Monday, January 10, 2011

Censorship on Campus: Liberal or Religious?

The assault on the system of higher education in this country will stoop to any falsity, manipulation of facts or outright lie in order to hammer home the tired point that universities are evil. See, for example, this recent article that begins with the following alarmist statement:
The tendency of 1990s’ campus liberals to sacrifice free expression on the altar of political correctness has given way to even more insidious examples of fear and paranoia. Attorneys Greg Lukianoff and Will Creeley, in the pages of Free Inquiry (Aug.-Sept. 2010), argue this trend will leave America’s universities, once defined by the Supreme Court as “peculiarly the marketplace of ideas,” increasingly isolated, insulated, and intellectually sterile.
Sounds scary, huh? It would be if it weren't for the little matter of proof needed to substantiate such blanket accusations addressed to the US universities. The article's author has very little to offer in terms of proof. There is the case of Yale that censored a scholarly volume analyzing the cartoons that used the image of Prophet Mohammad and created a huge controversy in Europe (you can read the details of this case here). Ther is also the case of New York University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Chicago that also had some sort of an issue with cartoons featuring Mohammad.
The article shamelessly attributes these cases of on-campus censorship to "liberal thought police." But is it really a liberal trend? The only thing that all these cases have in common is the terror of offending the religious folk. Religious fanatics of every ilk abound in this country. After they put their fanatical president in office in 2000 and 2004, there is no stopping them from colonizing the public discourse to the extent where we are all terrified of offending their sensibilities. To give an example, nobody is allowed to hand out any propaganda, flyers, etc. on the campus of my public university. When the preachers descend on campus, though, nobody can stop them from doing what nobody else can withou a special permit. (I wrote about this here and here).
There is nothing liberal in this terror of the religious people. More and more often, religious fanatics in this country are attacking the separation of church and state. Now we are all terrified of saying, doing or thinking anything that will bring their wrath upon us. The word "religion" makes everybody cower in fear because religious fanatics (be they Christian, Muslim, or anything else) are capable of any retaliation. It's annoying that irresponsible journalists fail to assign blame where it's due: to the religious thought police.


Izgad said...

"this recent artcile that begins with the following alarmist statement:"


Clarissa said...

Thank you!