Academic freedom Freedom of Speech Reading and Thinking wokery

The passionate intolerance of youth: “The Second Coming” (1919)–“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”


Janet Daly,”Adults have ceded absolute power to the faux-righteous, doctrinaire young: Grown-ups have given up across British life, allowing an ideological younger generation to call all the shots,” The Telegraph, July 8, 2023 (1:00 pm);

I first noticed something was wrong decades ago, when I observed a mother in a grocery store asking her six-year-old daughter what they should buy.

Then parents bought into the idea that their kids knew more about computers than they did, and started asking their children how to do things with computers and on the Internet. They did’t take the time to master these skills themselves, at least at first. against

Somewhere in there the phenomenon of helicopter parenting took hold, along with a mindset that chikdren had to be protected every conceivable danger, including certain things such as pornography or politically-incorrect thoughts.

It’s not clear how it happened, but gradually parents seem to have accepted the idea that parenting does not require teaching children values or disciplining them to uphold certain standards of behavior.

Whatever the causes, and we have merely alluded to some of the more obvious ones, we have arrived at the situation described by Janet Daly in her opinion column in The Telegraph today.

We are in deep trouble.

Young people today are concerned about controlling hurtful speech or ideas with which they disagree, while our civilization faces a frontal challenge from Russia through its continuing aggression against Ukraine and the barbarism of its soldiers.

Ask a young person what they think of tge war in Ukraine, and you’re likely to draw a blank.

William Butler Yeats 1865-1939) described a similar phenomenon in the “The Second Coming”, as follows:

The Second Coming (1919)p

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The Spirit of Voltaire

Academic freedom Freedom of Speech Identity Politics Race racial equality of opportunity racial equity of results

Beyond race: “Reflections of an affirmative action baby”

See, Pamela Paul, “This 1991 Book Was Stunningly Prescient About Affirmative Action, New York Times, May 25, 2023

Academic freedom Freedom of Speech Reading and Thinking

Free Speech at Stanford: Associate Dean for DEI urges “balancing test” between free speech and diversity, equity, and inclusion


Tirien Steinbach, “Diversity and Free Speech Can Coexist at Stanford; We have to stop blaming, start listening, and ask ourselves: Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2023 (2:00 pm ET);

Tirien Steinbach, the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Stanford Law School, offers a defense of her controversial intervention in the conflict over Judge Duncan’s speech at Stanford Law School recently.

At the same time, however, her article reveals the fundamental flaw in the approach of university administrators to the relationship between DEI and free speech.

She writes,

Diversity, equity and inclusion plans must have clear goals that lead to greater inclusion and belonging for all community members. How we strike a balance between free speech and diversity, equity and inclusion is worthy of serious, thoughtful and civil discussion. Free speech and diversity, equity and inclusion are means to an end, and one that I think many people can actually agree on: to live in a country with liberty and justice for all its people.

The fundamental flaw in this reasoning is the assumption that free speech should be “balanced” against diversity, equity, and inclusion, or any other societal goal.

Balancing free speech against any goal of society (Who decides what are and ranks societal goals? Who balances? What standard or test is used to balance?) is a slippery slope that leads very quickly to the curtailment of free speech.

The only balancing test that is necessary or desirable is that administered by judges between the near absolute value of free speech in a free and democratic society, on the one hand, and the likelihood of speech producing immediate physical violence or other physical harm, on the other.

The classic tests are still valid: “Don’t cry ‘fire’ in a theater” or give directions for arson in the middle of a riot.

Our legal system has carefully defined the few limitations on free speech that exist in our constitutional democracy.

Free speech is not only a societal goal, it is a constitutional right.

There is no need for university administrators or anyone else to introduce any new “balancing test” for limiting free speech.

The Spirit of Voltaire

See also,

1) Tunku Varadarajan, “DEI at Law Schools Could Bring Down America; After the Stanford episode, Ilya Shapiro sounds a warning: The threat to ‘dismantle existing structures’ is an idle one in English class. But in legal education it targets individual rights and equal treatment under the Constitution,” Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2023 (6:50 pm ET);

Academic freedom Freedom of Speech Religion

Academic freedom versus blasphemy; Showing a copy of a painting of Mohamed costs a Hamline University lecturer her job

1) Vimal Patel, “A Lecturer Showed a Painting of the Prophet Muhammad. She Lost Her Job; After an outcry over the art history class by Muslim students, Hamline University officials said the incident was Islamophobic. But many scholars say the work is a masterpiece,” New York Times, January 8, 2023 (Updated 7:38 a.m. ET);


Hamline’s president, Fayneese S. Miller, co-signed an email that said respect for the Muslim students “should have superseded academic freedom.” At a town hall, an invited Muslim speaker compared showing the images to teaching that Hitler was good.

Spirit of Voltaire