Back in the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy began a witch hunt. Spearheading a campaign to root out supposed communists within the legislative, academic, legal, and artistic circles, this led to hundreds of people being imprisoned and tens of thousands facing social expulsion and revulsion.
Although some did have some tenuous link with communist ideals, a vast majority presented no threat to the wellbeing of the US. It was also clear that those that were homosexual were more likely to be targeted – back then, homosexuality was classed as a psychiatric disorder.
Nowadays, “McCarthyism” is a derogatory label attached to people or groups making unfounded accusations of deception or treason.
Although the Professor Watchlist is not as extreme as the witch hunts of the 1950s, it’s on the same spectrum and could easily go down a very worrisome road. Its emergence fits perfectly in with the current narrative of the US, a time where the alt-right, white nationalism, anti-intellectualism, sexism, and racism are all on the rise.
Turning Point USA state that they “will continue to fight for free speech and the right for professors to say whatever they wish.” Of course, academics already had that right. By adding them to such a threatening list, it’s making them unjustifiable targets, and scaring some from exercising their rights.
This isn’t protecting free speech. It’s about silencing dissent, and it deserves to be called out for what it is.
[H/T: New York Times]