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Practicing at the Bar

Posted by Bob on September 26th, 2004 under History


In case you think Political Correctness is something new, let me disabuse you of that idea. In case you think that Political Correctness is something that was until recently confined to liberal universities in liberal parts of the country, let me disabuse you of that notion, too.

I entered the University of South Carolina at age sixteen, in 1957, and Political Correctness was already alive and well then. South Carolina was not one of the more liberal parts of the country. But all universities already followed the Politically Correct code: liberal freedom of speech is for liberals only.

PC was alive and well long before then and I knew that in the year 1957. We just didn’t have a name for it.

From the day I hit campus I was very active in right-wing politics, some of which I can actually tell you about. Some years later I tried to get a John Birch Society unit started on campus. The faculty wouldn’t let me. Even then, a Communist Party unit would have been welcome in the name of Free Speech but the far right was verboten.

I expected that problem before I entered the University of South Carolina. Even in 1957 every literate person, including a sixteen-year-old, knew from the get-go that Liberal Free Speech meant free speech for liberals only.

We did not have the term Political Correctness, but it was understood. So when my more respectable campus political groups met, I sometimes found a sponsor. When I couldn’t find a sponsor, we met in a meeting room on campus until we were reported and the campus police showed up. This was routine.

When were kicked off the campus — again –we adjourned to one of the two dozen beer joints around the University.

I was always welcome there and I knew which beer joint would have a place for us to meet at any given time.

For reasons I need not go into I was known and treasured by every beer joint jockey in the area. Mixed drinks were not permitted in South Carolina, so the students went to beer joints, some more than others.

I was one of the above-mentioned “some.”

So when we were routinely booted off campus after informers told the Administration that “one of Whitaker’s groups” had taken over a meeting-room on campus, we went to a local beer joint to hold our meeting.

In other words, since we students could not hold a right-wing meeting on campus, we held our meetings in beer halls.

Does this ring a bell?

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  1. #1 by Scott on 09/27/2004 - 4:53 pm

    Sure does Herr Whitaker…

  2. #2 by Don on 09/28/2004 - 11:22 am

    Beer hall meetings may not be a bad idea. Where’s a good place?

  3. #3 by Elizabeth on 09/28/2004 - 8:11 pm

    I’m back on campus as a grad student. I’m in my 40s.

    I also have a part-time student job on campus. One woman at work won’t speak to me because of my politics. I can almost see the steam coming out of her ears when she looks at me. I get along fine with the other folks at work, especially the men: they don’t care about politics because they want student assistants who show up and do their job, especially if said student assistants like what they’re doing. (I work in something kin to a museum.)

    There’s a very active chapter of College Republicans here, but that’s it for conservative organizations that I know of. I find non-liberals a lot in some surprising places, such as faculty offices. We’re all trying to keep under the liberals’ radar.

  4. #4 by Bob on 09/28/2004 - 8:16 pm

    Dammit, Don, who dare you ask me that! How would a model citizen like me know where the good beer joints are?

    You are going to make my impeccable reputation peccable.

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