A few weeks ago Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature put forward a bill that would expel any student at a state university who disrupted or prevented speeches on campus. After the courage that Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans displayed in the face of unrelenting protests in 2011, it is no surprise that they have the cojones to stand up to the little fascists that dominate our colleges and universities.
Now GOP lawmakers in Washington State are considering revoking $24 million in funding to Evergreen State College after the campus administration there supported the thuggish antics of left-wing students.
It is good to see some Republican legislators finally taking action to defend free speech on college and university campuses. But it is far from enough.
There have been plenty of opportunities for Republicans to take advantage of the threats to free speech on college and university campuses. For example, after protesters at Berkeley shut down Milo Yiannopoulos’s scheduled speech, President Trump signaled that he was ready to take action. (A useful summary of the violence may be found here.)
Back in early May, the University of Arizona introduced a plan to pay students $10 an hour to be “social justice advocates,” whose responsibilities would include “reporting bias incidents” to the administration. The university faced a backlash from conservatives on the Internet, but that only resulted in administrators deciding to change the job title. Nor did it stop UCLA from going forward with a similar plan.
And the response of Republican legislators in D.C. and Arizona to all of this?
It is hard to understand their apathy. Taking legislative action to stop what is happening on colleges and universities would be good for the nation and good for the Republican Party.
It is clear that colleges and universities represent one of the greatest threats to free speech in the United States. From shutting down Milo and Ann Coulter to violence directed at Charles Murray, to the Antifa, to speech codes and sensitivity training, the totalitarian left is increasingly running the show at our institutions of higher education. If Congress and state legislatures were to start cutting off funding to those schools that violated free speech, it would be the first step in turning those institutions into beacons of open discussion and debate.
It would almost certainly boost the GOP. Fighting for freedom of speech and against university elites would not only help Republicans with their base, it could attract moderates who are horrified at the intolerance on display in places like Berkeley, Arizona, Evergreen, and Middlebury. Fighting university fascists certainly wouldn’t hurt Republicans. University towns are not, after all, magnets for GOP voters. For example, Pima County, where the University of Arizona is located, voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 54 percent to 40 percent. Overall, Arizona went for Trump, 49 percent to 45 percent.
It seems like a safe win-win for Republicans, so why aren’t they making a big issue out of this? The only reason that makes any sense is Republican lawmakers don’t want loud, obnoxious social justice snowflakes showing up to protest at their legislative offices.
Is the GOP really that feckless? It is easy to fear that such a question is rhetorical.