German fraternity students led the revolution against autocracy in 1848.
The DKE fraternity chant affair has concluded with utterly contemptible behavior by the university, embodying cowardice and extraordinary and astonishingly unbecoming stupidity and violating the university’s own official commitment to freedom of expression.
Yale’s commitment to freedom of expression means that when you agree to matriculate, you join a community where “the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox” must be tolerated. When you encounter people who think differently than you do, you will be expected to honor their free expression, even when what they have to say seems wrong or offensive to you.
No one is entitled to any “atmosphere” free of speech or expression he (or she) does not like. The erection by the political left of a variety of groups claiming, on the basis of historical grievances and ressentiment, special privileges and status is a moral and intellectual abomination.
In this case, a tiny minority of Yale’s most obnoxious and neurotic females, members of a gender comprising a slight majority of humanity, already empowered by Nature with staggering powers of influence and control over members of the opposite gender, particularly during a period of life when the reproductive impulse and any young lady’s powers of personal attraction are at their height, have been persuaded by ideological influences hosted and specially cultivated by Yale to see themselves on the basis of myths, stereotypes, and crude historical misunderstandings as victims, and then encouraged to exploit that status for personal and group power and rewarded for doing exactly that with attention and applause.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is an ancient article of life wisdom imparted by parents to very young children over many generations. Modern liberal society has retreated in maturity to an intellectual state on the other side of childhood, to a state of infantilism, in which name-calling is inflated into a national issue superseding First Amendment rights and the tradition of free speech in Academia, and is viewed as demanding federal intervention and a coercive university response.
The tradition of academic freedom is based upon a general recognition that the period of the education of young people at university is a special period in which a completely open and unprejudiced approach to inquiry is appropriate and in which students traditionally enjoy special immunities from responsibility and conformity.
College students traditionally mock society’s sacred cows and college students are traditionally expected to let off steam and express high spirits through a variety of outrageous pranks. Only fools and outrageously presumptuous tyrants would ever take expressions made by fraternity pledges undergoing a ritual ordeal as statements accurately representative of real positions or as in any way meaningful at all. The fact that two incidents of fraternity ritual farce have been treated as matters of literal heretical expression and as gravely important transgressions by federal and university officials demonstrates only that both Yale and today’s United States are prey to ideological impulses capable of causing them to lapse readily into totalitarian regimes governed by nincompoops.
Yale’s 1975 Woodward Committee Report on Free Speech.