We seem to want to be protected above all costs from views which may, just possibly, offend us - a fashion unfortunately followed slavishly and sheepishly by certain sections of contemporary Anglicanism. However, unless this trend is opposed and rolled back, it will almost certainly prove the end of those values of rational debate, free speech and assembly we have held most dear for many generations.
That academic institutions should be in the vanguard of this kind of utter irresponsibility, and tacitly encourage their students to wrap themselves in a cosy blanket of like-mindedness, has been one of the most worrying and indefensible developments of all. If you are too feeble minded to run the risk of being confronted by opinions which may offend you or upset your accepted view of the world, then don't go to university at all. Find something to do with your time which doesn't involve that most upsetting of all activities, being encouraged to think.
But is the tide at long last beginning to turn? Roger Scruton, given a platform on BBC Radio 4, argues that the law on freedom of speech ought to protect those who express heretical views and not be used to shut down debate by means of invented 'phobias.'
"... Free speech is not the cause of the tensions that are growing around us, but the only possible solution to them..."
Listen to it all here
And petition mania, the student union at Cardiff University and the Germaine Greer affair - a report from Wales Online [here]: we know the world has gone completely mad when Germaine Greer (of all people) is accused of being a reactionary...
“We should be as free to doubt the womanhood of Caitlyn Jenner as we are to doubt the divinity of Jesus." Brendan O'Neill at The Spectator [here]
"...She has also mocked the whole idea of transphobia. ‘I didn’t know there was such a thing [as transphobia]. Arachnaphobia, yes. Transphobia, no.’ I love that. Because here Greer is using ‘phobia’ in the proper way — not to pathologise moral viewpoints, as the PC do when they brand criticism of gay marriage as ‘homophobia’ or ridicule of Islam as ‘Islamophobia’, but rather to describe an irrational fear, in this case of spiders. The branding of all sorts of moral and religious views as ‘phobias’ is one of the ugliest, most Orwellian trends of our age, so good on Greer for ripping the Mick out of it (that’s hibernophobia, I know)...."At least it seems [here] that the university authorities at Cardiff are not prepared to bow to censorship and have a higher view of freedom of expression and academic freedom generally than some of those they are trying, in vain, it seems, to teach ... let's hope this is not an isolated example.