In George Orwell’s “1984,” the fictional Oceania government imposed a truncated English upon its people. The purpose of the new language, termed Newspeak, was to help the regime in its effort to eliminate thoughtcrime.
“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc [the state ideology of Oceania], but to make all other modes of thought impossible,” Orwell said.
But now Newspeak is transforming from fantasy to reality at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The taxpayer-funded university recently issued a new guideline for students on how to be more “inclusive” in their choice of gender pronouns.
As Fox News’s Todd Starnes reported, traditional pronouns like “he” and “she” will no longer cut it at UTK. Instead, collegians should use the “dozen” gender-neutral pronouns, according to the school’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
These alternatives include “ze,” “zhem” and “xyr.” Even though these words look more like the enunciations of a French movie villain, they’re now the recommended words for students wanting to be down with gender inclusion. Other ways to remain within the progressive tolerance sphere, according to the guide, is to ask every single person what name or pronoun they would like to be called before assigning them a harmful title.
“We should not assume someone’s gender by their appearance, nor by what is listed on a roster or in student information systems,” the UTK posting explained. “Transgender people and people who do not identify within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth.”
It’s safe to say that these guidelines are completely insane. Transgender folks make up only 0.2 percent of the American population. In all likelihood, these individuals are suffering from a mental illness, and are not women trapped in men’s bodies, or vice versa. Altering our language and making personal interactions thoroughly bureaucratic to avoid offending the very few transsexuals you may happen upon is utter madness.
Sadly, it’s par for the course at your typical college campus — even at a public university in a deep-red state like Tennessee.
Several other schools around the country have released rule books governing which words can and can’t be used on campus. Over the summer, the University of California system implemented a new training program for professors that sought to eliminate phrases that could be deemed “microaggressions.” These include describing America as either “a land of opportunity” or as “a melting pot;” saying “affirmative action is racist;” and calling a student “articulate.” (RELATED: California Trains Professors To Avoid ‘Microaggressions’)
The purpose of this program: to root out discrimination through language restriction.
Similarly, the University of New Hampshire released its own guideline for which words students and faculty should eliminate for the sake of diversity. “American,” “healthy,” “poor” and “homosexual” were all “problematic” terms, according to UNH’s guide. The language rules also included a section that instructed students to use gender neutral pronouns. (RELATED: Public University’s Bias-Free Language Guide Calls The Word ‘American’ ‘PROBLEMATIC’)
However, after a swift conservative media backlash, the New England university backed away from its “Bias-Free Language Guide.”
These attempts at language control go nicely with American higher education’s well-known disregard for free speech. We had another example of the arbitrary and unconstitutional way universities handle speech this week when Old Dominion suspended a fraternity for practicing free speech with obnoxious signs typical of college-aged men. (RELATED: Old Dominion Frat Suspended For Crude Signs)
While colleges are designed to give students the skills and knowledge they need for the modern workplace, these institutions increasingly seem to exist only to indoctrinate the next generation with left-wing lunacy.
Language restriction is only the latest loony idea our colleges want to force upon students.
College Newspeak intends to force young adults to fully imbibe left-wing orthodoxy and make them unable to dream up contrary thoughts. And just like 1984’s Oceania, schools can’t stand dissidents and ruthlessly pursues attitudes and views outside the mandated norm.
It’s well past time to put an end to this madness. For public universities like the ones mentioned in this article, state legislatures can stop their ideological bullying by threatening to cut the schools’ funding. In 2013, Tennessee state representatives did just that when UTK wanted to host a Sex Week. The Volunteer State should do the same thing in response to the gender-neutral guidelines.
Students can do their part by engaging in civil disobedience against their respective universities. Radicals did it in the 1960s and succeeded. There’s no reason conservative students shouldn’t do it in this decade to make their voices heard.
If this disturbing trend is not halted, the future of higher education may be that of a rainbow-colored boot stamping on a student’s face forever.