The violent attempts to shut down free speech at UC Berkeley and Auburn University did not come out of nowhere. In 1965, the Left took a left turn towards authoritarianism. Herbert Marcuse, a committed Marxist, wrote an essay with the oxymoronic title “Repressive Tolerance” in which he advocated “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.“ In other words, if the Left doesn’t agree with what you say, you can’t say it. Marcuse went on to advise restrictions on what universities can teach.
How do you repress your way to tolerance? George Orwell observed that the use of incongruent means ensures you will never reach your stated ends, but let’s play along with Marcuse. His problem is that most people have a ‘false consciousness’ inculcated by the ruling class and its values. The only way to get people’s heads’ straight, i.e., to agree with the hard Left, is to ban all other points of view so that people only get all Left all the time, in terms of ideas. “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right…,” Marcuse went on to say.
Methods of intolerance used by today’s Thought Police include intimidation, disruption, and even violence. Hence, former Mizzou prof Melissa Click’s call that fateful day for “muscle” to “get this reporter out of here.”
Even if you agree with the Left’s policies, that is not the end of the inquiry. You have to go on and decide whether you are willing to use violence, if necessary, to shut everyone else up. Maybe so, but then you would have to come face-to-face with your own authoritarianism and barbarism.
Marcuse promises free speech in the long run, after all heads have been cracked, false consciousness scrubbed, human nature changed, and all toe the authoritarian Left’s party line. Good luck with that. Makes about as much sense as Marx’s promise that the state will ‘wither away’ after socialism progresses to communism. Name one communist dictator who ever gave up power willingly. Just one. Then ask yourself how likely it is that the authoritarian Left, if allowed to grip the reins of power, would ever restore free speech to anyone who wants to criticize their orthodoxy. Paradigm shifters and anyone interested in human progress need not apply.
There is a reason we have the Constitution – to keep a tiny group or even a majority from amassing that kind of power – and a reason we have the First Amendment – so you can generally say what you like without being silenced or coerced into saying things you don’t believe.
More here (“A New, Old Challenge” p. 5) and here.