College campuses are becoming increasingly hostile towards certain forms of speech. One of the main reasons for the hostility is the admission of students who are too emotionally immature to tolerate dissenting opinions. In addition to lacking emotional maturity, many of these students lack humility. They believe that their emotions trump the ideas of others. Obviously, I disagree. In fact, I think that these students need to be weeded out early in the college application process. I think I have a specific plan that can help make that a reality.
We already ask students a lot of questions in the typical college application process. Some of the questions deal with diversity issues. But, strangely, no one ever tries to assess the prospective students' willingness to tolerate dissenting opinions. I propose adding ten questions to every college application in order to do just that. Because they are simple true/false questions, they will not take long for admissions committees to grade and evaluate. But they will help us weed out those students whose admission would impede the free flow of ideas on the campus. My proposed entrance exam questions are as follows:
1. Feminist students have a First Amendment right to chant the word "vagina" in the annual performance of the Vagina Monologues (note: please assume that no one is required to attend).
2. Anti-feminist students have a First Amendment right to criticize feminists for chanting "vagina" in the annual performance of the Vagina Monologues.
3. Liberal students have a First Amendment right to advocate for same sex marriage.
4. Conservative students have a First Amendment right to argue against same sex marriage.
5. Female students have a First Amendment right to argue that abortion is a constitutional right.
6. Male students have a First Amendment right to argue that aborting a man's children without his consent is an unconscionable act of murder.
7. Marxist students have a First Amendment right to argue that the Second Amendment applies only to militias.
8. Anti-communist students have a First Amendment right to argue that the Second Amendment is a fundamental individual right.
9. Black students have a First Amendment right to argue for race-based affirmative action.
10. White students have a First Amendment right to argue that affirmative action should be banned altogether.
The grading for this portion of the college application is pretty simple since the answer to every single question is "true." In fact, I would propose that this test is so easy that anyone missing a single question should fail the exam and be prevented from attending the university. This plan may sound harsh, but it would have numerous advantages. Here are just a few:
1. It would protect conservative students. Most conservative students hold ideas that are fully protected by the constitution but that somehow end up being defined by some students as “hate speech.” These filter questions will likely keep students who cry "hate speech" from enrolling at the university. Conservative students will therefore feel more comfortable expressing their views in discussions with fellow students.
2. It could protect liberal students, too. This test will also filter out any conservative censors of liberal speech. I've never seen one at my university, but there's nothing wrong with taking a little extra precaution.
3. It would prevent public relations headaches for college administrators. Students who cry "hate speech" are also more likely to file false charges of sexual and racial harassment. Getting rid of these students will likely reduce lawsuits. It will also likely reduce the number of false accusations of rape on college campuses. People who abuse speech codes in order to hurt people are also likely to do so the same thing with the criminal code. Sociopaths tend to be resourceful.
After we administer the test to prospective students, we should also administer it to the entire faculty. And we should fire those who fail the test. This would likely result in the need to shut down the departments of Sociology, English, Women's Studies, Social Work, and the entire School of Education.
In other words, my free speech entrance exam would weed out the most emotionally immature and intellectually insecure members of our university community - thus leaving the university in the hands of serious people committed to debating serious ideas. It would be hard to imagine a greater service to the cause of genuine tolerance and intellectual diversity.