William A. Donohue
The greatest threat to freedom these days comes not from neo-Nazis, or from any other group on the lunatic fringe: it comes from those who tout the virtue of diversity. Unfortunately, they are clustered in the command centers of our culture, making it impossible to avoid them.
To be specific, they work in higher education, the media, the entertainment industry, the publishing world, the arts, the non-profit sector, and in Internet communications. Not everyone who works in these fields is a menace to liberty, but too many are. Their commitment to diversity extends only to demographics. Even there, their commitment is qualified: I have never met a white person who said he supports diversity in the workforce who didn’t try to land a job for a friend or a lover. Affirmative action be damned.
Ironically, the one kind of diversity these people loathe is the only one tied to the pursuit of freedom: diversity of thought. Indeed, they more closely resemble the thought-control maniacs associated with the politics of totalitarianism than they do the politics of liberalism, properly understood. True liberals believe in freedom of expression; left-wing ideologues do not. It is the latter who are ascendant in the dominant culture.
Looking for examples to prove this point are not hard to find. When is the last time we learned of conservative students shouting down a left-wing speaker on a college campus? By contrast, few conservative notables are even invited to speak, and when they are, they are likely to be greeted with intolerance.
“Speech zones,” or designated spots where students can express themselves with impunity, are commonplace on campuses; time restrictions also apply. Let’s be clear about this: These zones are manifestly un-American. Free speech, especially in higher education, should be as robust as it is ubiquitous; it should not be a circumscribed privilege. It is a sad day in America when there is more tolerance for diversity of thought in the local McDonald’s than on the local college campus.
Some professors are so tyrannical that they are now advocating jail time for those who disagree with them. Lawrence Torcello teaches philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology and he is on record saying that anyone who maintains that global warming isn’t real ought to be imprisoned. He flatly says that misinformation about the climate “ought to be considered criminally negligent.” He did not say whether they should be shot.
Christianity is not merely rejected by these elites, they seek to ban it. Here are a few recent examples. When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker posted on his Facebook and Twitter feeds a verse from the Bible, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” the atheists at Freedom From Religion Foundation demanded he take it down. When a 5-year-old girl from Florida was caught praying at lunch, her teacher ordered her to stop. An Air Force base in Florida banned the display of a Bible at an event honoring missing troops. In Queens, New York, the new Borough President prohibited Catholics from receiving ashes at Borough Hall (no one ever complained). And so on.
Brendan Eich was forced to resign as CEO of Mozilla, maker of the Internet web browser Firefox, because he wrote a check for $1,000 six years earlier in favor of marriage, traditionally defined. The bullies who work at the Silicon Valley company hate diversity of thought, and could not stand working for a man who had the audacity to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. This was too much for the diversity dons to tolerate.
If only these left-wing fanatics admitted their love for fascism, they would at least be honest. The executive chairwoman of Mozilla, Mitchell Baker, said the company “believes in equality and freedom of speech.” She lied: Eich was discriminated against for exercising his free speech. “We have employees with a wide diversity of views,” she added. This is Orwellian doublespeak: the very last thing she believes in is diversity of views. If she did, Eich would still be there.
I learned a long time ago that those who boast in public of their commitment to freedom of speech should be looked upon with askance. Some clearly do, but many others simply lie. There is no better example than the American Civil Liberties Union.
When I was doing research on the American Civil Liberties Union for my Ph.D. dissertation at New York University, I found that in 1925, just five years after the ACLU was founded, it sued an author who wrote a critical piece about it. There was absolutely nothing libelous about it, and indeed when H.L. Mencken was asked to referee the dispute, he unequivocally condemned the ACLU for its duplicity. He was then branded a fascist for supporting freedom of speech.
Matters have only worsened since the ACLU was exposed as a fraud. Now those who seek to silence dissent are all around us. Most of them are not skinheads, nor do they pierce their tongues. But looks can be deceiving: the thought police are masters at deception. Just ask Brendan Eich.