Rest here:Popehat wrote:For some time I've been mean to university students who feel entitled to a "safe space" — by which they seem to mean a space where they are insulated from ideas they don't like.
I call these young people out for valuing illusory and subjective safety over liberty. I accuse them of accepting that speech is "harmful" without logic or proof. I mock them for not grasping that universities are supposed to be places of open inquiry. I condemn them for not being critical about the difference between nasty speech and nasty actions, and for thinking they have a right not to be offended. I belittle them for abandoning fundamental American values.
But recently a question occurred to me: where, exactly, do I think these young people should have learned the values that I expect them to uphold?
Today's college students came of age in the years after 9/11. What did we teach them about the balance between liberty and safety in that time?
We should have taught them not to give up essential liberty for a little safety. Instead, we taught them that the government needs the power to send flying robots to kill anyone on the face of the earth without review and without telling us why. The government, we're told, needs to do that for our safety. We also taught them that the government also needs the power to detain people indefinitely without judicial review, again in the name of safety. We taught them that to ensure our safety the government needs the records of what books we read and who we talk to. With that as a model, it seems like small potatoes to say that safety requires disinviting Bill Maher from a university commencement, because he's something of a dick.
We should have taught them that it's noble to speak out for liberty. We didn't. We taught them that concern with liberty is suspicious. They grew up in an America where police say that talking about civil liberties suggests involvement in criminal behavior and that criticizing law enforcement priorities provides a good reason to investigate you. They grew up in an America were the FBI monitors protestors and activists in the name of safety. They grew up in an America where questioning the War on Drugs is called unpatriotic.
How can we expose more people to critical thinking?
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Seems the right thread: