Commentary: U.Va.’s imaginary “culture of left-wing intolerance”

Robert McCoy
Cavalier Daily

Excerpt: A recent Washington Times article, promoted by the University’s Young Americans for Freedom Twitter account, decries “U.Va.’s culture of left-wing intolerance.” The gist of the argument is as follows — Mr. Jefferson’s University ironically shirks the “Jeffersonian tradition” of free expression because the administration, too “timid” when it comes to protecting conservative speech, allows a “militant minority” of leftist students to enforce “cancel culture” on Grounds.

But I’m afraid that the Washington Times may mistake the “Jeffersonian tradition” in action with “cancel culture.” The author holds that leftists on Grounds enforce cancel culture “through a social-media reign of terror.” However, we must distinguish between harassment and criticism of opinions — the latter is essential to free debate, not “cancel culture.” This ideological opposition is actually a manifestation of “the Jeffersonian tradition,” which demands that ideas be subjected to fierce debate.