Discourse / Letters / November 8, 2017

Letter to the Editor: A Swiftian solution to banning insensitivity

As TKS reported, there was displeasure over a proposed production of a play that was deemed “insensitive” by a group of students. There have been many such instances of student displeasure in my over four decades at Knox. To my memory, we have always worked out a solution by having a discussion afterwards.

In the extent that TKS and the other protesters find glee in their victory of censorship over free speech and dialogue, allow me to offer the following Swiftian remedy to follow through on the freeing of Knox of its unbridled commitment to free speech. To wit:

“We the Student Body of Knox College affirm our right to censor anything taking place on the campus that we deem as insensitive to any group of students. We demand that a student-led group lead this process. In this fashion, we will lead the way throughout the nation to proclaim that free speech loses to potential offenses.”

But why stop there. I am certain that courses, or portions of courses taught by Knox faculty, would be deemed insensitive by some students. For example, how could an old white guy like me teach development economics for 40 years without offending somebody?

Who needs free speech! Or: why not attempt to find creative solutions to objectionable aspects of free expression without falling down the dark and slippery slope of censorship. I trust that you can do this.


Roy Anderson

Emeritus Professor of Economics

Tags:  censorship the good person of szechwan theatre

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