Posts Tagged ‘Campus Free Speech’

Newspeak and Masculine Vigor

January 2, 2017



The above opinion in the Washington Post by Eugene Volokh concerns free speech issues at the University of Oregon.  Apparently the University of Oregon administration has declared that students or staff may be institutionally disciplined not only for what they say, but that they may also be disciplined if enough others object to what they have said.  “The harassment policy, the university report notes, bans conduct that creates a “hostile environment” based on “age, race, color, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, religion, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or the use of leave protected by state or federal law.”

That’s quite a mouthful to worry about as you chirp, “Good morning,” to your students or colleges and consider the risk of follow up.  It would seem that teaching some subjects under this ban would be very difficult – most likely impossible to do credibly – and make tricky teaching of many others while staying out of the cross hairs.

Which may be the point.   This is taken from the New Criterion,  January 2017.  It concerns “Newspeak” as invented by George Orwell in his prescient book, 1984, about evolving totalitarianism:



By limiting what may be said, the University – much like the Inner Party of 1984 – is well on its way to making the construction of conflicting arguments impossible, and eventually, as per the recipe for Newspeak, recounted in 1984, finally impossible to consider or even to imagine.

You needn’t wander very far from home to see the mechanisms of Newspeak operating around us now.  Conservatives encounter this on a daily basis when trying to discuss political matters with Progressives.  Progressives literally cannot understand us.  Progressives cannot understand why Trump won.   Instead they shout slurs as if to ward off the Devil.  They cannot understand why we are not petrified by Global Warming.  They cannot understand why we would not want to welcome thousands of Muslim immigrants.  They cannot understand that illegal immigration is illegal.  They don’t seem to understand the word “illegal”. There are many sides to other issues which the Progressive Newspeak simply will not allow Progressives to imagine or to understand.  Like scared Shamans, all is left in the Progressive arsenal are explanatory pejoratives, the ‘usual suspects’ of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny,  islamophobia, flat earthers,  the scientifically illiterate, poorly read, intellectually challenged, … idiots, morons, dumb, and then the reactionaries, assholes, mean-spirited, selfish, greedy, blind, pigs…   It goes on and on.  One would have to be quite gifted to be all of those things at once.  And on this, we seem to agree.  This, they explain, is why we win.

It is widely held by critics of public speaking that an audience is often much more influenced by the appearance and performance of the speaker than by the value of what is said.   I would be hard put to find anyone of whom this is more true than Donald Trump.  Not only is much of what he says incorrect, but it can change dramatically the next day, the next hour, or even within the next sentence.  And if you catch him in a deception he will either deny it or disparage you, or tell you that he is very very smart (and yourself, well, not so much).  You have no idea how smart!  One would think that these are all poor character traits to have in a Presidential Candidate.

Unless, that is, you would want someone who can tear through the turgid net of Progressive cant in which most Conservative speakers allow themselves to be constricted.  Trump tears through Progressive verbal strictures as if tender paper nets constructed in safe areas by cloistered ‘snowflakes’.

What does it matter, specifically, what he says?  That could change.  Generally, though, we get him.  And the payoff is immediate.  He talks back to Progressive power.  A fresh breeze blows through.  Clear thinking is allowed.  Thoughts can be thought.  Arguments can be had.  Common sense decisions can be made.  And there doesn’t seem to be anything the Progressives can do about it.  In fact, Donald has them wringing their hands and shedding tears.

When Taiwan calls, Trump picks up the phone, because it would be rude not to.   He chats.

“Heresy!”  says the accepted thinking of the Intelligensia.

“Jeeze, that feels good,” says his electorate.


If you enjoyed this essay, consider reading more of Carl Nelson at:

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