The idea of a university as a free space is vanishing

Nick Cohen, writing in The Spectator, considers the consequences the culture of no platforming and safe spaces in Britain’s universities.

The idea of a university as a free space rather than a safe space is vanishing. This is a profoundly conservative development. The only people I can imagine welcoming it is the type of hard-headed businessman who says the point of education is to train the young to work not argue.

Then there is the question of what will happen to all these barking martinets when they leave and join the establishment. Whatever poses they strike now, we will find that they fit in all too snugly.

As I have written before:

The politicians, bureaucrats, chief police officers and corporate leaders of tomorrow are at universities which teach that free debate and persuasion by argument are ideas so dangerous they must be banned as a threat to health and safety. Unless we challenge them in the most robust manner imaginable, whatever kind of country they grow up to preside over is unlikely to be a free one.

That last paragraph is chilling, and stresses why this stuff actualy matters.

It’s easy to dismiss student politics as toytown stuff that has no impact on the real word, but what will happen when people raised in that highly illiberal environment get into places of real power and responsibility in the outside world

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One Response to The idea of a university as a free space is vanishing

  1. Michael says:

    Agreed.