We’re All Fascists Now, by Bari Weiss in the NYT.
Christina Hoff Sommers is a self-identified feminist and registered Democrat with a Ph.D. in philosophy and a wicked sense of humor. She is also a woman who says bad things. Things like: Men and women are equal, but there are differences between them. Or: The gender gap in STEM fields isn’t simply the result of sexism. Or: Contrary to received wisdom, the American school system actually favors girls, not boys.
When such a person steps foot on a college campus these days, you know what’s coming. So it was on Monday at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., where Ms. Sommers had been invited by the Federalist Society to give a talk about feminism.
In advance of the lecture, nine student groups, among them the Portland National Lawyers Guild, the Minority Law Student Association, the Women’s Law Caucus, the Jewish Law Society and the school’s Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter sent a letter protesting the appearance by this “known fascist.”
The letter added that her invitation amounted to an “act of aggression and violence” and went on to offer a curious definition of free speech: “Freedom of speech is certainly an important tenet to a free, healthy society, but that freedom stops when it has a negative and violent impact on other individuals.”
Yes, these future lawyers believe that free speech is acceptable only when it doesn’t offend them. Which is to say, they don’t believe in it at all. …
The climate is warming dangerously:
At this point, such incidents have become so routine that it’s tempting to wave them off.
We shouldn’t. What happened to Ms. Sommers on Monday is a telling example of a wider phenomenon that reaches well beyond the confines of campus. Call it the moral flattening of the earth. …
By tossing people like Mary Beard and Christina Hoff Sommers into the slop bucket with the likes of Richard Spencer, they are attempting to place their reasonable ideas firmly outside the mainstream. They are trying to make criticism of identity politics, radical Islam and third-wave feminism, among various other subjects, verboten. For even the most minor transgressions, as in the case of Professor Beard, people are turned radioactive.