Barlow argues for intellectual discussion at universities. But discussion has been co-opted by feckless university administration bowing to Industry Leaders. That’s probably too simplistic, but it wasn’t long ago that state universities offered more substance than TED Talks.
I care that American colleges and universities are putting forward meaningless drivel like “As an institution of higher learning, open dialogue on all topics is one of our core principles.” For that is not true, never has been true, and putting it forth simply pulls one further into the morass instead of providing a plank to solid ground. I care about the abandonment of gatekeeping responsibility, at Beloit, at most other colleges and universities, and even at social-media entities such as Facebook and Twitter.
I care about institutional responsibility.
Real intellectual discussion (not the sort of tit-for-tat ‘debate’ YAF is promoting for its own political purposes but that to which American higher education aspires) requires careful gatekeeping, something we have lost track of since the internet started flattening the dykes that were keeping out the waters of nonsense. True, there have always been problems with the gatekeepers, but that does not mean that their role isn’t necessary.