Sunday, December 06, 2015

For Free Expression!

Dr. Michael Green

Michael Green offers some words about freedom of expression in a recent column, "Forsaking our principles" (JoongAng Daily, December 5-6, 2015):
In the U.S., the pressure on academic freedom is coming from social movements that seek to penalize scholars or students who express views deemed hurtful to certain groups. There is no place on American campuses for hate speech, racism or anti-Semitism, to be sure. Discourse in a university should be civil - but there must also be room for different perspectives. The interaction of eclectic thinking is the essence of a liberal education. Higher learning should never be about ideological indoctrination or rote memorization. Yet recent protests at Yale University, the University of Missouri and other institutions of higher education have argued for just that. Protesters - mostly students but also some faculty - have demanded mandatory courses in sensitivity as well as accountability for lecturers or students who engage in "microaggressions" that might implicitly defame aggrieved groups on ethnic, gender, religious or other grounds. When a student journalist sought to cover these protests at the University of Missouri, a protesting faculty member called out for "more muscle" to help drive off the student. At Yale, a junior faculty member and his wife were surrounded and shouted down for arguing that efforts to police Halloween costumes had gone too far and were symbolic of a larger stifling of free speech on campus. Initially stunned by the protests - or sympathetic with student criticism of the establishment - faculty members across American universities have only just begun objecting to demands from students and sometimes administrators that they not engage certain sensitive subjects in class.
These are the very restrictions on free expressions that I was criticizing only a few weeks ago, and I see that Green holds the same view that I have, namely, that "the assault on academic freedom in the U.S. is mostly coming from the left." I'm thus heartened to hear - and to hear of - other dissenting voices.



At 10:50 AM, Blogger N.E. Brigand said...

On this subject, you might be interested in some recent writing by Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic:

--The Rise of Victimhood Culture

--The New Intolerance of Student Activism

--Free Speech Is No Diversion

--Yale's Activists Deserve Constructive Criticism

--The Illiberal Demands of the Amherst Uprising

Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine:

--Can We Start Taking Political Correctness Seriously Now?

--Obama on Political Correctness: "A Recipe for Dogmatism"

And a recent op-ed from Fredrik DeBoer in the New York Times:

--Why We Should Fear University, Inc.

As well as comments at his own blog:

--You Can't Administer Your Way to Justice

(Friedersdorf and Chait also write about what might be seen as right-wing versions of political correctness, as with Donald Trump Threatens Religious Liberty and How GOP "Thought Police" Enforce Climate Science Denial.)

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Quite a reading list! Thanks!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:58 AM, Blogger Antony Trepniak said...

A "left" that has abandoned the working class, forgotten about socialism and appears to be solely concerned with the alleged rights of pampered students at elite institutions not to have their feathers ruffled. Strange days indeed!

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Indeed. The apocalypse must be near. What says Cthulhu? I have seen the future - it is murder.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:55 PM, Blogger Antony Trepniak said...

Ah, but didn't you realise that Mr Cohen is a CIA-controlled MKULTRA plant?

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

If so, we need more such plants!

Jeffery Hodges

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