No survey of intellectual cowardice would be complete without an update on the campus thought police. Chris Robinson, the Colorado College student hauled into kangaroo court for satirizing feminism, is a tale for another day. Today consider Joseph C. Phillips, the black TV actor and columnist, whose April 4 speaking date for the College Republicans at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania became an ordeal of intimidation for his hosts – at the hands not of fellow students, but of administrators.
Phillips’s talk on – not for or against, just “on” – affirmative action must be paired with an opposing speaker, the hosts were warned, or vandalism against their posters and personal backlash against them were likely. When the GOP students stood firm, according to a report filed by Phillips with Ward Connerly of the American Civil Rights Institute, “they were finally told by the Office of Multicultural Affairs that they should have invited a white speaker instead of me.”
You can be sure that story’s not over. None of these stories are, because America’s journey toward a full realization of freedom and responsibility isn’t over either. The goal is a civic arena where all ideas openly contend and none are fearfully silenced. We’re not there yet.