By Richard Sherman
Today in America, universities are generally places for free and open discussion and debate, with primarily one exception: if a person actively opposes anti-Semitism ( whether in Mein Kampf or the Koran) and fights for freedom of speech. Numerous individuals who hold these views — basic Enlightenment positions — have become pariahs on many college campuses. These universities, by the actions of their administrators, professors and students, have become 21st century bastions of Gleichschaltung.
Gleichschaltung, translated as Nazification, was applied to Freiburg University, Frankfurt University, Göttingen University and the other universities in 1930s Germany, as they marginalized, often brutalized, and then eliminated Jews and antifascists who opposed anti-Semitism and believed in free speech. Many German professors and students enthusiastically supported Gleichschaltung including the philosopher Martin Heidegger and lawyers Ernst Forsthoff and Otto Koellreuter.Stanford has emerged as the latest American university to demonstrate its commitment to Gleichschaltung. Robert Spencer, New York Times best selling author, free speech advocate and fighter against all things anti-Semitic, was effectively prevented from having an audience last week at Stanford. Rather than an administration that encourages young students to listen to disparate views, study them and make independent judgments without peer pressure, the administration at Stanford essentially made it impossible for anyone who wanted to listen to Mr. Spencer to do so, by having a group of student puppets fill the room and then walk out. Then they locked the doors, so that the people who were waiting outside and wanted to listen to and evaluate Mr. Spencer’s views could not.
This is Stanford’s version of the heckler’s veto, as conceived by President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell, Dean Snehal Naik and Dean Nanci Howe.
Considering the ferocity of Stanford’s opposition to Robert Spencer speaking about freedom of speech — a concept condemned by Gleichschaltung — one could speculate about whether President Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Drell, Dean Naik and Dean Howe have an intellectual allegiance to former Stanford President David Starr Jordan. According to Holocaust scholar Edwin Black:
Stanford President David Starr Jordan originated the notion of “race and blood”in his 1902 racial epistle “Blood of a Nation,” in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.” (“Eugenics and the Nazis — the California Connection,” SF Gate, 11/9/03)
In May 2017, Mr. Spencer faced the more traditional heckler’s veto at another university that has embraced Gleichschaltung: the University at Buffalo. This was sanctioned by its President, Satish Tripathi.
As more university administrators and professors across America embrace Gleichschaltung, it is becoming a question of when, not if, those who oppose anti-Semitism and support free speech will face actual threats to their personal safety on college campuses. Gleichschaltung by definition has no regard for the safety of such individuals.
This issue of potential violence by those who view individuals who oppose anti-Semitism and support free speech such as Mr. Spencer as their enemy was observed by the Editorial Board of the Buffalo News in May 2017:
The ugliness being displayed on college campuses where protestors have been violent or threatened violence because of the conservative views of speakers would be disturbing in any context, but is especially so when it occurs on college campuses that should be havens for free speech. (5/5/17)
Clearly the administrators, professors and students across America’s universities who embrace Gleichschaltung are many; as demonstrated at Stanford by their violent words, these same individuals would not be uncomfortable with the brutality and violence associated with Gleichschaltung at those same German universities in the 1930s. Clearly that violent time is approaching here.