In The Wall Street Journal last week, two influential billionaires — former New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a very moderate Republican, and Charles G. Koch, the libertarian chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, Inc. — wrote an op-ed piece decrying the suppression of free speech taking place at universities across America.
You have to salute their good intentions. But as well-intentioned and accurate as their critique is, the Bloomberg-Koch column is largely useless.
Why? Because they assiduously avoid identifying who or what acts are causing our universities to mimic fascist institutions, namely: ruining dissenters’ careers; penalizing dissenting students; not hiring dissenting professors; disinviting the few invited speakers with whom the majority differs; shouting down dissenting speakers; students and faculty occupying and taking over college administrators’ offices, etc.
The Bloomberg-Koch column is like going to your doctor and getting back a fully accurate report that you are dying that doesn’t even hint at why you are dying.
Why don’t Bloomberg and Koch mention the words “left” or “progressive” or “liberal” even once? The entire deterioration of the American university (and high school and elementary school) is the result of leftist influence. How could they not mention this?
One hint at an explanation is the one example Bloomberg and Koch give of students protesting a campus speaker: Scripps College students and faculty denounced former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a liberal, as this year’s commencement speaker. The ratio of leftist speakers to rightist speakers invited to American campuses is about 100 to 1. And of the thousands of liberal-left speakers, you would be hard-pressed to come up with five examples of any of them being shouted down and driven from the microphone. Yet the authors’ one example is one of the only of students attempting to intimidate a liberal speaker.
So why did they choose this outlier as their example? Lest, God forbid, a reader infers that the suppression of free speech on American college campuses overwhelmingly shows the left is suppressing the right.
The left is destroying the foundational values of this country, including, but hardly limited to, free speech. In 2013, the Los Angeles Times actually announced that it would not publish certain letters to the editor — presumably no matter how pre-eminent the scientist who wrote the letter is — that challenge the anthropocentric global-warming-will-lead-to-worldwide-destruction hypothesis. Likewise, the science and technology magazine Popular Science announced it would not even allow such opinions in the comments section on its website except in certain cases.
Yet, with all the damage it does, including, of course, its destructive impact on universities, the left is almost never mentioned by name. Not just by Bloomberg and Koch, but by all Republicans and conservatives.
Republicans and conservatives have spent almost eight years attacking President Barack Obama. For good reason, to be sure, as the case can and should be made that he has done more harm to America than any president in American history. But all harm he has done — massively increasing the national debt, weakening the American military, withdrawing from a pacified Iraq, enabling ISIS to replace America’s presence there, worsening race relations, alienating American allies, aiding America’s enemies, such as Iran and Cuba, and much more — is a function of his being a man of the left. No more; no less. Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders and virtually any Democratic senator, would have tried to do similar damage to America.
But Republicans focus their ire on individuals — first Barack Obama, and now Hillary Clinton — as if they individually, not the left and leftism, are the problem.
Think, for example, about how much conservatives attack political correctness. They are, of course, right to do so. But all their attacks are almost meaningless because they never mention the source of political correctness: the left. In fact, the very definition of “politically correct” is “that which is acceptable to the left”; and the definition of “politically incorrect” is “that which is unacceptable to the left.”
In other words, virtually no one, from Bloomberg and Koch through the entire conservative and Republican worlds, connects the dots. If Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee, as is expected, he will probably never mention the left. He may not even know that it is a factor, let alone the factor, in America’s decline from the greatness he wishes to restore.
Our colleges have been ruined, free speech is increasingly suppressed, the economy is stagnant, the federal debt is doubling and young Americans no longer see America as exceptional in any way, all because of the left. But almost no one dares mention the word. Why?
This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.