Liberal “McCarthyism” and Censorship of Conservatives Condemned by… Michael Bloomberg
Posted By Daniel Greenfield On May 29, 2014 @ 10:57 pm In The Point | No Comments
Bloomberg is a liberal, but his liberalism is fairly old-fashioned compared to left-wing radicals like Bill de Blasio. It’s not altogether surprising that he wouldn’t be on board with left-wing censorship.
It’s somewhat surprising that he used a prestigious platform like this to call out the left for it. And that he did it this vehemently.
Delivering the main speech at Harvard’s 363rd commencement in Cambridge, Mass., Bloomberg complained that campuses have become citadels of “modern . . . McCarthyism”
“In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas. Today, on many campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas, even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species,” he said.
“And that is probably nowhere more true than it is here in the Ivy League.”
Bloomberg pointed to controversies at other campuses that forced speakers to bow out, including the withdrawal of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from delivering the commencement address at Rutgers amid protests over her role in the Iraq War.
“Perhaps nowhere is that more true than here in the Ivy League. In the 2012 presidential race, 96 percent of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama. That statistic, drawn from Federal Election Commission data, should give us pause — and I say that as someone who endorsed President Obama. When 96 percent of faculty donors prefer one candidate to another, you have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a university should offer. Diversity of gender, ethnicity and orientation is important. But a university cannot be great if its faculty is politically homogenous.”
“Today, if tenure is going to continue to exist, it must also protect conservatives whose ideas run up against liberal norms. Otherwise, university research will lose credibility. A liberal arts education must not be an education in the art of liberalism.”
“There was more disagreement among the old Soviet Politburo than there is among Ivy League donors.”
This sounds more like Newt Gingrich than Bloomberg. I had to do a double take when I first read it. This isn’t the kind of speech that mainstream Republicans would give… and Bloomberg was never even a real Republican. Not even a real RINO.
“If you want the freedom to worship as you wish, and speak as you wish, and marry as you wish, then you must tolerate my freedom to do so,” Bloomberg said. “Attempting to restrict my freedoms in ways you would not restrict your own leads only to injustice. We can’t deny others’ rights and privileges that we demand for ourselves. And that’s true in our cities, and it’s no less true [at our educational institutes].”
That seems like a nod toward the Eich case and gay intolerance.
Bloomberg directed this advice toward recent reports of commencement speakers being asked to shy away from appearances at schools this season due to protests based on their political or personal beliefs.
He said in each of these cases—Brandeis University and Smith College included—a person’s voice was silenced and they were denied an honorary degree because they were deemed politically controversial. “This is an outrage and we must not let it continue,” Bloomberg said, adding that it’s critical that censorship and conformity—the enemies of freedom—don’t win out. “Isn’t the purpose of a university to stir discussion, not silence it? It’s morally and pedagogically wrong to deny other students from hearing a speech.”
“Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas, even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species,” he said.
So what is Bloomberg up to?
1. He’s clearly angry over the way his police commissioner was treated at Brown and his own commencement address was protested by lefty students.
2. He was treated badly by De Blasio and his people. Giuliani gave more respect to Dinkins and certainly didn’t use the proceedings to carry on personal attacks against his predecessor. Bloomberg is angry at Social Justice and Class Warriors. He seems himself as a philanthropist who spent much of his time and money to try and work to improve New York City only to be thrown out like yesterday’s trash by the very people who benefited.
3. Bloomberg used this part of the speech to switch into promoting gun control, global warming and the Ground Zero Mosque. (The 3 G’s.) He probably thinks that he can win over some Republicans on the issues he really cares about by reaching out to them. It’s the sort of thing actual liberals used to do. We’ve just forgotten that over the Clinton/Obama years.
4. Bloomberg had post-mayoral national ambitions. But the idea of him as V.P. was laughed off by Democrats and he didn’t hit it off with Obama. Now he’s once again doing the Third Way thing. The attack on liberal censorship is an explicit attack on the Two Party political roadblocks in D.C.
Is he egotistical enough to be contemplating a Third Party run in 2016? Or a V.P. slot for the Dems or GOP? It’s possible. And not entirely inconceivable. With utterly terrible candidates on both sides, someone may decide that he has credibility on the economy. Sure it’s unlikely, but remember Joe Biden. Every V.P. in decades has been either an unlikely choice or a miserable embarrassment.
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