An ominous insult

Students’ unwarranted contempt for a national leader doesn’t bode well

Do you get a certificate of some kind for having been brainwashed?


More and more it seems that’s what colleges should hand out.

At Bethune-Cookman University’s commencement Wednesday, students disrespectfully and disgracefully turned their backs and tried to boo U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos off the stage.

These were not isolated protesters. Reports say 60,000 petitioners demanded beforehand that DeVos be removed as commencement speaker.

What a debasement of their own school – and what a damning indictment of American higher education today.

Moreover, the Florida chapter of the misguided and partisan NAACP called for the resignation of the college president and board chairman due to rumors that protesting students might be punished – as they very well should have been.

Historically, colleges and universities were places of boundless imagination, intrepid intellecutal exploration and robust discussion and debate.

Those days are over. Today, higher education in many places has become a thought-free “safe zone” where students demand to be protected from ideas they find frightening or foreign.

Today’s college campuses are increasingly palaces of political correctness where conservatives are unwelcome – sometimes violently and other times, such as at Bethune-Cookman, rudely, coarsely and contemptuously.

If colleges and universities aren’t going to teach their students how to think – or at least how to let information in – then surely they ought to teach manners and respect.

These deplorable incidents have become all-too-common on college campuses, as schools and the media have inundated the young with more indoctrination than doctorate. If one strays from the politically correct party line – by, for instance, promoting school choice in the face of an oppressive public school and teacher-union alliance against it – then one is not welcome. At all.

There are two tragic ironies in this particular case.

One is that people such as Sec. DeVos are fighting to bring school choice to populations that can’t otherwise afford it – well-to-do families already have it – and minority students figure heavily into that equation.

A second irony is that, of all places, one would think respect for others would be most cherished at a historically black college, given the historic lack of respect accorded African-Americans. Sadly, the students at Bethune-Cookman have just treated Ms. DeVos the way their parents and grandparents were too often treated.

What a horrible shame, and an ominous portent for the future of America.

To our liberal friends: We could use your comradeship in the furtherance of freedom, not just of speech but of thought.

As they were during the IRS’s harassment and obfuscation of conservative nonprofits in the lead-up to the 2012 election, conservatives today are under siege – this time not by the government, but by the anti-free-speech far left.

The actual violence in places such as Berkeley has been repeatedly joined by equally abhorrent violence of intimidation, threat and – as in the case of Bethune-Cookman – intransigent intolerance.

In standing up against free speech, and so disrespectfully, young people are not only limiting themselves intellectually – by refusing to listen to views that are unfamiliar or even uncomfortable – but they’re doing great harm to the republic and the civil dialogue that is its lifeblood.



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