Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” network senior political analyst Brit Hume speculated as to why there’s been such a pushback against conservative viewpoints on college campuses.
Host Tucker Carlson and Hume suggested those anti-free speech efforts come from an effort by the left on campus to promote “diversity” after making gains in the areas of civil and equal rights.
Partial transcript as follows:
CARLSON: While our leaders in Washington fret about Vladimir Putin and its bloggers, this is what is going on with the rest of America. Where are the people in charge exactly? Well, they are basing themselves before the tormentors, of course. George Bridges, the cringing president of Evergreen, actually thinks the rioters as they screamed at him. He expressed his, quote, “gratitude” for their, quote, “passion and courage” in trampling the rights of everyone else. How did we get here, exactly?
Well, a lot of answers to that question but a main one is this, the left’s concerns for equal rights for all has been replaced by the diversity agenda, which is a destructive obsession with race. The Trump’s free speech, which is routinely suppressed and its name, it obviates the rule of law, which aggrieve parties can freely ignore, as you just saw. In the name of tolerance, the demands conformity, it calls for justices are often an excuse for violence, it is totalitarian and suddenly, it is everywhere. What does this mean for the rest of us?
Brit Hume is FOX’s senior political analyst. He joins us, as he always does, for perspective. Britt, it seems like this is accelerating.
BRIT HUME, FOX SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It does seem that way to meet, too, Tucker. And I think it’s fair to say that free speech is kind of the old gray mare of campus life, now. It ain’t what it used to be. And in places such as the University of Southern California, the University of California, Berkeley, which is the birthplace you may recall of Mario Savio back in the `60s and the free speech movement, we now have efforts to suppress speech, we have protesters who heckle either the threat of heckling, or rioting, leads to cancellations of scheduled speeches by the likes of Ann Coulter.
You don’t have to agree with Ann Coulter to believe that in this country, she ought to be able to go and speak wherever she likes and people should ought to be able to get her words out without being heckled into silence. This is, but this day and age, is what principally the left has come to. It has triumphed in a number of areas, civil rights being a conspicuous example, Tucker. But now, that the great victories in these movements, civil rights, equal rights, have been basically won, they are looking for new fields to conquer, new grievances to work on. And now, we have them wanting to suppress speech and the name of diversity, in the name of tolerance and so on. It is remarkable.
CARLSON: But the people in charge of the left, its institutions, have a lot to lose here. I mean, a society where people aren’t allowed to say what they think, where people are punished unequally based on their skin color, where the mob gets to determine policy, I mean, that is a real threat to the people in charge. And they are not speaking up to defend themselves.
HUME: Well, the administrators I think in this respect are among the worst offenders. They are confronted with a choice, on a controversial speaker is about to appear on campus, and there are threats of heckling, at the least, and perhaps rioting at the most. They have two choices. The thing they want to do is they want to avoid disturbing incidents. They don’t — they want to avoid a riot. They want to avoid an incident where someone is shouted down.
HUME: The hard way to do that is to police the event sufficiently that you suppress that kind of behavior, the rioting, and the heckling. The easy way to do it is to cancel the event. They are repeatedly now choosing the easy way.
CARLSON: What is so striking is how little coverage any of this gets. I mean, you got to think that ten years ago or 20 years ago, for college campus, Evergreen is a place I have heard of, I mean, it’s a real college apparently, demanded that people of a certain skin color leave and then threatened anyone who stayed and then occupied all of the buildings on campus, shut the place down, at least it would merit like a note on the front page of “The New York Times.” It’s not there.
HUME: No, it’s not. And it’s a story that the newspapers, with their leftist sympathies, don’t find as interesting as stories about, you know, white supremacists kills two and hate crime on train or whatever. It is just the way it works. And this is, you know, part of what we experienced daily in our biased media.
CARLSON: But I wonder if this, I mean, the consequence of this, I mean, it is radicalizing an entire generation of students, not just on the left, but also on the right. I mean, there are kids who are taking their cues from this and believing it all, internalizing it. But there are those who are saying, I reject everything you say, and it is making them radical, too. Isn’t that?
HUME: Yes, and I think, you know, it is particularly disturbing this is centered so much as it is on campuses, which are supposed to be the very places where controversial speech, even hate speech, can be heard and can be spoken, and that the idea has always been, the answer to speech you don’t like a speech you do like —
HUME: — combat ideas with ideas, combat bad ideas with better once and so on. Campuses are supposed to be the place that nourish that atmosphere and at the moment, too many places, that is not happening.
CARLSON: So, let me just ask you, probably a historical question. I’m not saying you were alive in the 50s, but not just for the sake — so the 50s are presented historically as a period of total conformity in American life, where everyone had to act the same way, you know, under the threat of punishment. Was the conformity then as stifling as it is now?
HUME: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I mean, the point about the conformity then was and I remember well, when I was coming through school, and you know, there were certain ways kids try to dress and try to act and the things they liked. But I remember at that time, when Bill Haley and the comments came out with a song called “Rock Around the Clock” in the ’50s, and it swept away with the music that it ushered in behind it, it swept away the big band sound, and the crooning sound, and they were people who thought that rock ‘n’ roll and Elvis Presley were revolutionary and violation of all kinds of morals and all of that.
Of course, you know, things didn’t turn out that way. But there was a cultural change and our people in those days, too. Just, we look back onto it, and it seems rather tame. That is because the responses too were largely civilized. What we are looking at now is cultural change and a lot of it is not civilized.
CARLSON: I think that is exactly the distinction.
Brit Hume, thank you for that.
HUME: You bet.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor