You Can’t Fight Campus Illiberalism With More Illiberalism – Opinion

My children are extremely fortunate to have been born in America and to live here. In 1999 when I came from France to the United States, I realized that America still held true to its founding principles, particularly respect for pluralism, and viewpoint diversity.

A lot of Americans, including many from other countries, believe that the First Amendment protects freedoms such as speech, petition, assembly, press and religion. Many First Amendment lawyers had won many cases to expand freedoms for blacks and other minorities, and to allow religious groups to be established on American campuses. Because of this, I considered the freedom extension to be a granted. It took far too long to extend these rights for everyone, and we still have a lot of work to do.

Since my oldest daughter has just entered college, I have been worried that Academic Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity are in peril. Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt have documented the decline of freedom-of-expression in 2015’s book. The American Mind: CoddlingThey are. The students explain that they are asking campus administrators for protection from hate speech. Their belief is that any words that do not adhere to these constantly changing standards can be considered violence. Many incidents have occurred on college campuses, making it difficult for students and teachers to say the right thing.

Some conservatives fight left-wing liberalism with their own liberalism, unfortunately. Many even believe that the time for liberal democracy is over. In the hopes of saving America from the culture degenerate of the left, they embrace Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and former President Donald Trump as role models. They impose abusive mask mandates and fight critical race theory teaching in K-12 schools.

No matter the outcome of this illegal arm wrestling match, liberal culture is going to be destroyed. This illiberalism, unfortunately, also reduces the ability to produce knowledge in academic settings and public policy. It all adds up to a worse situation for my daughters as well as all of you.

However, I am not giving up hope. Both the left- and right-leaning parties are joining forces to defend our democratic liberal values. Freedom and Individual Rights in Education defend professors and students from being persecuted by their peers and the zealous administrators.

Five alumni organizations from Cornell University and Princeton University created the Alumni Free Speech Alliance in recognition of the danger of increasing illiberalism. As of today, 82 universities and faculty have either adopted or endorsed the Chicago Statement, or an substantially similar statement, to demonstrate their support for free speech on campus. Princeton has also agreed to host a Dorian Abbot conference at the University of Chicago. His lecture at MIT was canceled due to protests from activists.

The Mercatus Center, George Mason University, is my employer. They launched a Pluralism and Civil Exchange program that aims to restore American liberalism. David French, a First Amendment lawyer and former journalist for The Dispatch makes almost daily the argument that it is more effective to fight illiberalism from the left or right with liberal values. He also recommends federal civil rights statutes. Jonathan Chait (left-leaning writer) and Matt Yglesias (right-leaning writer) are also taking part in this fight. The brave, persistent fight against illiberalism is being led by a variety of thinkers including Jonathan Rauch from the Brookings Institution and Bari Weiss at Columbia University. Glenn Loury (Brown University economist) and Andrew Sullivan. These are just some of the people who rise to the occasion.

John Lewis, a civil rights activist and Congressman, said that “Get in trouble and necessary trouble and you will help redeem America’s soul.” While things may not look as serious as they did when Lewis made these remarks, many are making an effort right now. In the name of my girls, I thank them.