Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Inexperienced Against Free Speech . . .

Conor Friedersdorf
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Conor Friedersdorf, in an earlier article, called some Yale activists "intolerant," and he explains why in "Yale's Activists Deserve Constructive Criticism" (The Atlantic, November 17, 2015):
I called the Yale activists intolerant because it was not enough for them to protest an email that they found wrongheaded; it was not enough to fully air their grievances in multiple public forums and at the home of its author; it was not enough for [the two faculty] . . . to listen attentively to student critiques and to express heartfelt regret that the email hurt feelings; rather, the student activists demanded that the couple renounce the substance of their beliefs, or else face public shaming and an effort to remove them from their position. Never mind that . . . [the author of the email] believed what she wrote. She had to reverse her position, or else, . . . [which] is what I believe to be intolerant: a refusal to agree to disagree, however passionately and impolitely; a rejection of the notion that earnest differences held by people of good faith are not cause for punishment, even if they are mistaken, or unwittingly insensitive, or give offense; a stance that amounts to "error has no rights."
Those who cannot "agree to disagree" are immature, too young to have experienced their own reversal of opinion, or too dishonest to admit that they have ever changed their minds.

They'll see someday . . . unless that chance is past.



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