My view: Political correctness should not inhibit free speech

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  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 8, 2015 5:43 a.m.

    @Joe.... you premise is that these students either go blindly to these schools with no idea what they are getting themselves into. I would propose rather that the vast majority of students know exactly what the school "they" choose is all about. And that is the point - these students choose their schools. No one compels anyone to go to any school. If these schools were not delivering what students want, these students would go elsewhere, because they have choices.

    Whether it be BYU, or Notre Dame, or any other faith based university, there are tons of them out there. And attending one of these is a matter of choice. Decisions are based on the reputations of these institutions. When I graduated from the U and decided to pursue my next degree at Berkley... there was no surprise I was going to a school with a different philosophy.... and I choose to go there.

    There are no victims here of unruly university liberalism. There are just people who don't do their homework, or seek to blame others. But no one is compelled to go to any school.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 7, 2015 12:06 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist
    "clearly state their point of view and where students enroll knowing full well they will get a slanted education."

    Oh?

    Do private universities disclose they don't teach climate change, evolution, Keynesian economic theory--only politically conservative and religious beliefs? I don't recall reading that anywhere--including when my child attended BYU.

    "too many of them have been caught punishing students for having a different viewpoint."

    As with the case with Obama's speech to school children, this is an issue which has been excessively and inaccurately hyped by conservative media sources such that it bears little resemblance to reality.

    @RBB
    There has been a long-standing prohibition (at least during the Bush Administration) on military chaplains proselytizing. Their primary role is pastoral care--which includes being sensitive to those they counsel. Most of the issues/complaints involving the use of religion has arisen from within the military itself--leaders or rank-and-file complaining about over-zealous and inappropriate proselytizing by various members of the military.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 7, 2015 8:41 a.m.

    The First Amendment to our Constitution also mentions Freedom of Religion.

    Some people are saying that freedom of religion of the owner of a business has the right to discriminate based upon the religious beliefs of the owner.

    Here we have some people who would use the same Constitutional amendment to force a business allow freedom of speech that the business would rather not allow.

    I favor free speech and freedom of religion and understand that both must be subordinated to the American creed and that both should not be a part of the business world.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Sept. 7, 2015 8:18 a.m.

    cthulhu_fhtagn: "Not banned, just irrelevant. Unless we're talking about a religion class, what use is religion in the classroom?"

    Somehow relevance does not seem to stop most leftists from inserting their point of view into all kinds of unrelated topics. You get global warming advocates and socialists teaching their point of view in English and History classes.

    I don't have a problem with private universities that clearly state their point of view and where students enroll knowing full well they will get a slanted education.

    I have a problem with public universities where liberal points of view dominate the discussion and conservative points of view are often suppressed or ridiculed. Just like the liberal media, college professors are overwhelmingly liberal and too many of them have been caught punishing students for having a different viewpoint.

    Half the country is conservative. Nowhere near half of our education system reflects that.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    Sept. 7, 2015 12:36 a.m.

    JoeCapitalist2
    Orem, UT
    "Even though I am conservative, I am not concerned that liberal points of view are often taught in school. I am concerned that they completely dominate the discussion and children are being taught that conservative principles are unworthy of consideration. A good balance in education is important."

    -- Joe, have you considered that professors who are trained to have an open mind and to think, are more likely to not be conservative, as conservative implies accepting the status quo? Any good university is going to show all sides, but scholarship and youth are both about being questioning and looking for new points of view.

    I am more concerned with the so-called "Christian Colleges" where no questioning is allowed, and being outside of the cookie cutter endangers one's ability to stay there, even if your parents gave you no choice and insistented you be in that environment.
    --- That damages students, and damages America.

    America became great by questioning and innovating, not by listening to those who went before and trying to be carbon copies of them. When doing business in Canada, I was struck by how the English-derived school system made people rigid and fixed.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    Sept. 7, 2015 12:27 a.m.

    RBB
    Sandy, UT
    "Cthulhu, The problem is on many campuses students actually get punished for making comments that others do not like. You have the right to express your opinion, just as I have the right to express mine. To often students who disagree with the professor or some group on campus are effectively silenced without any discussion as to the merits of the argument.

    A-- Yes, conservative students at a liberal university may have trouble being heard, but a much larger problem is the "Christian" colleges that threaten loss of scholarship and expulsion for making statements that question the tenets, EVEN THOUGH a university is supposed to be for free thought and working out one's own views.
    B-- Most of the cases to which you refer involved rude and hurtfully stated comments. For instance, sharing that Gays go to H is insufferably rude when Gays may be present.

    "Even now in the military we have Chaplains who are being disciplined for saying that homosexuality is a sin. So a Chaplain cannot teach the tenets of their own religion with risk to their careers."

    C-- Chaplains are military officers who cover religion generally, so all can participate

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 11:36 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist
    "...the objection of the parents was that their children were going to be exposed only to liberal viewpoints"

    What liberal viewpoints? Did you think Obama was going to talk about his economic policy? Obamacare? abortion? entitlement programs?

    Did your fears bear that out? Did you read/listen to his speech? (still available on the internet)

    What I expected Obama--or any POTUS (Republican or Democrat) for that matter--to speak to school children about is the importance of education. I expected Obama in particular to share with the children how his mother made sure he did well in school--would wake him up early to go over his homework, how she instilled in him the importance of education, how it was hard at times but that he was able to succeed. (Here we had in Obama the epitome of the American Dream--mixed race--but labeled by his skin color growing up--raised by a single mother/absent father but that didn't stop him from achieving through hard work and persistence).

    Where in UT are school children exposed only to liberal ideas?

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Sept. 6, 2015 10:17 p.m.

    @cthulhu_fhtagn
    You could also make the same argument for politically charged issues. Unless it's in a sociology class, why discuss social issues? Or, unless it's in a biology class, why discuss birth control or abortion? Unless it's in a political science class, why discuss political ideologies? When you try to compartmentalize topics to that specific course, you stifle the free exchange of ideas. Like it or not, person's religion and values influence a person's views on many issues, to include politics, abortion and social welfare issues. You cannot force people to separate them into neat little compartments, only to be discussed when you approve.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 8:23 p.m.

    Cthulhu,

    The problem is on many campuses students actually get punished for making comments that others do not like. You have the right to express your opinion, just as I have the right to express mine. To often students who disagree with the professor or some group on campus are effectively silenced without any discussion as to the merits of the argument.

    Even now in the military we have Chaplains who are being disciplined for saying that homosexuality is a sin. So a Chaplain cannot teach the tenets of their own religion with risk to their careers.

    Anyone should be allowed to criticize my actions, as well as their perceptions of my gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, polite beliefs, etc. Other than speech promoting violence, university campuses should be the bastion of free speech - even for those who disagree with us. Unfortunately, few universities live up to this ideal.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 7:38 p.m.

    1aggie: "At a school board meeting some parents were quite emotionally against it (fueled by conservative media coverage on the issue) as they were sure Obama was going to "indoctrinate" their "captive" children."

    If I remember right, the objection of the parents was not that their children were going to be exposed to liberal viewpoints. It was that their children were going to be exposed ONLY to liberal viewpoints. In many institutions of learning that our children attend, the curriculum is almost exclusively leftist. Religion and any discussion of traditional values is often banned.

    Even though I am conservative, I am not concerned that liberal points of view are often taught in school. I am concerned that they completely dominate the discussion and children are being taught that conservative principles are unworthy of consideration. A good balance in education is important.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 7:23 p.m.

    Ah yes, a new school year has begun complete with all the usual rituals - including conservative complaints about political correctness on campus.

    It always seems to me that political correctness is just another one of those conservative codes - in this case it means having to worry about the sensitivities of people who were invisible or submissive not so long ago.

    All these bathetic tales of the "horrors" of political correctness on campus are nothing more than complaints about not being able to say whatever you want without there being social consequences.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Sept. 6, 2015 2:09 p.m.

    @Ginger Marshall
    I noticed that you inserted the little "honor code" jab.....but you forgot that include that those schools with honor codes (BYU, BYU-I, etc) are also private institutions founded and run by those religious organizations you seem to disapprove of. So, they can have an honor code which includes all matters of honor at that school; to include dress, conduct and "personal expression". Would that other non-private institutions had even a small sample of an honor code that wasn't watered down to the point of uselessness.

    Free speech? yes! Bring on your ideas and your views, but am I infringing on your free speech when I tell you the stove is hot and will burn you, instead of letting you find it out for yourself with a 3rd degree burn? When the "honor code" includes a paragraph on the hot stove and you touch it anyway, do you blame the honor code for your charred hand? There are some things that just shouldn't be trifled with if you want to keep your honor bright, hence honor codes.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 12:57 p.m.

    I would recommend to liberals a new NY Times best selling book written by a liberal ---

    The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech
    by Kirsten Powers

  • GingerMarshall Brooklyn, OH
    Sept. 6, 2015 10:08 a.m.

    At its best, political correctness invites people to be civil and to consider the viewpoint, experiences, and feelings of others, especially minorities who are often ignored and silenced by an ignorant and intolerant majority.

    At the worst, PC does silence opposition.

    Invoking "bible" or "God" or "sincere religious belief" as an excuse to be rude or a reason to shut down speech is the exact same thing as the worst of political correctness. Saying - or implying - liberals are "godless" and "unamerican" is Religious Correctness. Calling marriage of same-sex couples "so-called marriage" is, too. Conflating gay men with pedophiles. Purposefully misgendering transgender women. Campus "honor codes" that go beyond addressing cheating, and limit speech, dress, or personal expression because of religious doctrine. Worthiness interviews for professors and teachers that use religious litmus tests to limit academics.

    Both sides are bad when taken to extremes to squash open conversation.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 9:56 a.m.

    One of the problems is the speaker backing out. At UC Berkeley last year, students protested Bill Maher's invitation to speak at winter commencement because of comments he made regarding Muslims. UC Berkeley refused to withdraw the invitation and commencement went through as planned--no problem. (UC Berkeley students founded the Free Speech Movement 1964-1965).

    Of course the problem of free speech isn't just a liberal issue.

    A few years ago when Pres Obama was newly elected he was going to address school children. Our local school district (not UT) decided to play the speech for middle schoolers. Well what a hubub that created! At a school board meeting some parents were quite emotionally against it (fueled by conservative media coverage on the issue) as they were sure Obama was going to "indoctrinate" their "captive" children. A school board member wrote a letter to the superintendant threatening to take action against any teacher who allowed students to watch. The final outcome--nobody saw Obama's speech.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 6, 2015 9:56 a.m.

    We have the right to speak freely, but we don't have the right to be "published" by the Deseret News.

    The main argument of the opinion piece, is whether, in a university setting, students and faculty should have the right to speak freely without censorship and without students or faculty shouting "political correctness violation!" The example of Christine Lagarde's abuse by students shows that left-leaning students used "political correctness" to keep Christine Lagarde from speaking. They missed a great opportunity to be enlightened by someone who had the experience to lift her listeners to a higher level, but they refused to accept the idea that they didn't "know it all".

    Bigots often attack the messenger instead of the message. They know that they have no valid rebuttal, so they attack the messenger. That is using "political correctness" to squelch speech.

    Just look at the attacks coming from Washington. Many people are branded as "racists" when they disagree with President Obama. His supporters use "political correctness" as a weapon.

    Discussing ideas openly and completely requires shelving "political correctness".

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 6, 2015 8:10 a.m.

    Free speech is a cornerstone of the freedoms we enjoy. But lets not confuse free speech with lack consequences. And speaking your mind does not mean others can not speak theirs in response. If what you say sounds like racist speech to someone, they have every bit of a right to call your speech racist, as you do the right to make racist speech.... that is how the system works. You are not entitled to say things without also owning the response to that speech.

    Second point. The author is from Weber State University. A publicly funded organization that is to be open to all citizens. As such, its charter is rightfully to ensure all people feel welcome within its walls. Full stop. Regardless of it is liberal, or conservative speech.... it should not create an environment of intimidation towards any group.

    That doesn't mean there can not be a healthy debate on current issues. And civil debate can be "politically correct". One can disagree on ideas, without insulting anyone.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 8:06 a.m.

    I certainly agree that 'commencement shaming' is a deplorable practice, and that universities should be where all ideas are freely entertained and shared. The difficulty is that eschewing 'political correctness' can lead to incivility. By all means, share ideas. Not insults.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 6, 2015 7:54 a.m.

    By all means, let's make this a one sided issue and pretend only liberals are guilty.

    For people who are shut down, shut out, and blocked so regularly, it is amazing how frequently the repressed right is able to get their opinions heard.

    And the right is so open to being exposed to ideas they disagree with! They've never protested commencement speakers or books or movies!

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    Sept. 6, 2015 1:34 a.m.

    Why does the headline use the phrase "political correctness", when in fact that term does not show up even once in the column?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 12:41 a.m.

    "Are liberals silencing free speech on university campuses? " Could be, but conservatives do also.

    For example, I am a Marxian economist. I have taught a lot of mainstream economics, but I have always feared for my job on any Utah campus should I present some Marx. I have presented some Marxian theory, but I was always given to understand this was not approved.

    And yes, campuses should be free speech zones for everything but libel.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 6, 2015 12:35 a.m.

    My comments routinely do not get posted here. Not because of reasons of brevity or excessive verbiage. Political correctness should not inhibit free speech. Nor should political incorrectness.