Thursday, September 26, 2002

Instapundit links to an old piece of his about academics commenting on current events-- well worth a look.

One more bit about the University of Chicago. This week I was involved in a freshman orientation event-- a sort-of moot court on the hypothetical question of whether Nathan Hale, the vicious racist founder of the World Church of the Creator and a proponent of "racial holy war"-- would be allowed to speak on campus if invited by a student group. In the first place, I love that this is Chicago's approach to an orientation event about campus diversity: have an argument, and talk about free speech a lot. The contrast with freshman orientation at my dearly-beloved alma mater, Brown, couldn't have been starker. While I've long argued that Brown's reputation for orthodox political correctness is basically undeserved, orientation week was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the most orthodox sect of the race-gender-class church, and argument was not welcome. (Let me emphasize: this was only true of orientation week.) Second, the trial was introduced by an address by a senior university administrator telling the students, more or less, "This is a place for argument, not a place for your feelings to be protected. Get used to it." Third, the post-trial vote by the freshmen was 56%-44% in favor of letting the speaker speak. This is the place singled out by Campus Watch as a hotbed of political correctness-- though I guess that by CW's bizarre standards, allowing the white supremacist onto campus might count as proof that we'd been captured by the postcolonialist Islamist left, since after all Hale doesn't like Jews either.

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