My Visit With the Silenced, Shunned, and Canceled of the Academy

We hear a lot about the illiberalism that prevails on college campuses and increasingly pervades the “real world”—where Wrongthink is not only castigated and censored, but even criminalized. However, it’s another thing entirely to witness it up close and personal.

I just had occasion to spend time among the silenced, shunned, and canceled of the academy.

What they said—or in some cases, conveyed through their silence—was profoundly disturbing.

The impression they left about the state of our disproportionately influential elite academic institutions, and therefore what is to come in the disproportionately influential economic, cultural, and political institutions where their students will matriculate, is perhaps even more profoundly disturbing.

My encounter with dissenters from the prevailing speech-stifling, intellectual freedom-thwarting orthodoxy on college campuses was somewhat inadvertent.

Recently, I reported for RealClearInvestigations on prestigious business school Wharton’s elevation of ESGB (Environmental, Social, and Governance Factors for Business) and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) as majors—part of a growing trend—and what it portends. In pursuing that story, I sought to find any students or faculty skeptical of what has become the default position of America’s Ruling Class in favor of greenism, BLM-style “anti-racism,” and the like.

No current students would respond to my inquiries. But there were some alumni and faculty who found the school’s push into these areas troubling—often on principled or practical, not political grounds. Yet nearly every potential source expressed grave concerns about revealing their views publicly. Though appreciative a light was being shone on Wharton’s tendentious wading into these areas, some were wholly unwilling to engage. With few exceptions, those who agreed to be interviewed demanded anonymity. Many asked not to be quoted at all.


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