The Cost of Free Speech on Campus

There is much to fear and loathe in the latest example of militant and violent campus intolerance. At Middlebury College in Vermont, dozens of furious students (and, likely, others from off campus) shouted down a campus talk by a visiting professor, crushed the subsequent attempt to livestream the lecture, and then hassled and physically harmed the host of the event, a female Middlebury professor.

It appears that those in charge tried to do their jobs in a careful and effective way, before, during, and after the event. Various Middlebury professors, administrators, and security personnel strove to strike the difficult balance between defending freedom of speech for the event participants and maintaining freedom of speech for protestors.

Alas, however, when people will not be reasoned with and resort instead to violence, persuasion must give way to redemptive coercion. And that’s what, so far, has been lacking at Middlebury, as it has been lacking so many other places as well.

If disgruntled students, professors, and other university citizens act in ways that directly prevent the university from fulfilling its mission, they must be called to account, instructed carefully in case they have misunderstood, and then prevented from subsequently impeding their fellows from pursuing that mission.

[For the rest, please go HERE.]

18 Responses to “The Cost of Free Speech on Campus”

  1. John

    NOTE: In keeping with more current weblog conventions, I will not be approving comments anymore that do not include the author’s actual name.

    Reply
  2. Bill Ross

    “If I was half the man I was ten years ago I’d take a flamethrower to this place!” – Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman

    Why do Christians always side with the oppressors? Ethics? I’m inspired that this new generation has the moral compass to oppose the elite whites inviting a speaker to teach pseudo-science racism.

    Reply
      • Andy H

        Bill, here’s a good example of radical left ideology: “…oppose the elite whites inviting a speaker to teach pseudo-science racism”

        Reply
        • Bill Ross

          No, Andy “H”, that’s only radical if you are a racist. Racial equality is not only an established fact, it is the law. Sorry to break this to you but Jews are equal too. Muslims as well. Mexicans – equal. The leaders of the school are racists. The speaker is racist. And a huge portion of the USA is racist. You see, the Christians didn’t give up their slaves because they grew a heart, they did it because they were defeated. They still want their slaves back. And slipping in this speaker was an effort in that direction.

          Reply
          • Andy H

            Bill, thanks for providing such a pitch perfect example of the accusations and tone that are infecting higher ed today. Your comments help to provide the sad context for what happened at Middlebury.

            Reply
            • Steve Wilkinson

              No doubt, Andy. A perfect example. The problem is, they are actually teaching this stuff in the universities, so these people think they have academic/intellectual credibility to these kind of views.

              There are similar threads in Liberation and Black Theology. The basis seems to be creating an us/them situation, and labeling one side as victim and the other oppressor. Once that is done, then anything goes… including the most extreme forms of racism, sexism, etc. But, under these ideologies, it supposedly can’t be seen that way because that racism/sexism is just ‘social justice.’

              It’s pretty horrible, but whatever it is, it isn’t Christian.

              Reply
      • Glenn C

        No, I was referring to the subject of this post: students using violence to shut down free speech (and we might add demanding safe spaces, etc.) in the name of equality. My point is that some professors seem to encourage this (including the one in the link I provided, who called for “muscle” to have a student reporter removed from a safe space), and I’m wondering if a case could be made for this type of action being rooted in ideologies into which these students are immersed. So, by “radical,” I meant, specifically, the use of violence to achieve a more “equal” outcome.

        Reply
  3. Jim Reilly

    The book “Mein Kampf” was the ideology of one man that cost millions their lives. Had Germans and Christians been more vocal, socially active and less vulnerable maybe 1933 and the rise of the Nazi party would have been thwarted. The extreme dualistic and divisive elements in our society no matter the cloth need to be held accountable and denied a seat at the table. Otherwise we are just shaking hands with the devil.

    Reply
    • Bill Ross

      Hitler didn’t rise in a vacuum. He, like Drumpf, harnessed the ideology being promoted in the universities of Aryan supremacy. Should we allow the teaching of Aryan supremacy in our universities? Apparently, some think so. I think not. The parallel is striking.

      Reply

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