By Steve Orcutt
America’s universities and colleges are awash with zombies of political correctness. Is it truly political correctness or some sort of systematic flaw in the education system? Are these the lessons being taught to the youth today? Or is this a generational/cultural problem? Regardless, their ignorance is a future threat to liberty.
“I can only hope that my fellow students were answering in jest.” – Grant Richardson
An experiment by Fox News satirical video contributor Ami Horowitz recently on the campus of Yale University highlights the recent string of absurdities coming from campuses nationwide. Fox News headline, ‘Yale fail: Ivy leaguers sign ‘petition’ to repeal First Amendment’ pretty much sums up the feelings of most reasonably educated people.
After repeated attempts by Fox News to get a comment from administrators and professors at Yale, they reached Professor Bruce Ackerman, “It’s a sad commentary on the present state of public opinion, this is a moment at which fundamental principles are under assault from both the left and the right.” A Yale freshman, student Grant Richardson, not yet brainwashed perhaps, reached out to Fox News and said in an email, “It numbs the mind that dozens of Yale students could sign a petition to revoke the First Amendment.” Richardson concluded by saying, “It is mortifying to think that family, friends and future employers could equate such behaviors to Yale, and by extension, to me. I can only hope that my fellow students were answering in jest.” I think we all hope they are joking – But I doubt it.
It is sorrowful the state in which we find our liberties, how some of the people would be so quick to cast off liberty for a mirage of safety, security, and unhurt feelings. The reason must be, they just do not understand the importance of the First Amendment. Is the Constitution not taught in grade school anymore?
James Madison, author of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights knew the importance of securing the rights of the people. Madison, a Federalist, sought to solidify the people’s rights in the initial 12 amendments tabled in the House of Representatives during the 1st Congress. Madison said on the floor of the House (1789), “The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.” The First Amendment is also about the freedom from an established religion, right to practice any religion, the right to a press, the right to peacefully assemble, and ironically, petition for a redress of grievances.
These students do not understand that the First Amendment not only protects people to say things they find obtuse but also for their right to be offended and rebut what offends them. What the First Amendment does not do is it doesn’t give them the right to infringe another person’s rights. First Amendment rights are negative rights, all they need to be is tolerant. The students must not be aware of the protections the Amendment affords the people; it ensures that we will always have a free press and that the press is able to write whatever is true.
I theorize the free press is the fourth of the five branches of government, providing checks and balance; the legislative, executive, judicial, the press, and the people. The press and the people’s functions are primary as vocal proponents or opponents of proposed legislation and national issues. It is the responsibility of the people and the press to be engaged in government, and that is not protected without the First Amendment. Someone like Pres. Obama, Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, four people who I believe do not respect the Constitution, would just as likely place restrictions on the press and free speech. Other times in US history other Presidents and Congress have sought to restrict the free press and speech.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Franklin was referencing the challenges and assaults to liberty and the Constitution we would have to fend off; going on over 228 years.
The question that needs to be asked is, how can this deficiency of essential constitutional understanding be rectified? If we rely on bureaucrats, it will never get done. If we rely on academia, as usual, students will likely be presented with a biased curriculum. As some, including myself, believe the Department of Education (DoED) should be disbanded and control of education reverted back to local and state administration. The DoED has not clearly not been effective and improving education since its establishment in 1979. I think most would say the education in the US is worst today. I do not have the ultimate answer, but that is why our nation has the First Amendment so that we can engage in dialogue and together resolve complex issues as such.
“What are the objects of an useful American education? classical knowlege[sic], modern languages & chiefly French, Spanish, & Italian; Mathematics; Natural philosophy[sic]; Natural History; Civil History; Ethics.” – Thomas Jefferson to John Banister (Paris Oct. 15. 1785.)