Harry Howard writes:
I like the monarchy, and I don’t think Margaret Thatcher was the devil incarnate. Nor do I think that Donald Trump’s ascension to the US Presidency is an example of fascism in orange-tinged form. I also voted for Brexit. Indeed, the majority of students I meet aren’t “radical”, and are at least receptive – or would be, if exposed to reason and debate – to changing their minds.
This is why I was shocked to find a poster, put up for all to see, but aimed at staff and PhD students, advertising an “informal discussion” organised by the Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research. The discussion would be centred around, “dealing with right-wing attitudes and politics in the classroom”.
How dare students not all have left wing views.
I did wonder though: perhaps the person behind the poster, maybe an assistant unfamiliar with politics, had lazily used the term as a substitute for something like “nasty ideas”? Instead I discovered that it had been consciously used by the organiser of the discussion, Professor Jan Selby, the current director of the above mentioned SCSCR, and former head of the International Relations department at Sussex.
Of course it was the professor.
Unconvinced by his confusion, I clarified that I was surprised at the suggestion that right-wing views needed dealing with. Surely, I asked, the university classroom is supposed to be a place of discussion and debate of all opinions, even uncomfortable ones? I also asked him to confirm what was meant by “right-wing”.
He never did, which is somewhat revealing, but the university now says the label referred to “extreme attitudes” such as racism, sexism and homophobia. So not only are seasoned academics happy to falsely conflate bigoted views with right-wing politics – when they are plentiful on the Left too
So basically they’re saying all racists, sexists and homophobes are right wing and implying all right wingers are the above.
The central point is that universities should be intellectually diverse from top to bottom, rather than echo chambers of left wing opinion.
Alas that battle is lost.