“To say that I am honored to give a lecture in the name of this exceptional woman would be an understatement”

Bari Weiss:

Tonight, I’d like to talk about the war of ideas and of conviction and of will that faces us as Americans. I want to talk about the stakes of that war. About how we must wage it—fearlessly and relentlessly—if we seek to build a world fit for our children, and if we want to save America itself.

It is a symptom of a much deeper crisis—one that explains how, in the span of a little over 20 years since Sept 11, educated people now respond to an act of savagery not with a defense of civilization, but with a defense of barbarism.

It was twenty years ago when I began to encounter the ideology that drives the people who tear down the posters. It was twenty years ago, when I was a college student, that I started writing about a nameless, then-niche worldview that seemed to contradict everything I had been taught since I was a child.

At first, things like postmodernism and postcolonialism and postnationalism seemed like wordplay and intellectual games—little puzzles to see how you could “deconstruct” just about anything. What I came to see over time was that it wasn’t going to remain an academic sideshow. And that it sought nothing less than the deconstruction of our civilization from within. 

It seeks to upend the very ideas of right and wrong.

It replaces basic ideas of good and evil with a new rubric: the powerless (good) and the powerful (bad). It replaced lots of things. Color blindness with race obsession. Ideas with identity. Debate with denunciation. Persuasion with public shaming. The rule of law with the fury of the mob.

People were to be given authority in this new order not in recognition of their gifts, hard work, accomplishments, or contributions to society, but in inverse proportion to the disadvantages their group had suffered, as defined by radical ideologues.


Second: we—you—must enforce the law.

The wave of elected so-called “progressive prosecutors” has proven to be an immensely terrible thing for law and order in cities across America. It turns out that choosing not to enforce the law doesn’t reduce crime. It promotes it.

Third: no more double standards on speech.

Public universities are constitutionally forbidden from imposing content-based restrictions on free speech. And yet, that’s precisely what they’ve been doing. 

Ask any conservative—and I now know a few—who’s tried to speak at a public university and had a “security fee” imposed on them or had their speeches quietly moved off campus and into small, restrictive venues whether there aren’t brazen content-based restrictions on their speech imposed by public universities.