The Censor as Romantic Hero

I have a new article at Forbes.com about that case I mentioned last week of a student in Canada who called his decision to tear down a “Free Speech Wall” a “moral imperative.” 

I’d like to highlight this point for discussion, as it is a major theme in my book:

The romanticization of the censor is, at its heart, anti-rational. To Smith, it does not matter that the group sponsoring the free speech wall supported gay rights, including gay marriage, or that universities have traditionally been at the vanguard of supporting the rights of LGBT students, or that the student government itself was sponsoring a gay pride week. Smith was taking advantage of an implicit rule of politically correct morality that has become commonplace on and, increasingly, off campus: when someone grandstands, it is considered bad form to question the content or coherence of the grandstander’s message and, instead, you are expected to applaud his or her emotional vigor.

  1. Severely Ltd.

    Great article. I wish it were in the New York Times where it would be seen by more than the choir.

  2. Pilli

    “when someone grandstands, it is considered bad form to question the content or coherence of the grandstander’s message and, instead, you are expected to applaud his or her emotional vigor.”

    Is this not an offshoot of the practice of giving “participation” awards?  Everyone gets a trophy regardless of performance.  Seems childish.

  3. KC Mulville

    I admire the grandstanding activist in the same way I admire the brave soldier for the enemy. Sure I admire him.

    I still shoot him, though.

  4. Man With the Axe

    How infantile does someone have to be to fail to understand the golden rule, especially as it applies to free speech in a democracy? “Free speech for me but not for thee.” I hope that these acts of vandalism are punished as any property destruction should be, with jail time.

  5. DN Gic

    Character used to be associated with restraint and forbearance. Now it seems less so. 

  6. Greg Lukianoff
    C
    Severely Ltd.: Great article. I wish it were in the New York Times where it would be seen by more than the choir. · 3 hours ago

    Thanks! I do work pretty hard to get things beyond the choir, which is why I write for the Huffington Post as well. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-lukianoff/ I was considering publishing this there as well, but, frankly I am still playing some catch up.  I am open to all suggestions to get things beyond the choir!

  7. Greg Lukianoff
    C

    Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention I decided not to post this on the HuffPo in part because there already was a great article about it:  huff.to/10Kg1rs. That and the HuffPo can take a few days to post my stuff (a post AOL merger problem, whereas before that I could just post directly) and Forbes publishes my stuff almost immediately. But do check out that HuffPo article. 

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