Well, well, well. Have political correctness and speech codes at colleges and universities finally jumped the shark? If so, I’m happy to give credit to President Barack Obama for this scolding yesterday in Des Moines, Iowa. True, it comes in response to a proposal from Ben Carson to start withholding federal funds from colleges that suppress speech, but it’s still worth praising:
“It’s not just sometimes folks who are mad that colleges are too liberal that have a problem. Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side. And that’s a problem, too,” Obama said during a town hall on Monday in Des Moines, Iowa.
“I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative. Or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African Americans, or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women,” Obama continued.
“I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of views,” he said. …
“Anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, you can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say. That’s not the way we learn, either,” Obama said Monday in Iowa.
Carson suggested financial penalties for colleges that exhibit “extreme political bias,” while pledging to keep the Department of Education:
Ben Carson would keep the Department of Education if elected president, but add oversight for colleges and universities, the Republican candidate told a crowd of more than 100 people during a stop Friday in Corning.
“The other function I would give to the Department of Education is monitoring our institutions of higher learning — colleges and universities — for extreme political bias. If it exists, they get no federal funding,” Carson said.
The retired neurosurgeon proposed ramping up STEM education to place science, technology, engineering and math skills at the forefront of public education.
Obama called this an idea that “might work in the Soviet Union,” and goes into a lengthy rebuttal to it in an answer to a question from a North High School student. After slapping at Carson’s intellect, Obama says that college is supposed to “expand your horizons” by experiencing a lot of ideas, debates, and analysis about the wider world, “getting out of your narrow point of view and having a broader point of view.” At times, the opposing views would be “infuriating” to Obama, but he learned from them. “That’s what college is all about,” he says, but extends it past Carson’s proposal all the way to political correctness and speech codes (starting at 40:28, via the Daily Caller):
He’s certainly right on the larger point. Perhaps having this lecture from Obama will start having some impact in Academia about their shocking disposal of free speech in favor of indoctrination and intimidation. Either that, or schools will just block this speech on YouTube. But if it’s the former, then this may be an only-Nixon-can-go-to-China moment, as in only Obama could embarrass Academia enough to snap out of it. Play this for your favorite academic, and don’t offer a trigger warning, either.