By now, we are used to Ivy League students and those at other elite school demanding that conservatives be barred from speaking on campuses. Attempts by leftwing Yale University Students, in particular, to prevent their fellow students and the rest of the campus community from gaining exposure to “controversial” (i.e., anyone remotely conservative or merely non-woke) speakers are all too predictable.
But such brouhahas do afford those of us who are not afraid of new ideas the opportunity to examine the statements of the free-speech-suppressing students in each round of banning fever.
Today’s example is an April 6, 2022 news story in The Yale Daily News, the college’s daily newspaper. Actually, it is not really a new story as it is hardly news that left-wing student students are fulminating against the fact that conservatives exist and that sometimes they appear in front of audiences at Yale University.
Therefore, I will go with calling it an item. The item in question is entitled, Students critical of impending Cruz visit. What a surprise. Like we would expect the left-wing part of the Yale student body to welcome with open arms anyone who is not woke—and certainly not a Texas Republican like Senator Ted Cruz.
Not even speakers like Cruz who is the child of an immigrant father who had to flee political persecution in his homeland (though fleeing communist Cuba does not win plaudits from the left). Not even one like Cruz, who through sheer hard work and ability managed to get to Princeton and from there to Harvard Law School. He won election to the US Senate the first time by defeating in the primary a classic country club Republican via a grassroots, insurgent campaign. He has spent much of his career in the kind of public service legal jobs progressives just love. You would think that Yale students would embrace such a person. But Cruz is (horrors!) a conservative and, therefore, anathema.
Given that this item appears in an Ivy League student newspaper, it is a given that the word “controversial” is applied to the conservative being discussed:
Ted Cruz’s forthcoming visit to Yale has underscored a divide on campus between an organization stressing a need for political diversity and those critical of the conservative Texas senator’s often controversial career.
I gather that the Texans who vote for Cruz are “controversial,” too.
But kudos to the writer of the item for noting that the group inviting Cruz stresses political diversity. But she goes on to suggest that there is something unsavory about Cruz:
Cruz will be the latest in the Program’s string of controversial invites.
And who is among the supposedly “controversial invites?” Dreadful people with awful, unwoke attitudes like Henry Kissinger, Peter Thiel and Charles Murray. Apparently, coming into contact with Nobel Peace Prize winners, big-time tech entrepreneurs and influential social scientists is traumatizing for left-leaning Yale students and they feel it incumbent upon themselves to try to contain the contagion of conservative ideas lest they infect the entire university community.
She goes on to imply that fairly standard conservative stands in favor of traditional values (like opposing the idea that if a man simply says he is a woman that he is one or being critical of the poisonous ideology of critical race theory) are beyond the pale:
Cruz most recently made national headlines for his role in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, during which he appeared to dismiss the ability of transgender people to experience gender discrimination and questioned Judge Brown Jackson’s beliefs on critical race theory
You would think that all university students, not just conservative ones, would want to hear from a US Senator who has strong views on many of the left’s favorite topics: race and transgenderism.
But no. We read:
for some students, the fact of Sen. Cruz being invited to Yale at all poses a concern
Does Yale have a rule that forbids student groups from hosting Republicans? Or senators? Or just Republican senators. Or just conservative Republican senators.
The students quoted are quite straightforward in arguing that only those who meet their ideological criteria should be allowed to appear at Yale:
it’s better to not give him the platform, given his actions, and bringing him to campus kind of affirms those actions
Let me get this straight. If I listen to someone, I am automatically affirming his actions. How is a university to function if students listen only to those they already agree with? Why go to Yale at all if ideas that upset some students are deemed unworthy of any hearing at all? How are students with this mindset going to function in workplaces or in a democracy ?
This statement from a student is quite chilling:
said she felt confused as to why Cruz would bother coming to campus at all, noting that she had already heard people plan to boycott or protest the event
Wow. She seriously expects Yale to adhere to the heckler’s veto. Not good for higher education or freedom of speech more broadly.
She goes on to say:
I feel like he’s probably excited for people to hate him because then he can be the victim … he gets to be like, ‘Oh, I went to Yale and look what the radical left did.’”
One would just note that she is being quoted in an article about a radical left campaign at Yale to boycott or protest Cruz’s appearance at Yale…
expressed concerns that offering Cruz a platform like this one could legitimize “polarized” and, “to some groups, problematic” ideas.
Problematic ideas? Can’t countenance those at a university! And banning speakers you don’t like isn’t polarizing? Why not just not go (as another left-wing student at Yale argues)?
Not going is not enough, however. Instead, she arrogates to herself and her left-wing comrades the right to determine which speakers are acceptable:
Although I do believe there is value in having a voice that diverges from many student perspectives, I do not believe that Ted Cruz should be that voice…
Yeah, I guess conservative student groups should allow left-wing to vet their invite lists and to grant the leftist activists permission to strike off senators from populous states south of Connecticut.
Should we care about this latest display of anxiety among left-wing radicals at Yale? A little in that these kids will head off into privilege land when they graduate and someday populate the legal profession, media, publishing, government, etc. And they regard free speech as “problematic.” They are going to spend the next few days agitating against the presence on their campus for a few hours of a prominent conservative. They are determined to advertise their intolerance. Poor Yale.