Guest blog by David French
Few things are more tasty, more wonderfully delicious, than
low-hanging fruit. It’s just right
there. In front of you. It’s ripe . . . oh so ripe, and – here’s the
great news – it’s abundant. There’s more
low-hanging fruit out there than you can pluck in a lifetime of activism.
What is low-hanging fruit?
In this context, it represents organizations or institutions that have
enjoyed two historical advantages: (1) largely unchecked power within their
communities; and (2) immunity from media scrutiny and accountability. This combination of power and lack of
accountability inevitably leads to
abuse – sometimes grotesque abuse.
Exposing that abuse can yield immediate, real-world results.
Think for a moment about the stunning success of the
sting. Despite a string
of vote fraud scandals, ACORN had enjoyed sterling media coverage and a
great deal of power influence in urban communities. This made them arrogant; this made them
reckless. They were ripe for a fall.
ACORN isn’t the first.
Lila Rose has been exposing
Planned Parenthood for years. Planned Parenthood is the ACORN of the
abortion industry: powerful, well-funded, and protected by the media.
But you don’t have to don an outrageous
outfit and wear a hidden camera to make a difference. Your own campus is an orchard of low-hanging
fruit: the home of speech
codes that have never
survived a court challenge; student fee policies that systematically
discriminate against conservative organizations; and absurd “speech
zones” that confine campus speech to places and times where it is least
effective. In fact, challenging these
policies will not only create
significant changes on campus, it can be an excellent training ground for a
lifetime of effective activism. At the ADF Center for Academic
Freedom, we constantly challenge unconstitutional university policies. And so far, every time we’ve challenged a
university that university has made substantial policy changes. Every time.
However, just as there’s low-hanging fruit; there is also the
fruit that’s (justifiably) out of reach.
Don’t be too ambitious. Lefty
protestors are often known for their absurd
demands. You should have reasonable,
attainable objectives. Also, don’t try
to get professors fired -- not even the most outrageous, idiotic professors in
the country. You no only run the risk of
violating their legitimate rights to free speech and academic freedom, you’ll
make them a martyr. The reality is that
they’re much more useful exactly where they are – existing as living symbols of
the university world’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy. Advocate for better hiring standards, but
don’t advocate that anyone lose their job – unless their misconduct is crystal
clear and unrelated to the viewpoint of their speech.
Pick your target carefully, make sure that they’re engaged
in real misconduct, and pursue attainable objectives. Then go out and defeat that target – in a
court of law or in the court of public opinion.
And that’s the step I’ll address tomorrow.