By: Michael B. Miley

Well, this is it. I mean, really it. When you come back next year, you won’t have Mike Miley around to write the (often painful) truth in this column anymore. You won’t immediately realise it, but as the months of the Fall 2016 semester slowly creep forward, you’ll start feeling this emptiness in the pit of your stomach, like something’s missing that was there before. And I will too. I’ve been so happy to have the opportunity to write this column and the one I wrote before it. It’s not often one gets an opportunity to write a column where one’s only filter is oneself. You may not have liked everything I wrote, you may not have even liked me, but I hope that everyone can appreciate, at least, my right to do it. Freedom of speech has very much become a hallmark issue of this still-fledgeling year of 2016, and in many ways, I’m getting out while the getting is good, because I fear free speech, especially free speech on college campuses in under attack in a serious and visceral way.

Take the University of Missouri professor who, during student protests against the administration’s treatment of black students, called for some “muscle” to ostensibly “take care” of another student who was conducting interviews with the protestors on film. She, thankfully, has been suspended by UoM, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a woman–a journalism professor, no less– who was calling for the use of force against someone who dared even to question the dogma she was proselytizing, let alone disagree with it. How many young minds did this particular professor poison before she was removed from her position?

At Yale, once the absolute pinnacle of higher education, students began loudly calling for a professor to be removed after she had the audacity to question why Yale’s administration was issuing edicts telling the adult students who attend Yale what Halloween costumes they should and shouldn’t wear. The video of the students’ reactions is chilling, to say the least, as they encircle the professor’s husband and verbally accost him outside Phelps Gate. I won’t go into a more detailed description here because you can see the video for yourself, but it is indicative of a growing intolerance among members of our generation– egged on by agenda-driven professors and authority figures– for free expression and speech.

In George Orwell’s classic-to-the-point-of-cliche 1984 the main protagonist, Winston Smith, thinks to himself “if there is hope, it lies in the Proles.” In the novel, the Proles are the class of people who occupy such a low social standing that the omnipresent and authoritarian government does not bother surveilling or controlling them the way it surveils and controls the higher-strata classes. Now, I am absolutely not saying that Lyndon State is the collegiate equivalent of “the Proles”, but it cannot be denied that we lack the same prestige as Yale or even UoM. But fret not! This allows us to be an incubator for free-thinkers; for free expression; for dissent; let us muddle along undetected while simultaneously producing a new generation equipped to battle the brainwashed masses. It is you, the current students of Lyndon State, who are our last, best hope against the tyranny that is being fostered at other institutions of higher learning. It is my hope that soon, someone equally radical, and equally controversial– if not more so– will come to fill my and Mr. Patton’s shoes as Provocateurs-in-Chief at The Critic and at Lyndon State in general. I am confident that this successor is not far away.

I will leave you with a quote from Carol Burnett, of all people:

“I’m so glad that we had this time together, because it makes me feel like I belong. Seems we just get started then, before you know it, comes the time we have to say ‘so long.’”

This is the end. There is no more.