In America you are now allowed to have an opinion, as long as the thought police agrees that it is the right opinion.
That is basically what Cornell University said at the end of the week last week, after Zero Hedge contributor and longtime Cornell Organic Chemistry professor Dave Collum did nothing more than offer his opinion on the events that took place in Buffalo, where an elderly man was pushed down by riot police, leading to him fracturing his skull, and the eventual resignation of the entire police response team.
Collum's Tweets, collectively comprising just under 500 characters of opinion, sparked a public shaming from the Ivy League institution which was inundated with snowflakes complaining about Collum having an opinion that differed from whatever the Marxist norm of the day was.
When the Buffalo video first surfaced, the internet was immediately outraged. The video went viral on Thursday night and was national news on Friday.
Perhaps naive enough to believe that "social" media was a forum express one's opinion as in - socially - Collum took the position of defending the Buffalo police, publicly on Twitter, stating that officers across the country have had raw nerves due to the riots, looting and general chaos...
...and he said that he thought the man should have given the police space. He called the man's cracked skull "self-inflicted".
An unpopular opinion in the left-wing stratosphere of social media? Sure. But an opinion nonetheless, and one shared by the 57 police officers who immediately resigned in protest of how the officers involved with the incident were being treated.
It was also an opinion that appeared to be backed up by Buffalo's mayor on Saturday morning. Buffalo's Mayor described the man involved in the video as "an agitator" who was asked to leave the area "multiple times":
Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo, N.Y., said Friday the 75-year-old man who was shoved to the ground by two cops the previous day was an “agitator” who had been asked to leave the area “numerous” times.
“There has been vandalism, there have been fires set, there have been stores broken into and looted. According to what was reported to me, that individual was a key major instigator of people engaging in those activities,” the mayor said.
But in the world of instant outrage, there's no time for facts. Collum's Tweet, within minutes of being posted, had been re-tweeted by comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani, who has more than 3 million Twitter followers.
Dropping this bomb onto the actor's followers set off a nuclear reaction, with hundreds of replies and re-tweets calling for Collum to lose his job and for Cornell to punish the professor: all for just speaking his opinion.
As a result, Collum had to lock down his Twitter account.
This was followed by an article in the Cornell Daily Sun - which led with the Professor's opinions and not the actual news item itself...
"Prof. David Collum ’77, chemistry, has come under fire from both students and administrators for a series of Thursday night tweets defending police officers that pushed and severely injured an elderly man."
...and Cornell itself responding in a statement on Friday, claiming that Collum's justification of police action was "insensitive", "deeply offensive" and "at direct odds with Cornell's ethos".
The statement then said that "Professor Collum has a right to express his views in his private life", which supposedly one should be grateful for: at least our learned institutions aren't determining what opinions people can hold in private, at least not yet. But if someone dares to publish a contrarian opinion in public, well that's just going too far.
We watched the video of the events in Buffalo yesterday where police officers shoved an elderly man to the ground and walked past while he lay bleeding on the sidewalk. The behavior we saw was deplorable. We are heartened that the authorities took immediate actions and that the two police officers involved have been suspended.
We agree with Governor Cuomo that the incident was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.” We also saw the tweets by Cornell professor David Collum justifying the actions of the police. While Professor Collum has a right to express his views in his private life, we also have a right and an obligation to call out positions that are at direct odds with Cornell’s ethos.
Especially at a moment at which this nation is grappling with the vital need to implement reforms that end police brutality, we find Professor Collum’s comments to be not just deeply insensitive, but deeply offensive.
In other words, Cornell has now publicly said: You can have an opinion, as long as it's the right opinion: our opinion. Or else just keep it to yourself.
Collum was also forced to cancel an upcoming podcast appearance. Collum’s initial Tweets were in response to a podcast host who had a difference of opinion on the matter. The two were looking forward to discussing the incident this weekend. Now, that discourse will not take place, which the podcast host called “a shame” in a video defending Collum’s right to his own opinion.
In the end, we agree with Collum: he is being shamed for having the "wrong opinion".
And we have to ask both Cornell and the social justice warriors of the world: Isn't shaming someone for expressing an opinion peacefully - no matter how contrarian to the current virtue signaling flood - the exact antithesis of the “diversity”, "freedom" and "justice" that everyone is currently in the midst of fighting for, and is Cornell now an institution that only encourages "thinking" and "opinions" which are only first vetted with the thought police of what was once an institution where original and free thought was actually permitted if not, gasp, encouraged?