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British Novelist to American Grads: There’s Nothing Virtuous about Being Offended

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Mark Antonio Wright
National Review
5/19/2015

A rather uneventful college commencement season full of the usual platitudes and bromides was shaken up by British novelist Ian McEwan’s refreshingly challenging the zeitgeist of trigger warnings, free-speech zones, and campus censorship at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania this week.

McEwan did not shy away from addressing the current temper on campus, choosing to focus on the creeping group-think in faculty lounges and discussion sections instead of the all too easy targets of Russian crackdowns on free speech or the “industrial scale” state-sponsored censorship in China. McEwan directly confronted the problem of a country rooted in the tradition of free expression under the First Amendment meekly submitting to what he called “bi-polar thinking” — the eagerness of some to “not side with Charlie Hebdo because it might seem as if  we’re endorsing George Bush’s War on Terror.”…

…Self-censorship or forced censorship on college campuses is growing, with recent instances of progressive speech suppression ranging from protests against Bill Maher at Berkeley to Brandeis University’s reneging on the conferral of an honorary doctorate to the Somali-born feminist and ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali over their criticism of Islam…

The complete article, with video of the commencement speech, is at National Review.

Related:    The Trigger-Happy Generation. If reading great literature traumatizes you, wait until you get a taste of adult life.

Readers know of the phenomenon at college campuses regarding charges of “microaggressions” and “triggers.” It’s been going on for a while and is part of a growing censorship movement in which professors, administrators and others are accused of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, gender bias and ethnocentric thinking, among other things. Connected is the rejection or harassment of commencement and other campus speakers who are not politically correct. I hate that phrase, but it just won’t stop being current.

Kirsten Powers goes into much of this in her book, “The Silencing.” Anyway, quite a bunch of little Marats and Robespierres we’re bringing up…



Source: http://commonamericanjournal.com/british-novelist-to-american-grads-theres-nothing-virtuous-about-being-offended/


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