Colleges Make Progress Right Toward Orwell

December 24, 2004

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Letter-writer Richard Lindsey's great faith in America's colleges as places where "progressive thought is encouraged" is touching, but misplaced ["Campus Progressives Win a Cheer"].

While taking George Will and Ross Mackenzie to task for criticizing the lack of "thought diversity" on modern liberal campuses, Lindsey reminds us of the damage done by "right-wing ideologies and/or fundamentalist religions" when they gain control of the education process. He somehow manages to overlook the damage done by an equally rabid left-wing ideology. What difference does it make who is in control when the objective is to shape the way someone else thinks?

If modern campuses were bastions of free inquiry, as the writer wishes to believe, then there would be no need for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to exist, bringing suit after suit against dozens of colleges for trying to enforce their Orwellian speech codes. There wouldn't have been enough evidence for lawyers Alan Kors and Harvey Silverglate to write an entire book (The Shadow University) on the utter abandonment of the First Amendment in favor of political correctness on campuses today. There would be no need for Websites such as speechcodes.org and Noindoctrination.org to offer frustrated students a safe forum where they may reveal the outrageous indoctrination practices of some professors under the guise of course curriculum. Nor would Evan Maloney have found enough material for his new documentary about college campuses, "Brainwashing 101."

Anyone who believes the majority of American colleges encourage progressive thought (if "progressive" is defined as including free and critical inquiry) should check these out for himself. I promise an eye-opening experience...