Kudos to Frederic Aboujaoude for his editorial piece last week regarding the Halloween speech of Milo Yiannopoulos at California State University, Fullerton (“It’s not about Milo Yiannopoulos, it’s about us”).
His articulate, humorous response to this event exposed the hypocrisy of many liberals who excessively rely on passions rather than reasoning in their arguments.
In authoritarian regimes, the governing elites have a monopoly on free speech, and they control the daily narratives via the arbitrary rule of law. By contrast, in a pluralist democracy, everyone has the inherent right to voice their opinions in a variety of forums.
However, this basic liberty has been lost on many “progressives” who believe that only their version of reality is acceptable. Anyone who expresses views that are different are often labeled as bigoted, fascist, racist or unenlightened without any facts to back up these allegations.
This is the standard strategy right out of Saul Alinsky’s playbook. You find an opponent, demonize them, isolate them and then act as if you are the victim when all along you are the aggressor. In this upside down, Orwellian world, the left’s mantra of diversity and inclusiveness actually translates into uniformity or Groupthink due to a lack of intellectual diversity. They adhere to the code of “Free speech for me, but not for thee.”
By contrast, most conservatives appeal to evidence and reasoning when arguing their positions. The tea party was a disciplined organization that demonstrated and held rallies, but they didn’t try to silence liberals and they picked up their own trash. On the other hand, groups such as antifa and the occupy movement disrupt commerce and incite violence. Anarchy and chaos have been their modus operandi.
For years, liberals have dominated the academy, Hollywood and the established media. Consequently, in recent years, conservatives have been eager to catch up and generate some influence in these institutions. Making inroads has been very challenging because they have been stymied at every turn.
For example, it has been difficult for accomplished conservatives such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, Pamela Geller, Condoleezza Rice, Ben Shapiro, and many others to deliver addresses on college campuses without being shouted down. Some have been banned from some universities that are taxpayer funded.
While it might be part of human nature to want others to agree with our views most of the time, that’s not the reality on the ground. In the larger world, ideas and opinions often clash, and you have to accept it. In the workplace, immature prima donnas who think that everyone will accept their views will be in for a rude awakening. Unlike many of our colleges, the real world doesn’t coddle hypersensitive individuals.
In her letter to the editor, Amelia Nixon wondered why the education of students was disrupted by the security surrounding the Yiannopoulos speech. There were plenty of law enforcement personnel maintaining order, because too many liberals can’t seem to control themselves when they are faced with someone who disagrees with them. They lack the discipline to practice responsible liberty and the rule of law.
There is a solution to this dilemma. Instead of going ballistic when someone runs counter to your worldview, listen, reflect and prepare yourself for a dialogue that balances emotion with logic. Always remember that our own views can evolve over time due to experience, observation and research. Wars aren’t started by the vigorous exchange of ideas; Rather, they are ignited when one side is convinced that they possess the only truth and anyone who deviates from it is evil.
The goals of higher education are to develop character, enhance critical thinking skills, provide new knowledge and prepare students for the larger society. These students should be exposed to healthy debates and experiences that broaden their horizons. A crucial skill that comes in handy is the ability to agree to disagree.