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Shutting down opposing thought an ignorant trend

Published October 28. 2019 12:42PM

The decade of the 1960s was a time of intense upheaval in the U.S. as the Vietnam War, school segregation and race riots sparked violent and even deadly confrontations in places like Birmingham, Watts and Kent State.

Tom Smothers, one of the great comedians of the baby boomer generation, once shared his more serious, reflective side when talking about free speech.

“Freedom of expression and freedom of speech aren’t really important unless they’re heard,” said. “The freedom of hearing is as important as the freedom of speaking.”

Sadly, it’s some of our once-esteemed colleges that have been silencing free thought. Just last week, The University of Pennsylvania canceled a panel discussion on immigrant detention and deportation because it included Tom Homan, retired director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A petition against Homan was signed by over 500 students and alumni from not only Penn but dozens of other universities, including Columbia, Harvard, Brown and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It also called for the university to ban all invitations to current or former ICE or U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials.

“Under Homan, ICE continued to be a violent organization responsible for terrorizing immigrant communities … inviting Homan as a guest speaker contradicts Penn’s claim of being a sanctuary campus,” it stated.

In an interview, Homan responded that the petition was ignorant and that the ones who want to shout down a meaningful discussion will remain ignorant.

In a separate case, The Harvard Crimson, the university’s daily newspaper, came under attack from other student groups for an article it published on a campus rally protesting ICE for deportation raids under the Trump administration.

Activists were angered by one sentence: “ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.”

The campus group Act on a Dream immediately started an online petition demanding that The Crimson vow to never contact ICE again and to apologize for the “harm it has inflicted.”

“We are extremely disappointed in the cultural insensitivity displayed by The Crimson’s policy to reach out to ICE, a government agency with a long history of surveilling and retaliating against those who speak out against them,” the petition stated. “In this political climate, a request for comment is virtually the same as tipping them off, regardless of how they are contacted.”

Seeing Harvard students launch into a tirade because journalists from their own campus newspaper tried to obtain an opposing reaction for a story is a sad reflection on this age which has seen more of our once-prestigious institutions turn into bastions of liberalism.

In recent years there have been a number of Republicans or conservatives have also been banned from giving commencement addresses at colleges. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said it’s a worrisome trend to “disinvite” speakers from campus appearances since it undermines open discourse.

Even Barack Obama spoke about the dangers of limiting free speech. During a commencement speech at Rutgers, Obama chided students for their role in forcing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to drop out as a commencement speaker in 2014 because of her involvement in the Iraq War under the Bush 43 presidency.

“The notion that this community or the country would be better served by not hearing from a former Secretary of State, or shutting out what she had to say — I believe that’s misguided,” Obama said. “I don’t think that’s how democracy works best, when we’re not even willing to listen to each other.”

Some British luminaries are also disturbed by the trend to silence speech on campuses. Jo Johnson, a British Conservative Party politician who has served as Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, stated that in our modern world, universities should be places that open minds, not close them, and where ideas can be freely challenged.

Paraphrasing Voltaire, British writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall offered this relevant quote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

By Jim Zbick | tneditor@tnonline.com

Comments
Facebook, Google, Universities, all the high tech and educated ones try to shut down truth through censorship and exclusion. Truth will always win.
Good Op-Ed Jim
There are some things we shouldn't debate. Science, morality, murder, child abuse....there is only one side to these issues...we don't need to invite those that are on the fringe.
I don’t think it’s all the education ones as you put it, it’s those who were never told it’s ok to have a different opinion and still be civil. On my Twitter I made the mistake of questioning a gender transition, wow if twitter was a small town I basically got ran out, lucky I’m able to comment about it here ! I wasn’t malicious, cruel nothing of the sort, simply asked a question.
Google...
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-22/google-is-the-worlds-biggest-censor-and-its-power-must-be-regulated

Facebook...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/06/01/facebook-is-shutting-down-its-notorious-trending-feature/
Facebook...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2018/04/10/facebook-accused-of-deeming-black-pro-trump-sisters-unsafe/

Universities...
https://answersingenesis.org/religious-freedom/university-denies-free-speech/

Universities...
https://www.newsweek.com/university-florida-conservative-student-free-speech-settlement-1452348

Progressive thought has being shut down by the troglodytes on the "right" for decades. We get fed up and start fighting back and it's suddenly it's "ignorant"? You're a rightwing puppet, Zbick! You're just another trumpian word twister. Not to mention you're kissing nazi'heimer ass to keep your job. You're a weasel and a spineless lick spittle.
This is shutting down "progressive thought", it is shutting down "scientific facts" but it fits your request.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/07/trump-officials-deleting-mentions-climate-change-us-geological-survey-press-releases
Joe,
I went to AAAS site and stopped reading when Polar Bears was mentioned. Polar bears became a poster child for environmentalists after Al Gore featured them in his 2006 global warming hoax. Coke marketed from these poor bears, and today we learn it was a hoax.
I listened to you, I went to the site, and I can't take any of it seriously. Blame that on Al Gore and others, who made sport in the politicization of the environment. And then there's PSU, Michael Mann’s bogus “hockey stick” graph. It's not me Joe, it's a majority who have been lied to and just want to move on. Not shutting you and the rest of the green freaks down, we just want to move on from the hoax. The science community owns this, because honestly, I don't care. I don't care and I have 8 grandchildren. The scientists lie for grant money.
I politely disagree with that statement, “scientists lying for grant money” . I’m sure some people have lied at some points, but, to paint with such a broad brush .... plus let’s not forget the scientific process, which, will find lies and falsification via the peer review process
There's many people splashing with broad brushes. For instance, as a Christian...
For instance, I'm an American Patriot...
The way we do education causes me to raise eye brow to the way we get scientists. The way we fund education creates even more doubts in it's future validity.
Please keep in mind, I work in the sciences. Truth be told, I'm in a lab now, as you know Tony. I get what you're saying though. It's important that the country start addressing these concerns, because if you participate in "Fake Science", and keep mum, you're part of the problem. As it is, I'll splash the broad brush just to get attention to the "Fake Science".
My only point is the scientific process ensures there is nothing called “fake science”, this is why we don’t pass off ground up mummy powder as medicine in modern times, the scientific process works. If there is a flaw in climate research, it will come to light - just look at Galileo
Jim writes without a mask. Comrade hides behind a mask (username) and posts rude and crude comments in the safety of mommies basement. And if someone should challenge little Comrade, he has him removed. Sort of what this Op-Ed is all about.
What say commie boy? The TN is looking for free lance writers, give it a shot... oops, I mean, give it a try.

Mike Meyers
Walnutport, PA
Comrade uses crude and obnoxious name calling like an elementary school child. Is that acceptable for you? Double Standards?
I don't much care, just an observation and a comment.
Little Commie boy can fend fore herself.
I don't do or say nothing that trump does. Only I'm a genius and have the Constitution on my side.. And here you sit.. shutting me down! Not to mention how many times your life partner Rambo has tried to shut me up.. Last laugh, he's gone and you're next!
"Joe"
Another coward afraid to use a real name.
This board should change this.
Come on Times News!
Get some accountability or do as Comrade would do... Shut it down.
I’m not a Christian, however, it’s not fair or right to criticize how much of a Christian mike is or isn’t, kind of a low blow, you don’t know who he is in real life so keep the debate on topic shall we ?

As for me and my house? We will serve logic and reason and civility in online debates ....

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