NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
By Arnold Ahlert at The Patriot Post
The twin massacres in Paris were, according to the perpetrators themselves, payback for blasphemy. In other words, Islamists believe in the “right not to be offended.” If that sounds familiar, maybe it’s because the American left believes exactly the same thing.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE) latest report reveals that of the 437 colleges and universities they surveyed, more than 55 percent maintain what FIRE refers to as “red light” restrictions on free speech. In 2012, FIRE president Greg Lukianoff offered examples of those “speech codes,” noting that they may consist of restricting speech that “feels offensive,” “demeaning,” that which will “discredit the student body” or any language deemed to be “abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar.”
And that’s just a small sampling of the official stances taken by colleges themselves. As revealed by Healther Mac Donald, “microaggressions,“ a laughably pathetic concept defined as “a form of unintended discrimination…depicted by the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination,” has become entrenched on college campuses as well. Thus one no longer has to make a conscious effort to offend. As long as someone else feels offended, it is more than enough to engender criticism, or as Mac Donald chronicles, the sacking of a 79-year-old UCLA college professor for creating “a toxic, unsafe and intellectually stifling environment at its current worse (sic)” in his classroom – according to a “Day of Action Statement” written by “Scholars of Color.”
Note that even the most rabid Islamists require some kind of overt blasphemy to instigate their murderous rampages. At campuses like UCLA, where the commitment to “social justice” conquers all, the thought police are out in full force. And they have more “ammo” to work with than just microaggressions. “White privilege,” defined as “a term for societal privileges that benefit white people in western countries beyond what is commonly experienced by the non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances,” is another hammer designed to induce guilt in the unsuspecting. Such privileges are defined (I kid you not) by such things as flesh-colored band-aids and pantyhose, and shampoos that “are in the aisle and section labeled ‘hair care’ and not in a separate section for ‘ethnic products,’” according to Jennifer R. Holladay, M.S., author of “White Anti-Racist Activism: A Personal Roadmap.“
The effort pursued by both the Islamists and the American left is exactly the same: the deconstruction of Western culture and one of its bedrock principles, free expression.
Unfortunately, Western culture has demonstrated it is more than willing to go along for the ride, and nothing speaks to this more forcefully than open borders, coupled with the notion that we owe something to the 11 million people (or perhaps 20 or 30 million) that have ignored our immigration laws. Even more incredibly, our leftist-dominated ruling class continues down this road, even as the price of allowing millions of people more interested in preserving their own way of life rather than embracing a host nation’s culture is playing itself out in Europe at this very moment. And while one sympathizes with the current tribulations endured by the French, a daunting reality cannot be ignored:
They brought these atrocities upon themselves.
And not just with unrestrained immigration. In 2008, the European Union mandated religious hate-speech laws. France itself has laws against speech that “insults, defames or incites hatred, discrimination or violence on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sex or sexual orientation.” Moreover, the very same Charlie Hebdo staff characterized as “courageous chroniclers” by French President Francois Hollande was the staff who had hate speech charges leveled at them in 2006-2007 by then-president Jacques Chirac. “Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided,” he said at the time. “Freedom of expression should be exercised in a spirit of responsibility.”
How to reconcile the difference between free expression and the spirit of responsibility is impossible to know, but it is telling that, on this side of the Atlantic, the same leftists who embrace campus speech codes are the ones more than willing to embrace expressions such as “nativist,” “xenophobic,” bigoted,“ “racist,” “Islamophobic,” and a number of other equally gratuitous insults all of which are designed – irony notwithstanding – to suppress the speech of those who would disagree with the leftist agenda.
It is the same leftist agenda that tossed the melting pot mentality on the ash heap of history and replaced it with the multicultural-inspired notion that immigrants should “celebrate their differences,” rather than assimilate American customs, culture, traditions and language.
That’s exactly what occurred in France last week. Islamists embraced their jihadist culture, in all suppressive and murderous glory. And even worse, they were aided and abetted by one “courageous” media outlet after another, all of whom refused to print the offending cartoons altogether, or pixilated the insulting parts. And then, adding insult to injury, they proceeded to warn us about “seething” anti-immigrant feelings and a rise in Islamophobia, both of which feed the “far-right nationalist parties.”
In other words, nationalism and the desire to protect the prevailing culture is a bad thing.
And so we will endure the alternative. In France, “law enforcement officers have been told to erase their social media presence and to carry their weapons at all times because terror sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the country,” CNN reports. In America, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and her party’s ranking member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, flatly stated that she believes terrorist cells are hiding in Europe and the U.S., waiting to be activated and carry out attacks similar to the ones that claimed 17 lives in France last week,” reports the Washington Times.
Those would be terror cells undoubtedly inspired by the ongoing advances of ISIS and al Qaeda in the Middle East, the Boko Haram in Nigeria, and a host of other Islamic terrorist entities allowed to fester or flourish, lest terms like “overseas contingency operation,” “man-caused disaster,” “militants,” “insurgents,” “extremists,” “workplace violence,” etc., etc., are revealed for the utterly bankrupt frauds they truly are. And as long as the West continues to make politically correct war against this Islamist cancer, it will remain a source of inspiration for every wannabe jihadist-in-waiting – even as feckless Western leaders walk on politically correct eggshells to avoid making the direct connection between the two.
And perhaps no one speaks to that fecklessness better than our own president, who declined to attend the rally in Paris where more than 40 other heads of state, and 1.5 million people, convened to denounce the atrocities. Even Obama apologists such as NBC’s Andrea Mitchell noted the “stunning” nature of the snub, while the reliably leftist Ron Fournier insisted it was “mistake,” but not a “disgrace.”
More to the point, it was no accident. Obama has made it clear he disdains American exceptionalism and our nation’s role as the world’s last remaining superpower. And while apologists like Fournier insist it isn’t disgraceful that our president decided to watch NFL football instead of attending the rally, it is quite disgraceful when none of America’s top leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry or Attorney General Eric Holder – who was in Paris at the time – were there to represent our nation. Instead ambassador Jane Hartley, who raised more than $500,000 in campaign funds for Obama, was our highest ranking official on the scene.
In other words, Clint Eastwood was right on the money when he portrayed Obama as an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. And it is that empty chair America must endure for two more years, the one who will convene a Feb. 18 “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” that makes no mention whatsoever of Islamic extremism.
No doubt our president doesn’t want to say anything that might offend someone.