When College Praised ‘Dissent’

A history of free speech on campus

Sometimes you couldn’t tell the difference between free speech and stuff you’d better say if you knew what was good for you.

In 1967 I entered Rutgers University’s freshman orientation, the theme of which–till you had it coming out your nose–was “dissent.” You had to plow through a long and turgid reading list, every page of which celebrated “dissent.”

It was the supreme civic virtue, the acme of morality. It was an end in itself, something sought after, prized, and exalted.

What a load of crap.

Most of us never realized that by “dissent” they meant line by line, word by word, precept upon precept agreement with left-wing professors. The big issue, of course, was the Vietnam War. Democrats started it and then expanded it; but once they had a Republican in the White House, the Democrats wanted the war to be lost. So they did everything they could to raise up an anti-war movement for what used to be their war but was now Richard Nixon’s–and therefor had to be lost.

And they offered us a lot of extra goodies–sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. And told us what a great and good and wise generation we were. All that dissent! They shook their heads in awe of us. They were only faking, but a lot of us never caught on.

If anyone ever tried to “dissent” from the anti-war good-time-hippie left–whoa, back off! I knew campus leftids who would’ve shot you for dissenting from them in any way. How dare you! I saw them come down on people. It was nasty.

And now, forty-some years later, we’re back to all that. Their goal back then was to get the Democrat Party back into power. Now their goal is Power Forever, no matter what it costs. If they have to foment a race war and burn the country down in order to get it, fine–they’ve got no problem with that.

And now, as then, the heart of darkness is the colleges; and now the grade and high schools, too. They lust for power, and don’t bother to ask them, “Power to do what?”

You don’t really want to know.

8 comments on “When College Praised ‘Dissent’

  1. Yeah, I remember it well, the war protests, all that nonsense, with those “famous” people doing their thing.

  2. I marched in support of the Viet Nam War when it started, but after years of political shenanigans and the stories of friends who returned home from the jungles, I marched against the war.

  3. People forget that Vietnam was escalated under Johnson. Kennedy was in favor of getting US advisors out of there and leaving Vietnam to its fate. Nixon ran on a platform of ending US involvement, and eventually did.

    Whether US interests were at stake in Vietnam is a question for the ages. The lines were not so simple as it being a proxy war between the US and China. Keep in mind that the reason there was a North and South Vietnam was related to the outcome of WW II and division between Russia and the US after the defeat of Japan. We had East and West Germany, North and South Korea, as well as the divided Vietnam. To many of the Vietnamese people, the struggle was against Western domination, so they wanted the US out, just as they had wanted the French out. The problem being that any power vacuum in Asia would be quickly filled by Communists, hence the Vietnam War.

    To many people in the US, these issues seemed remote. The war was managed, from the US side, as one of limited response, in an effort to prevent a Chinese incursion. So, young men in the US were conscripted and sent to Vietnam, but not allowed to fight to the limits of their abilities. Young men were being killed and maimed and many in the US had their fill of it.

    As I look back, there were no simple answers. The Viet Cong were determined and could blend in to the populace. It’s hard to fight against something like that; virtually impossible. McNamara tried to manage the strategy of the war the way he had managed logistics in WW II. Westmorland had his ear and he accepted Westmorland’s assessment of things. The Johnson Administration threw up its hands and bowed out of the 1968 election, turning that election into a referendum on Vietnam. Both candidates pledged to end the war and Nixon won. Many believe that the Nixon Administration sought to actually end the war just before the 1972 elections. I wouldn’t claim to know what was true.

    Honestly, I am glad that I never had the task of finding a solution to any of these problems. I’m not sure that I could have done any better and it’s quite likely that I would have done worse. The true problem here is the fallen state of mankind. I can propose a political and/or military solution to a specific problem, but that is really little more than a superficial solution. Only the return of Christ will solve the root problem.

    With that in mind, many see a literal fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 shaping up in the Middle East, even as I speak. If this is an accurate understanding, we are going to see a massive invasion of Israel; one which can only be repelled with the direct intervention of God. I am convinced that we are living in truly biblical times.

    1. Communism is a poison found everywhere in this fallen world.
      We tried to do for South Vietnam what we did for South Korea.
      We should have tried harder.

    2. As I said, I don’t know that my solutions would have worked out any better than the solutions of the Nixon administration. Korea was a success in some facets, but we are left with a North Korean regime which is causing problems, even 70 years later. It South Korea is the definition of a success story.

      In Vietnam, they had just gotten rid of the French and there were plenty of people there that saw the Americans as yet another foreign country trying to dictate their fate. While I agree that American motives were not to dominate, it didn’t look that way to many of the Vietnamese people in the south, so the battle was not simply against the NVA (North Vietnam Army) but also against South Vietnamese guerrillas.

      Communism is certainly a product of mankind’s fall. It is a system based upon the domination of humans, by humans. The success of the Free World is based upon just that, freedom, which allows people to do what they do best. If you drive through farm country, you can see the amazing results of this freedom. Family farms were prosperity at its best. It wasn’t about riches and opulence, but about independence and self sufficiency. Neat homes, workshops and the facilities and equipment which allowed for the care of livestock and crops. A skilled farmer could maintain and repair their own equipment and accomplish much without ever leaving their farm. That was the product of free markets, and there were opportunities for people in manufacturing, and other activities which formed the web of mutual support which free markets allowed to form. Collective farms and central planning could never achieve any of this.

    3. In the 1960s, as the West ran low on spirit, communism popped up everywhere. Knowing what it was, we tried to stop it. Not understanding its roots in spiritual pollution, our efforts could not succeed.

      Satan’s No. 1 sales pitch is the perfectibility of man, accomplished by lies, flattery, and coercion.

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