Tag Archives: Intellectual Freedom

Intellectual Intolerance – Stunning Speech From Stanford University Provost Exposes “The Threat From Within”, by Tyler Durden

Let’s hope Stanford Provost John Etchemendy is on the leading edge of a backlash against intellectual intolerance masquerading as “tolerance” on college campuses. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

In a remarkable – for its honesty and frankness – statement on the intellectual rot within America’s Ivory Towers, Stanford University Provost John Etchemendy lay bare the challenges that higher education face in the coming, increasingly divisive, years.

The Threat From Within

Universities are a fundamental force of good in the world. At their best, they mine knowledge and understanding, wisdom and insight, and then freely distribute these treasures to society at large. Theirs is not a monopoly on this undertaking, but in the concentration of effort and single-mindedness of purpose, they are truly unique institutions. If Aristotle is right that what defines a human is rationality, then they are the most distinctive, perhaps the pinnacle, of human endeavors.

I share this thought to remind us all why we do what we do – why we care so much about Stanford and what it represents. But I also say it to voice a concern. Universities are under attack, both from outside and from within.

The threat from outside is apparent. Potential cuts in federal funding would diminish our research enterprise and our ability to fund graduate education. Taxing endowments would limit the support we can give to faculty and the services we can provide our students. Indiscriminate travel restrictions would impede the free exchange of ideas and scholars. All of these threats have intensified in recent years – and recent months have given them a reality that is hard to ignore.

But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within. Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.

To continue reading: Intellectual Intolerance – Stunning Speech From Stanford University Provost Exposes “The Threat From Within”

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UCLA banned my book on Islam from a free speech event, by Elan Journo

Is there anybody left in a major American university who understands and is willing to defend the concepts of civil liberties and intellectual freedom? From Elan Journo at thehill.com:

At UCLA Law School last week, a squad of student “thought police” tried to ban my book, Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond. They don’t want you to know the book even exists, let alone what’s inside it. And the UCLA administration enabled them. This ominous episode underlines how students are learning to be contemptuous of intellectual freedom.

The story of what happened at UCLA is laced with ironies. On Feb. 1, the UCLA chapter of the Federalist Society and the Ayn Rand Institute co-sponsored a panel discussion at UCLA Law School on the vital importance of freedom of speech and the threats to it. My book shows how certain philosophic ideas undercut America’s response to the jihadist movement, including notably its attacks on freedom of speech.

Naturally, the book was displayed and offered for sale at a reception prior to the event, which featured Dave Rubin, the contrarian YouTube host; Flemming Rose, the Danish editor who published the now-infamous Mohammad cartoons in 2005 and author of The Tyranny of Silence; and Steve Simpson, editor of Defending Free Speech (these two books were also displayed).

During the reception, however, a group of UCLA students assembled in front of the book table and objected to mine. Why? Had they read the book, weighed the evidence, and found it lacking? Had they formed a considered evaluation of the book’s argument?

No: They felt the book was “offensive” and “insulting.” They had “issues” with the views that I and my co-author, Onkar Ghate, put forward. Our views, it seems, were “Islamophobic.” Based on what? Apparently, for some of them, it was the book’s title.

To continue reading: UCLA banned my book on Islam from a free speech event