“Speech Police”

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by Maria Krisanova/Unsplash

Continuing on with more thoughts on censorship from the self appointed culture police. Today I was speaking with a young man who worked in catering at a large university while he was in school there. A campus conservative group invited a speaker to address them. The young man had to help prepare the room where the speech would take place. One of his tasks was to fasten the 400 seats to one another with zip ties. Why?

It turns out that another campus group didn’t want the speaker to come to the campus. When their efforts failed to prevent another campus group from having its own agenda, they ramped up their protest. Not by standing outside the talk. Instead they came in and tried shouting down the guest. In past encounters, they had thrown chairs. Hence the need for the worker to zip tie them in place.

I am not sure when it was determined that universities were no longer the place for an exchange of views–even widely differing ones. In my mind the behavior of the protestors, rather than discounting the views, seemed to suggest the ideas were very powerful. So powerful that merely hearing them would cause damage. Fascism on  either end of the spectrum looks remarkably similar, doesn’t it.

19 thoughts on ““Speech Police”

  1. I remember a time when universities were a hotbed of radical ideas and political protest. These days, it seems all they organise against are tuition fees and global warming.
    The fire went out.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Similar protests are happening at universities in the UK. It is sad that so many young people are afraid to hear opinions aired which differ from their own. Instead of putting together reasoned argument against opinions they don’t share, they seek instead to silence them.
    When I was at secondary school (in the dark ages) debates were staged regularly. We were taught how to put forward our point of view and learned what was acceptable. I expect that is no longer seen as an essential skill.

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    1. I think this is because of the smallest family unit has shrunk. Most of us have one or two siblings, if any. We are not used to agreeing to disagree. The mobile phones and Dish TV ensures that we spend time away from healthy competition and learn never to lose and never to share. Even in India, where joint family system ensured that we heard diverse opinion, now we have a child per family. Hence healthy disagreement is a thing of past.

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  3. Why does it sound so much like India Prime Minister’s “support groups”? India’s economy has taken the worse dip since our independence 70 years back. Secularism, which is the soul of India and Indian Constitution, has taken the worst possible hit. Mob lynching against Muslims is a common exercise. Yet, nobody speaks about it. Reporters have lost their jobs and News Channels gave lost license to operate because tgey spoke. And, as I comment, i am scared that the cyber security cell will read it and send me to jail or some “supporter” will read it and make my life hell.

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