about George Washington, the ‘Father of our Country,’ and Thomas Jefferson, who authored our Declaration of Independence, given that both men owned slaves?
      - - -
     “And what about that liberal lion, FDR?
     “He was the president who signed Proclamation 2537, ordering the ‘relocation’ and internment of almost 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent during World War II, remember?
     “He was also the chief executive who forbade 900 Jewish refugees seeking freedom aboard the German ocean liner St. Louis to disembark on American shores, calling them threats to national security.”       - - -
     “History judges men in the context of their times [Emphasis mine] . . .
     “ ‘Years ago,’ recalled {a} veteran barkeep of a legendary South End watering hole . . . , ‘I was talking with . . . a great reporter.
     “{The reporter} had established a friendship with a priest from County Cork who then moved to South Carolina, where he had a dream of building some kind of orphanage. . . {I}t wouldn’t matter whether the kids were white or black; to this priest, they were just kids.
     “Anyway, Yawkey heard about it and donated everything needed. Do you know why {the reporter} had never heard that story before? Because Yawkey never talked about the things he did. He just did them.’ “ (Ref. 7)

     “Consider that the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which was established to honor the first Black player in the Major Leagues, entered the debate by supporting the memory of Tom Yawkey.
     “The foundation’s president and CEO . . . sent a letter to the Boston Public Improvement Commission highlighting the work of the Yawkey Foundations, the charitable foundations that were set up by Tom Yawkey and his wife, Jean, and which have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to area programs.
     “{The foundation’s president and CEO pointed} out that Jean Yawkey sponsored the Boston tour of a traveling exhibit of Jackie Robinson and the Jackie Robinson Foundation three decades ago.
      - - -
     “ ‘The Yawkey name resonates loudly at [the Jackie Robinson Foundation],’ . . . ‘and it has profoundly helped pave the way for the completion of the Jackie Robinson Museum, which will tackle the same complex racial dynamics that are swirling around the Yawkey Way naming controversy.’
      - - -
     “{Also speaking up against the revisionist name change are several of} Boston’s business and civic leaders . . . such as Partners HealthCare chairman Jack Connors and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston . . . saying it would taint the work of the charitable foundations.” (Ref. 8)

     Tom Yawkey may or may not have been a racist at some point in time. But, Tom Yawkey’s legacy is not defined solely by whether not he was prejudiced against Blacks - no more than so than the legacy of other famous and respected Americans. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were unabashed holders of Black slaves. If we are going to remove the name of Tom Yawkey from the street that borders Fenway Park, then why not remove the name of George Washington from the city that bears his name? So too, why not expunge the name of Thomas Jefferson from everything that bears his name? Instead of replacing Yawkey Way with Jersey Street, let’s honor Mr. Yawkey and the foundation that bears his name for the good that they have been doing instead of remembering only that Tom Yawkey may not have been nice to Blacks at a time when treating Blacks unfairly may have been the social norm of the day – as it was during the time of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Submitting to the Politically Correct Police

     When I was growing up, my Afro-American friends were Negroes, not Afro-Americans, not Blacks, but Negroes. Today, the PC police have all but removed this word from the English language. The word Negro was and still is a perfectly good word to describe someone of African descent. It was as appropriate as Chinese, Asian, Polish, Italian, Arab or Spaniard to tell where one’s ancestors came from. After all, as a nation of immigrants, nearly all of us came from somewhere other than the United States – except those whom I knew as Indians when I grew up. Here again, the PC police have stepped in and have replaced “Indian” with “Native American”.

     Today, here in America, free speech is in dire jeopardy. We must stop the stifling of opinions by those self-appointed egalitarians, who are deciding what is permissible thought and allowable speech. The PC police have been joined by a group of historical revisionists who would remove and/or revise all historical facts that offend their liberal sensitivities or are at variance with their concepts of how historical events occurred or should have occurred. What we don’t need are amateur historians who pick and choose those aspects of the past that permitted on our pages of history. Free speech is being undermined by the thought-Gestapo who would banish all forms of speech and thought that is opposition to their political agenda – particularly at our supposedly liberal institutions of higher learning. America must stand up to this bullying and refuse to allow the rewriting of history to suit the opinions of narrow-minded individuals. America must refuse to allow the right of free speech to be impinged upon by an arrogant, vociferous and intolerant minority of self-appointed censors.

     We Americans have allowed ourselves to succumb to the tyranny of the few in the name of Political Correctness. The great majority must suffer for the sensitivities of a strident few. If I am a Jew, you can’t celebrate Christmas in front of my kid; if I am an atheist, you can’t mention religion in school; If you are a liberal, you can’t talk about conservative concepts; if you are Caucasian, yesterday you could say Negro, today you can’t say Negro or black - now it’s African-American. And on, and on, and on. America was built on diversity. We are a nation composed of many religions, ethnic backgrounds, and cultures. Until the arrival of the political correctness, we accepted and enjoyed our differences. Now, diversity is a bad word. Differences must be avoided at all cost. To the PC-police, everyone must look, think and act alike. To accomplish this feat of political correctness means that everyone must stoop down to the lowest common denominators in our society. That is not the America I grew up in – That is not the America that I want my grandchildren to grow up in. I want them to experience differences and to learn from everything and everyone that is different from them. Political correctness be damned! Let’s repudiate the bullying of the ignorant and intolerant few that are trying to control and manipulate our world.[9]

  1. Chelsea Manning, Wikipedia, Accessed 26 March 2018.
  2. U.S. culture clash plays out on college campuses, Editorial, Boston Herald, Page 14, 26 March 2018.
  3. Report: Anti-Semitism Soaring on U.S. College Campuses, Adam Kredo, The Washington Free Beacon,
    25 February 2015.
  4. War on campus, Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN, 1 May 2017.
  5. Our Un-American College Campuses, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu: Article 167, 21 June 2013.
  6. It’s time to take up a new crusade, Jonah Goldberg, Boston Herald, Page 15, 26 March 2018.
  7. ’Haunted’ history worth retaining, not renaming, Joe Fitzgerald, Boston Herald, Page 19, 28 March 2018.
  8. Jackie Robinson Foundation weighs in on petition to rename Yawkey Way, Milton J. Valencia, Boston Globe,
    28 March 2018.
  9. Political Correctness is Destroying Public Education, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu: Article 146,
    25 October 2012.


  16 April 2018 {Article 322; Whatever_60}    
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