Might Makes Right: Censorship the New Normal at Philadelphia High School

“The young people are the future.”

What kind of future are young people creating for themselves?

Just ask Michael Moroz, a 17-year-old senior at Philadelphia’s Central High School.

According to Philly.com, Michael Moroz, the school newspaper’s managing editor, rubbed some students the wrong way when he wrote a no-nonsense piece criticizing racial protests at the University of Missouri.

In that article, he called the black Ferguson, Missouri, teen Michael Brown “a delinquent” who was “at worst, justifiably killed, and at best, a thug.” Moroz also dismissed the Mizzou student protesters’ demands as “nonsensical.”

Moroz’ article ran alongside an article with an opposing view, which praised the racial protests in Missouri.

When the story hit the school paper’s Facebook page shortly after Philadelphia schools let out for winter break, there were calls on social media to “deal with” Moroz and “shoot” him, and he predictably was smeared as a racist. “I definitely felt threatened,” said Moroz, who stayed home from school Monday fearing for his safety. “It’s hard not to feel threatened.”

Student editors pulled his piece from the newspaper’s website and said in a Facebook message that “if an article comes across as insensitive, and the Central community would rather have it taken down … then the article will be taken down.” [italics added]

Later, administrators at Central backed the students’ decision. “That,” Moroz said, “just sets a bad precedent.”

Let’s review the facts. A student writes an article critical of the “Black Lives Matter” approach to race relations. Instead of writing counter-letters in protest, students get on social media and threaten to physically harm or murder the person with whom they disagree.

As a result, the students and the high school administration remove the article from the school’s website.

What message does this send?

For one thing, it teaches students that might makes right. “If you say something with which I disagree, I will threaten to hurt you physically – and I will subsequently get what I want from the people in charge.”

So much for tolerance and diversity. So much for the utopia of gun bans; it seems that some will be threatened by gun violence, only when they fail to comply with the established point-of-view.

We’re talking about high school students here. They are still learning and growing, taking their first serious steps in the realm of abstract knowledge and principles of human behavior. The school administration missed an important opportunity to teach young people here about the value of free speech, along with civil behavior when disagreeing.

It’s amazing. The people who opposed Moroz’ article are upset about actual or alleged injustice and brutality of police against citizens. Yet they turn around and display the very same threats of violence when someone merely writes an article with which they disagree.

And their behavior is supported and reinforced by the people in charge, in this case the high school administration.

Notice the reasons given for removing Moroz’ article. Because it “comes across” as “insensitive,” it should not be posted online. Comes across to whom? By what definition? “Insensitive” to whom, and for what reason?

No answer is provided, nor is any thought necessary. That’s the horrifying part.

This leaves students, both those who agree and disagree with this young man’s article, with the same impression: Might makes right. Insult and physically threaten strongly enough, and you will get your way.

If disagreement constitutes “insensitivity,” and if insensitivity is automatically and always wrong (at least when from any non-leftist point-of-view), then what’s to become of civil discourse, to say nothing of free speech, in American society?

It’s mob rule, with the rule of the mob being group emotions.

No free society will last for long with people acting, thinking and feeling this way. Not if Philadelphia’s Central High School is any guide.

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