The unfree speech movement: From Berkeley in the 60s to now

The radical movement that the Free Speech Movement spawned eventually descended into violence and mindless anti-Americanism. The movement waned in the 1970s as the war wound down—but by then protesters had begun their infiltration of university faculties and administrations they had once decried.

“Tenured radicals,” in New Criterion editor Roger Kimball’s phrase, now dominate most professional organizations in the humanities and social studies. Unlike our old liberal professors, who dealt respectfully with the ideas advanced by my generation of New Left students, today’s radical professors insist on ideological conformity and don’t take kindly to dissent by conservative students. Visits by speakers who might not toe the liberal line—recently including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Islamism critic Aayan Hirsi Ali —spark protests and letter-writing campaigns by students in tandem with their professors until the speaker withdraws or the invitation is canceled.