The media aired a discussion of hosts and leaders like Katie Couric about “deprogramming” Trump supporters or treating Trump supporters as a cult, including a CNN interview with an actual “cult expert”. Since that would include over 70 million Trump voters, hyperbolic language can be dismissed as another example of our angry political environment. Finally, a few days after the election, a law professor declared that even questioning the Biden election victory was tantamount to being a Holocaust denier. However, one professor took this appeal even further, stating that such supporters were worse than the Nazis and announcing the need for the same type of treatment that was seen at the Nuremberg Trials, including the apparent elimination of the Republican Party. Smith College professor Loretta Ross, who teaches women and gender studies, turned down calls for unity and instead called for punitive action against supporters in Congress, universities and “regular jobs”.
In an article in CounterPunch, Ross explains that there cannot be unity with Trump supporters and that the Republican Party itself cannot continue to exist:
“Republicans have no right to exist as a legitimate political party as this authoritarian backlash has increased since new civil rights laws were passed in 1964 and 1965 in response to televised white racist violence that the National Guard had to suppress. Then-President Lyndon Johnson predicted that most whites would flee the Democratic Party to join the pro-segregationist, anti-feminist and anti-gay revanchist political movement of George Wallace, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Every undemocratically elected Republican president since the 1960s (by an electoral college that is to be disenfranchised) has failed to reject this neo-fascist wing of his party.
I’m done giving Republicans the benefit of the doubt after 50 years. “
She is not alone in this view. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin said on a recent television program (with a variety of non-objectionable media representatives): “We essentially need to burn down the Republican Party together. We have to balance them out because if there are survivors, if there are people who can weather this storm, they will do it again. “In particular, such language resembles a recent phone call made by James Comey and is not considered inciting. Rubin also called for a blacklist of Trump supporters from universities and the media, a call made by Democratic figures in Congress as well as academics: “I find it absolutely hideous that a college, news organization, or other entertainment organization a news agency would hire these people. “
Professor Ross shows no concern about freedom of speech or academic freedom as she calls for the identification and condemnation of anyone who has been viewed as associated with Trump in the past four years so that they can “be treated with the same public condemnation that the Nazis received after the world war II. “
What is worrying is that such views are becoming increasingly common on the Internet and in universities. Many professors who send me columns like this admit that they are afraid to speak up. Intolerance is increasing at universities. In over 30 years of teaching, I have never seen the level of college and university intimidation that we have today. Indeed, these columns are intended to normalize such demands for restrictions on freedom of expression and academic freedom. It is an effort not only to retaliate, but to use the deterrent effects of such threats to silence others (including effectively preventing the publication of opposing views). Rather than denouncing views that run counter to our intellectual mission, some professors hasten to prove their own belief by denouncing colleagues or rejecting values of free speech. You are scared and I cannot blame that fear. However, silence or passivity in the face of such calls will be too expensive for our universities and our country.
Just a year ago, Professor Ross was featured on MSNBC for her stand against the abandonment culture when she said, “We have become too intolerant and unforgiving of mistakes unless we make them. And then we really only want to forgive the mistakes of the people we already know. We need a more forgiving society. “
Ross disagreed with calls for reconciliation and healing from people like President Joe Biden. She demands that supporters be denied jobs, media opportunities, publishing contracts and all other opportunities. It is particularly frightening to use a statement by the philosopher Karl Popper: “In order to maintain a tolerant society, society must tolerate intolerance.” Intolerance of opposing viewpoints is now tolerance. As simple as that.
This blog has been updated.