College campuses have become so twisted that universities are hijacking the notions of free speech in the name of censorship.
In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, Heat Street Political Editor Jillian Kay Melchior delves into the irony that universities are “co-opting the language of free speech and using it to justify censorship.” And she starts with the so-called campus “free speech zones,” noting the name is misleading:
The very existence of a “free speech zone” suggests that students’ expression is limited elsewhere on campus. And even in the “free” zones, administrators often restrict who can speak, when and for how long.
Then there’s the growing number of “inclusive language” campaigns on college campuses. Melchior writes they aim to “condition students to wince away from words and phrases deemed offensive, instead using politically correct substitutes.”
She suggests these campaigns, while billed as expanding inclusiveness, are nothing more than censorship:
Among the campaigns’ common targets are “hey guys” and “man up” (too gendered), as well as “crazy” (inconsiderate of people with mental illness) and “lame” (disrespectful to the disabled). Ironically—and insidiously—these “inclusive” language campaigns seek to exclude opposing political or cultural viewpoints. It’s an attempt to ban not only words but also thoughts.
Melchior highlights how at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee even the term “politically correct” was one of its campaign’s “disfavored terms.” Melchior also discusses “the warped idea” on college campuses “that by suppressing ‘dominant’ voices, universities actually further free speech.”
For her, the PC culture on college campuses has “reached the stage of a perfect Orwellian inversion”:
In “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell describes how the misuse of language can lead to messy thinking—and how, even worse, intentionally imprecise language can soften or obscure abhorrent ideas. He anticipated a world in which administrators, professors and students demand the right to act as censors even as they claim to venerate the right to unrestricted expression.
MORE: ‘Conscious Style Guide’ teaches students and educators how to use inclusive language
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