I know a little bit about the kinds of speech that are generally welcomed on campus. I’ve been banned from a few campuses, including DePaul University; I’ve spoken at more than a few campuses at which violence broke out over my speeches, including California State University at Los Angeles, Penn State and University of California at Berkeley.
I also know that were I a student at any of these universities — and if I said, as a student, what I routinely say as a speaker — I’d undoubtedly be dragged before the administration and hit with sanctions. I’d be responsible for “microaggressions” by saying things like “Western culture is superior” and “men are not women.” I’d be responsible for “harmful language” for stating that human beings ought to be judged not based on race, but on merit.
But apparently, at the top universities in America, all of those sensitivities disappear for one specific group: Jews.
This week, House Republicans held a hearing at which the heads of major universities were grilled regarding the rise of antisemitism on their campuses. That increase ranges from threats of violence to near-riots, from tearing down hostage posters to open Jew-hating slurs.
Now, imagine that instead of antisemitism, there had been a radical uptick in anti-black racism on campus: calls for genocide, celebration of terror attacks against black Americans, physical threats. Does anyone think the respective university presidents would have sat, grinning at the lawmakers quizzing them on their actions?
But that’s precisely what happened. Here was Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York questioned the presidents University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and MIT about genocidal language chanted on campus. None of the three was willing to say directly that calls for genocide against Jews violated university policy. All three said that context was required to answer the question.
One can make the case for free speech on campus — I can and I do — but one cannot pretend that universities protect students against harassment and then soft-pedal Holocaust-level rhetoric. It is difficult to imagine that these icons of sensitivity and diversity, equity and inclusion would be nearly so sanguine about slurs against any other racial or ethnic minority in America.
Simply put, they wouldn’t.
So, why are they so sanguine?
There are two reasons.
First, the Left — and university presidents are almost the Platonic ideal of intellectual Leftists — believes that Jews are not part of the intersectional coalition of the oppressed. By Leftist logic, Jews are part of the superstructure of power, since all success is merely a reflection of hierarchies of power, and Jews are disproportionately successful. Thus Jews cannot be victims.
Then there’s the second reason: the hard Left hates Israel. The Left hates Israel because, like American Jews, Israel is too successful in the region in which it is located. Israel, according to the Left, is a colonialist outpost of the West, and the West is evil because it too is successful — which means that it is exploitative and oppressive. Hence the Left’s rabid attachment to the idea that calls for Israel’s destruction are somehow not anti-Semitic, but actually a reflection of a more universalistic humanitarian creed.
Sure, that creed would actually materialize in the death of millions of Jews and the dominance of radical Muslim terrorism. But that doesn’t matter. After all, Israel is the real problem, because the West is the real problem — and we know that’s true because the West and Israel are successful. According to the Left, radical Muslim regimes that impoverish their citizens aren’t worth one bit of attention. Israel, by contrast, ought to be destroyed.
So, what ought to be done?
First, donors ought to pull their money.
Second, businesses ought to start hiring directly out of high school and stop treating the bizarre credentialing process of major universities as worthwhile. It isn’t. Chances are better that you’ll get a great employee by selecting a high school graduate with 1500 SAT and a 4.0 GPA than by selecting a Harvard graduate with the same statistics.
Finally, parents ought to stop subsidizing this nonsense with their own children.
The universities are corrupt through and through. Their endorsement of DEI has been a curse to reason and decency. Their politics are vile, and those politics also make the universities corrupt factories of moral depravity. It’s time to end the system.
Ben Shapiro, 39, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent. To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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