The orthodoxy of Reason is proclaimed, archconservative turned archliberal Garry Wills once wrote, and it will have its inquisitors.

He ought to know. Wills perfectly represents a new breed of college Utopians who, losing their power to implement their latest brainstorms on a public suspicious of statist panaceas, have turned their collective energies inward, hoping to create an academic Eden for all the Knights of the True Faith, where they can frolic unmolested by capitalism, conservatism, or dissent. As is the case with the Soviet earthly paradise, enforcing the matter has been a messy affair.

I ought to know. As editor of a conservative journal at Northwestern— a typical progressive, enlightened, modern university—I met with a decidedly illiberal hostility from campus liberals, who include the professors, the deans, the departments, the student newspaper, the student government—a seamless web encompassing everyone but the rank-and-file students, who require a tremendous strength of mind to emerge from four years at our scenic indoctrination campus as freethinkers. Unfortunately, my experience is entirely typical.

On the day of our organizational meeting, a reporter was sent by the university-subsidized daily newspaper to join our staff and “find out what those right-wingers are up to” (she sheepishly left the meeting when she saw that she had inadvertently made a confidante of our publisher!). Since then, The Northwestern Review has been an organizatio non grata at Evanston, Illinois, bastion of free thought. When one of our reporters paid admission to an open conference on militarism, the assortment of campus radicals who sponsored the event ridiculed him, debated whether he should be forcibly ejected, physically intimidated him, and threatened his life. Fortunately, he was able to stand his ground. Our publisher wasn’t so lucky. He was physically removed from an “open” meeting of the International Committee Against Racism (InCAR), during which the group’s president, an English professor named Barbara Foley, called him a “racist” and a “fascist” in the process of threatening violence against “the fascists.” (She was later jailed for assaulting a former member of our umbrella organization, the Conservative Council.) The colorful Ms. Foley had called for “a movement of students who are so turned off by this racist, reactionary publication that they take it upon themselves to stop the publication of The Review.”

Of course, it is unreasonable to expect that any university would be without its lunatic fringe. Northwestern President Robert Strotz spoke for the mainstream when he said recently that students should be exposed to a “greater diversity of values and aesthetics and political views and past experiences,” and that he wanted to give students a politically tolerant “environment that is supportive of their coming to decisions about life-styles and political views and religious views that are best suited to them.” Despite the profession of these commendable ideals, no action at all was ever taken on behalf of the terrorized conservatives, even after Professor Foley carried out her threat of assault. In that leftist never-never land of academia, free speech is the dearest value and the wellspring of truth—for the left. InCAR stated the ground rules when they shouted down Eldridge Cleaver from a university podium where he was attempting to give a speech: “No free speech for fascists!” Needless to say. Northwestern chose not to censure those responsible for that incident, either.

It is, however, possible even for a leftist to traverse the bounds of decorum at the modern university. A postscript to Professor Foley’s academic terrorism of the past three years was written this summer when she was denied tenure for an incident in which she stormed the podium where Nicaraguan freedom fighter Adolfo Calero was speaking, threw animal blood on him, threatened to kill him, and incited a mob of kindred spirits from Chicago to storm the stairways of the apartment to which Calero was forced to retreat.

Foley will leave, but she has made her mark, having clarified Northwestern’s guidelines for professorial conduct: Publicly slandering students who happen to disagree with you is definitely OK. Assaulting students who happen to disagree with you—still OK. Shouting down public figures who happen to disagree with you—OK. Shouting down and threatening the lives of public figures who happen to disagree with you—not OK. Until the final episode, Northwestern condoned Professor Foley’s escalating spiral of violence, though it really much prefers forms of intolerance that generate less publicity.

The most telling episode in Northwestern’s drive to gag conservatives began this spring, when a radical disrupted a speech by Reed Irvine. Unable to get past the first line of his text, Irvine tried to defuse the disruption by offering her the podium. The podium she accepted, and at the podium she held forth, until dragged away, a short eternity later, by the police.

The faculty-student panel charged with handling such matters conducted a Kafkaesque “trial” of the disrupting student, Jill Bloomberg, in which The Northwestern Review often seemed to be more on trial than the student. In a circus of brazen procedural and judicial errors, the board, which included a personal friend of Ms. Bloomberg’s, examined ominous “fascist trends” at universities worldwide before acquitting Ms. Bloomberg, deeming her heckling (for which she was convicted in Cook County Court of disorderly conduct) “not excessive.”

While one arm of the modern university decried fascist trends, another arm, the campus police, prepared an invoice for the conservative group that had invited Mr. Irvine. Billed by campus police for their frequent sallies to restore order and faced with several cancellations by prominent conservatives who are now afraid to speak at Northwestern, student groups on the right can only watch in incredulity as free speech is quietly suffocated.

The situation in the classroom is no less insidious. An archetypical inquisitor for Reason is Northwestern’s distinguished Garry Wills himself In my American culture class, the noted author used “Socratic dialogue” as a means of first venturing his own unique insights on the greatest issues of the day (“Right-wingers really want a nuclear war” or “Most personal hygiene products, including deodorant, are cynical attempts to rob the public”) then soliciting opinions from the class. The student cannot go wrong by offering left-wing slogans, no matter how radical or sophomoric. On the other hand, undergraduates who venture conservative opinions are subjected to unrelenting, usually sarcastic denunciations. In the classroom of one of our deans of culture, crimethink is punished by public humiliation.

Perhaps it is unfair, though, to single out Mr. Wills. His mossbacked teaching/indoctrination style is not unusual. It is the new orthodoxy.

Conservative students at Northwestern soon learn that many professors and students dismiss them with a label—racist, fascist, etc.—without even recognizing the sincerity of their opinions. “HAVE YOU GOT ANY MORE RACIAL SLURS WE CAN USE / WE HAVEN’T MESSED WITH NIGGERS LATELY.” This, and some even more malodorous specimens of name-calling were maliciously inserted into Northwestern Review copy for one of our issues. After we deleted these epithets, more appeared in the final edition. When we reported the incident to the university and the publishing company it subsidizes, neither showed the slightest concern. In matters of tolerance, the “Harvard of the Midwest” has already made it into the mainstream of the Ivy League schools it emulates.