From Banned in Boston to Banned in Berkeley in 55 years

When I arrived in Cambridge for grad school 55 years ago, there were a lot of sore shoulders in people who’d been patting themselves on the back for the blows struck for freedom of expression. Boston was still banning books, and the year before Grove Press had won a suit permitting them to publish Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Hilariously, the same self congratulatory and self-righteous lot is now banning speech in a campus near you. The impetus is always the same, thought control by someone more moral (and now smarter) than you, and always for the noblest and purest of reasons. What happened to irony? Where is George Orwell when you really need him? Well he’s right here

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Which brings me to some recent campus disturbances.

Smith, where only members of the media agreeing with the demonstrators were allowed in —

U. Mass — protesting for free tuition —

Princeton — wanting Woodrow Wilson out because of his opinions —

Which brings me to ‘charm school”.

After serving as an army doc for two years in ’68 – ’70, a time when we had 500,000 men in Vietnam, I left with little respect for its leadership. I was stateside at one of the Army’s premier hospitals, which was a plum assignment (because the army was very short of neurologists). This meant that 2 year docs who’d served their first year in Vietnam got their choice of assignment when returning stateside. So I saw plenty of them. NOT ONE thought we were winning over there, despite what the top brass said to the press and the president.

So who would have thought that 25 years later I’d be friendly with a retired Major General, George Baker. Never say never. He was a very intelligent man, an orthopedic surgeon, who’d been chief at Walter Reed and found retirement boring, so he practiced at my hospital. He told me about something he called charm school. It was where newly promoted Generals were sent for training. They were told to toe the straight and narrow sexually and in other matters, and that if a planeload of them went down, the army would have no trouble at all filling their shoes.

I’ve done some alumni interviews for some excellent candidates for Princeton, none of whom were accepted. It would be no problem at all to expel the protestors if physically disruptive or destructive, and replace them. They certainly should NOT be expelled for what they say or think, just how they act. The Princeton acceptance rate is under 10%.

Now that everyone is neatly characterized by racial status, it would be interesting to see the breakdown by race of the occupants of Nassau Hall, also their majors. I seriously doubt that the group most discriminated against in admissions (the Asians) took much part. I doubt that many science majors were involved.

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