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Friday, April 28, 2017

Andrew Lawton: 30 years ago, a professor predicted the ‘closing of the American mind’ — how right he was


Organizers pulled the plug on a planned lecture by author Ann Coulter at the University of California, Berkeley this week. This is only the latest example of speakers — generally conservatives — being shut down by riots or the threat of violent protest.

It was only in February that Berkeley was literally aflame after hundreds of “anti-fascist” protesters took to the streets in opposition to Milo Yiannopoulos.

The conduct was reprehensible, but so was that of the 100 faculty members who called on Berkeley to cancel the event, citing the offensive nature of Yiannopoulos’ schtick.

Many of these professors have tenure, protecting their right to be controversial. Not as important for others, apparently.

Universities were once bastions of free speech, but genuine dialogue has been replaced by vicious shouting matches and conformity enforced by mob rule. This is particularly sobering at Berkeley, given its long-standing support of free expression.

Anyone caught off guard by this incursion of censorship hasn’t been paying attention: We were warned...

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