Well-known political analyst and conservative syndicated columnist Michael Barone has a column out today in which he directs readers to FIRE’s website to support his theory that academia’s culture of suppressing dissent is beginning to carry over into American politics. Barone says:
[Suppression of ideas] comes naturally to liberals educated in our great colleges and universities, so many of which have speech codes whose primary aim is to prevent the expression of certain conservative ideas and which are commonly deployed for that purpose. (For examples, see the Website of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which defends students of all political stripes.) Once the haven of free inquiry and expression, academia has become a swamp of stifling political correctness.
One does not need to agree with Barone’s analysis of whether liberals or conservatives are more likely to want to suppress dissent to agree that repressive academic culture ultimately threatens to spill over into the wider society. As FIRE Co-founder Alan Charles Kors once said, "A nation that does not educate in liberty will not long preserve it, and will not even know when it is lost." Virtually all of our nation’s leaders, conservative, liberal, or otherwise, pass through American academia, and all are learning the same lessons (or lack thereof) about liberty. FIRE is determined to restore the American tradition of education in liberty so that we won’t ever wake up to find out that our liberty has been lost.