Comments about ‘BYU: A beacon of liberal learning?’

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Published: Tuesday, May 20 2014 1:30 p.m. MDT

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Mcallen, TX

Can't get away from liberals.

Salt Lake City, Utah

They're talking about the same BYU that, from 1998 until this very moment, is criticized and condemned by the American Association of University Professors for infringement on academic freedoms. I had a good laugh when I read the article headline.

Salt Lake City, UT

BYU: A beacon of liberal learning?

Yeah, I don't think so...

Understands Math
Lacey, WA

'“In some ways, BYU was a profoundly illiberal place,” he says. “And yet I was perfectly free to teach whatever I wanted in the classroom. And I did. I taught large introductory lecture courses in ancient, medieval, and modern political thought, including some of the most radical writings of Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Marx.”'

The only universities where you *wouldn't* expect to see something like that would be Liberty University or Bob Jones University.

South Jordan, UT

Pretty weak responses. If you don't have an argument, try to laugh at the other person. That garners support from equally weak-minded thinkers.

Naval Vet
Philadelphia, PA

"BYU: A beacon of liberal learning?"

Well THAT's an easy question. Absolutely NOT! Just look at who they bring in for commencement speeches. Dick Cheney? And Y officials claimed that their invitation to him to speak should be viewed as "one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure."

Right. So any day now, they'll invite Joe Biden, Al Gore, or Walter Mondale.

The Y needs to get off the AAUP censure list before even attempting to make a case that it even allows for liberal THOUGHTs. But a "beacon" of liberal learning?

No way.

Kearns, UT

He's right. Classic Liberalism is nothing like what is practiced by the left today.

Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA

I'm as True BYU Blue as they come, but let's not make the place out to be something it's not. There are definitely somewhat-left-of center professors in places like poli sci department (where I majored), and I think that many stereotypes of the campus are completely overblown. But there's little doubt that the student body and the administration are overwhelmingly conservative.

As to Dick Cheney, I have from someone I trust that he essentially invited himself to a "safe" commencement environment, and while the university knew he'd be a polarizing figure, it respected the office too much to decline the offer. I'm proud that some students took the opportunity to disagree publicly with the invitation.

And Harry Reid spoke on campus a few years back. I think that's worth pointing out.

Idaho Falls, ID

Could this professor teach from David Hume and his discussion on natural religion?

E Sam
Provo, UT

There was a time when BYU was more receptive to liberal ideas than now. Or really any time since about 1996.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Naval Vet
"Well THAT's an easy question. Absolutely NOT! Just look at who they bring in for commencement speeches. Dick Cheney? "

This isn't arguing about politically "liberal", but the definition of liberal that involves open-mindedness (I totally worded that poorly, but for the sake of amusing conservatives, I'm going to leave it that way rather than fix it). Anyway, I don't think inviting Cheney is an example against that.

Mapleton, UT

In contrast to the political correctness that rules many so called "liberal" universities, I find BYU to be quite refreshing. (The only thing that doesn't fly there--nor should it--is hostility towards the LDS church.)

As a naive freshman at BYU, I was introduced to many liberal philosophies that stirred some angst in my "good Mormon boy" soul. I didn't adopt all those ideas as my own, but the internal debates they produced have made all the difference. Upon reflection, I consider this experience to be the hallmark of my education. It helped me to be a better father, husband, church leader (and yes, republican). My liberal BYU education has strengthened my faith and enabled me to better serve others.

So I applaud the article by Mr. Linker. True liberalism is to hear a wide variety of viewpoints and carefully consider which to adopt as one's own. This must be done in the full light of other Higher sources of truth--not just those that are considered politically correct in the closed thought circles of the left.

This is the remarkable (and liberal) gift that BYU offers to those who are willing to receive it.

Provo, UT

Heh. The leftists here don't have a clue what a "Classical" liberal education is. They think a liberal eduction is listening to Walter Mondale? No wonder we are so messed up.

A classical liberal education involves the trivium at the pre college levels, and engaging with some of the best minds--Plato, locke, Aristotle. Not stuff like "My adventures as a female transsexual black gendered dwarf amputee" --surely what leftists want us all to read instead.

If you do not even know what a classical liberal is versus today's leftist claptrap, then no wonder you are snickering at the idea that BYU is a liberal school. But that speaks more about you than it does about BYU.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Please . . . BYU has many unique virtues, but "beacon of liberal education" is not one of them.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I think BYU is more liberal than people think but in reality it was more liberal 20 or so years ago than today. The faculty, especially was much more liberal than present day and much more liberal than it students. As for BYU being boycotted by some organization of professors, some might call this a badge of honor. It seems that our liberal college campuses are anything but liberal which strictly means to be more open-minded and tolerant. As a former BYU student, I won't lie, most of the speakers say at your typical forum were conservative. However, plenty political liberal speakers were invited to these forums, much more than people think (and I hate people who never attended the university offering opinions in which they have actual little factual information). BYU (administrators nor students) didn't ban these speakers. Unfortunately politically conservative speakers are being banned on many campuses, being shouted down by intolerant students who in the end persuade their weak-minded administrators to ban them. If this is what a so-called "liberal education" is, I have serious issues with these universities using the term "liberal education."

American Fork, UT

When did michael moore speak at the graduation?

Saint Paul, MN

I found it quite informative, and equally expected, that the knee-jerk reaction on the part of many would be, "BYU liberal? No way." Those fell obviously into the category of people who rarely get beyond a headline, and quite decidedly fail to read the article.

Some got it. Thank you Howard Beal, Vanceone, AZKID, Schnee, etc. As for Naval Vet, ArgoFY, and those others who never got that far, become a tad more "liberal" as defined by the author, and take the time to actually read what he wrote rather than commenting without knowledge!

Having graduated from West Point, BYU, and Harvard, it is ironic that the only one of these three where a dissenting point of view could be voiced and responded to in a calm, considered manner, was BYU. While there are decidedly more "conservative" voices at BYU than "liberal" as defined on the political spectrum, the ability to converse beyond the dictates of political correctness were decidedly more "liberal" in the true definition of the word at the Y ... READ THE ARTICLE!!!

Mark l

I heard that BYU professors find the atmosphere at BYU surprisingly refreshing. All points of view are welcome, which describes what a classical liberal education should be.

Kearns, UT

Great posts by Common-Tater, AZKID, Schnee and a few others who understand the differences in the use of the word liberal, and therefore exemplifying the idea of liberal educations.

It always amuses me to watch reactions to the word liberal and particularly some of the comments on this story. There are multiple meanings and uses of the word liberal, and yet too many immediately jump to the conclusion that it MUST mean politics.

If someone were to say, "Give him a liberal helping of roast beef," I'm almost certain that someone here would decry the evils of socialist meats.

Saying that BYU offers a true liberal education is, in fact, a compliment- not some kind of political tag.

Res Novae
Ashburn, VA

"The Y needs to get off the AAUP censure list before even attempting to make a case that it even allows for liberal THOUGHTs. But a "beacon" of liberal learning?"

BYU wasn't remonstrated because of limitations on academic freedom, but because in the view of the AAUP the University's statement on academic freedom didn't adequately delineate what the restrictions are and what effect they have on hiring and tenure decisions. The AAUP recognizes that religious institutions have the right to restrict expression directly contradicting their religious teachings. It's important to read the report for what it says, not for what notoriously hyper-partisan BYU haters like Naval Vet claim it says.

I'm genuinely puzzled when self-identified Mormons attack BYU for restricting voices which directly attack or contradict LDS doctrine. I see no reason for the university (and the tithing which supports it) to condone academic expressions which run opposite to its religious mission.

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