The free speech wars on North American campuses appear to have arrived at their inevitable endpoint. For years, American and Canadian students have played around with a new form of morality in education. It is based not on a traditional concept of searching for truth or investigating and analysing ideas, but rather on the concept that the veracity of an opinion can be discerned by the person uttering it.
In this way, a considerable number of people have apparently decided that a variety of “privileges” exist that make some speakers vital to listen to and others unnecessary, unless they agree to mouth a set of pre-ordained platitudes.
This concept, coupled with the idea that minorities require special protection from speech, have now finally delivered the moral breakdown that was always waiting for it. The warning signs have been there for years.
In 2010, the former editor of the left-wing magazine The New Republic, Martin Peretz, arrived to speak at Harvard University. There he was greeted by a group of around a hundred students and others who decided to shout at him as he arrived at their campus. They decided to greet him with chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, Marty Peretz has got to go.” And so, a generation of American students who can have had little, if any, knowledge of Peretz’s career or left-wing interests, chose to name him a racist and be done with him.
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