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Free Minds & Free Markets

Universities Are Raising a Generation of Trumplets

Free speech is increasingly triggering.

That dull roar you heard a few days ago? It came from the countless gasps of horror when The Washington Post reported that the Centers for Disease Control had discouraged the use of certain words.

According to The Post, policy analysts were told not to use seven particular terms: fetus, transgender, vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, evidence-based, and science-based. This led to stern editorials about "thought control, Trump-style," warnings that the directive was an "attack on science," and so on. Having the government tell people which words they may and may not use is doubleplusungood, was the widespread consensus.

And of course it is. But to borrow from Kipling, "you need not stop work to inform us; we knew it ten seasons before." Those exercised over the news about the CDC are coming rather late to the party.

What's more, the backstory may be less dramatic than the initial alarms about the dark night of fascism spreading across the land. Apparently career staff, not political appointees, suggested eschewing the seven dirty words so as to avoid inflaming conservative members of Congress who would be voting on CDC funding.

Yet you can't blame people for thinking the administration was checking off box No. 1 on the "How to Impose a Dictatorship in 10 Easy Steps" worksheet. After all, the Trump administration has, in the grand tradition of Soviet censors, been erasing references to climate change and global warming from government websites almost since it entered office.

So why should the Trump administration be any different? It's hardly the first to declare certain words off-limits, and it won't be the last.

Guffaws erupted across the country in 2000 when the Clinton administration announced that it no longer would refer to outlaw regimes as rogue states. "We are now calling these states 'states of concern,'" Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said.

The Obama administration likewise was extremely skittish about linking terrorism to radical Islam, going so far as to refer to the Fort Hood shooting as an act of "workplace violence" and to purge FBI materials that were deemed Islamophobic.

California has adopted legislation that, under rare circumstances, could lead to jail time for anyone who uses the wrong pronoun when referring to a transgender person.

But when it comes to Orwellian efforts to erase politically incorrect terms, politicians can't hold a candle to the nation's colleges and universities.

Last year Princeton banished the word "man" from the campus lexicon in an effort to be more gender-inclusive.

James Madison University went even further, distributing a list that was seven pages long, rather than seven words. Among the things you should avoid saying at JMU: "I know exactly how you feel," "Love the sinner, hate the sin," calling disabled people "courageous," and calling old people "cute."

The University of Michigan warned students to avoid numerous other words, from "crazy" and "insane" to "gypped" and "illegal alien." A professor at Washington State threatened to flunk students who used the words "male" and "female" or other "racist, sexist, homophobic,transphobic, xenophobic, classist or generally offensive... hateful or oppressive language." (She was later overruled.) Elon University banned "freshman."

At the University of New Hampshire, "American" is "problematic." The University of California system doesn't want people to say that America is a land of opportunity, or that "Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough." Gwinnett College in Georgia shut down student Chike Uzuegbunam's Christian proselytizing because it constituted "fighting words."

The list could go on and on. Indeed, many universities still maintain speech codes that prohibit a wide range of expression, and limit demonstrations, pamphleting, and the like to small free-speech zones, effectively rendering the rest of campus a watch-what-you-say zone.

Is this mere whataboutism—the attempt to deflect criticism by bringing up something off-topic, as when Trump supporters deflect concerns about the president by bringing up Hillary Clinton's emails? Far from it. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

The concern over Trump administration censorship, real or imagined, is justified and sensible. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, as a fellow said. So consider the results of a recent poll, which found that only 40 percent of college students think the First Amendment protects hate speech, and 20 percent agree that it's acceptable to use violence to shut down a speaker.

Eventually those students, having been indoctrinated in institutions that routinely told them what they could and could not say, will graduate. Some will go into government. The rest will judge how government acts, and vote accordingly. And when some future presidential administration decides to banish certain inconvenient words, those former students will not consider it "thought control." They will consider it standard operating procedure.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • Rhywun||

    Apparently career staff, not political appointees, suggested eschewing the seven dirty words so as to avoid inflaming conservative members of Congress who would be voting on CDC funding.

    In other words, it was leftists trying to keep their BS under wraps until a friendlier administration comes along.

    Also, WTF is a "Trumplet"? By your own admission, Trump isn't censoring anything.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I think it's just another way to say "Buglle"

  • Quixote||

    The author should think twice about using such inappropriate language to characterize America's universities, where we teach the benefits of civility to our great nation's youth. Where else are they to learn proper forms of expression, and respect for our leaders, if not on our college campuses? In New York, we are prepared to punish those who mock professors and stir up controversy with twisted words, if necessary by sending them to prison. Anyone who imagines that "parody" is a defense should carefully study the documentation of our nation's leading criminal "satire" case, at:

    https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • la perla||

    thank you, the censoring of words others might find distasteful doesn't strike me as new, or right-wing

  • Quixote||

    Clearly, but those who inappropriately quarrel with the necessary censorship of speech that crosses the line are decidedly left-wing liberals who keep trying to stir up controversy with fake news and "criticism." Their writings, exemplified by this outrageous "opinion" piece,

    https://forward.com/opinion/385050/

    should be dealt with firmly, if necessary even by banning them from libraries and other venues where they risk confusing students and anyone else who might come across them.

  • DiegoF||

    Ohhh...you know it took me a while to realize that the headline was not saying that P.C. excess was driving any young person not on board with it into the arms of Trump. It was just using "Trump" as a universal byword for totalitarianism. Even in an article that is, in fact, about Trump not being a totalitarian. Yeah, this was a real own-goal for folks trying not to look like their detractors' caricature of cosmotarianism.

  • DarrenM||

    The concern over Trump administration censorship, real or imagined, is justified and sensible.

    So concern over imagined actions is both "justified and sensible". Most people would call that paranoid if not deranged.

  • Inquisitive Squirrel||

    I believe the clinical term for it is Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  • Liberty Lover||

    Trump doesn't need to censor. He is using "though control". LOL

  • Azathoth!!||

    What's more, the backstory may be less dramatic than the initial alarms about the dark night of fascism spreading across the land. Apparently career staff, not political appointees, suggested eschewing the seven dirty words so as to avoid inflaming conservative members of Congress who would be voting on CDC funding.

    So the entire premise of the Wapo story was wrong in a way that makes Trump and the right look bad.

    AGAIN.

    Yet you can't blame people for thinking the administration was checking off box No. 1 on the "How to Impose a Dictatorship in 10 Easy Steps" worksheet. .

    You can most certainly blame people for thinking the administration was checking off box No. 1 on the "How to Impose a Dictatorship in 10 Easy Steps" worksheet--because every time it's put forth a little research shows that, yet again, it's a lie.

    What's worse is that this is juxtaposed against ACTUAL forbidding of words and terms that are endlessly perpetrated by leftists--as if the lies about the right are the same as the factual statements about the left

    The left, Hinkle, is ACTUALLY DOING THIS.

    And, the left is also LYING AND CLAIMING THAT THE RIGHT IS DOING THIS.

    The malfeasance is only coming from one side--the side that needs lies to cover up the fact that the political philosophies the prefer don't work for anyone, ever.

    The side Reason is increasing running cover for.

  • la perla||

    has hinkle been gaslighted?

  • Tony||

    You mad that WaPo might tick Trump's approval down from the lowest in history to the lowest in history?

    At least you can say Christmas again.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Tony is in need of a good season's beating.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Tony, please,explain why we should take Trump's approval number seriously, given that they are be8ng published by the same outfits that predicted a Hillary landslide? Either their methodology is seriously flawed or they are (fairly inept) Democrat partisans.

    I'm not saying that Trump isn't staggeringly unpopular in certain quarters. I'm saying that I have doubts about the General applicability of number derived from a poll taken at an anti-Trump rally.

  • Tony||

    Fine, believe whatever you want. There are no facts, no measurements, only the sweet nectar of truth that is Steve Doocy's honeyed voice.

    Ah the good old days when people like you accused the left of destroying culture through relativism.

  • SIV||

    The concern over Trump administration censorship, real or imagined, is justified and sensible.

    JESUS FUCKING CHRIST YOU PEOPLE ARE INSANE

    "The concern over__________, real or imagined, is justified and sensible"

  • Azathoth!!||

    Watch, as Reason dies.

  • Frank White||

    DARK!

  • Rhywun||

    "Liberty Dies in Darkness"

  • Johnny B||

    "The truth must be told"

  • SIV||

    "The concern over Satanic ritual abuse in our preschools, real or imagined, is justified and sensible"

    campus rape epidemic
    gender wage disparity
    Jew well poisoning
    the War on Cops

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    Might I add...

    stranger danger
    human trafficking
    GMOs

  • Vernon Depner||

    chem trails
    alien abductions
    demonic possession
    Flat Earth Theory suppression

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Crab people
    The boogeyman
    Dungeons & dragons
    Tulpa sockpuppets

  • DiegoF||

    Yet you can't blame people for thinking the administration was checking off box No. 1 on the "How to Impose a Dictatorship in 10 Easy Steps" worksheet. After all, the Trump administration has, in the grand tradition of Soviet censors, been erasing references to climate change and global warming from government websites almost since it entered office.

    Wait wot?
    .
    Ugh. Self-caricature dudes, like I said.
    .
    Meanwhile it even does a lazy job of characterizing the various P.C. outrages. To take just a couple examples: "Elon University," a liberal arts school with ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "mainline" (read: currently marginal) Protestant denomination, is hardly the only school to ban the word "freshman." That shit has been spreading like wildfire, out of nowhere, over the past three years. I don't think any Ivy Leagues still use it.
    .
    Also: 40% of college kids not being aware of the actual controlling interpretation of the First Amendment is scary enough. But Jesus, if you don't like that you don't even want to see the numbers for how many of them think that "hate speech" should not be protected.

  • damikesc||

    Yet you can't blame people for thinking the administration was checking off box No. 1 on the "How to Impose a Dictatorship in 10 Easy Steps" worksheet. After all, the Trump administration has, in the grand tradition of Soviet censors, been erasing references to climate change and global warming from government websites almost since it entered office.

    He has also, probably, prevented much writing about equally provable sciences like phrenology.

    Given that the government was tying "climate change" (nothing screams "science" like a theory that cannot be proven false) to virtually everything, it is a smart move to tell them to cut that shit out.

    This article is proving that whatever we are spending on higher education, it is exponentially more than we should be.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Before the rise of science, people believed in magic. People believed that certain words, or combination of words, had magical powers over reality, and that a spell could be cast to bend reality to the spellcaster's will.

    It seems we are back to this worldview. Or maybe we never really lost it.

  • ||

    Well, words are used to change people's internal representation of reality; after all, that's what you're trying to do with your comment (and so do I and everyone else who speaks and writes).

    Which brings up at least two problems: one can be mistaken regarding reality and convey that mistaken belief to other people. And of course there's the possibility of intentionally deceptive communication by the speaker/writer. Whichever the case is, the listener/reader is well advised to practice caveat emptor, i.e. to take any incoming info with an appropriately sized grain of salt. But then the question is: what is the appropriate size in a given situation? And that's what makes life interesting: if there were an answer to that question which works every time for everyone, things would be considerably more bland.

  • Mark22||

    People believed that certain words, or combination of words, had magical powers over reality, and that a spell could be cast to bend reality to the spellcaster's will.

    That's postmodernism and critical theory for you.

    However, "don't anger people you want money from" is in a much more traditional category of "the power of words"; that's the case with the CDC.

  • Ron||

    I gather the trumplets are a reaction to over censorship which would be good thing rather than the terms normal use as a negative connotation on Reason?

  • Jerryskids||

    This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
    A. Barton Hinkle is senior editorial writer and a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    For all you new guys here, Hinkle does not write for Reason magazine but he is one of the few libertarianish syndicated columnists around so Reason reprints his columns. Hinkle is one of those libertarians who doesn't worship Fatboy Cheeto Jesus (pbuh) as all good libertarians such as ourselves are called to do, so he lets slip the occasional blaspheming criticism of Our Lord and Savior, Donald J. Trump. Now go fuck yourselves.

  • Eidde||

    "doesn't worship Fatboy Cheeto Jesus (pbuh)"

    If saying "the Dems are criticizing Trump for the wrong stuff" qualifies as worship, then H&R is a regular Church of Trump.

    But of course that's not worship, it's pointing out Trump's *real* flaws, not his made-up ones.

  • Eidde||

    Of course, many of Trump's *real* flaws involve endorsing what used to be Democratic policy.

  • Rhywun||

    Fatboy Cheeto Jesus

    You and D. "block insane" D. ought to take your show on the road.

  • Sevo||

    "...Fatboy Cheeto Jesus..."

    Jerryskids?
    Jerrys fucking 1st-graders.

  • Mark22||

    For all you new guys here, Hinkle does not write for Reason magazine but he is one of the few libertarianish syndicated columnists around so Reason reprints his columns.

    The relationship goes a little beyond that, since Hinkle describes himself as "a contributor to Reason magazine. So, he isn't just some random moderate progressive that Reason chose to publish, he himself seems to embrace the libertarian label to some degree. Either way, it is perfectly legitimate for Reason readers to criticize his views, whether he fancies himself a libertarian or not.

  • hello.||

    Was that hard to type with both of your hands wrapped around Obama's big black cock?

  • Tony||

    The Princeton guideline is nothing to get your panties in a wad about. Gender neutrality has been the trend in almost field for a long time. I work with an industry that is probably 98% male but that insists that all publications use gender-neutral language.

    Another list is adapted from "35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say," and that's all the description needed.

    Much of what you're objecting to is the teaching of good manners to young freshpersons. Which is just typical of overgrown pimple-faced geeks who have probably always thought they were too good for manners.

  • Eidde||

    "When are you cousin-fucking redneck racists going to learn some fucking MANNERS?"

  • Holmes IV||

    I agree, I believe the world would be improved with more kindness, more thoughtfulness, and more humility.

    Genuine question, Tony, you usually have thoughtful answers until you lose your temper.

    Is there a difference between teaching manners and banning words? Is there a middle road? Also, is banning certain words the best way to teach manners?

    And, really, is it manners we are talking about? Or is it something else -- requiring a change in speech patterns in order to affect a change in thought patterns? That seems different than manners.

  • Tony||

    I'm against the banning of words. Polite people know which ones to use in which company.

  • Holmes IV||

    That ... doesn't answer my question. I'm not trying to be difficult. However, thank you for the clarificaiton.

    Is there a difference between teaching manners and banning words? You say that "Polite people know" certain things but they must be taught these things. Polite people also know which spoon to use and how to treat one's server or taxi driver, but these things do not come naturally.

    You said that "much of what you're objecting to is the teaching of good manners..." However, you yourself are opposed to the banning of words. Is there a more effective way to teach manners? Because I know YOU object to the banning of words but DON'T object to the practices of these universities (at least some of them.) Can you say more about how this should be done?

  • Tony||

    Manners are usually taught to children by parents. Some more advanced courses can be taken in college, perhaps.

    As a more-or-less free speech absolutist I do not in fact endorse most of these actions by universities. All they do is encourage college Republicans to imagine they have a crusade to fight, and that's just annoying.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Freshpersons.

    What's next? Huperson? Woperson?

    Reminds me of the attempt to replace "seminar" with "ovular".

  • DarrenM||

    And we should always follow the "trend" so as to remain stylish at all times.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Tony, everything you just said sounds as retarded, faggoty, and worthless as you are.

  • Mark22||

    I work with an industry that is probably 98% male but that insists that all publications use gender-neutral language.

    I'm surprised to hear that you work at all. So, are you a bricklayer or a sewer maintenance worker?

    Much of what you're objecting to is the teaching of good manners to young freshpersons.

    Not at all, not at all. We just think that a proper understanding of the 3 R's, including grammatical gender, is perhaps even more important. Still, you sadly seem to be unfamiliar with both.

  • eldrick||

    man they have some stupid people writing at Reason

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Come on Hinkle, there is a huge difference between the head of the Executive Branch letting his employees know what words are not to be used in official propaganda plays by leftist bureaucrats and universities using leftist tactics of authoritarianism to control and brainwash young kids.

  • Kivlor||

    Yes. The difference is that the first one is proof that it is sensible and justified to believe the current head of the Executive Branch is an evil totalitarian bent on ending the Republic and installing himself as Generalissimo for life; while the second is perfectly good and proper.

    /Reason Staff

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The difference comes down to complaining about which one precludes cocktail party invites from 'cool' progs.

  • dchang0||

    Re: "After all, the Trump administration has, in the grand tradition of Soviet censors, been erasing references to climate change and global warming from government websites almost since it entered office."

    What is this statist bullshit? Why should the gov't be involved at all in global warming? Leave it up to the always-more-effective free market to respond to social pressures and produce environmentally-friendly vehicles and cars.

    I've been detecting more and more progressive/leftist assumptions here on Reason along the lines of "of course we all agree that [insert leftist value here]..." If I wanted to read that shit why would I read Reason?

  • Mark22||

    ^ This

  • hello.||

    If I wanted to read that shit why would I read Reason?

    Lol, was the last time you read a Reason magazine during the Reagan administration?

  • Number 2||

    "The Obama administration likewise was extremely skittish about linking terrorism to radical Islam, going so far as to refer to the Fort Hood shooting as an act of "workplace violence" and to purge FBI materials that were deemed Islamophobic."

    And how could we forget the short-lived use of the phrase "man made disaster"* in place of "terrorism?"

    *Isn't "man made disaster" a sexist term? Doesn't it imply that women are not just as capable of mass destruction as men? That's probably why Obama dropped it.

  • Enemy of the State||

    '...and calling old people "cute."'

    I'm old and I'm pretty god-damn cute. Woe to the punk-ass kid I whoop for not calling me cute!

  • DarrenM||

    You could almost make a poem out of that.

  • Trollificus||

    Woe to the toilless punk-ass kid
    who loitereth on my lawn
    Oh how I whooped the one who did
    Now he's completely gone.

    Woe to the feckless, punkass fey
    who failed to call me cute
    Those kids I gave a chance to say
    I was, chose to be mute

    To shoot them would be better
    more efficient in the end
    Do you think that would be legal?
    Umm...I'm asking for a friend.

  • Tom P.||

    I fail to see how the CDC in exercising editorial control over its employees in official government communications is censorship. It is an employer's prerogative, any employer, to manage the communications of its organization to meet the corporate goals. The fact that they have control makes the policy a subject for worthy of criticism, but exercising legitimate control is not censorship.

  • Mark22||

    I fail to see how the CDC in exercising editorial control over its employees in official government communications is censorship.

    In addition, this wasn't communications to the public, it was to Congress, and the choice of language was motivated to appeal to the decision makers (majority Republican) who are actually going to vote on it.

  • Jimoxe||

    My employer censored their employees speech all the time.
    We weren't allowed to say stuff like "My manager is a f'ing idiot"or "I've forgotten more than my boss ever knew", or "If this company makes any money, it's purely by accident".

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    The real concern over censorship is not Trump, but the PC culture dominating our institutions of learning, media, and entertainment. The Deplorables elected Trump to dismantle the craziness found there, and in the Deep State.
    He is not the problem, but the solution.

  • ||

    How the heck is it on Trump what the 'censorious' jerkoffs (all progressives) on university campuses are doing, Barton?

    Is TDS gonna be something like from '28 Days'?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Do you mean '28 Days', or '28 Days Later'?

  • I'm Here, for MOAR Hihn||

    Yes, go on

  • Could not connect to remo||

    "The Obama administration likewise was extremely skittish about linking terrorism to radical Islam, going so far as to refer to the Fort Hood shooting as an act of "workplace violence" and to purge FBI materials that were deemed Islamophobic"

    "Slkittish" The GD Marxist Muslim who was America's #1 apologist for Islamic imperialism, totalitarianism, supremacism and terrorism did a Hell of lot more than bein "skittish"

    He was an anti-American, anti-white, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, fascistic liberal who personally ordered the purge of all references to the true face of Islam, not only in FBI materials but also in the military and state and local police departments. Obama constantly blamed Bush 43 for everything that Obama did wrong during the entire eight years of his administration and NEVER accepted blame for anything. Obama was more like Hitler than Trump will ever be.

    Please get your craniums out of your colons and stop writing this left-wing crapola.

  • seahorsedan||

    I think universities should encourage students to make cogent statements and counter points without the incessant use of "buzzwords", "cuss words" and insults. An average 20-year-old native English-speaking American knows 42,000 dictionary words and should be encouraged to use the ones traditional protocol allows in "mixed" company. It drives me to distraction that so few liberal university graduates (rumor has it) that can not explain how they came to believe that the USSR, Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics was never a socialist regime without "buzzwords", "cuss words" and insults. So screw the " Ministry of Truth" and censorship. I wonder if that confirms the message the headline conveys.

  • Azathoth!!||

    I watched this happen at 'Balloon Juice'.

    It started as a rightish, sorta-libertarian blog and then it got infested..,,and the infestation grew, and grew. I watched the guy who ran it lose his mind and start spewing things he would have called preposterous just a few months prior.

    It was like watching a slow motion train wreck--but one you could get off and on at will.

    It happened at LGF and the Daily Dish, too.

    It's a very strange sensation to watch a blog that you've become familiar with, that you know and enjoy, descend into madness around you.

  • Mark22||

    Is this mere whataboutism—the attempt to deflect criticism by bringing up something off-topic, as when Trump supporters deflect concerns about the president by bringing up Hillary Clinton's emails?

    "Would you like some more whataboutism with my whataboutism?"

    The concern over Trump administration censorship, real or imagined, is justified and sensible.

    Yeah, kind of like the concern over CIA radio transmitters in your teeth, or aliens inhabiting your toupee.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The author links more than once to to FIRE -- which issues a flagrant, undeserved pass to right-wing schools that engage in strenuous censorship, suppress academic freedom, reject science and history to flatter superstition and dogma, collect loyalty oaths, and teach nonsense in a manner that quite conveniently congruent with the authoritarian preferences of FIRE's right-wing donor base.

    The author focuses on strong liberal-libertarian campuses when providing examples, while ignoring the far more common and severe censorship that occurs at hundreds of conservative-controlled campuses.

    The author appears to be a right-wing dope whose eye for authoritarianism is ridiculously impaired by partisanship and backwardness.

  • hello.||

    Since first amendment protections don't apply at private religious schools it kind of stands to reason that an organization committed to protecting first amendment rights on campus wouldn't focus much on them you retarded fucking asshole.

  • Azathoth!!||

    See?

    We had the one Hihn, and now there are two. How long before it's nothing but them and people white knighting for them?

  • I'm Here, for MOAR Hihn||

    That's not him, there are no bold words, no all Caps, no threats of sodomy

  • Trollificus||

    Ooh! I'd like to see the list of the "hundreds of conservative-controlled campuses". Should we euphemize that to "hyperbole" or can we just call it, "making shit up for effect"??

    OTOH, at "strong liberal-libertarian" school UNC, there are 17 departments which lack even a single member of the Republican party, much less any Libertarians. The only diversity that exists is how far to the left of the Democratic party the faculty are. So not a whole lot of loyalty-oath-gathering necessary, once you've purged the place.

    Otherwise it's the old proggie trick of passing off assertion as argumentation, usually via "obfuscation through word salad".

  • hello.||

    20 percent agree that it's acceptable to use violence to shut down a speaker.

    Well at least Shika Dalmia, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Robby Soave and their boss Katherine Mangu-Ward are in good company.

  • Inquisitive Squirrel||

    Wow, so a story about the modern bastions of progressivism and their tremendous impacts on the concept of free speech that still manages to make Trump the overall bad guy. Yup...Reason.

  • Trollificus||

    To. Be. Sure.

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