Many years ago in a galaxy far away, colleges and universities were forums for the free exchange of ideas, melting pots of people from different cultures where radical or unorthodox thoughts were actually encouraged and someone felt comfortable breaking the mold.
Well, folks, that’s not true anymore in America, where bastions of higher learning still encourage “free” thinking. As long as it conforms to the liberal party line that is anything but liberal, since it pigeonholes people into being politically correct to ridiculous proportions and rejects alternate viewpoints.
It’s one thing to require students to take courses in diversity that tend to inject social conditioning into the learning process and brainwash students into becoming non-judgmental about everyone — except those who see things differently.
There also are those cases where guest speakers who don’t drink the liberal Kool-Aid are “disinvited” to universities or shouted down when they do appear.
But this trend ventures onto the avenue of the absurd when professors or administrators try to re-shape or erase history to fit viewpoints of 2016.
While holding up certain historical figures to the standards of today and lambasting them accordingly is nothing new, a situation emerging at the University of Virginia really takes the cake.
As everyone knows, Thomas Jefferson, as well as being a Founding Father, founded that university, designing both its courses of study and the architecture of its buildings.
Now, however, his role is being downplayed based on a request that University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan refrain from quoting Jefferson because he had racist beliefs, including being a slave owner.
The impetus for this was an email Sullivan had sent calling for unity after the recent presidential election in which she included a statement by Jefferson on that subject.
This in turn prompted a letter to the university president signed by 469 faculty members and students, protesting the use of the Jefferson quotation.
Such a move might not be troubling in itself — if it ended there.
If things have gotten to the point where people at a university can’t even feel free to quote its own founder, what’s next? Will all portraits or statues of Jefferson be removed and every opportunity taken to pretend he never existed at all?
We have seen such idiocy previously in attempts to eliminate statues of Confederate generals or their names from schools or other institutions.
But attacking Thomas Jefferson really hits home to me. I am related to him on both sides of my family, and having said that I know what you are probably thinking.
My closest Jefferson ancestors are two great-great-grandmothers by that name in both my mom’s and dad’s lineage who I believe were cousins. So there should be no fears of mutations or any other genetic repercussions due to inbreeding — although I must say that my extra thumbs do come in handy while typing.
Seriously, though, will viewing Jefferson in such an unfavorable light eventually lead to his image being taken off money, or the Jefferson Memorial in Washington to be torn down?
And who’s to say other Founding Fathers wouldn’t be similarly erased from history, including George Washington himself. Washington was a slave owner from age 11, when he inherited 10 slaves from his deceased father, and when our first president died his Mount Vernon estate had 317 slaves.
Certainly this is grounds for taking Washington’s picture off money, tearing down the Washington Monument and renaming our capital to eradicate all reminders of him.
When you get right down to it, nearly all of our Founding Fathers could be judged in the same light and their roles in history downgraded — even though Washington and others were heroes of the Revolutionary War who fought to free America from British tyranny.
With such figures missing from not only the history books, but the consciousness of students and others in university communities, I guess we must conclude that the American Revolution fought itself.
The thought police who are seeking to brainwash our young people are the ones who should be eliminated from everyone’s consciousness.
Their dismissal of everything Jeffersonian is one more example of taking 2016 standards and viewpoints and overlaying them over the history of the 1800s and 1700s, then being outraged when they inevitably don’t match.
As if the 2016 standards/viewpoints are worth crap to begin with.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.