This tactic reaches far beyond academia and far beyond the United States. France’s Jean-Paul Sartre has been credited — if that is the word — with calling social conditions he didn’t like “violence,” as a prelude to justifying real violence as a response to those conditions. Sartre’s American imitators have used the same verbal tactic to justify ghetto riots.
Word games are just one of the ways of silencing politically incorrect ideas instead of debating them. Demands that various conservative organizations be forced to reveal the names of their donors are another way of silencing ideas by intimidating people who facilitate the spread of those ideas. Whatever the rationale for wanting those names, the implicit threat is retaliation.
This same tactic was used, decades ago, by Southern segregationists who tried to force black civil-rights organizations to reveal the names of their donors, in a situation where retaliation might have included violence as well as economic losses.
In a sense, the political Left’s attempts to silence ideas they cannot, or will not, debate are a confession of intellectual bankruptcy.