I admire Jonathan Haidt for his championing of intellectual diversity, and for actually doing something about the lack of it on college campuses besides whining or bloviating the way most people these days do about everything else.
I’m not a Twitterer, but if I was I would direct a twittering at Mr. Haidt (@jonhaidt) asking him this question, with apologies in case he’s already been asked it a million times:
Are there any ideas that should be excluded from college campuses?
I expect Haidt would say we should exclude ideas that implicitly or explicitly call for physical violence against classes of people. Any others?
It’s not hard to find people saying that support for one of the following ideas implies a call for physical violence against a class of people: communism; legalized abortion; bans on abortion; immigration restriction; mandatory K-12 education; conscription; incarceration as a penalty for crime; and so on.
I doubt Haidt would say support for any of the above ideas should be kept out of college classrooms, so clearly there is a boundary line somewhere. Who should draw it, and using what criteria?
I’m genuinely curious, because it looks like a tough question. Here’s what made me think of it: I personally am opposed to slavery and wish to see it eradicated, but I have never seriously investigated my own reasoning. (This is not entirely an accident.) In my head I can envision a pretty interesting Oxford-style debate over the motion “Slavery can be done in a moral way.” I would sit on the side opposing the motion, but I’d probably end up conceding some points to my opponents. Envisioning this caused me to wonder whether such a debate would be possible even in a university that championed free speech and intellectual diversity. (Of course it probably wouldn’t.)