As a student of politics and many foreign governments, I often have the occasion to observe certain interesting facts and anomalies about other countries. One I want to briefly explain is the idea of luan. The word itself has its origins in China. The loose translation is social disorder and chaos. Without getting into detail this idea of social chaos is what the Communist Chinese Government fears above all. They will act out with brutal force if they feel a group is creating luan. However, the irony of this is that, in one of the largest communist countries on the planet, college students have more freedom there than they do here. What do I mean by that?
Lets take a trip back to the summer of 1989. The protests at Tiananmen were in full swing and thousands of students flooded into the square in protest. Most people only remember the government crackdown that killed upwards of 700 people. Less than thirty of them were students and the protests were allowed to continue for months before the crackdown. The reason is in China the people believe that college students should be allowed to think freely and cause a certain amount of luan. The reason for this is even China sees the value of freethinking in its Universities.
We used to feel the same way about our institutions of higher learning here in America. Unfortunately, as I watch news coverage and hear first hand accounts, of which I will share with you in this article, about the issues going on at Fordham University, I realize that we no longer value all opinions and encourage a freethinking atmosphere. It appears that the left in this country have a certain fear of luan themselves and are willing to bully anyone they feel is causing it.
The latest evidence of this is the uproar on the campus of Fordham University over the visit by Ann Coulter. The visit never happened because there was such outrage from the left that the invite was rescinded shortly after it was made.
One of my close friends and colleagues is a student at Fordham University. We will call him John to protect his privacy; and he came to me before this story broke to tell me what was happening to him on the campus of Fordham University.
He told me that conservatives on both campuses at Fordham feel that they are under attack and that he personally has felt persecution on a massive scale for his beliefs. At one point he had to temporarily deactivate his Facebook page due to all of the hateful things being said to him.
Many on the left personally attacked him for his support of Coulter and for simply having a picture of the two of them up on Facebook. As we spoke, I could hear the anger in his voice as he recounted to me several instances of people who publicly attacked him and one person who took private things said in confidence and posted them publicly on Facebook. He was able to give me a first hand look at the battle going on at Fordham.
He told me of students who are afraid to publically disclose their political belief because of fear of retaliation from left wing professors and being ostracized by the majority of the student body. This should be alarming to all of us, left and right; America is supposed to be the land of the free. That freedom also includes the freedom of thought and exchange of ideas, even unpopular ones. If we do not allow freethinking in the universities, then where is it allowed?
I was given a student wide email that was released to by the president of Fordham University, Father Joseph McShane. In the email he publically attacks not only Ann Coulter but also the College Republicans for inviting her. In one quote Father McShane remarks, “To say that I am disappointed with the judgment and maturity of the College Republicans, however, would be a tremendous understatement.” Father McShane also goes on to insinuate that Coulter’s rhetoric is “often hateful and needlessly provocative — more heat than light — and her message is aimed squarely at the darker side of our nature.” Even though Father McShane fell short of flat out denying Coulter the microphone, he made his thoughts perfectly clear. Anyone who believes homosexuality is wrong and socially destructive is not welcome at his JESUIT UNIVERSITY.
I was also offered a quote from the College Republicans at Fordham University and this comes directly from the Executive Board. “While we will never gain universal consensus on the speakers we bring to campus, we do believe that we have set a high standard when it comes to speakers that Ann Coulter simply does not meet. In the future, we will work to bring speakers that everyone on our campus can be proud of.”
After reading this and the various other press releases that have been put out by the College Republicans, I think most are forced to side with Greg Gutfeld and the majority of conservatives. Although Greg Gutfeld and others were a little harsh in their pointing out of the cowardice of these conservatives, it must be said that it is utter weakness. These Republicans are capitulating and constantly apologizing for having a belief system; and unfortunately, in most conservatives’ book, that makes you a “wussy.”
The fight for America’s soul is much more serious than even I realized. Stories like that of my good friend John only serve as evidence of the dangerous path we are taking. These thuggish, brown-shirt tactics, disguised as tolerance and higher thinking on the left, must stop in our universities or we will be doomed to repeat the failings of the past.
Maybe a little luan is exactly what we need.
Image: courtesy of Jimbo Wales; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.