Keeping lessons of Founders alive on campus, George Will, Boston Herald
Encouraging developments are as welcome as they are rare in colleges and universities that cultivate diversity in everything but thought. Fortunately, state legislatures, alumni and philanthropists are planting little academic platoons that will make campuses less intellectually monochrome. One such, just launched, is Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.
The Dangerous Safety of College, Frank Bruni, NYT
The moral of the recent melee at Middlebury College, where students shouted down and chased away a controversial social scientist, isn’t just about free speech, though that’s the rubric under which the ugly incident has been tucked. It’s about emotional coddling. It’s about intellectual impoverishment.
Somewhere along the way, those young men and women — our future leaders, perhaps — got the idea that they should be able to purge their world of perspectives offensive to them. They came to believe that it’s morally dignified and politically constructive to scream rather than to reason, to hurl slurs in place of arguments. They have been done a terrible disservice. All of us have, and we need to reacquaint ourselves with what education really means and what colleges do and don’t owe their charges.
Herbert Marcuse advocated “discriminating tolerance,” a concept that I critiqued at National Review Online in June 2015. Only some viewpoints should be tolerated, Marcuse contended. This “discriminating tolerance” would, as he put it, “mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.” For the sake of true tolerance and of liberation of the human spirit, tolerance would be withdrawn from viewpoints that Marcuse considered harmful. His work and that of other members of the Frankfurt School has been greatly influential in politically correct culture and campus politics. The unrest at Middlebury College last week might be seen as a violent apotheosis of the teachings of “discriminating tolerance.”