Planet Princeton

Letters: Political Correctness and the Rule of Law

“How Our Universities Have Betrayed Our Core Constitutional Values and What We Can Do About It” was a talk presented by Stuart Taylor , Jr., Princeton University Class on 1070, the Princeton University.

The Princeton University James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions sponsored the lecture on campus on Oct. 24. The fact that this lecture occurred is unremarkable as
academically this program has been a bulwark of a small but prominent force supporting conservative views in constitutional law and public affairs. The astonishing fact is at a time when many believe that core constitutional values are being betrayed both on campus and by local governments like Princeton, the only public discourse and related media coverage occurs under the impenetrable umbrella of political correctness gone wild. No contrary viewpoints are aired in the pubic sector, at the school board, presentations in town hall, lectures in our famous Sands library or elsewhere community– wide.

A while ago , I authored a published article titled “ The Rule of Law in our Democratic Republic”. The basic themes are the same as those of Stuart Taylor without the “What we can do about it!” To even
start correcting our course, our community must allow even foster unfettered discourse on the subject of betrayal of “core constitutional values” and “the Rule of Law” in our society.

This is NOT about choosing our next president in perhaps the most divisive election in 100 years(?) . It’s about where we are headed in the next two generations or more. Here and now is the worst place and time to stifle, even prohibit in “safe zones?”, this discussion within our universities and the elite Princeton towns of our country.

John Clearwater

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  • Alexi Assmus

    Well there are certainly things that are difficult to say in a progressive environment and things that are difficult to say in a comservative one. My husband continually reminds me of his time as a student in the mid-West where anti-Semitic, anti-gay, racist and anti-women jokes were common fodder at parties, weddings, homes of friends, … very uncomfortable for him.

    I was bothered by the ACLU’s knee jerk reaction to the speeding incident in Princeton, but am not sure what you mean about limits to academic freedom or suppression of free speech at Princeton U, other than some things are generally not acceptable to say in certain cultures. Without specifics it is hard for me to have an opinion. I do get nervous at times that hate speech rules and regulations border on suppression of free speech, and I felt the reaction by the Princeton community to the beer pong incident did so as well.

    I understand the discomfort with PC — still was amazed in the summer of 2015 when a modest African-American woman whom I was asking to sign a petition on fire and building code reform asked me what I thought of Donald Trump, and when I demurred, she felt compelled to say
    that he was crazy, but that she thought political correctness had gone too far.

  • John Clearwater

    The editor changed my header and there was no intent to provide a laundry list of violations although there are many examples like actions of some Sanctuary Cities. The real issue is lack of unfettered dialogue , along with the suppression of free speech and limits on students’ of academic freedom on the college campus of elite institutions like Princeton. The Chicago campus has it right.

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    Political Correctness is out of control, in my opinion. People demanding safe spaces and feeling hurt or attacked, the ridiculous word microagression, it is ludicrous and a disservice to young people that are not going to be able to deal with the realities of this world. We should all be tolerant but also should develop a thick skin to deal with reality. We are not going to be liked by everybody, the same way we don’t like everybody ( it goes 2 ways). We can’t change history or literature to our likes or convenience, we can’t demand changes in names of buildings because if the flaws of somebody without weighing in a scale the good deeds of this person. I can’t stand the stupid “appropriation of culture” , why is it wrong for a Caucasian to get a perm or wear cornrows and is ok for a black person to straighten his or her hair? Even in food, haven’t those people heard of “nouvelle cuisine”, when chefs change traditional recipes and add new ingredients to them? Why are the micro or macro aggression considered only in one direction? Why comedians can’t be funny anymore because everything seems to be offensive? We all need to grow up and accept our differences in looks, culture, language, gender, etc., and also allow people to adjust to certain issues that were taboos at their time. And this is way I think that Political Correctness.

  • Any critique of political correctness on campuses should include acknowledgement of a brand of political correctness practiced by the Republican Party, where one dare not admit to the profound threat posed by climate change, nor ever speak well of taxation as a necessary tool for raising revenue and influencing behavior. This enforced and politically expedient denial of the obvious has poisoned and crippled national discourse for decades. The political correctness on college campuses seems small potatoes in comparison.

    The speaker mentioned, Stuart Taylor, Jr., makes for an interesting listen, particularly in a divisive time that calls for us all to sample views distant from our own. He describes his unconventional politics around minute 12 in a video of the talk found online. I wrote a review of another James Madison Program event, in which climate change denying George Will somehow felt qualified to critique academia’s political correctness, at http://newscompanion.blogspot.com/2014/09/george-will-and-robert-george-find.html.

  • Alexi Assmus

    Can you give some examples? What laws do you think have been violated by political correctness which seems to me mainly a cultural force.

    If people don’t speak up and say what they think, be it conservative or liberal, isn’t that social and cultural pressure rather than violations of the rule of law?

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