Earlier this summer, I gave a speech about fighting ideological bigotry and restoring free speech on college campuses. The mood of the speech was upbeat and filled with practical advice for campus activists. Afterwards, a college student walked up to me and said “You can’t beat these people (campus leftists).” Then he asked “Just what are you thinking, anyway?” In today’s column, I intend to provide him (and others) with a full explanation of what I am thinking.
I am thinking about the brave teenage kid who agreed to sue Appalachian State University in February over the school’s unconstitutional speech code. I am thinking about how the ACLU and the FIRE and the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy all teamed up on ASU and how they changed the speech code before the suit was ever filed. I am also thinking about how much money this saved the taxpayers of North Carolina.
I am thinking about the hippies at the University of Oregon who came out to heckle and disrupt my speech about free speech in May. I am thinking about how they started to laugh, smile, and applaud in agreement before the speech was halfway over.
I am thinking about three of my colleagues (all registered Democrats) who took a stand against starting a new graduate “Social Justice” program in our department. They argued respectfully and intelligently that it should be given a different name to be more ideologically inclusive. I am thinking how they did the right thing and I didn’t even have to say a word.
I am thinking about the night I walked into a packed auditorium at the University of New Hampshire with an armed police entourage. I am thinking about how the audience applauded at the end of the speech and how most of the dissenters became supporters within the hour.
I am thinking about how my four year fight to get myself cleared of a false felony charge ended this spring. I am thinking about how the university’s thorough and professional investigation cleared the name of the accused and tarnished the name of the lying accuser. I am thinking that patience is a virtue and the righteous always prevail.
I am thinking about the law students at the University of Wisconsin who, after one of my speeches, said “we came to protest your appearance tonight but, actually, we agreed with everything you said.”
I am thinking about all of the veterans fighting in Iraq to preserve our freedoms. I think about them every time an atheist bigot tries to deny the religious rights of a Christian student in a way that would make Saddam Hussein proud.