Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

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Hanna
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Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Hanna » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:09 pm

By Robert J. Zimmer, the President of the University of Chicago

Free speech is at risk at the very institution where it should be assured: the university. Invited speakers are disinvited because a segment of a university community deems them offensive, while other orators are shouted down for similar reasons. Demands are made to eliminate readings that might make some students uncomfortable. Individuals are forced to apologize for expressing views that conflict with prevailing perceptions. In many cases, these efforts have been supported by university administrators.

Yet what is the value of a university education without encountering, reflecting on and debating ideas that differ from the ones that students brought with them to college? The purpose of a university education is to provide the critical pathway by which students can fulfill their potential, change the trajectory of their families, and build healthier and more inclusive societies.

Students learn not only through the acquisition of specific knowledge, but also through the attainment of intellectual skills that serve them their entire life. Students come to appreciate context, trade-offs and data. They master how to recognize complexity, to argue effectively for their positions and to reconsider and challenge their own beliefs.

(snip)

Students grasp the complexity of collecting, analyzing, interpreting and deriving meaning from evidence of multiple forms. They learn to imagine alternatives, to test their hypotheses and to question the accepted wisdom. A good education gives students the intellectual skills and approaches essential to success in much of human endeavor.

One word summarizes the process by which universities impart these skills: questioning. Productive and informed questioning involves challenging assumptions, arguments and conclusions. It calls for multiple and diverse perspectives and listening to the views of others. It requires understanding the power and limitations of arguments. More fundamentally, the process of questioning demands an ability to rethink one’s own assumptions, often the most difficult task of all.

(snip)

Over the years, universities have come under attack from a range of groups, both external and internal, that demand the silencing of speakers, faculty, students and visitors. The attack is sometimes driven by a desire of an individual or group not to have its authority questioned. Other times it derives from a group’s moral certainty that its particular values, beliefs or approaches are the only correct ones and that others should adhere to the group’s views. Some assert that universities should be refuges from intellectual discomfort and that their own discomfort with conflicting and challenging views should override the value of free and open discourse.

(snip)

Universities cannot be viewed as a sanctuary for comfort but rather as a crucible for confronting ideas and thereby learning to make informed judgments in complex environments. Having one’s assumptions challenged and experiencing the discomfort that sometimes accompanies this process are intrinsic parts of an excellent education. Only then will students develop the skills necessary to build their own futures and contribute to society.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/free-speech ... 1472164801

Reconquista Primero
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Reconquista Primero » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:02 pm

The fault for the precious snowflakes who will melt if they are exposed to an idea with which they disagree should be placed squarely on their parents. I am fortunate and grateful to have had parents who felt it important for me to hear competing views.
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Hanna
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Hanna » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:48 am

A Safe Space for Unsafe Spaces

A University of Chicago letter welcoming freshmen with the warning they would arrive at a campus committed to “freedom of inquiry and expression” prompted a national debate on restoring free speech on campuses. The most interesting lesson is why it will be so hard for other universities to follow Chicago’s lead.

The letter rejected today’s higher-education fads: “We do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.” Rigorous but civilized debate “may challenge you and even cause discomfort.”

(snip)

Brown University was widely mocked last year for setting up a safe space for students “with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies.” This year Brown’s president, Christina Paxson, declared in her convocation address: “Suppressing ideas at a university is akin to turning off the power at a factory.” Professors are terrified they will be set upon for an inadvertent offense, as happened last year at Yale when a professor was forced out for suggesting students could pick their own Halloween costumes without instructions from the administration. Recent surveys find most university students resent having to censor themselves out of fear of offending someone else’s beliefs.

(snip)

One factor that sets Chicago apart from other campuses is that it can rely only on serious academics for its reputation. President Robert Hutchins abolished the football team in 1939—despite many Big 10 championships—in order to focus on the life of the mind. Hutchins justified having communists speak on campus by arguing the way to rebut objectionable ideas “lies through open discussion rather than through prohibition.”

The focus on academics also helps keep politicians and celebrities at arm’s length. In the 1950s, Chicago’s mayor asked the university to award Queen Elizabeth II an honorary degree when she visited the city. “We’re happy to consider it,” the university replied. “Please send copies of her scholarly work.”

(snip)

Ending the infantilizing of college students will take resolve. Next time administrators get demands to cancel a conservative’s speech or censor academic discussions, they can cite former Chicago President Hanna Gray’s pithy summary: “Education should not be intended to make people comfortable. It is meant to make them think.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-safe-spac ... 1474235375

Luca
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Luca » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:06 am

It's been interesting to watch the evolution of the politically correct speech movement, or whatever you might call it

What is considered the norm on numerous campuses and in public speech would have been considered laughably spineless just 20 years ago. You wonder what and who is the impetus for this, but I have no idea. The concept that you're entitled not to hear that which you personally term offensive is a nonsensical stance and yet in some areas it appears to be an assumption

Every culture has norms and a few of them are universal, but the concept that we are entitled to be free from offense - however slight it may be– is a very novel one. We can only hope it is " relegated to the dustbin of history" like so many other hopelessly naive theories...........Luca

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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by MDDad » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:28 am

The right to never be offended makes perfect sense when it’s viewed as just another element of the ongoing pussification process. It’s no different than the relatively recent vilification of bullying, the notion that every participant should get a trophy, the idea that we’re fat or poor because we’re victims, the upgrading of student grades because self-esteem is more important than academic achievement, the dumbing-down of everything we see, hear and read so we can feel smarter, and the tendency to transfer Johnny Football to another school as soon as the competition is too tough at the one he’s attending now. It’s ubiquitous.

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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Luca » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:53 am

Your use of the term "pussification" is clearly intended as a derogatory reference to the feline community. As though merely because they are small and devoid of any discernible purpose they fail to measure up to your phallocentric, patriarchic imperialistic standards. Though not a feline myself, I "identify" closely with them and thus I find your attitude offensive and hateful. I insist that you offer a public apology and demand your resignation.................Luca

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John Q. Public
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by John Q. Public » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:20 pm

MDDad wrote:The right to never be offended makes perfect sense when it’s viewed as just another element of the ongoing pussification process. It’s no different than the relatively recent vilification of bullying, the notion that every participant should get a trophy, the idea that we’re fat or poor because we’re victims, the upgrading of student grades because self-esteem is more important than academic achievement, the dumbing-down of everything we see, hear and read so we can feel smarter, and the tendency to transfer Johnny Football to another school as soon as the competition is too tough at the one he’s attending now. It’s ubiquitous.
Wondering if being exempted from selling baked goods to people whose moral values we don't share might be included in the list.

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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Luca » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:40 pm

Way to stay on topic there, JQ.............Luca

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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by John Q. Public » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:02 pm

Same issue, near as I can tell.
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Luca
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Luca » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:11 pm

Really? Well, I suppose that explains a few things.

It's your board and you can ad lib and adjust whatever rules you would like, but you are doing exactly what you criticize others for doing.

No, these are not the same issue...........Luca

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Omar Bongo
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Omar Bongo » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:54 pm

MDDad wrote:The right to never be offended makes perfect sense when it’s viewed as just another element of the ongoing pussification process. It’s no different than the relatively recent vilification of bullying...
The "villification of bullying"?? Rushing to defend the honor of bullies #-o What's next, Bully Lives Matter?

Question, does this "ongoing pussification" include pussified kids like the one who was rolled up in a PE mat, stuffed in a closet and suffocated? What a wimp.

Maybe you could retract or at least explain since your zealous attack on the PC crowd seems to exhibit the uncanny accuracy of Dick Cheney at a duck hunt...
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John Q. Public
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by John Q. Public » Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:37 pm

Luca, in nearly all cases bakers deliver their product to an empty room before any of the guests have arrived. They're no more participants than the people who made the tuxedoes. How is exempting them anything other than protecting their frail sensibilities?
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sbayhills
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by sbayhills » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:01 am

John Q. Public wrote:protecting their frail sensibilities?
Maybe you should be applying this same standard to those who have brought legal suits, and destroyed businesses because of their own frail sensibilities. If they don't want their business, just find another one who does.

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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by John Q. Public » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:01 am

I probably would if I didn't think their cause was justified, but if it is, more power to them.
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Luca
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Luca » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:31 am

This is a very revealing thread, actually. It was a timely topic introduced by Hannah followed by a nice response by Reconquista. And then it died, because those who would defend the PC culture don't want to be seen as defending the more inane components. Which is why JQ changed the subject.

Your analogy with the baker is as superficial as it is irrelevant, JQ, so I'm not going to bother to pursue it. Frankly, I don't give a **** about the timing of pastry delivery at wedding ceremonies

What I will do is point to the most superficial and self-evident level of confusion here. Look at the title of this thread: "Free speech is the basis of true education." It deals with the current culture of cenorship at educational institutions. It deals with freedom of speech and growing suppression of opposing views at what are supposed to be institutions of education. That is the topic.

And you start in about bakers and homosexual marriage and whether they should be forced to sell their goods in opposition to their religious convictions. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech at educational facilities and you claim not to see the distinction.

There is an obvious distinction between speech and behavior. The failure to grasp that is probably one of the driving factors in campus PC hysteria. The cupcakes are so arrogant in their conclusions and terrified of having them challenged that they consider even discussing opposing idea an offense, and they fear to distinguish between speech and behavior

I would be willing to consider discussing the merits of compelling bakers to sell their goods if you would like to start a thread on the topic, but obviously that is not the subject of this thread....................................Luca

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Fordama
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Fordama » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:57 am

Seems like Lucas is concerned because he wants conservatives to be able to be PC, but not liberals.

I think those who suppress free speech--especially on campuses--should be taken out and beaten with a hose. As should those who discriminate on the basis of religion--like said bakers.

There. Everybody happy?

Fordama
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by John Q. Public » Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:06 am

Hey, I fully support opposing viewpoints being heard regardless of their being offensive or not. I support the KKK's and the Black Panthers' rights to be heard equally and i think people trying to shut them down are being weak and counter-productive. I do have a problem when the speaker's pitch is based on falsehoods, though, which I think was the case with one that was cancelled recently, though.

And I really don't see a difference between having to hear opinions that may be offensive and having to do business with people whose behavior a person might find offensive. In the case of a gay wedding, I fully support a minister's, a bartender's or even a banquet hall's right to right to refuse the gig on religious grounds, but I don't when they stretch and claim to be participants when they're not or when they claim religion when the real issue is bigotry. Political correctness isn't just a Liberal affliction.
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Omar Bongo
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Omar Bongo » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:11 pm

sbayhills wrote:If they don't want their business, just find another one who does
Image

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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Red » Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:48 am

Geez! Nice example Omar - so 1950ish!
Liberalism is like an out-of-control 5 year old at McDonalds. All the talking to and admonishment won't make a difference. They have no concept of right or wrong, they are nothing more than narcissists.

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Fordama
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Re: Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education

Post by Fordama » Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:14 am

And yet still relevant.
This country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.---JFK

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