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Anti-government Behavior on Campus
[J. F. Kelly, Jr.] 1/19/06
liberal bias that permeates American college campuses isn’t news.
Repeated polls show convincingly that that faculty members
with liberal views or affiliations far outnumber their relatively
few conservative colleagues. No problem here, you might say,
so long as they keep their political and social biases out
of the classroom. But, of course, they do not as many students
whose grades have suffered because they vocally challenged
an instructor’s biases can tell you.
J.F. Kelly, Jr.
Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive
who writes on current events and military subjects.
He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]
challenges posed to students who try to maintain conservative
perspectives, problems arise when faculty members and students
try to suppress opposing viewpoints. Sadly, this has become
all too common. Conservative student newspapers have been confiscated
and burned. Conservative speakers, including government officials,
have been heckled, shouted down and even attacked. School administrators,
who should have stepped in to regain control of the asylum
from the inmates, have instead often caved in to student and
faculty demands by canceling speaking engagements. Such intolerance
is the very antithesis of academic freedom and makes a mockery
of free speech.
I have no
problem with campus protests and demonstrations against the
war, the government, military policy, recruitment on campus
or any other excuse used by students or faculty members to
relieve their boredom and take a break from their more adult
responsibilities. All that is fine so long as the other side
gets a chance to express its viewpoint. But to deny them any
voice or ban them from the campus or destroy their property,
is cowardly and juvenile.
1960s and ‘70s when college campuses served as battlegrounds
for much of the anti-war movement. Barring military recruiters
was one of the milder forms of protest. Evicting ROTC units
and even burning their facilities were less subtle measures.
I vividly recall uniformed military members being called baby
killers. It was ugly.
of such outrages, universities continued to receive ample amounts
of federal funds including lucrative defense research projects.
In the two decades following the Vietnam War, the anti-military
bias faded somewhat and some of the institutions that had banned
military recruiters and ROTC units actually welcomed them back.
The anti-military bias was by no means entirely gone, however.
One of Bill
Clinton’s first acts as president was to issue an executive
order, without consulting military leaders, to end the military’s
ban on known homosexuals serving in the armed forces. Coming
as it did on the heels of an historic and culture-changing
integration of women into operational roles, it was viewed
by many in the military as the ultimate assault on the warrior
culture. Mr. Clinton made no apparent attempt to understand
this culture or to consider the problems involved in integrating
young, sexually active homosexual and heterosexual men in crowded
confines such as the berthing spaces in ships and submarines.
Integrating women in ships had posed no comparable problems
because of strict policies on separate berthing accommodations.
As a result
of an unanticipated but entirely predictable furor, the “don’t
ask, don’t tell “ policy was instituted. It was
a compromise that didn’t please everyone but it did recognize
the reality that thousands of gays had served and were serving
with distinction without disclosing their sexual orientation.
But gay activists were not satisfied with “being permitted
to live a lie”. They wanted nothing less than an acknowledgement
by the military that homosexual behavior was every bit as acceptable
as heterosexual behavior. The military was not about to provide
this endorsement of the gay lifestyle so “don’t
ask, don’t tell” became the law of the land, as
was made to order for campus activists who decried the policy
as discriminatory. Several schools expelled the recruiters
again and many others threatened to. Since the military relies
heavily on the universities for officer recruitment, Congress
passed the Soloman amendment in 1994 that allowed the government
to withhold federal funds from institutions that were hostile
to its agencies or representatives. This should have persuaded
the universities that such actions have actual financial consequences
in the real world.
don’t always act like they live in the real world. Led
by Georgetown and Harvard, some law schools are now challenging
the constitutionality of the Soloman amendment, on the silliest
of grounds, arguing that allowing military recruiters on campus
would imply endorsement of a military policy they feel discriminates
against gays. But the military is following a policy agreed
to by the Clinton administration that, in fact, allows gays
to serve. As to discrimination, for that matter, the military “discriminates” against
people who are underweight and overweight, people who are sight
or hearing impaired, people who are missing limbs or have insufficient
teeth, people who have certain diseases, people of insufficient
intelligence, etc. The military just is not your typical employer.
And aren’t the universities tacitly endorsing this policy
anyway by accepting defense research grants every year?
of all this was further demonstrated when at least one of the
universities involved in the lawsuit accepted a grant from
an institution representing Muslim interests. Didn’t
anyone tell them about how homosexuals are treated in some
Muslim countries? But then all this probably isn’t really
about the right of homosexuals in the military to openly advertise
their sexual orientation. It’s more likely just another
manifestation of the continuing anti-military bias on campuses.
It should not be rewarded by federal funds. -one-
2006 J. F. Kelly, Jr.