Commentary: The Right’s Campus Culture War Machine

June 28, 2023 1 min read

By Claire Potter
The New Republic


Excerpt: Wherever you get your news, whether it is Twitter or The New York Times, you might reasonably imagine that higher education is awash in political conflict. You might see with dismay that progressive students are intolerant, hysterical, and fragile; or, depending on your sources, that right-wing students platform the vilest, most bigoted media personalities in the name of free speech.

High-profile conflicts over free speech and academic freedom are not exactly invented—but the larger narrative I just sketched is false. As Pennsylvania State University communications professor Bradford Vivian argues in Campus Misinformation: The Real Threat to Free Speech in American Higher Education,violations of decorum are comparatively rare, but the right has woven them into a dangerous meta-narrative about the fragility of First Amendment freedoms on campus.

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