It’s Not “Liberal,” It’s Leftist
Earlier this year, George Washington University students briefly started an anti-Trump organization called the “GW Coalition for Intersectional Justice” to resist the president. This is just one of the many instances of campus hysteria showcasing the leftist bias in academia. Yes, it’s leftist, not liberal orthodoxy which dominates university life, and the semantics cannot be ignored. Liberalism encourages diversity of thought and is respectful of individual rights and freedom. Today’s liberals exemplify neither.
If you are liberal, you would be listening to, not ostracizing, those whose views you vehemently disagree. Earlier this year, Middlebury University students verbally and physically assaulted conservative thinker Charles Murray. And if you are liberal, you wouldn’t wage or encourage property destruction of a university, like UC Berkeley, inviting a controversial speaker like Milo Yiannopoulos. True liberals oppose the “Antifa” movement, which might as well be considered a domestic terrorist group. Not only is that leftist, it is also uncivilized, thug-like behavior. Being liberal includes being favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms. Violence toward anything or anyone demonstrates the opposite of that dictionary reading.
In Inside Higher Ed, another student wrote that “the First Amendment forbids Congress from ‘abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’ As many people have repeatedly pointed out, the Constitution does not guarantee you a respectful audience for your ideas, whether those ideas are odious or not.”
This argument is a straw-man: the First Amendment does not entitle you to disrupt and threaten someone, just like it does not allow someone to shout “fire” in a movie theater. Like any right, the First Amendment has its limits. In 1957, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled in Sweezy v. New Hampshire that “Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire…otherwise, our civilization will stagnate and die.” Along with this, universities are supposed to be bastions of diverse thought, not of political indoctrination and physical abuse toward those whose views you might disdain.
Dave Rubin, who has denounced the Left, eloquently said in a video:
"Progressives struck me as liberals but louder. Progressives were the nice guys; they looked out for the little guy; they cared about women and minorities; they embraced change...The meaning of the word ‘progressive’ has changed…Banning speakers whose opinions you don’t agree with from college campuses—that’s not progressive. Prohibiting any words not approved of as ‘politically correct’—that’s not progressive. Putting ‘trigger warnings’ on books, movies, music, anything that might offend people—that’s not progressive, either. All of this has led me to believe that much of the Left is not progressive, but regressive."
Per Rubin’s statement, liberalism is not what today’s liberals advocate. They’re not liberal, rather leftist. Especially in today’s vitriolic political discourse, we need less pathos, and more ethos and logos. We need to think less emotionally and more critically. Moreover, it is time for the American people, especially the media and our leaders, to start acting like adults. Just because you may disagree with someone, that doesn’t mean the other person is a bigot. Maybe you’re the ignoramus.
Being closed minded to hearing different thoughts is the antithesis of liberalism and being well-rounded. In hearing the other side, while you may still disagree, you are able to have a substantive and mature conversation and learn about a side of an issue which you may not have heard due to the noise surrounding a certain side of an issue like abortion or gun control.
Let us judge people personally not by their background, rather by their character. Just because someone may stand on a side of an issue with which you may disagree, that does not automatically mean they are deplorable.
Also, to echo my mother’s greatest advice: You cannot control others. The only control you have is how you react.
Jackson Richman is the Capital Commentary/Op-Ed Editor for the Greater Washington area Jewish newspaper Kol HaBirah: The Voice of the Capital. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Daily Caller, The Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics, and other outlets. Follow him on Twitter here.