Seven Types of Suppression

National Association of Scholars

NAS president Peter Wood was published in the January issue of The New Criterion. His article, “Seven Types of Suppression” is a version of a speech he gave in London in September 2016. The piece discusses seven ways progressives in higher education suppress free speech, chiefly the methods of Bias Education Response Teams (BERTS). Dr. Wood employs the mnemonic “OUTRAGE” to summarize and examine BERTS’ methods:

Ostracize those who dissent from political orthodoxy;

Usurp the curriculum;

Train students to be activists;

Repress topics that are ruled unfit for discussion;

Aggress against anyone and any custom that embodies the older order;

Group people by race, sex and ethnicity into categories stigmatized as privileged or celebrated as oppressed; and

Exalt certain ideas and beliefs so that they are exempt from questioning or critical examination, while expressions of dissent can be suppressed as acts of malignity.

Universities ought to be dedicated to the pursuit of truth through scholarship and debate. But campuses have become breeding grounds for threats to freedom of speech, especially in the call for a proliferation of safe spaces and speech codes. To crush intellectual freedom in universities using OUTRAGE is to subscribe new generations to political and social orthodoxy. Dr. Wood concludes, “Free speech with nothing to say isn’t any kind of freedom at all.”


Image: Officers of the East German Volkspolizei parading through the streets of Neustrelitz in 1955 // CC BY

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