The Corner

Education

Another Professor Gets Shouted Down

What if you think that English does not need to be tortured with politically correct locutions? Someone who persists in using “he” as a singular pronoun instead of “they” and scoffs at the new demands for gender-neutral pronouns like “ze” and “zir.” And what if you’re so brazen as to publicly express your disdain for all of this?

Naturally, you’re apt to run into rabid protesters if you speak on a university campus. And that’s even true in Canada, where University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson was recently given the Charles Murray treatment when he tried to speak at McMaster University. Supposedly, it’s a human-rights violation to fail to use these new “inclusive” pronouns and the protesters impressively proved their case by blasting Peterson with air horns and chants through a megaphone. Read all about it in this Martin Center article.

As at Middlebury, the school’s president issued an apologetic statement. Some students might face punishment.

That’s fine, but talking about the need for free speech to ignoramuses who obviously don’t think any speech that disagrees with their views should be free won’t accomplish much. I suggest that it’s time for higher-education leaders to recognize that they’re facing a grave educational problem in that large numbers of students are quite intolerant. They need to be taught the importance of free speech for everyone, tolerance, and the need to confront opposing views with logical arguments. Instead of wasting a freshman requirement on some sort of “diversity” course, colleges should have incoming students take a course that teaches them how civilized people respond to clashing ideas. That would pull the noxious plant of intolerance out by its roots.

Alas, the schools most likely to do that are the ones where it’s least needed.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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