Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Oh the Times, They Are A-Changin'"

Also known as, "What goes around, comes around."
Here's a quote or two from a newspaper article:
 “Students don’t deserve censorship for having viewpoints that university officials don’t prefer. As the 9th Circuit concluded, university officials clearly violated the students’ constitutional freedoms." And this: "The ruling sets an important precedent for independent student newspapers, protecting their freedom of speech regardless of what school officials think of their opinions or views."
If you'd read those words 40 years ago, here's what you'd probably assume:  the university officials/administration are conservative old white guys, and the student publication is run by rebellious teenage liberals with aberrant ideas.
But you'd be wrong. Because this news is current news. The university is Oregon State University. The university officials are opposed to a conservative student newspaper. The administration, clearly, is liberal. Here's a brief article about the Supreme Court's declining to hear the case, thus favoring the students's right to free speech on campus.

Here's the thing -- the tables have turned. The liberal young people of 40 years ago are now old university administrators. They've succeeded in taking over the institutions that once challenged them. They've ousted the old codgers, changed the scene, and made their progressivism the policy in charge. But they've also done something else.

They've left the opposition with the better position, the position of the rebel, the underdog, the avant-garde voice of compelling resistance. The tables have turned, but now the conservatives are in a position to infiltrate and take over those institutions again, as the liberals did before. The liberal message of the 60s and 70s is tired and passe. It's at last become the message of the status quo, and that may be its death knell. Nothing is less inspiring than a tired, boring mantra.

Being on the bottom, scrabbling and fighting to be heard, sharpening your arguments and devising a plan -- these are the advantages of the underdog. And if you don't know that conservatives are the underdogs in academia, you're in a cave somewhere. Underdogs have nowhere to go but up. Underdogs have all the time in the world to maneuver and improve their game; they're not busy running the world. They're underdogs.

Just a thought, for all those conservatives out there who enjoy moaning that the world is ending. It's not ending; it's just flipping again. Stick around for the fun, and get your head back in the game.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! I'm so glad to hear about this flip. I appreciate your positive and hopeful take on the situation that has been dismal indeed. Good for the Supreme Court to make a good decision up front.


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