Monday, November 21, 2016

IHE: Free Speech In Contentious Times

How about: "diversity" is not at odds with freedom of inquiry and expression.
   Repression and censorship are at odds with freedom of inquiry and expression.
   We can have all the "diversity" we want (though personally I think we need to drop the mantra and say what we mean) and it should have no affect whatsoever on free speech. No new problem arises. There has always been a tension between people's feelings and freedom of expression. This is nothing new. We are permitted to take the former into account, and often ought to. But we're permitted not to and often ought not.
   And: As an IHE commenter notes: any thought that universities need to strike some balance between our Constitutional rights and people's feelings and preferences is way off on the wrong foot.
   I'd add: we don't even need to appeal to the Constitution here. Universities are essentially places for free inquiry and discussion. Period. That doesn't mean that we should intentionally be mean to people, nor that we should use appeals to free expression as a smokescreen for jackassery. But it does mean that, when there's a conflict, it's free inquiry that should win out.
   Furthermore, the arguments presented for the other side in the IHE piece are, for the record, not strong.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Lewis Carroll said...

How about just 'people's hurt feelings are not sufficient reason to call in a coercive power to correct the hurt (e.g. government, university adminstration)'?

And that free speech should be the strong presumption, such that the bar for infringing it should be high, and that the solution to 'offensive' speech is more speech against the offense; not the stifling of locally and idiosyncratically offensive views?

If we can get those two premises agreed upon, I think we would be far along in our progress to beat back PC.

(Note I'm willing to make some prudential allowances for things like 'trigger warnings' if it is known that events similar to traumatic experiences that one or more of the participants may have suffered will be discussed. But NOT because someone might be made uncomfortable because they will have to be in the presence of people who disagree with them)

2:06 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Has anyone not thought of the obvious regarding this:

"Balancing Freedom of Expression and Diversity on Campuses."

Which is: The former is required for the latter?

I mean...how diverse can your campus be if you aren't free to engage in...diverse expressions?

wat?

What they really mean is:

"Choosing how much freedom of expression to permit on diverse campuses."

3:16 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

LC wrote:

>How about just 'people's hurt feelings are not sufficient reason to call in a coercive power to correct the hurt (e.g. government, university adminstration)'?

And that free speech should be the strong presumption, such that the bar for infringing it should be high, and that the solution to 'offensive' speech is more speech against the offense; not the stifling of locally >and idiosyncratically offensive >views?

Yeah, I'm 100% down with this, LC

4:23 PM  

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