Nov 3, 2016
In 2014, the invitation of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at the Rutgers University commencement ceremony sparked controversy. When students and faculty disagreeing with her policies protested, she graciously withdrew from giving her address so as not to detract from the celebration of those graduating. In effect, the politically correct, instead of championing the freedom of speech, succeeded to squash any view contrary to theirs.
In 2015, students at Princeton University demanded that the name of Woodrow Wilson, the university's 13th president, be removed from the School of Public and International Affairs. Outraged by his racial legacy, they wanted to erase his memory from the university. Commenting on this, Adriane Lentz-Smith, an associate professor at Duke University remarked, "Woodrow Wilson was a white supremacist. To say this of a southern-born Democrat from the early 20th century is no more remarkable than observing that Georgia clay is red or that hound dogs bay."
In the case either of Condoleezza Rice or of Woodrow Wilson, it is the same ugly reality of one group demanding that all others conform to their views and judgments. Would that these two situations were the only cases of such intolerance! But, they are not. Recent reports of Catholic bashing by members of the political elite have fed into the narrative that the few can determine how the majority must think and act.
The elite have changed the political rhetoric in our country. We would be naïve not to notice. And, it is not just simply the lack of civil discourse in public debates and speeches that should alarm us. Much more damaging is the framing of social issues with a language that drips with gnostic intolerance.