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Samizdata quote of the day

Just today I learned (via Hans Bader) that Oberlin, supposedly one of the great liberal arts colleges in the world, has been in a tizzy because of a speech by the rather mainstream conservative feminist Christina Hoff Summers, which supposedly made students feel “unsafe” well in advance. And so on. In no examples that I have seen has there been any actual threat or prospect of violence against the students complaining that they feel “unsafe.”

This is a huge threat to the future of free speech nevertheless. Today’s college students are going to be tomorrow’s judges, and if they truly believe that “safety” means “never having to deal with opinions that disagree with one’s cherished beliefs,” then censorship has a good chance of gaining the upper hand over freedom of speech. After all, public safety can be a justification for suppressing speech, as with the “fighting words” doctrine.

David Bernstein

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12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • When victimology pays such dividends then you will find victims everywhere.

    It’s nothing more than a veil for censorship.

    College campuses are meant to be a place where students engage in new perspectives and critical reasoning. Or so they say.

    But by labeling conservative points of view as “extremist,” “anti-feminist,” and “racist,” feminists are shutting down the dialogue on their college campuses before it even begins.

    To the leftist student activists, it seemingly doesn’t matter whether or not these labels are deserved. They’ve realized that all they need to do is to stigmatize a talk by a conservative speaker is to condemn the speaker as an oppressing force.

    For instance, last Thursday, I facilitated a lecture at the Georgetown University on behalf of the conservative organization I work for, the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, and the Georgetown CRs.

    As soon as the campus feminists caught wind of the event, they immediately began protesting and demanding trigger warnings in order to silence the talk.

  • Alex

    This trigger warning stuff is deeply odd. Apparently people have become such precious little flowers that they can’t sit through a talk on body image without wanting to hurt themselves. All of this crap from people who say they want to empower people. Worthy of IngSoc.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Well, it’s a threat to free speech at Oberlin. Whether it’s a threat to future free speech generally depends on a future Republican administration’s refusal to hire Oberlin graduates because of their corrupted educations.

    Well, OK, it’s a threat to future free speech generally.

  • Darrell

    Whatever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”???

  • lucklucky

    From a comment there by Landsailor

    “Actually becoming a victim is a pretty smart move; satisfies a lot of needs all at once:
    1. Narcissism. if you are a victim, you have protectors cooing over you, reaffirming your superiority over those evil aggressors/oppressers.
    2. Makes others shut up. if one looks pathetic enough and gets lots of sympathy, it becomes nearly impossible for any rational opposition
    3. Political power. victims are rock stars on campuses. Presidents will do whatever they want. (see reason 2.)
    4. Love. all good progressives love victims and underdogs. Being a victim allows you to be successful in every other way, but still be the underdog. Cool deal.
    5. Victimhood is like a competitive varsity sport. More and more contestants vying for “top victim” mean that the bar has to be continually lowered. Now it’s so low you can’t even trip on it.
    6. It’s worth money. Get enough victims together (even imaginary statistical victims) and you have a Cause. Which over time you can turn into a lucrative business; and ultimately, with hard work and a little luck, into a racket. Victimhood can set you up for life.

    Personally, I only hope that I too can achieve victimhood someday”

  • Richard Thomas

    We seem to have reached a strange spiral where a ridiculous victimhood is claimed, someone sees and parodies that victimhood in caricature and then that caricature is adopted as a new, actual ridiculous victimhood.

  • Regional

    Being offended is destroying debate and when the flaws in ideology can’t be exposed the correction will be devastating for the perps.

  • Thailover

    The dark wizardry of propoganda lives strong in Hogwarts, aka accademia. Our merciful protectors create wars so the can gain more power over our lives…for our safety of course. Our merciful protectors even protect us from frightening words…for our sense of security of course. In response they will attack with actual “security” (censorship of course) to protect us emotionally from the harsh words…for our safety of course.

    Let us not forget that grimoire literally means grammar, that to cast a spell literally means to spell, and that glamore, a pleasing enchantment that does not change reality, but merely influences a false perception of it…also merely means grammar. Incantion comes from the Latin incantare, meaning to chant; to enchantment using the power of words.
    He who controls the words, controls the magic, and he who controls the magic controls the world.

  • Thailover

    Shit…I hate quickly jotting and then forgetting to spell check before I post. ‘Makes me look like a blithering idiot or an average Russian. LOL

  • Thailover

    John Galt, perhaps you recognize the name, Christina Hoff Summers. She’s a “feminist” who was full tilt feminist until she gave birth to a boy and dared to love the lurching rape-apologetic creature. She wrote the book The War on Boys and regularly gives talks as a feminist (yes, she still calls herself that) and calls for men’s rights as well. This heresy must be stopped at all costs…for our safety and sense of security of course; and let’s not forget community cohesion and national defense. Oh wait, what am I thinking. President Obama already stated that our greatest threat to national security is climate change. Perhaps challenging feminist rhetoric is our second greatest national risk.

  • RRS

    Perhaps one reason these “trigger” procedures are put in place in parts of academia is that the academic processes there are concerned chiefly with ensuring the adsorption of such thinking (and its delineations) as the self-perpetuating faculties deem appropriate (usually their own or what they have regurgitated).

    In a setting for such adsorption of thinking, the exposure to “other” thinking becomes a threat. That “other” thinking can not be given equal status (or classification) as “thought;” so it is classified as some degree of toxic or debilitating “noise” (not as thinking) as a matter of preconditioning to exposure.

  • Paul Marks

    Every day comes new pieces of information that support the thesis that taxpayer support for American universities (government backed “student loans” and so on) should be ended – these establishments are deeply harmful to the mental development of those who go to them (teaching political and cultural collectivism – and a closed mindedness that makes young people actively hostile to, and fearful of, any opinion that is not part of what ideology they have been taught).

    “But Paul there are American universities that are not like this”.

    Yes there are – but such universities, Hillsdale and so on, do not tend to get government backed “student loans” and so on.