Academics Warn Politically Correct Universities ‘Are Killing Free Speech’
A lot of (well deserved) criticism has been levelled at university administrations and student organisations recently for turning campuses into politically correct "safe spaces" where the frail of spirit may never be shocked or brutalised by a harsh word or a controversial idea. British universities are denying the "intellectual challenge of debating conflicting views" in their eagerness to conform to some kind of ersatz consensus, a group of leading academics have warned.
Geneticist and controversial proponent of militant atheism, Professor Richard Dawkins recently said students who cannot handle hearing anti-transgender views to "leave, go home, hug your teddy and suck your thumb until ready for university," however it seems the dark forces of politically correct thought policing, which prefer ‘safe spaces’ (i.e. like Kindergarten) over genuine academic debate and intellectual freedom hold sway.
A group of academics including professors from the universities of Buckingham, Canterbury, Derby, Kent, Liverpool and Sheffield has written an open letter to the Daily Telegraph to warn that politically correct student power in universities is seeing freedom of speech "being curtailed as never before."
They do not blame the universities or their students entirely, the authors of the letter point out that "the Government’s anti-terrorism legislation, known as Prevent, imposes restrictions on who can and cannot speak on campus and forces academics to police students and each other." Government sympathies with Islamic extremism and 'rights' groups that lobby for minorities to be granted privileged status 'in the name of equality' escape criticism although the use of terms like homophobia and islamophobic have become the standard approach for suppressing the expression of certain perfectly reasonable points of view.
The professors' main target is student-driven censorship regimes under which "the list of speakers banned from unions by students is growing, and even banned artefacts: from pop songs to sombreros." Somewhat hypocritically, student organisations refused to condemn Asian extremist Bahar Mustafa, whose job as Student Union Diversity Officer came under threat when, following a number of ant - white, anti - free speech controversies, she tweeted "All white men should be killed." Mustafa defended herself against accusations of racism by saying, "I can't be racist, I'm an ethnic minority woman." We cannot say if she is racist or not, but she is certainly not intelligent enough to be getting a university education at taxpayers' expense, or to be employed in a responsible job in the higher education sector.
And what does that say about the brainwashed idiots who supported her?
The crux of their argument is that the rise in tuition fees has meant universities changed their attitude towards students, now seeing them instead as “customers”. Universities therefore feel a growing pressure to give their customers what they want such that "in turn, many of the most vocal students feel they have a right to demand protection from images, words and ideas that offend them." And that only encourages pathetic, immature little middle class attention seekers to dream up all sorts of stupid reasons to be offended by everyday things.
The letter writers comment on the idiotic idea of 'safe spaces' to reinforce their case, explaining:
A small but vocal minority of student activists is arguing that universities need to be turned into 'safe spaces'. This represents an attempt to immunise academic life from the intellectual challenge of debating conflicting views. Unfortunately the authors do not see an appetite for defending free speech among their academic colleagues, with only very few willing to challenge 'censorship from students'. Calling for more anti-censorship academics to join their ranks and 'take a much stronger stance against all forms of censorship', they add:
An open and democratic society requires people to have the courage to argue against ideas they disagree with or even find offensive. At the moment there is a real risk that students are not given opportunities to engage in such debate."
One of the letter’s signatories who is not herself an academic, the secular human rights activist Maryam Namazie, has herself been banned from speaking at universities, and even threatened by students when she has been able to address them.
But let's not get carried away, "academics" are just as guilty of political correctness, as the students are, and it is they who are fomenting the idea of killing free speech. The students are basically thick, immature, brainwashed idiots who have to think what they are told to think because they are not equipped to think for themselves so it's hardly surprising that they emulate their professors, one critic in an Internet thread commented. Good knockabout comedy of course, but let's move from reportage to analysis.
Politically correct ideology has often been compared to fascism. Here's something Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega wrote in an essay in they on the rise of fascism through the 1920s and 30s .
"Under Fascism there appears for the first time in Europe a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions. This is the new thing: the right not to be reasonable, the "reason of unreason." Here I see the most palpable manifestation of the new mentality of the masses, due to their having decided to rule society without the capacity for doing so. In their political conduct the structure of the new mentality is revealed in the rawest, most convincing manner. The average man finds himself with "ideas" in his head, but he lacks the faculty of ideation. He has no conception even of the rare atmosphere in which ideals live. He wishes to have opinions, but is unwilling to accept the conditions and presuppositions that underlie all opinion. Hence his ideas are in effect nothing more than appetites in words.
"To have an idea means believing one is in possession of the reasons for having it, and consequently means believing that there is such a thing as reason, a world of intelligible truths. To have ideas, to form opinions, is identical with appealing to such an authority, submitting oneself to it, accepting its code and its decisions, and therefore believing that the highest form of intercommunication is the dialogue in which the reasons for our ideas are discussed. But the mass-man would feel himself lost if he accepted discussion, and instinctively repudiates the obligation of accepting that supreme authority lying outside himself. Hence the "new thing" in Europe is "to have done with discussions," and detestation is expressed for all forms of intercommunication, which imply acceptance of objective standards, ranging from conversation to Parliament, and taking in science. This means that there is a renunciation of the common life of barbarism. All the normal processes are suppressed in order to arrive directly at the imposition of what is desired. The hermeticism of the soul which, as we have seen before, urges the mass to intervene in the whole of public life."
Substitute "academics and students" for "elites", and it is scarily similar.
Today's battle between liberty and authoritarianism seems to have turned Ortega's analysis on its head. The threat to the rights and freedoms of people uncivilized societies appears now to come not from jackbooted thus who follow a demagogue, but from the elites who govern without any commitment to civilization itself and the students who would become part of that elite. From enabling the recent shootings in Paris, and allowing the looting of the Baghdad Museum in Iraq, to permitting the destruction of Palmyra in Syria, Western elites have apparently abandoned the civilizing mission which once both defined the West and provided the "soft power" necessary to maintain world peace.
Current campus "uprisings" at Cambridge, London, Bristol and Warwick amongst many, have seen bans imposed on even established left wing and liberal speakers who had gone against the politically correct view on subjects such as Islamic extremism, same sex marriage and transgender rights. In the USA, recent student outcries at Ivy League universities Yale and Columbia, and at the University of Missouri and many other less illustrious colleges are among the latest to be conquered by left wing barbarism. Uncivilized, and indeed Fascist, attitudes are obvious to the most casual observer.
In this lies the heart of the current problem, by for if Western elites, a absolutely corrupted by their absolute power, are in revolt against civilized values such as free speech, then civilization cannot stand unless the power elites are overthrown. The legitimacy of government depends upon the values as well as the character of those who govern. Such things justify status. The other factor on which the legitimacy of government depends is the consent of the masses.