The below article make a number of good points, but it misses entirely on the question of why college students hate free speech. College students do not hate free speech because they grew up on social media, or because they did not have enough play time away from adults. No. College students hate free speech because they are taught to. College students hate free speech because college humanities departments, English departments, and increasingly sociology departments are awash in postmodernism, and postmodernism teaches that free speech is evil.
I did a brief write-up on postmodernism some time ago. I’m not going to go into defining it again, but if you want to know what it is, you can take a quick look at http://thedailylibertarian.com/postmodernism-great-evil/ .
Postmodernism involves looking at people as members of identity groups rather than as individuals. It also believes that all identity groups are in a constant struggle for power and dominance. The groups at the top of the power structure always oppress the groups below them, intentionally or otherwise (the very ‘system’ of society being a part of that oppression), creating kind of a caste system of power and oppression.
Postmodernists also believe that facts and truths are subjective. They believe that we can only interact with the world around us through our five senses. Given that different people can sense things differently, and can interpret what they sense in any number of ways, facts and truths suddenly exist only within the realm of what we see and observe through an imperfect set of senses. They also believe that there is no objective way to choose one interpretation over another, making all interpretations of the world around us equal. As such, you have your facts and truths, and I have my facts and truths. Both are equal, no matter how poorly some of them may be grounded scientifically.
These two parts of postmodernist thought have a number of consequences. The most obvious is that there is no reason for different identity groups to communicate, other than to struggle for power and dominance, and since the identity groups in power are oppressive over those not in power, speech occurring from the bottom of the power structure is ‘good’, and speech occurring from the top of the power structure is ‘bad’. Groups that believe they are oppressed will tell groups they view as oppressive to ‘check their privilege’, and will say things like, “These are my facts and you need to listen.” When you watch a video, and you hear a college student say, “I feel,” followed by what sounds like a factual statement, what they are really saying is that because they ‘feel’ something to be true, and because there is no objective way to determine whether or not that thing is ‘true’, it is ‘their truth,’ and ‘their truth,’ if they are a member of an oppressed group, is more important than ‘your truth’.
If you are a postmodernist, there are only two logical ways you can act on the belief in a power caste system. One is to try to take the power caste system and compress it, so that all identity groups are at the same level. You do this by pressing the groups at the top of the power structure down, and by elevating the groups at the bottom of the power structure up. Oppression of the oppressor liberates the oppressed.
The only other logical way to deal with the identity power caste system postmodernists believe in, is to try to ensure that your identity group is at the top. There are a lot of groups doing just this – Richard Spencer’s ‘Alt-Right’ is one. The Muslim Brotherhood is another. The KKK, Aryan Nation – these are all groups that look at the world through the prism of postmodernism, and they all either want to keep their group on top, or they want to replace the group on top with their group.
I don’t think many readers on The Daily Libertarian are postmodernists, but for just a moment imagine that you are one of them. As libertarians, we reject identity politics completely and look at all people as individuals. I’ve had people say that we try not to notice ethnicity. That’s not really correct. It is more accurate to say that we try not to care about ethnicity. We try not to care about many things – gender, sexual orientation, whatever. We care only about consent, and if a gay person wants to marry a baked potato, if they can show consent (which would admittedly be hard with a baked potato), we would be OK with that. In all interactions between people, the only thing we care about is consent. And we want all people to be free to do whatever they want as long as they do not impede the right of others to do the same.
To a postmodernist, if someone at the top of the power caste system is free to do as they want, they will inherently oppress other groups in the power caste system. To the postmodernist, freedom is the CAUSE of oppression. As such, libertarians, by nature of wanting everyone to be free, are in fact perpetuating the power caste system as it currently exists, and are no different than Richard Spencer’s ‘Alt-Right’. A libertarian is, to the postmodernist, nothing more than a covert racist, trying to keep white men on top. To the postmodernist, anyone who does not subscribe to their warped view of the world is essentially a Nazi.
Since everyone who does not want to oppress the top of the power structure is a racist, groups like ANTIFA and BAMN feel free to use violence to prevent, not only Richard Spencer’s ‘Alt-Right’ from speaking, but anyone who rejects identity politics from speaking. As such, Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, Condi Rice, Thomas Sowell – none of them should ever be allowed to speak publicly. I should not be allowed to speak publicly. If you are reading this, the chances are that YOU should not be allowed to speak publicly. Nor should you be allowed to assemble.
Things are particularly bad for people like Condi Rice and Thomas Sowell. To the postmodernist, these people are members of an oppressed identity group (two in Condi Rice’s case), and they are working to further that oppression rather than to end it. This makes them traitors to their identity group(s). Postmodernists brush off anything Thomas Sowell, Condi Rice, or any other non-White conservative says, based solely on the color of their skin, and the fact that they are not saying what the postmodernists want them to say. And, better yet, to the postmodernist, blowing Thomas Sowell off solely because he is black – this is not considered racist. As crazy as that sounds, that’s what they believe.
And better yet – postmodernism was invented by disgruntled communists in Germany and France. Every one of them was, quite literally, an angry white man, and postmodernists believe that the only speech that should be allowed is that which parrots those specific angry white men. The irony would be hilarious if the situation were not so serious.
Postmodernists believe that freedom is oppressive, and oppression is liberating. As such, free speech is the antithesis of a liberated society, and THAT is why college students hate free speech.
Now that you know ‘the rest of the story’, enjoy this Spiked Online article. It’s a good read.