Education, Politics, recent

Federal Funding, the First Amendment, and Free Speech on Campus

On Thursday, March 21, President Trump signed Executive Order 13865, intended to address the free speech crisis in higher education. This had been expected following the president’s speech at CPAC earlier this month. What was not expected was that the EO would also address the skyrocketing cost of tuition and the student loan debt crisis. All three of these issues were gathered together under the umbrella of enhancing the quality of postsecondary education “by making it more affordable, more transparent, and more accountable.”

I was one of dozens of free speech advocates in attendance at the signing in the historic East Room. The text of the Executive Order reads, in part:

In particular, my Administration seeks to promote free and open debate on college and university campuses. Free inquiry is an essential feature of our Nation’s democracy, and it promotes learning, scientific discovery, and economic prosperity. We must encourage institutions to appropriately account for this bedrock principle in their administration of student life and to avoid creating environments that stifle competing perspectives, thereby potentially impeding beneficial research and undermining learning.

During his accompanying remarks, President Trump said, “Under the guise of speech codes, safe spaces, and trigger warnings, these universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity, and shut down the voices of great young Americans like those here today.”

Not everyone was convinced. Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, called the order “a solution in search of a problem.” But some of us who have followed the free speech debate have become concerned about a litany of problems, legal and cultural, in pressing need of solutions. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has reported that almost a third of universities in 2018 maintained “speech codes that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech.” The report concluded that another 58 percent of universities have policies vague enough to allow constitutionally protected speech to be suppressed.

Some of those willing to acknowledge these issues have nevertheless voiced concerns about Federal Government overreach and the constitutionality of the Executive branch revoking funding from institutions of higher education. The President’s Executive Order directs 12 government agencies responsible for bestowing grants to ensure that public institutions fulfil their obligation to uphold students’ First Amendment rights.

Anxiety about Executive overreach is misplaced, however. Public colleges and universities function just like every other public institution—as an extension of the government itself. They are therefore required to uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment rights of those who participate or affiliate with the school. In his speech at the signing ceremony, President Trump observed that many universities have become increasingly hostile to free speech and the First Amendment, despite receiving billions in subsidies from the American taxpayer. This is not acceptable and the EO announces that:

[T]he heads of covered agencies shall, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, take appropriate steps, in a manner consistent with applicable law, including the First Amendment, to ensure institutions that receive Federal research or education grants promote free inquiry, including through compliance with all applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies.

As  government entities, institutions of higher education have a legal obligation not to interfere with speech, religion, assembly, petition, and so on. If they violate First Amendment rights, they’re in violation of their own governing documents. Trump’s Executive Order does not dictate how Federal agencies should enforce free speech requirements. However, the roughly $40 billion universities receive in Federal research dollars every year offers the Executive considerable leverage. Since World War II, the Federal Government has partnered with academic institutions as subcontractors, doling out billions for research projects in fields of interest to the US government, including medicine, technology, energy, and defense.

A quick glance at the budget of the National Science Foundation shows just how reliant the US government has become on academic research projects and vice versa. Federal research funding does not come without contractual obligations, and a clause should be added to contracts requiring that free speech be upheld on campus. This is, after all, something that ought to be understood by research institutions in the name of open academic inquiry anyway. It is more often the undergraduate social science and humanities departments in the university system which violate the First Amendment with the help of partisan administrators than the research institutions themselves.

According to the White House, more than $35 billion in grants will come under scrutiny with this Executive Order (this does not include funding associated with Federal student aid programs that cover tuition, fees, or stipends), and individual agencies enjoy considerable leeway to decide how to enforce free speech protections. In future, universities that fail to uphold free speech could be punished by the Federal Government withholding or delaying payments, prematurely ending a contract, suspending eligibility for future contracts, or by filing a lawsuit for a contractual breach. This dependence on research dollars and the responsibility of a public entity to maintain the rights of American citizens, will give research institutions “skin in the free speech game” and encourage them to demand that other parts of the university start to behave.

Could this lead to a decline in vital research if campus administrators decide that upholding social justice ideology is more important than research grants? This might be a concern if there were a struggle to fill vital research projects, but that is not the case. Federal research grants are either highly competitive or so narrowly tailored to idiosyncratic projects that the market demand would not fluctuate. In fact, there’s so much Federal research funding available that the National Science Foundation spent $375,000 on a two-year study to determine what effects the availability of federal funding for research has on scientists’ career choices and scientific outcomes. While some colleges may decide to focus on social justice at the expense of research, critical scientific discovery will continue. Wasteful studies will diminish, and students and faculty looking to conduct important research will elect to attend universities committed to that purpose.

There are additional worries that the broad nature of the Executive Order could inadvertently chill protest on campus, since the impact of protest on free expression is part of the problem the EO is designed to address. “No platforming” activists have become adept at using the “heckler’s veto”—the threat of violence or protest—to force the cancellation of speakers and events by organizers unable to afford security costs. Security is no idle concern, since campus protests have occasionally been allowed to get completely out of hand. In 2014, Berkeley student protesters broke down a door and ran Silicon Valley tycoon Peter Thiel off the stage during a question and answer session. Then in 2017, Antifa protests vandalized the campus of UC Berkeley when Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak. Masked vandals set the campus on fire, breaking windows and barriers and assaulting bystanders. Although the university has taken great strides to change the campus climate since then, UC Berkeley’s lackadaisical handling of these incidents sent a message that violence could be used to decide a debate.

Contrary to what many campus activists believe, speech is not violence and violence is not protected speech. Universities have a duty to maintain the peace, and to employ a police presence when necessary. Inviting provocative speakers will inevitably elicit controversy and universities must provide space for all viewpoints to be expressed so long as they remain peaceful, and so long as one side is not permitted to drown out the other. The right to protest a speaker or register disapproval does not include the right to prevent them from delivering their remarks. We should remember that, in a free society, the protection of the First Amendment is more important to the dissenter than to the consensus of a mob.

Finally, religious institutions need not worry that President Trump’s Executive Order will interfere with their freedom to uphold the core tenets and values of their faiths. It is understandable that a Catholic school, for instance, given the nature of its specific mission, should not wish to provide a platform on their campus for abortion advocacy. Every student who attends a religious school has agreed to adopt that institution’s mission statement. During the admissions process and student orientation, it is made clear which teachings, ideology, and viewpoints will be taught on (and banned from) the campus.

It is for this reason that Trump’s EO draws a distinction between the obligations on public schools and private schools. While public schools are expected to comply with their First Amendment responsibilities, private schools must comply only with their own “stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech.” Public colleges and universities are advertised as places of open academic inquiry where a rigorous exploration of ideas takes place. Most students enter public institutions with the expectation that their rights remain protected, unaware that they are restricted until they are prevented from exercising them.

It will be interesting to see if the Trump administration takes a reactive or a proactive approach to restricting funding, warning offending colleges of their intent to strip funding unless something changes. Either way, the Executive Order is a step in the right direction. The requirement that colleges adhere to a transparent speech code which protects academic debate in return for federal dollars is both reasonable and measured. It empowers the Federal Government to be better stewards of public funds, while upholding the rights of its student citizens.


Lauren Cooley is an editor at the Washington Examiner and has a college speaking tour about free speech. She is studying/researching the first amendment’s role in higher education at the University of Miami. You can follow her on Twitter @laurenacooley


  1. E. Olson says

    It is very sad that the fascist movements on so many campuses have forced the Trump administration to take action to protect free-speech rights that should otherwise be seen as automatic at all true institutions of “higher learning”. Unfortunately, this will almost certainly be used as an excuse to further expand the already “overworked and underpaid” campus administration. Look for new university offices of “free speech and open dialog” to be announced soon, which will be staffed exclusively by Leftists including the VP/director making $300K per year and 20 assistants making $125K, who will make sure that the Communism, Pro-Choice, Transgender rights, and Open-Border advocacy groups on campus have their free speech rights protected. And in 6 or 10 years when a Democrat administration rescinds Trump’s EO, you can be certain that the free speech offices and their overpaid staffs will remain forever.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      @E. Olson

      I actually AGREE that this EO will feed the already bloated campus administrations!

      But look, institutions already have to make a bewildering variety of ‘certifications’ before the federal grant dollars flow. Look at this PARTIAL list from the NSF grants guide:

      Certification Regarding Conflict of Interest
      Drug-Free Workplace
      Debarment and Suspension
      Certification Regarding Lobbying
      Certification Regarding Nondiscrimination
      Certification Regarding Flood Hazard Insurance
      Certification Regarding Responsible Conduct of Research
      Certification Regarding Organizational Support
      Certification Regarding Federal Tax Obligations


      Surely if liberals can have their nondiscrimination clause, conservatives can have their free speech clause, right????

      Except that the above are imposed on all institutions seeking grants, whereas this EO includes a big carve out for private institutions. We should remember that many of the biggest players in the grants game are private AND secular: Harvard, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, etc. They just have to certify that they obey their own in-house free speech rules?? Duh!

      And what if the ‘speech’ clause conflicts with the ‘nondiscrimination’ clause. Some professors have been fired because of their in-classroom speech that is claimed to create a hostile learning environment for certain groups of students. How is that going to be sorted out?

      To be clear: I am in favor of free speech on campus. Many of the professors losing their jobs over speech issues are left-wingers, and I actually hope this EO will protect them*. The same is true of pro-Palestinian faculty being sued or harassed by pro-Israel interests.

      Bottom Line: Public institutions already have to obey the First Amendment. This EO is mostly political chum thrown at Trump’s base.

      • K. Dershem says

        “This EO is mostly political chum thrown at Trump’s base.”

        I think you’re right. According an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education,

        The order … directs the leaders of 12 federal agencies … to “take appropriate steps” consistent with the First Amendment and applicable laws to ensure that institutions receiving federal research or education grants “promote free inquiry” in compliance with applicable federal laws, regulations, and policies.

        There is no mention of specific penalties for institutions that are perceived to fall short, and it excludes funding associated with federal student-aid programs from this oversight. It also does not elaborate on how the agencies, which include the Departments of Defense and of Education, and the National Science Foundation, are expected to determine compliance.

        In other words, public colleges and universities have to comply with existing laws, and if they don’t they may face unspecified penalties.

        • Erica from the West Village says

          And your point is….what, exactly?

          Of course this is food for the base as well as reasonable moderates who believe the AltLeft has taken the Democrat Party hostage with protest after protest.

          If he can position himself as “the guy” who will stand up for free speech on college campuses, that is a message that’s going to resonate with 75%+ of the public.

          It’s an easy position to take, so perhaps the counter move by Progressives and SJW’s would be to open up the campuses for free speech and let everyone/anyone say what they want without burning down the campus because you’re offended by a few ideas that are foreign to you.

          That….would be the smart play, but nobody is really suggesting the Democrats have done many smart things the past few years.

          • Jack B. Nimble says


            Would those ‘reasonable moderates’ include Sen. Lamar Alexander*??

            Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, expressed concerns about Trump or lawmakers defining what can and can’t be said on college campuses.

            “The U.S. Constitution guarantees free speech. Federal courts define and enforce it. The Department of Justice can weigh in,” Alexander said in a statement. “Conservatives don’t like it when judges try to write laws, and conservatives should not like it when legislators and agencies try to rewrite the Constitution.”

            *Note that Alexander was president of U. of Tennessee from 1988-1991.

      • S. Cheung says

        Jack –
        interesting observation about the private and secular schools. THe Trump admin did seem to take pains to specify that this applied to public colleges and not private ones. I imagine they would have further preferred to give religious schools an explicit free pass while clamping down on secular ones, but maybe even they considered that a step too far on the church/state separation path.

        • Doug F says

          How is requiring them to follow the constitution clamping down?

      • the gardner says

        According to Mussolini, Fascism, from the latin word fasces, means “everything within the state, and nothing outside of the state”. In other words, socialism.

          • Rational Number says

            As if you know. Antifa are the face of Fascism. Suppression of freedom politically.

      • Saw file says


        I’m happy to enlighten you.

        ‘Fascist’ is a borrowing from Italian derivatives of the word ‘fascio’.

        Get it?

      • Blue Lobster says

        Hi Nick,

        Why don’t you tell us what it is? Oh wait, never mind. We don’t have any way of compensating you for expenditure of your “emotional labor”. But who will educate the deplorables then? Surely not all of them are autodidacts. Guess they’re just doomed to living out their remaining years as ignorant as they were at day one. Thanks, buddy! Anyone ever tell you that you’re uncommonly helpful. No? Well, maybe everyone but you is deplorable. How lonely to be Mr. Nicolas.

    • Kauf Buch says

      Yep! Thankfully, the lion’s share of this E.O. is really just re-stating “you will follow existing law…” with emphasis by adding, ““…if you want to continue to receive Federal monies.”

      Trouble with the article – as you point out – is the author’s moral equivalence of free speech and the Fascist Left doing everything in its power to shut it down. While the author writes, “There are additional worries that the broad nature of the Executive Order could inadvertently chill protest on campus…” the author then gives examples of what is meant by that so-called “protest”: the “heckler’s veto”—the threat of violence or protest—to force the cancellation of speakers and events by organizers unable to afford security costs. … Berkeley student protesters broke down a door and ran Silicon Valley tycoon Peter Thiel off the stage … Antifa protests vandalized the campus of UC Berkeley when Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak. Masked vandals set the campus on fire, breaking windows and barriers and assaulting bystanders.” Yeah, yeah…chilling “protest” my popo…

      • Kris says

        Might wanna reread that paragraph Kauf, the part you quoted is an example of “the impact of protest on free expression” NOT an example of “protest” as you have claimed. It’s a subtle distinction sure, but quite obvious from the tone/preceding content of the article.

        The idea is that “general protests might unintentionally become subdued” as a downside of addressing the problem of “free expression being impacted by protests” (e.g. deplatforming/hecklers veto). i.e. addressing those bad things might turn people of protesting, which is undesirable.

  2. S. Cheung says

    The EO seems reasonable overall. Putting something in place to stimulate some more anti-fragility in Gen Z college folk these days seems like a good idea.

    But Trump is not exactly my idea of a defender of science, or a proponent of free and unfettered inquiry. So I would be curious as to whether this becomes an excuse to stifle funding on research he (or his supporters) doesn’t like, or purports to resolve questions that he doesn’t (or his supporters don’t) want to know the answers to. The litmus test might be to look at rejected proposals from middle America schools that haven’t been affected by the regressive left like their coastal counterparts, particularly in fields that trigger his base…gender stuff, or stem cells, immediately come to mind, although I’m sure there are many others.

    • S. Cheung says

      We all know Trump is a racist, so I am sure that’s what’s going on. He hates black and brown people. He doesn’t even know it’s latinx now. Racist. Just ask David Kirkland dude. The guy with the hate crush on Trump

      • David of Kirkland says

        Didn’t know I had a hate crush on Trump. And it’s now dudex, hater.

      • S. Cheung says

        Ummm, whoever left the comment above wasn’t me. Obviously easy to do with no login to comment, but pretty pathetic and juvenile douche move.

    • Saw file says

      I don’t see this EO targeted at students as much as I see it targeted at certain faculty indoctrinators and their administration enablers. And frankly, it’s long overdue. I think that it’s quite telling when an EO must be enacted to reinforce the legislated rights of minority groups on campuses. Who would ever have imagined twenty (or even ten or five) years ago that such would be necessary?

      If by “his supporters” you mean those that voted for him, I just can’t see 70million people as a homogenous group with alike opinions and attitudes. There are fringe elements in every group. It’s hard to believe that Trump doesn’t know that he would alienate his mainstream support if he caved to (eg.) a fringe that wanted to restrict stem cell research. I can’t comment on “gender stuff” though, because I really don’t know what you mean. “Stuff” is one of those extremely broad nouns that I very rarely use, and highly discourage the use of with those I mentor at work.

      “Free and unfettered inquiry” is fine, and I don’t think that many would disagree with that academic principal, but when it comes to public funding for this “free and unfettered inquiry” some discernment needs to apply. It’s only logical that the top trust in the STEM would know the most pertinent areas for inquiry and experimentation.
      When it comes to the soft sciences it’s not so clear as to what merits public funding. Most specifically, the ‘grievance studies’ faculties. They are a never ending source the inane, bizarre and patently ludicrous, and for the most part don’t deserve any public funding due to the nonacademic nature o many of these groups. These faculties should fund their own pseodo-academia. The Humanities shot themselves in the foot with a howitzer when they allowed these various Sociology/ Psychology departments to form as independent faculties.

      This quick read at Areo covers this topic well:

      • S. Cheung says

        Saw –
        I agree with your first paragraph. It’s the Gen Z (but some professors too, disappointingly) that want to deplatform certain speakers, but it’s the school admin that ultimately enables them by withdrawing invites, or refusing to provide speaking space, etc. This won’t curb protests, nor should it, but it will likely make admins grow a backbone.

        I don’t suggest that all trump voters are in lockstep on every issue, or anything close. On the other hand, his base has certain proclivities, and respond to red meat in fairly stereotypical ways…sometimes without regard to sacrificing individual “principles” – see Emergency Declaration. So i do wonder if this becomes an excuse to silence research they don’t like…I certainly wouldn’t put it past them. Stem cells and hard science is one realm. Gender issues and soft sciences would be another.

        I agree that public funding should be geared for the “public good”. But that becomes a subjective metric instantly. Not sure how to arbitrate that. What I would suggest is that statistically, the grant application success rate in those topics shouldn’t change at schools that conform to the EO (since, rightly or wrongly, they were getting grant funding predating the EO).

        • Saw file says

          @S. Cheung

          I just don’t see how this EO could significantly effect a curtailment of certain inquiry paths in STEM research, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I certainly would hope that it’s not hijacked to do such.

          In reality, any public funding is subjective, just as what is defined as “public good” is also subjective.
          What is “public good” is a never ending debate. I have an opinion without an answer on that topic.

          I do think though that there is a simple way to subjectively decide which soft science academic inquiries warrant public funding.
          Do they adhere to the basic principles (Rauchian) of liberal science? If they do then they should be eligible for public funding. If they don’t then they’re undoubtedly an exercise in some form of sophistry and shouldn’t be eligible for public funding, and should fund their own lines of “academic” inquiry. Feynman’s razor principal should also be applied, where necessary.

          When it comes to the hard sciences, as I stated previously, it’s only logical to allow the top self academics in those fields to use their internal methods to figure out amongst themselves as to what is the best use of the public funding that they receive. I can’t imagine any other way to do it. I have to trust that scholastic physics or medical specialists (eg.) know what most warrants study in their fields.

  3. Nicolas says

    Oh great now Quillette is platforming actual religious Trump supporters in the name of “free speech”, promoting the agenda of the president who’s been the most hostile to free speech. Of course there absolutely zero tension between lamenting social justice commitments (which btw many catholic schools explicitly make part of their mission statement) and advocating for speech-restrictive catholic campus. None. Nothing to see. Force progressive campus to hear Milo, force dissenting students on religious campuses to shut up. Well done Quillette.

    • @Nicolas

      “Oh great now Quillette is platforming actual religious Trump supporters in the name of “free speech””

      Is that not freedom of speech?

      Why should Quillette not practice what it preaches?

      “the president who’s been the most hostile to free speech”

      Has Trump put any reporter or college president in jail? Has he closed and shuttered any newspapers or college campuses?

      Trump mocks, but he does not deplatform others.

      As you would have Quillette do, apparently.

      • Nicolas says

        Oh yeah, they’re free to promote whatever crap they wish. It doesn’t make it not crap.

        • Blue Lobster says

          It’s Nicolas, the human crap detector! Takes one to know one, pal.

        • Doug F says

          You seem to misunderstand the concept of free speech. It is not about you deciding something is crap and therefore should not be allowed. In fact it is the opposite of that. From what you are saying you believe that speech should not be free but arbitrated by someone (probably you).

          It would be clearer if you would just admit that you are against free speech if it is something that you don’t like, and then have a discussion on why or why not free speech is good, because your argument seems to imply you are against it.

        • Joseph Ducreux says

          @Nicholas and you are free to log out and not read it.

        • Jujucat says

          I feel sorry for you, Nicholas. You sound very bitter and unhappy. I hope you get better.

      • David of Kirkland says

        No, he’s not done those things, but he thinks investigations are witch hunts, the free press is fake news and the enemy of the people, and when protesters appear, he’s suggested they be punched as they are thrown out. Such a nice and wise guy…

        • Stephanie says

          David, the investigation that’s been discussed on the news every hour of every day has turned up nothing, so what would you call the constant harping on it, and the desperate need to find something wrong even when there’s nothing there?

          What would you call the news other than fake when reporters think their job is to form opinions as opposed to reporting facts?

          Trump’s offhanded comments aren’t always in good taste, but if that’s all you have to hang your hat on for his tyrannical nature, it’s no wonder most people see that just another product of the fake news media.

    • Defenstrator says

      The only person I see reaching with religious fever is you. Nobody is forcing anybody to listen to these people. You just can’t stop them from talking. Don’r Want to hear what they say? Don’t attend the lecture. What is it about this simple concept that people who think of themselves as intelligent and educated cannot seem to grasp?

    • Caligula says

      Yes, truly, the First guarantees that even POTUS has freedom of speech.

      Even (especially) if it’s disagreeable. Or even inappropriate.

    • Caligula says

      Yes, truly, the First guarantees freedom of speech. Even unto the POTUS!

      Even (especially) when it’s disagreeable. Or even inappropriate.

    • Kauf Buch says

      OMG! An article on FREE SPEECH which allows “others” (non-Leftists) to comment.
      THE HORROR! /sarc
      Nicolas, thanks for showing everyone here the fascist censorship the Left promotes.

    • Stephanie says

      Nicholas, I realise you’re upset, but there is a distinction between public schools beholden to the First Amendment and private schools which can set their own culture. Why would someone who doesn’t believe in the religious tenents of a private school choose to attend that school? If they want opinions contrary to those of the institution to be advanced, they should go to a public school, where such diversity is obligatory.

      • Nicolas says

        you should remember that next time you complain about deplatforming at a private university

          • Jujucat says

            Shoot! I had him pegged as a jobless basement dweller who procrastinates taking showers. Very non-creative of me. 🙁

          • Nicolas says

            Haha, you guys are sweet, but you’re wrong. My job is to implement to socialist totalitarian SJW anti-freedom very very bad terrible state. Boo. SAD!

  4. I find it interesting how there are so many comments about how Trump trying to protect free speech on campus is bad, bad, bad are coming from people who didn’t say a god damed thing about Obama’s dear colleague letter that actually demanded the violation of the due process rights of students!

    • ga gamba says

      Astonishing, isn’t it?

      My guess, people were lulled into complacency when Obama was president and now they’re hyper vigilant. Wild swings from one direction to the next. Trump would be doing standing double backflips if he could get away with what Obama did. Blot out the sun with drones. Gun running to Mexico. IRS investigations launched on political opponents. The pundits treated him with kid gloves and even progressives were unduly hesitant to voice their dissatisfaction until Cornel West defected from the Hallelujah Choir and called him a “Rockefeller Republican In Blackface”.

      This knee jerk reaction is often from those who’ve succumbed to the we-must-not-normalise-him agenda.

      Trump does bad and good, just like any other president. Be pleased when he gets somethings right and object when he goofs it.

      • E. Olson says

        GG – you are seldom wrong in your comments, but boy you really blew it here. The Obama administration had zero scandals, Barack has said so many times, and the NYT and WP fully back him up.

      • Jack B. Nimble says

        @ga gamba

        The idea that Obama’s policies were always celebrated on campuses and by elites is wrong–just look at the letter the American Association of University Professors wrote criticizing the ‘preponderance of evidence’ criterion for handling campus sexual assaults:

        And the targeting of opponents by the IRS? It never happened. See here, for example:

        “….It turns out conservative groups were not the only victims of increased scrutiny from the IRS. A new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said the IRS used keywords used by nonprofit groups on both sides of the political spectrum when screening them for tax-exempt status. …..”

        The same conclusion was reached through an independent analysis of the IRS data by a nonpartisan group, Tax Analysts [see taxnotecom, I’ve reached my link limit for this post].

        But don’t let reality intrude on your fantasies about Obama’s administration…..

  5. I would like to see private donations to universities – all of them, not just the public ones – become contingent upon respect for freedom of speech.

    The Koch brothers, for instance, donate huge sums, but I have yet to hear them say they are going to start withholding them if the beneficiaries of their largess continue to suppress conservative speech.

    It’s time for oligarchs to step up.

    • E. Olson says

      Morgan – it is already happening at the grassroots level, lots of alumni checks are not being written because of all the social justice nonsense on many campuses, and lots of alumni parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles who are discouraging their family members from attending schools that have gotten too woke – see the enrollment trends at Evergreen U. and U. of Missouri. It would be ironic if Trump’s EO actually saves all the on-campus Trump haters from themselves.

      • @E. Olson

        Small donors won’t be enough. The big fish – people like the Kochs – donate the greatest amounts.

        To bring about the kind of change that we’re talking about means that the universities have to be hurt. And when I say hurt, I mean damaged in the only way that matters. By cutting their funding so much that they cannot survive without accepting the kind of change that today, they cannot imagine.

        Ultimately, the change I envision means changing – fundamentally – the way that university systems are organized.

        It’s not hard to identify by name the people at the top of each university system who are standing in the way of the change we’re looking for. They have to be removed.

        Not persuaded, because they cannot be persuaded. They have to be marginalized to the point where they are effectively barred from exercising any administrative power, ever again.

        Cutting off private donations from the super rich can only be a part of this process, but an essential part nonetheless.

        • Dave Whiteman says

          The problem is the very existence of government schools- there shouldn’t be any.

          “Private schools” should be a redundant expression. Private schools must have no strings like government funding or regulation.

          All statism must be removed- IRS, Federal Reserve, Keynesian fake-economics, and so on.

          Society must be based on strict private property and the right to contract with others, without impediment from so-called “government.”

          Government schools must be understood as violating rights rather than establishing rights.

          • CRC says

            “Gender Studies” and other Marxist revolutionary fronts disguised as academic departments would be booted into the streets quickly if the student loan scam and Federal Financial “Aid” grant programs were abolished. Then tuition rates would collapse as well. All the outstanding loans could be written off as far as I care, as well, since they exist only because the .gov transfers the risk from lenders to the taxpayer.

    • scribblerg says

      @Nicolas – Cool trick bro, but as usual, stripping a comment of context so you can engage in witch burning is nonsensical. What she’s doing – out of desperation – is searching for publicly available data to contravene the lies of say the American Education Association cited above. The Left uniformly denies the skewness in faculty or claim it’s due to right wing folks not being interested. The voting data would provide an evidentiary basis for the claims. Other studies have shown humanities faculty to be well over 90% Progressive, Democrat or Marxist (interchangeable these days).

      Trump’s going way to easy on the left. I’m for the approach the nationalist and anti-Marxist leaders of Brazil and Hungary are taking. I want to ban Marxism from the campus. Islamism too. These are pernicious and seditious ideologies that destroy Western societies. The experiment is over, it’s time to stamp out the virus at its root cause.

      Many agree with me. Perhaps this truth will allow you to see why I feel quite righteous in doing so. Socialism emerges as an idea, well before Marx, who merely codified a raft of Progressive ideas into something he called “Scientific Socialism” which failed to predict anything and has been utterly debunked on every level. Socialsm starts from the premise that the classical liberal order that emerged from the Entlightenment and Christendom is insufficient for a just society to emerge.

      In other words, honest leftists admit they reject the very foundation of the U.S. constitutional order and culture. And have been very busy destroying it for over 100 years. They are the enemy of my liberty and culture. They will not be reasoned with. They will not compromise. They spew hatred at me nonstop.

      I get it they see me as a white conservative man who pays a ton of taxes and doesn’t hate anyone for being black or whatever as defective and to be silenced. I’m returning the same sentiment.

      The Right is just getting started, bunky. We are going to push the left back or cause a revolution trying. Wake up.

      • Nicolas says

        You gotta love it when defenders of free speech praise would-be autocrats bordering on fascism and call for top down political stifling of religious and philosophical freedom on campuses. The land of the free.

        Look at your creature, Lehman. You’ve enabled the worst trolls of the internet to populate your forum.

        • Kencathedrus says

          @Nicholas: I think you might be correct, Nicholas. We seem to be caught in a pincer-like movement between suicidal Marxist movements (anti-white, anti-man, anti-science) and aggressive Zionistic-Neoconservatism (social Darwinism, racial realism, survival-of-the-fittest). I have the sneaky suspicion that both claws on the pincer are controlled by the same ‘crab’ and are simply there to keep us locked in useless ideologies and arguments while the parasites (finance, media, education and entertainment industries) plunder our societies and keep us dumb.

          Personally, I find it helps not to worry too much. Concentrate on having a happy hearth-and-home and work towards making your life circumstances better through love, work and study. Teach our kids to think for themselves. All the rest is distraction and takes away from our capacity to enjoy life.

          • Spencer Lee Street says

            FWIW, I agree with you.

            Regarding that which keeps us dumb: If you haven’t already, see Eric Weinstein on the concept of ‘kayfabe’ (lies within lies, within lies, within lies); also, check out the horseshoe model of the political spectrum, where extreme left and extreme right are remarkably close in their nature. (I’m reminded of Reich’s use of the term ‘red fascism’.)

            I used to check Quillette for new content every morning. I’ve learned a lot from many of the articles I’ve read here. But I recently deleted the bookmark, and now I only stop in every once in a while. The active capacity of the kayfabe system to absorb even a well-intentioned alternative news/opinion outlet and turn it into just another phase in the process is amazing. I’ve complained before that lately, and increasingly, it seems you only have to know the subject of the article, and you can guess which side the author will land on. The trick is in the seemingly neutral headline that suggest, “Let’s have a look at this issue and see if we can figure it out together… Aww.. Trump’s not so bad… look at THIS shiny object.”


            And the tone of the comment threads… WTF?… although still basically civil, it’s edging in the direction of those at Mediaite (if you haven’t… don’t bother): “Time’s up libs! We’re coming for ya.” Free speech and all, but I don’t need that. There’s plenty of that elsewhere.

            I’ve concluded that every ambitious source of news and opinion eventually succumbs to the law of supply and demand: it locates its audience; then it delivers what the audience really wants. People get addicted to MSNBC or Fox because that’s where they hear what they already think; makes ’em feel smart. Validation is a strong attractor. (This is the only explanation for why so many people are willing to sit through Rachel Maddow’s smug teasing of 7 minutes of copy into 30 minutes of “Do ya see? <wink, wink> “Do ya get it it? <wink, wink> Told ya so. More of the same after the break.”)

            You know how sometimes you can’t find an ordinary household item, and you look and look to no avail? Then suddenly, there it is. It was right in front of you all the time. “Look at; not for.” My wife taught me that. I think it’s good general advice. Confirmation bias is a sneaky, persistent bitch.

            Have you read the novel Annihilation? In the decadent twilight of the American experiment, it’s a source of potent metaphor–a slow growing boundary of chaotic transformation that digests the familiar and beloved and craps out malevolent doppelgängers.

            Spring is coming. Tend your garden. I’m with you on that.

          • Stephanie says

            Kethecadrus, what exactly does Zionism have to do with this? If you’re trying to draw contrast between the left’s virulent hatred of Jews and desire to see 6 million of them liquidated in Israel, the right being opposed to this genocide doesn’t make them “Zionists.” Jew hatred might be a hallmark of the modern left, but your comment implies that the extremist right is not also anti-Semitic, which is just not true.

          • Phil Major says

            “…social Darwinism, racial realism, survival-of-the-fittest…”

            Serious question: what’s wrong with these things? You seem to present “anti-white, anti-man, anti-science”, which are all ridiculous, and at least two out of three are clearly unjust positions, as equivilents of things like “survival of the fittest” which is a simple natural truth.

            Perhaps I’m missing something here?

        • Blue Lobster says

          Nick, it’s just sadly funny that you find Quillette so provocative that you simply cannot bear to ignore it. Why do you find it so magnetic, yet so repellent? It’s like when the victim of domestic abuse does some crazy mental gymnastics in order to justify remaining with a partner who beats them. I feel for you, friend. Get help.

          • Nicolas says

            You’re absolutely right. I need your help, please help me find the way. You know so much that I don’t.

      • K. Dershem says

        “Trump’s going way to easy on the left. I’m for the approach the nationalist and anti-Marxist leaders of Brazil and Hungary are taking. I want to ban Marxism from the campus. Islamism too. These are pernicious and seditious ideologies that destroy Western societies. The experiment is over, it’s time to stamp out the virus at its root cause.”

        So you’re promoting illiberalism and autocracy, and you want the government to prohibit the discussion of ideas you disagree with? I think you’ve come to the wrong website.

        • Jujucat says

          Agreed 100%. Thought policing horrible/dangerous ideas is never a good idea, because it has THOUGHT POLICING in it. Maybe we could teach teachers to teach about Islam and Marxism objectively.

      • CRC says

        Consider as well how these problems were dealt with rather successfully in Thailand, Singapore, and S. Korea, among others. While totally unacceptable for a democratic state, those solutions will become the only remaining option if this crap isn’t nipped in the bud sooner rather than later. The alternative will be a full-blown Mao style Cultural Revolution.

  6. Pingback: 'Speech is not violence and violence is not protected speech'. - TPOok

  7. bumble bee says

    What should have been a no brainer for colleges/universities has demanded that this EO be created. There is no longer any respect for diverging views. However, what is not discussed is how colleges/universities have become so politicized.

    There are no longer debates on issues for the sake of coming to an understanding or consensus on topics. What has happened is that these debates are de facto political campaigns/rallies. The use of logic and reason to get people thinking about a topic, its pros and cons, affording people the right to come to their own conclusions has been usurped by the political dipole of us and them. I would even go so far as stating that this has caused not only the radicalization in views, but has marginalized moderate free thinkers and the desire for truth.

    All the hot button issues society deals with today, abortion, immigration, equality, have been hijacked by this same mentality. Without public debate devoid of politics, or at the least equal platforms to voice opinions and come to a conclusion, we now see laws passed where infants born alive during an abortion are allowed to be killed. Conversely, those against abortion would deny medical treatment ending a pregnancy even when the mothers life is in danger. The same extremes can be seen in immigration and equality. Open boarders vs walls, and equality that has morphed into fines and jail sentences for using the wrong pronoun.

    What was being lost and in some cases totally lost is the ability to publicly discuss issues that affect us all as a country and a people. Placing before all the pros and cons of each issue. Instead voices are silenced in a winner takes all battle that is not based on truth or the common good. Where outlying examples are now presented as the norm for issues we struggle with, rather than acknowledge that those examples are quite unique. Without an implicit mandate, such as this EO, to provide for all voices and views, the vocal radicals of either ends of the spectrum will continue to dominate conversations pulling this country apart morally and ethically.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Debate no longer exists in schools or politics. What goes for debate is just two sided talking, often using statements without basis, and saying whatever they want to say rather than addressing the issue/question. We’d rather be entertained than informed or challenged.

      • K. Dershem says

        David, I think you’ve accurately described the current state of cable “news,” but the situation in college classrooms is not nearly so dire. Protesters and deplatformers receive a wildly disproportionate amount of attention; I don’t think they represent the vast majority of students.

    • E. Olson says

      BB – I certainly agree that laws allowing the aborting of infants have been recently passed, but have any infantcide advocates been denied a speech platform on public university campuses? On the other hand, can you please give us examples of where someone has advocated abortions being denied even when a mother’s life is in danger? Laws have also been passed specifying pronoun use and serious attempts have been made to penalize/fire free speech advocates such as J. Peterson, but can you please provide some examples of where equal rights advocates have attempted to hamper the speech of the pronoun activists? Similarly, there have been numerous violent protests against building a border wall, but where are have wall advocates attempted to deny open border activists a speech platform? Unless you can provide some examples, your attempt to equate the behaviors of the extreme Left vs the extreme Right is extremely misleading, because in reality only the Left has been responsible for thwarting free speech on campuses and with legislation.

      • Amin says

        @ E. Olson

        ” infantcide advocates”

        Infant is a very young child or baby. Unborn child aborted is not an infant.

        I bet you knew the difference. Don’t pup, I’ll whack you in shape.

        “can you please give us examples of where someone has advocated abortions being denied even when a mother’s life is in danger? ”

        There is plenty of anti-abortion violence.

        • E. Olson says

          Amin – you need to keep up. Virginia Governor Northam said about a new law: “If a mother is in labor… the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother”. Pretty clear that is infantcide.

          Anti-abortion violence is not about stopping abortions if the mother’s life is in danger. Nobody is protesting against protecting the life of the mother.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @E. Olson

            re·sus·ci·tate — verb
            revive (someone) from unconsciousness or apparent death. [From Google]

            A newborn is resuscitated if it was born dead or unresponsive. This intervention may include life support such as a breathing tube, a feeding tube, etc. Parents have every right to ask for the removal of such devices if they feel the situation is hopeless, even if it means that the newborn will die. That’s a tough call that only parents and doctors can make.

            To call this infanticide is grotesque.

          • S. Cheung says

            E. Olson-
            “Nobody is protesting against protecting the life of the mother.”
            Some pro-lifers make no exceptions – not for life of mother, not for rape/incest. Thankfully not the majority. But certainly a non-zero number.

          • E. Olson says

            Jack – so if you are brought into the hospital with no vital signs, but the doctor thinks there is some chance you might be revived, they should just let you die? Is that our new medical ethics?

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @E. Olson

            ‘……they should just let you die? Is that our new medical ethics?…’

            When you have to distort someone else’s comments to make your point, that is clear sign that you have already lost the argument. Give it up.

          • @jack

            What procedure to save a mother’s life is contingent on ending a fully viable third trimester fetus?

            There isn’t one. They just take the baby out and go on about saving the mother.

            First and second trimester, sure, some cancer treatments for a mother will kill or injure a fetus, but those aren’t what’s being sold as “choice” here. Those choices already existed.

            It’s got to be an interesting position to defend…that ending a viable human life that could survive outside their body without aid is now a valid and supported choice that a mother can make.

    • CRC says

      The schools are infiltrated, plain and simple. The infiltrators have no intention of respecting “free speech”. They despise individuality. This has been in the works since the 60’s hippies migrated into academia and the teachers’ unions.

  8. Serenity says

    Radicalisation of the Left and monopolization of the Western ideological landscape by progressive liberalism proceeds steadily even when conservatives have majority in public office. This propagation started on university and college campuses in the 1960s and ‘70s with introduction of courses such as Liberal Studies, Liberal Art, Liberal Science. Since then academia has moved sharply to the left.

    Certain degree of lawlessness and an imbalance of power in favour of liberalism in Western academia disinhibits malevolent behaviour in some and silences the majority.
    The EO addresses the first precondition – lawlessness. Vive Trump!

    To reinstate balance between liberal and conservative Western political thought, it is important to get to the root of the problem – universities and colleges – and replace Liberal Studies with ideologically unbiased courses taught by professors with centrist or conservative worldviews.

    • @Serenity

      ” … replace Liberal Studies with ideologically unbiased courses … “

      Replace, I take it, in the sense that departments in LGBT studies, women’s studies and black studies are shut down, their faculty and support staff made redundant, while unbiased courses of study take their places?

      I agree, and so do many here, but how are we to manage that? Even states that have majority GOP representation in government are not doing that, they don’t know how to do that, and they don’t have the will to do that, even if they knew.

      “…. taught by professors with centrist or conservative worldviews …”

      Who is going to hire them? The same radical lefties who run the universities now? I don’t think so.

      Conservatives do a crappy job of organizing and working together in concert, and as long as that remains the case, socialists in progressive clothing are winning the war.

      • Serenity says

        Morgan Foster,

        “…influx of ed school trained bureaucrats has played a decisive role in pushing an already left-leaning academy so far in the direction of ideological fundamentalism that even liberal progressives are sounding the alarm.” Lyell Asher “How Ed Schools Became a Menace to Higher Education.”

        Redundancy for all administrators from ed schools involved in SJW student training. Few months refresher course in general administration should be part of the redundancy package. This redundancy would reduce cost of tuition in higher education and provide labour market with qualified administrators.

        To be contested as a new member of staff in Humanities applicant should provide published research papers conveying centrist or conservative ideological orientation of the author. This temporary requirement should balance conservative and liberal worldview in Humanities.
        Conditional funding:
        no more postgraduates in Radical Liberal Studies for the first three years,
        no more funding thereafter.

        Points above would give silent majority in academia a chance to make their voice heard without fear of SJW retaliation.

        Heterodox Academy would make an excellent independent watchdog.

    • Jack B. Nimble says


      ‘…..This propagation started on university and college campuses in the 1960s and ‘70s with introduction of courses such as Liberal Studies, Liberal Art, Liberal Science. Since then academia has moved sharply to the left…….’


      Liberal arts education, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Liberal arts education (from Latin liberalis “free” and ars “art or principled practice”) can claim to be the oldest programme of higher education in Western history. It has its origin in the attempt to discover first principles – ‘those universal principles which are the condition of the possibility of the existence of anything and everything’. The liberal arts, also known as the seven liberal arts, are those subjects or skills that in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free person (liberalis, “worthy of a free person”) to know in order to take an active part in civic life, something that (for ancient Greece) included participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, and most importantly, military service. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric were the core liberal arts (the trivium), while arithmetic, geometry, the theory of music, and astronomy were the following stage of education (as the quadrivium).

      Liberal arts today can refer to academic subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics, and social and physical sciences; and liberal arts education can refer to overall studies in a liberal arts degree program. For both interpretations, the term generally refers to matters not relating to the professional, vocational, or technical curriculum.

      • K. Dershem says

        Jack, thanks for correcting Serenity’s error. I had the same thought but wasn’t sure that someone who wrote “Vive Trump!” was worth engaging.

      • Serenity says

        Jack B. Nimble,

        The emphasis on liberal in the revised degree titles in the 1960s and ‘70s heralded the onset of stifling radical orthodoxy in classical liberal academia.

    • @Serenity

      All that needs to be done is to stop subsidizing higher education that is not academically rigorous. That means no loans or grants for liberal arts courses that don’t require 2 years of Latin, 2 years of Greek and both algebra and calculus I & 2.

      Most of what is accomplished in US colleges is not even the equivalent of the German das Abitur, the French Bac or the British A levels; and these are upper level secondary school diplomas. A few US secondary schools, like Boston Latin and the NY examination schools are equivalent; but very few.

      This should quickly drive down the price of non-rigorous programs and encourage the colleges to create programs of practical value to the students who are not equipped for a rigorous program.

      • Serenity says


        Unfortunately, academic rigor can go hand in hand with totalitarian dogma.

        Higher education in former Soviet Union – where Marxism-Leninism was mandatory part of the curriculum – is a good example.

  9. OLd NiK says

    I don’t see why they bother, frankly. The biggest growth segment for all colleges and universities is the ‘clown contingent’ – sociology, psychology, anything with ‘studies’ tacked on the end, and, sadly, English. A friends son, who, distinguished himself by throwing screaming fits when things displeased him to the extent that he was expelled from high school, is now happily enrolled in Gender studies. He now identifies as a woman too, which is hilarious as he’s not a handsome youth, and now he’s a truly hideous woman. He took me to task for my white privilege recently, I asked him about his dating scene (after ‘deadnaming’ him) he screamed obscenities at me in the strangest voice I’ve ever heard (he’s been neutered) before hanging up. I have to shake my head and wonder what’s to become of people like this if they can’t go to college and get a degree?

  10. Pierre Pendre says

    “Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, called the order “a solution in search of a problem.”’

    Cambridge University has withdrawn an invitation to Jordan Peterson to spend a couple of months on campus this autumn because of protests.

    Whitcoulls, New Zealand’s largest bookselling franchise has withdrawn Peterson’s book from its shelves as a result of the mosque massacre.

    No doubt Amazon will be happy to mop up all the business that Whitcoulls sends its way but Cambridge demonstrates the need for Trump’s EO.

    • neoteny says

      Whitcoulls, New Zealand’s largest bookselling franchise has withdrawn Peterson’s book from its shelves as a result of the mosque massacre.

      That’s fascinating: what do they wish to accomplish with it?

      • Saw file says


        “That’s fascinating: what do they wish to accomplish with it?”

        Haha….no shit.
        Maybe they want to decrease profits, while they hold themselves up as the exemplar of ‘the bookseller who bans books’?
        One thing is for sure though, they just gave JBP’a book a whole lot more free advertising.

      • S. Cheung says

        no kidding. I think they’re trying for bankruptcy. It’s amazing they still had something like 40 stores throughout NZ, so they wanted to drive even more people to Amazon so that they can close a few.
        JP just had a sold out speaking tour in NZ last month. Just like with Cambridge U, yet another self-inflicted wound due to overwrought knee-jerk responses.

      • Stephanie says

        Neoteny, they imply they don’t want people radicalized by the self-help book. Ironically, they still sell Mein Kampf.

    • Kencathedrus says

      @Pierre Pendre: Amazon are also complicit. They’ve banned ‘Culture of Critique’ by Kevin MacDonald.

  11. Hodgepodge Henry says

    They’ll be hysterical, hyperbolic and poor, then utilize their poverty as justification for why the entire country should be reconfigured to remove suffering they caused themselves.

  12. Aaron Kindsvatter says

    I would like to say that I support this EO. I am no fan of Trump, and I was a life long Democrat (prior to the Democratic Party losing its way). That said, I am also a professor and things on campus are bad. The bar for what’s considered offensive on campus is now so low that it’s difficult to get through a semester without complaints of racism/sexism etc. from the more extreme students. Moreover, this is not just about free speech. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure for faculty to adopt social justice/antiracist principles that do not stand up to even a moments worth of skepticism. For me, what is important about this EO is not just that I can now say what I like, it’s that I don’t have to say what other people want me to say.

    It’s a shame that higher education allowed things to fall so far that it needs a person like Trump to save it. I am no fan of Trump but today I am celebrating. I wish the American Association of University Professors (the union dedicated to preserving freedom of expression and shared governance on campus) would have been more proactive about speech codes. Perhaps this EO will be a wake-up call for them: Do your job or someone else will do it for you.

    • K. Dershem says

      Aaron, has your position been threatened because of what you’ve said in the classroom? Have any of your colleagues been reprimanded or terminated for expressing politically incorrect ideas? I don’t deny that overzealous students are a problem on some campuses, but I’m not convinced that the problem is as pervasive as the right wing suggests.

      • Saw file says

        @K. Dershem

        There is a graph in this article that deals with that:

        I can’t find the link that deals with this in Canada.
        It is similar.

        What I find most disturbing is the recent rapid increase.
        As to the number of academics who where ‘brought to heal’ (ie.: received administrative warnings and/or disciplinary action), I suggest that it is reasonable to draw a correlation

        • K. Dershem says

          @Saw, thanks for the link. The author of the article arrives at a conclusion which reflects my concerns:

          “Ultimately, the worst thing to happen to the campus free speech debate was its conscription into the Culture Wars. Each side has its facts that it can cite, its scandalous anecdotes that it can wave about to shame and intimidate. But free speech on campus is too important an issue to be handed over to such partisans …. Whipped up into a populist fervor, politicians from across the country are rushing to pass ill-conceived bills that would restrict student protests, abolish tenure, and even cut off federal funding for specific universities. Coming at a time when public support for higher education is already low (both financially and in terms of popular approval), this is a distressing trend. Meanwhile, a new breed of grifters has emerged that only seem interested in campus free speech to the extent that it can be monetized, weaponized, or used to ‘trigger the libs.'”

      • Aaron Kindsvatter says

        Oh yes, I went to the HDX conference in New York, and it was wonderful. So many thoughtful scholars. I plan on going again this year.

        • S. Cheung says

          Aaron –
          oh good. Should’ve realized I’m late to the party. I’m not an academic professor so can only qualify for “friend” status. Just starting into Coddling of the American Mind this week. Sounds like you’ve been living that reality.

  13. Amin says

    “Finally, religious institutions need not worry that President Trump’s Executive Order will interfere with their freedom to uphold the core tenets and values of their faiths.”

    So if SJW got together to build a university on such basis…

    • Kencathedrus says

      @Amin: lol, no parent would waste money sending their kids there.

      • Phil Major says

        Some parents still pay their kids’ tuition at Evergreen State..

  14. the gardner says

    Trump has forced the left to defend its antagonist positions on not only capitalism but free speech too.

  15. ga gamba says

    Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, called the order “a solution in search of a problem.”

    Well, if Ted says so that settles it to my satisfaction.

    If things are as hunky dory as Ted thinks and free speech is defended on public campuses, then there really ought to be nothing to worry about. Practically no breaches occur, right?

    Of course, if there are problems on campuses, such actions, be they laws, court judgments, and EOs give administrators a legitimate scapegoat when facing subsequent student demands to further breach speech liberties. “Look, I sympathise, but my hands are tied on this now. Our research funding could be yanked.” The EO does the job on behalf of administrators who lacked the backbone to do so themselves.

    If administrators persist in speech suppression, this EO lights a fire under professors’ feet to oppose admin action that jeopardises their research.

    • Paul says

      @ Ga Gamba
      “If things are as hunky dory as Ted thinks and free speech is defended on public campuses, then there really ought to be nothing to worry about. Practically no breaches occur, right?”

      Yep. I have full confidence that the Trump Administration will form an impartial and evenhanded judgement whenever it’s alleged that free speech has been infringed upon. Like, what could possibly go wrong?

      • ga gamba says

        Gazing into my crystal ball…

        It could go as bad as Obama’s Dear Colleague letter that created kangaroo courts on university campuses, both public and private, and now their excesses are costing the schools (and often taxpayers) substantial sums in fines or settlements.

        Or it could simply sway public administrators to comply with the First Amendment like they’re supposed to, but don’t, and then lose in court. These acts cost the students their events and infringed their freedom as well as the taxpayers their money in legal fees and settlement payments or fines.

        We shall see.

  16. Paul says

    “Finally, religious institutions need not worry that President Trump’s Executive Order will interfere with their freedom to uphold the core tenets and values of their faiths. It is understandable that a Catholic school, for instance, given the nature of its specific mission, should not wish to provide a platform on their campus for abortion advocacy. Every student who attends a religious school has agreed to adopt that institution’s mission statement. During the admissions process and student orientation, it is made clear which teachings, ideology, and viewpoints will be taught on (and banned from) the campus.”

    Sorry, but this is pretty bad. We’re told that Catholic institutions should be permitted to suppress pro-choice views on their campuses without any threat to the loss of research funding, since it’s made clear to students at the outset which “teachings, ideology, and viewpoints” will be tolerated. Seriously? Isn’t that exactly the complaint made against woke, liberal institutions, i.e. that they foreclose any debate on contentious issues by making it clear to students that conservative views are not welcome?

    I find the excesses of left-wing activism as silly as the next guy. Still, it’s the height of naivete to think that the Government control elabled in the EO won’t be the cause of the sorts of problems it claims to want to solve. I hardly think that Donald Trump is going to display a serious attention detail when determining whether free speech infringements have occurred. The EO will just be used to marginalise areas of inquiry that are inconvenient, or to punish institutions that have offended Trump in some way.

    • S. Cheung says

      it’s Trump playing to his base. He knows what they like, so he rings the bell at feeding time and they come running along. His ability to reward his base has been one thing he has excelled at.

      I agree there is much to be apprehensive about. We will have to see how the flow of grant money changes if at all, and whether certain areas of inquiry at certain schools are punished even in the absence of contravening this EO. Like you, I don’t trust Trump as far as I can throw him.

      However, I imagine it would be unlikely that anyone would invite someone for abortion advocacy to a Catholic university. WHere would the demand come from? You wouldn’t be going to that kind of school if you had a penchant for that type of advocacy, so such an invite would never occur. And such an advocate couldn’t trespass with a megaphone to just set up shop on campus uninvited.

      • ga gamba says

        However, I imagine it would be unlikely that anyone would invite someone for abortion advocacy to a Catholic university.

        Yes, it seems unlikely. Yet, i only we weren’t left to rely on our imaginations, our hunches, and our assumptions. An always-available machine of some type. No, too large. A device… a personal device… one we could use to search directories of information. To remove uncertainly and replace it with fact. Yes, I know, the stuff of science fiction. Alas, I have no public library where I live, so I’m left with the next best thing.

        I called the Psychic Friends and my personal psychic was informed by the spirits:

        As the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, Georgetown University is proud to be a university that deeply values our faith tradition and that</> encourages the free exchange of ideas.

        We respect our students’ right to express their personal views and are committed to sustaining a forum for the free exchange of ideas, even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial or objectionable to some. Georgetown University’s long-standing Speech and Expression policy governs the university’s response to controversial speech.

        Recently, The Lecture Fund, a student-run organization, invited Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, to speak on campus. Ms. Richards is not being paid to speak. Student groups may invite any outside speakers and guests to campus. An appearance of any speaker or guest on campus is not an endorsement by the university.

        We recognize that the perspectives of some speakers run counter to the Catholic and Jesuit values that animate our university. We work very hard to ensure that these values maintain a privileged place in our community while at the same time providing a forum that does not limit speech either in the content of the view being expressed or the speaker expressing the view.

        Doubt it’s true. It’s the Catholics after all. The fellas of the Inquisition and witch burning. They’re stale, male, and pale to boot. There’s no way they’d be so open minded to permit such as thing.

        • Peter Kriens says

          Ouch. Thank you Ga Gamba for taking the time to find this nice counterexample

          • ga gamba says

            You’re welcome. Remarkably, it took almost no time at all – the Psychic Friends work amazingly fast when you craft your query well. Though, truth be told, it was a few more seconds than it takes to let one’s imagination run wild and free. The cost in time of finding out stuff can be high, which likely dissuades many from doing so.

        • S. Cheung says

          Ga Gamba-
          hey that’s great. I’m all for open-minded Catholics. Exceptions to the rule, perhaps. So since I like to use my star trek devices for other things, and since you’re so “up” on stuff, perhaps you can tell me how the talk goes, what the content was, how it was received, and the weather on the day of the presentation. You know, important stuff.

          Since you’re obviously such a voracious reader, I’m sure you’re done with the Neisser article for now. Would you mind using your psychic connections to send in my grocery order, cuz I’ve still got a bunch of journal articles to read. Thanks so much pal.

  17. Fickle Pickle says

    Apparently no one can see the dark irony of a life long pathological liar who has told thousands of lies since becoming President being oh-so-concerned about free speech on American universities.
    Meanwhile I much prefer the assessment of whats happening in the USA given by Henry Giroux in his various truth-telling essays and books. The essay The Ghost of Fascism in the Post Truth Era, and his book American Nightmare.

    • ga gamba says

      Yes, certainly out of character. Why would a liar permit others to speak? That would only damage him. Obviously a trick. I’m sure if a person were exercise his/her speech rights ICE would sweep right in and send the speaker straight to Guantanamo. Never to seen or heard from again.

      Orange man bad. Let’s repeat it together. Orange man bad.

    • @Fickle Pickle

      “Meanwhile I much prefer the assessment of whats happening in the USA given by Henry Giroux in his various truth-telling essays and books.”

      Who says he tells the truth? Other than you.

  18. Fickle Pickle says

    It seems to me that everything that the Golden Golem of Greatness does has to be considered in the cultural and historical context in which he has appeared.

    Perhaps a good place to start would be via the 1948 book by Richard Weaver titled Ideas Have
    Consequences. It could be said that the Golden Golem is the inevitable outcome of the cultural disintegration prophesied in that book. He is the now-time evidence of the debasement of language and culture predicted by Weaver.

    But I would extend Richard Weaver’s thesis further and posit is that what really matters is the emotional tone and resonance of all ideas. Put in stark terms, the life-negative emotions evoked by anger, fear and loathing always TRUMP the life-positive emotions of hope, compassion and tolerance.

    That being said the scariest book that I ever read was/is Between Jesus and the Market : The EMOTIONS That Matter in Right-Wing America by Linda Kintz. A book which (to me at least) describes in very stark terms the dark emotions that the Golden Golem is invoking, appealing to, and empowering.

    From a similar perspective George Lakoff is another author/researcher who has described the deeply emotional root of our always bitterly divisive politics via his many books. Particularly Your Brain’s Politics, and The Political Mind.
    One of George Lakoff’s key points is the importance of how all political and cultural arguments are FRAMED.

  19. Rich Dilorenzo says

    What seems to me most troubling is the lack of reaction from the States themselves to Universities and Colleges that are funded and supported by all the state taxpayers have not taken action to insist that those institutions are actually open and free in relation to all viewpoints. The entire system of tenure and the promotion of those to tenured positions is in my view at the heart of the current state of political bias in most of the Humanities departments. Those who support and even mimic the beliefs of their superiors are those who can reach tenured positions. And, as is widely known, that a very large percentage of College Professors are clearly Liberal in their political leanings, that voices of Conservative students are not represented in the faculties due to the habit of promoting those who will be reliably Liberal in their thinking and teaching. The taxpayers of the states have a right to know that their tax dollars are not going to institutions that suppress free speech. It should never have had to come to the point where the Federal government has to intervene.

    • @Rich Dilorenzo

      The taxpayers do know. They don’t care enough to do anything about it. Because they don’t care enough, their state legislators don’t care enough to do anything on their behalf.

      Liberal students and their parents are satisfied with the way things are.

      Conservative students and their parents take the attitude that it’s an unpleasant situation that won’t last very long and then it will be over, like the mumps.

      They’re wrong. But they can’t see that far into the future. And because they don’t care, state legislators don’t care.

  20. Erik says

    Good article, but, it seems fairly clear that any institution that accepts public money has certain obligations to the values of society (ie the Consitution). Private schools should be allowed to teach what ever they want, as long as what they teach falls within acceptable parameters as guided by criminal law.

    As was pointed out, people are free to choose whether or not to attend a private institution. However, if those institutions receive any public money whatsoever then surely they must have further obligations than to only their own stated values? I fail to see how the example Lauren Cooley gives supports her assertions. Surely, if you are a proponent of free speech (and the ideas supporting it) then someone arguing for abortion at a Catholic school would represent the tenets of free speech. As long as the audience is attending such a lecture under their own volition and are free to draw their own conclusions about it, it can represent nothing but the highest ideals of the free speech paradigm. The opposite of this, that, in this case, a Catholic School should be able to dictate what is acceptable speech on their campuses (for any reason), does not seem supportive of the ideas of free speech.

    Again, if the school is 100% privately funded I do not believe this… in that case they can act in any way they wish to as long as it is within the boundaries of law. If any public money enters an institution then that institution is obligated to uphold more than law. It must also meet the dictates of society as laid out in its constitution – in this case, that would include upholding free speech values.

  21. Rational Number says

    This is good. The fascist left need to be held to the standard that they profess to stand for.

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