Friday, June 22, 2018

Get Up, Stand Up

Princeton is taking a stand for free speech.

Due largely to a new book promoting free speech by Princeton University political scientist Keith Whittington and the unusual support and campus-wide promotion of the book by Princeton’s president Chris Eisgruber, Princeton is now in the forefront of those American colleges and universities that have said “stop” to the onslaught of thuggish campus militants intent on shutting down free speech. [....] Three years ago, in April of 2015, the governing board of the faculty at Princeton adopted the main body of what has come to be known as the Chicago Principles of free speech and free expression. Originally drawn up by a committee of the University of Chicago chaired by law professor Geoffrey R. Stone, these principles condemned the suppression of views no matter how “offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed [they may appear] by some or even by most members of the University community."

Some familiar names there--Stone was a professor of mine at the University of Chicago, and Eisgruber was a fellow student.

I guess this is good news, but it's also pretty depressing.  To say that people should be allowed to speak freely on a campus (or pretty much anywhere), shouldn't require any bravery.  It should be assumed. Instead, those who want to say controversial things--and often not particularly controversial things--actually fear for their safety.

By the way, the piece blames "thuggish campus militants intent on shutting down free speech."  Perhaps, but if it's just a small group of militants, then I suggest, across the nation, the rest of the campus stand up to them and let them know they won't be allowed to get away with it (though they too will be allowed to express their beliefs unmolested).


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