On Constitution Day, no less, a Princeton professor named Carolyn Rouse gave a speech entitled, “F*** Free Speech: An Anthropologist’s Take on Campus Speech Debates.” As you may have garnered from the title, Professor Rouse does not believe that free speech is a particularly important right for Americans to have. With her background in anthropology and African Studies, Rouse has come to believe that free speech is actually “problematic” in today’s society and that “the way in which free speech is being celebrated in the media makes little to no sense anthropologically.”
In her lecture, Rouse did not exactly call for the abolition of the First Amendment, but she did make an impassioned case for limiting what can and should be said within the confines of Princeton and other academic institutions. She is one of those luddites who pines for the vanishing Era of the Gatekeepers, where only those opinions that had been thoroughly vetted by the academic elite could find their way to the unwashed learning masses. She thinks that today’s situation, where any Tom, Dick, or Milo can infect impressionable minds with their rancid conservative ideas…well, it’s simply too dreadful to contemplate.
“Put simply, speech is costly,” Rouse said. “So, contrary to the ACLU’s statement on their website regarding the role of free speech on college campuses, the academy has never promoted free speech as its central value.”
What Rouse and others like her don’t get is that they themselves are only able to teach, learn, and operate in an environment where freedom of speech is a paramount, defining value for this country. In their minds, they are right and the opposition is wrong. And in that environment, only the “right” should be allowed to speak freely. The “right” being the academics, the oppressed, and anyone else who carries water for their liberal/fascist agenda. Everyone else can go suck an egg.
Of course, it doesn’t work that way. The trends of thought and opinion change with the wind – nowhere more so than in the halls of Rouse’s precious academia. What Rouse has to say about race and anthropology may be entirely uncontroversial at Princeton in 2017, but she could easily be scorned by tomorrow’s “progressives” as a purveyor of hate…just like so many liberals of yesteryear who failed to keep up with the accelerating move towards radical socialism.