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Beyond free speech, academic freedom — conservatives must defend objective moral truths on campus

Writing for The Federalist, G.R. O’Brian takes a bold and compelling stand in arguing that while conservatives have taken the high ground in fighting for free speech and academic freedom on campuses, that effort falls way short of fixing higher education.

To really set things straight, the right must remember truth is not subjective — and fight against campus trends that say it is with honesty and courage. Do not cede ground.

Titled “The Right Needs To Get Past Demanding Free Speech On Campus,” O’Brian calls on conservative campus warriors to dig deeper than platitudes:

[C]onservatives have found a common rallying cry in “academic freedom” and “free speech,” the crusade of alt-right champions like Milo Yiannopoulos and Lauren Southern. The fundamental problem with “academic freedom” is that it is contentless. It is simply a means of challenging whatever the dominant discourse is in an academic institution. It’s a tool for those on the outside looking in. …

The Left won. They took over the academy and created departments of ethnic and gender studies while conservatives left Harvey Mansfield to his lonesome and have considered it a victory that he hasn’t been defenestrated. Conservatives are paying the price for neglecting academia for the past 50 years and now are realizing that it sucks to be powerless. …

Taking back higher education from the Left will require conservatives to reconsider (i.e, abandon) their commitment to classical liberal slogans like “freedom of expression” and their misapplication of market principles, and to rediscover real conservative principles of objective aesthetic and moral truth, as well as that long-forgotten pillar of conservatism American individualism has left behind: authority.

Since the 1960s (possibly earlier; certainly since the ‘90s) the university has undermined Western civilization from within. Until conservatives understand the function of the university as a producer of ideas that matriculate into the broader culture and political realm, and are prepared to do something about it, they will continue to lose the battle over society’s larger institutions and cede further ground both to the Left and to competitors on the Right.

O’Brian explains that the reason America is slouching toward socialism is precisely because the right has for far too long neglected the real fight on college campuses; graduates vote socialist-Democrat after absorbing four years of: “gender is socially constructed rather than based in biology; the West is uniquely despicable for its history of imperialism; racial identity rather than individual action determines guilt and responsibility; and capitalism has increased rather than decreased poverty and exploitation.”

That “divides the world into oppressors and oppressed: whites versus ‘persons of color,’ Occident versus Orient, men versus women, ‘cisgender’ versus queer, etc. To a large degree, it is a Marxist divide, but with race and gender in the place of class. The oppressor versus oppressed dichotomy leads social justice warriors either to believe they themselves are oppressed, and thus to assume a victim status, or to act as ‘allies’ of their victimized comrades by checking their privilege.”

Read the full piece.

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