Turning Points and Right-wing Harassment

When Turning Points USA launched its Professors Watchlist, I raised the alarm. A lot of folks did. But others mocked, saying that it was just some website and not worth fussing about. I wrote for The Establishment about it, saying that it was a sign of worse attacks to come.

Those attacks have, indeed, come. Read Maximillian Alvarez in The Baffler on Turning Points and their culture of harassment and threats:

It’s high time that we start being honest with ourselves about what TPUSA really is. Far from being a samizdat preserve of heroic dissent in the face of “political correctness,” the group is the organizational equivalent of a bait and switch. While some colleges and universities are wising up to the group’s game, most have largely continued to treat TPUSA in accordance with the warped story it tells about itself: that it is, at base, a nonprofit organization celebrating the sturdy American civic verities of small-government conservatism and laissez-faire economics.

Within the bounds of this narrative, there’s really just one way to rationalize the regular stream of confrontations between TPUSA and its many opponents that, wherever possible, result in tireless campaigns to silence, expel, or fire the latter. TPUSA would have a credulous media believe—and an opportunistic conservative political class reiterate—that such campaigns are, at worst, an unfortunate byproduct of the group’s righteous efforts to carry out its stated mission; that they are a defense of last resort spearheaded by an organization that only wants to ensure that colleges and universities remain open to “ideological diversity.” But the evidence gives a much clearer picture: silencing, expelling, or firing opponents is the mission—and has always been.

I’m trying to figure out what my next formal piece on academic freedom is. The attacks just keep coming.

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