I was going to write something about the many recent instances of protests on college campuses that had the intent and effect of making it impossible for invited speakers to speak, and for people who were interested in engaging with their ideas to hear them.
But, then, I remembered that I already wrote about this 11 years ago. So, it’s nothing new, and I’m still against it.
The only thing I’ll add is that while the original post focused on scientific ideas, the same can be said of the benefits of open expression and criticism of other kinds of ideas as well.
You (usually) don’t have to listen to ideas you oppose for very long. But, when you go a step further and try to prevent other people from hearing those ideas, you’ve become a threat to human flourishing.
Whenever I hear stories about people lavishing praise on Donald Trump, like at the recent “Dear Leader” cabinet meeting, I try to put the most positive spin on it that I can.
So, I imagine that they’re treating him like a dangerous monster with incredible power, who must be complimented with effusive praise and lies to keep him from doing horrible damage. I think of them as people speaking to Anthony in the Twilight Zone episode: It’s a Good Life.
Perhaps the truth is much worse than that…but I’m an optimist.
We are living in very strange times.
It would be nice if we could reason people out of violence in the name of Islam.
But, unfortunately, that won’t work with many people. Among other things, it will take social pressure that makes alternatives more attractive in the context of their religious identity.
That’s why I’m so happy to see efforts like this one by the Kuwaiti telecom company Zain :