Boykin wins the battle; the left wins war
Published 4:43 pm Thursday, June 23, 2016
Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin retired from the U.S. Army with the distinction of having led all Special Forces units in the Army. Boykin had survived the jungles of Vietnam, Columbia and Panama, along with untold number of missions around the globe.
Yet, in his retirement, he was temporarily relieved of his teaching duties as the Wheat Visiting Professorship in Leadership at Hampden-Sydney College due to the complaints of a few gay activists over comments made about men using women’s restrooms.
Just about two weeks earlier and a few miles west, Virginia Tech, a public school, ran into trouble, when it attempted to disinvite Jason Riley, a black conservative, from giving their semiannual BB&T Distinguished Lecture.
The Wall Street Journal columnist, Riley, contended that the invitation withdrawal was due to faculty concerns about his book, “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed.”
After exposure and a good dose of social media bashing, both institutions backed down. While these two instances of conservative thought being censored by the politically correct mobs were spiked, both Boykin and Riley were aided by having an extremely high profile and the ability to fight back.
However, the obvious question is how many low-profile conservative voices are silenced across academia either through overt actions or simply out of a desire by professors to not risk their jobs and livelihoods.
This past year, a “Men in Literature” course that had been taught at Springfield College in Massachusetts by Dr. Dennis Gouws was cancelled as creating a hostile environment for women. No student was compelled to take the popular course and the college offers an English course entitled “Women and Literature” as well as various ethnic-focused courses.
The “Men in Literature” course had been offered since 2005, and in 2010 achieved status of being part of the regular curriculum.
Peter Wood, the president of the National Association of Scholars, points out that Gouws “never set out to be a gadfly against progressive dogma or a stalwart opponent of the ideological regime. He was, to the contrary, picked for the part by the regime itself. He had made his own adjustments to the contemporary preoccupation with ‘gender’ by devising an experimental course in 2005 titled ‘Men in Literature.’”
College is not supposed to be a safe space. It is supposed to be a place where ideas challenge the mind, so the next generation can grow into and be worthy of our national heritage of free thought. Speech should not be feared, but embraced as the inevitable clash of intellects through which students learn how to discern by having their assumptions challenged.
It is time for Republican state officeholders to stand up for free thought in the university systems, before the liberal academia stamps it out, along with the flickering flame of free speech, forever.
Rick Manning is the president of Americans for Limited Government. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.