In light of the feelings-based anti-intellectualism that permeates the left, it is surreal that the left routinely accuses those who criticize the low state of our universities as "anti-intellectual." It is so clearly a form of projection. Those of us who lament the state of our universities are protectors of the intellect; it is the feelings-based "F--- Bush"-"Buck Fush" left that is the anti-intellectual part of the political spectrum. That is why Colorado State University, while mildly criticizing the editor -- for using an expletive -- would not remove him, let alone the whole editorial board.
Read this report from CNN, and then weep for our society:
"Speaking for the board that oversees student media, CSU faculty member Jim Landers read a prepared statement and refused to comment further. 'We see the editorial as an opinion which is protected by the First Amendment,' Landers read."
Two sentences that say so much. The misunderstanding of freedom of speech is breathtaking. Retaining or firing the CSU editor had nothing to do with freedom of speech. It had to do with whether someone who abuses the editorial space of a major university newspaper is fit to be its editor. But the left confuses freedom with license (just as it confuses tolerance with acceptance). And so, in the name of protecting freedom, an obscene violation of elementary standards of intellectual coherence and decency went unpunished.
The other illuminating aspect of those two CNN sentences was that professor Landers "refused to comment further." Why? The reason is apparent to anyone familiar with our universities: Liberal professors are unused to being challenged. They are not challenged by other professors, and they hardly are challenged by 19- or 20-year-old students. Professor Landers was not about to open himself to intellectual challenges now.
Likewise, the child-editor himself, "refused to comment," according to CNN. When you retain your job as editor-in-chief of a university newspaper after writing a four-word editorial consisting solely of "'F---' the President of the United States," why would you feel it necessary to explain yourself? Like his mentor, professor Landers, McSwane is aware on some level that he has no intellectual or moral defense for what he did. And like the professor, he feels no obligation to the society-at-large whose mores he so offended.
As for the other students on the newspaper's editorial board, The New York Times reported: "Hailey McDonald, The Collegian's managing editor, said Mr. McSwane had the full support of the newspaper's student leadership." And CNN reports that Sean Star, another member of The Collegian's editorial board, "expressed his admiration for McSwane."
Finally, let it be noted that the CSU faculty apparently has said next to nothing about the four-word large-font "editorial." Why not? Because, as the Talmud said 1,600 years ago, "Silence is agreement." If questioned, one suspects that nearly all the silent professors of Colorado State University would respond that this was a freedom of speech issue.
Of course, it is not. And that is proved easily: What if an editor had published a four-word large-font editorial that read "F--- Martin Luther King Jr."? Would the professors have kept silent because they deemed the issue one of freedom of speech? Would The New York Times and virtually every other liberal editorial page in America have said nothing about that editorial, as they have said nothing about the "F--- Bush" editorial?
CSU's retaining an editor who wrote four words, including the F word, in a huge font instead of an editorial is one more reason I have come to believe that, with regard to universities, no society has ever paid so much to so many to have its children so alienated from it.
In each case, just as in the disastrous invitation to Ahmadinejad, liberals feel good about their intentions and therefore about their decisions. But few, if any, of those decisions are wise. This is not surprising. A generation whose primary goals have included overthrowing Judeo-Christian values, which once said, "Don't trust anyone older than 30," and which has rejected external moral authority (God, parents, teachers, religion) is not going to be wise. And absence of wisdom is why Columbia University and The New York Times thought inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a good idea.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”
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