The University of Chicago is delivering an open letter to incoming freshmen announcing its “commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression” against the draconian political correctness codes reigning on most U.S. college campuses.
In rebellion against the trend toward less freedom of expression in higher education, Chicago states that its commitment to academic freedom “means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”
In other words, if you are afraid of others disagreeing with you or challenging your ideas, then Chicago is not for you.
“You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort,” the letter warns.
Earlier this summer, the University of North Carolina had to retract a despotic list of “microaggressions” that had been deemed off-limits, since they could purportedly be offensive to other students.
The list of politically incorrect phrases forbidden on campus were “Christmas vacation” (too Christian), “I love your shoes” (too focused on women’s appearance) and “husband” or “wife” (too cisgender). The ridiculous list went on and on, and was only removed after unwanted publicity shamed the university into removing it.
In a brilliant essay in Forbes earlier this year, the celebrated historian Paul Johnson defined political correctness as a “mental infection,” noting that it is one of the “most dangerous intellectual afflictions ever to attack mankind” because it forces citizens to walk in mindless ideological lockstep.
Pulling no punches, Johnson said that PC has an “enormous appeal to the semieducated,” but also attracts pseudo-intellectuals everywhere, “since it evokes the strong streak of cowardice notable among those wielding academic authority.”
“To a great extent PC is the revenge of the resentful underdog,” he wrote.
“Thus, there isn’t a university campus on either side of the Atlantic that’s not in danger of censorship. The brutal young don’t even need to impose it themselves; their trembling elders will do it for them,” Johnson observed.
Well, until now. It seems that there may be one major American university that is finally putting its foot down.
The University of Chicago, known during the last century as a bastion of independent economic thought in opposition to Ivy League Keynesianism, is now leading the charge against political correctness on campus.
“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship,” Chicago’s academic dean tells incoming freshmen.
For those who care about freedom of thought and expression, that is very good news indeed.
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