Intolerance in Wisconsin: The University’s Role

So now at least some of the protestors in Wisconsin have been reduced to hitting a Fox News reporter and covering up his camera to prevent his broadcast. And this in a protest that features a strong university presence.

Lest anyone forget, the University of Wisconsin at Madison has been one of the leading college censors in the United States. It imposed one of the country’s first and most onerous student-speech codes, imposed a faculty-speech code, ejected Christian student groups from campus in defiance of governing court precedent, and has long fought to marginalize religious speech in it student-fee funding process. While the First Amendment has generally prevailed in the court and political battles that followed, there’s no doubt that a culture of censorship took hold amongst a significant number of professors and administrators at the university.

There are, to be sure, some genuine champions of free speech and free inquiry (Ann Althouse and Donald Downs most notably) at the University of Wisconsin, but there is also an undeniable hostility to conservative thought and ideas from very large segments of the university community. Teachers and students blocking cameras, punching reporters, and shouting down news broadcasts may have learned the wrong lessons at the state’s flagship university.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular


Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More