Here’s a fine example of how to exchange ideas: Two people gather in a forum to present and dispute the data used, the methodologies applied, the empirical evidence offered, and the conclusions and conjectures both might draw from their own thinking. There’s some light moderation and Q & A from the audience:
From Middlebury College a few days ago (where Charles Murray was invited to speak but was shouted-down and chased-away):
An example of how not to exchange ideas: Individuals are encouraged to simply show up and participate as part of a mob, likely getting a sense of identity, purpose, and accomplishment by righteously shouting down an invited speaker.
Free inquiry is chilled, the passions incited and engaged, and the hatreds organized. This approach clouds the truth and the civilities and methods by which we more reasonably can arrive at truth.
The truth, for the most part, has already been decided in many minds (enough to act in such an ignorant way). The administrator who had injury done to her in trying to exit the event was just getting in the way of the truth, dear reader.
Such thinking has been institutionalized in many settings: Here’s how the Washington Post portrayed the affair, labeling Charles Murray not by the quality of his ideas, nor his reasoning, but by a rather laughably inaccurate representation of events, sympathetic to the mob:
As previously posted: Below is an example how similar stewardship of our institutions by those who share in such ideology themselves, or who offer tacit approval of such ideology (tolerating the intolerance through capitulation, or in a kind of enemy-seeking ‘brownstone activism’), has gone on for a generations now.
From TheFire.Org-‘The Condescending Paternalism Of Williams President Adam Falk:’
As FIRE co-founder Alan Charles Kors has said: “You cannot say to people, you’re too weak to live with freedom. Only that group is strong enough to live with freedom.”
But that’s exactly what Adam Falk, the patronizing president of Williams College, has said to the college’s student body. Yesterday, Falk unilaterally canceled a speech by John Derbyshire, who was invited as part of the student-run “Uncomfortable Learning” speaker series.
From Adam Falk’s letter to Williams students about the matter:
‘Today I am taking the extraordinary step of canceling a speech by John Derbyshire, who was to have presented his views here on Monday night. The college didn’t invite Derbyshire, but I have made it clear to the students who did that the college will not provide a platform for him.
Free speech is a value I hold in extremely high regard. The college has a very long history of encouraging the expression of a range of viewpoints and giving voice to widely differing opinions. We have said we wouldn’t cancel speakers or prevent the expression of views except in the most extreme circumstances. In other words: There’s a line somewhere, but in our history of hosting events and speeches of all kinds, we hadn’t yet found it.
We’ve found the line. Derbyshire, in my opinion, is on the other side of it. Many of his expressions clearly constitute hate speech, and we will not promote such speech on this campus or in our community.
We respect—and expect—our students’ exploration of ideas, including ones that are very challenging, and we encourage individual choice and decision-making by students. But at times it’s our role as educators and administrators to step in and make decisions that are in the best interest of students and our community. This is one of those times.’
John Derbyshire raised quite a stir after publishing ‘The Talk: Nonblack Version,’
‘There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following. ‘
Of course, what better place than a liberal arts college to talk these matters out?
Read up. Get your reasons and arguments together. Show up at the debate, alone or with friends. Listen to the other fellow. Think. Respond. Think some more. Debate.
Publishing and disseminating the thoughts and ideas of others is not necessarily an endorsement of those thoughts and ideas, but it is absolutely vital in maintaining a free and open society:
Out of principle alone, here’s Derbyshire discussing his general worldview: