Thursday 18 November 2010

Stamping out free speech on campus

Brendan O'Neil has written a great piece at Spiked about the frankly fascistic tendency of students to stamp out free speech on campus. Public shamings, book burnings, intimidation of journalists—all the things that were so popular in Berlin 70 years ago. And all in the name of political correctness and all to prevent anyone getting offended by anything.

This has been a long time coming, as his interviewee Greg Lukianoff explains:

"I always like to put the Buddhist argument for freedom of speech", says Lukianoff. "Buddhists believe life is pain and they have a point. You do someone a tremendous disservice if you teach them that pain in life is a distortion of life. Because as soon as you start seeing hurtful things as being aberrations rather than part of normal human existence, then you start to see robust debate and disagreement as a distortion of the human experience rather than a part of the human experience. When you have students graduating from college believing that it is really, really bad if they have their feelings hurt, you are crippling them, you are preventing them from being able to deal with everyday life and debate."

Or, as Penn Jillette put it in this episode of Bullshit:

Colleges have become Meccas of politically correct bullshit where what you say and maybe even what you think is being controlled by anti-freedom weasles. Colleges and the ideas they're supposed to represent are being crushed like beer cans. Crushed by one word. A word that students are brain-washed into repeating like a hare krishna chant. Diversity.

The video's worth watching, but if you're pushed for time go from 8.25 and watch the berk in the beret.


Anonymous said...

It's worth mentioning that there is also a documentary film devoted to this topic called "Indoctrinate U".

A Google video search on the filmmaker, Evan Coyne Maloney, also turns up some related items on the topic.


Anonymous said...

That was very funny, but isn't it true that, on both sides,there is a massive amount of highly paid waffle? Would it not be extremely simple for the Sec of State for Education to instruct the 'Chief Execs' of universities to END IT ALL!

Could this thought apply to tobacco control? Of course it can! It is quite simple. Here is the idea.

SHS is said to be dangerous. The smoking ban only came into existence to protect people who work in indoor places from the said danger. So why is tobacco control in the domain of the Health Dept? It ought to be in the domain of the 'Danger' Dept. You might say that there is no 'Danger' Dept, but there is. It is called 'Health and Safety'. What is wrong with this Dept? Simply that the word Health ought not to figure. The Dept ought simply to be the Safety Dept. If SHS is dangerous, it is dangerous for SAFETY reasons, even if those dangers are health related.

This confusion is at the root of all the problems concerned with tobacco control. Tobacco control becomes the be all and end all when it is part of the Health dept. If it was part of the Safety Dept, it would be one of many considerations.

It seems that the Irish Gov have decided to 'diminish' tobacco control. I would like to find out how they intend to do this, but I do not know how to find out.

If our gov in the UK wanted to do something intelligent about tobacco control, they could do worse than take the matter out of the hands of the Health Dept. After all, it is a SAFETY issue, really. If they did that, they could smash the whole edifice of this powerful, inter-related obscenity to bits with one blow - and save millions and millions (if not billions) of pounds in one go.

Why cannot our government and politicians not see this?