If you express concern or disgust over the recent trend of campus radicals using intimidation, the heckler’s veto, and outright force to shut down free speech, you will almost certainly be classified as conservative. It’s just one of those fundamental dealbreakers of political taxonomy. The argument isn’t even so much about essence as priorities, though. That is, even those who argue that this is nothing but a tempest in conservative teacups would likely agree that, yes, in itself, it would be nice if these students could stop acting like junior-varsity brownshirts. They simply prioritize other typical left-wing concerns. In their hierarchy of “real” issues, concern over intolerant college kids and their illberal professors is considered a trifle, if not an intentional distraction covering a reactionary agenda.
I used to argue against this line of “it’s just students, they aren’t important” thought by saying that if you wait until the President is repeating intersectional, postcolonial and postmodern dogmas, it’s too late. And even if you assume, by subscribing to some zero-sum “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” logic, that leftist students are still better than Christian conservatives, you’re holding false hope, because nothing worth keeping is going to grow from that contaminated soil. I don’t know that I ever convinced anyone, but when I see the same illberal, anti-free speech idiocy being presented by former DNC head (and presidential candidate) Howard Dean and a NYT op-ed, I sure do feel prescient.