Opinion: The Philistines are at the gates as free speech sadly no longer exists in universities

by | Jan 19, 2016 | History, Science | 0 comments

There is good news for those “flat Earthers” who still think the Earth is flat (yes – bizarrely they still exist), or for those that hold to creationist views winning over evolution, or for those who still believe that the Inquisition was right to imprison Galileo for “heretically” believing that the Earth went round the Sun.  The “truth tellers” may yet again be denied a platform, well, at least at the best universities in the UK and USA.  The reason is that Free Speech and Freedom of Expression is just about over at these institutions.

A recent survey of British universities has noted that most  – some 90% –  were now disbarring Free Speech and Freedom of Expression in some form.  The survey carried out by “Spiked” concluded that of the total, 55% were now classed as “Red” institutions in that they now “banned and actively censored ideas on campus”.  And no, it was not the trendy new ex-polytechnics that are most at fault.  Actually, it is the renowned likes of Oxford and Cambridge and the best of the “red brick” and “Sixties” universities in the elite Russell Group which are the worst offenders.

For it is those who do disagree with the current “politically correct” orthodoxy or challenge it at these institutions are likely to be silenced by University authorities or their student unions, on the grounds that they are likely to “upset” minorities on the campus. As a result, in this new Mao-like “Cultural Revolution” several speakers (even past defenders of the rights of minorities) as well as newspapers, have now been banned from the campuses of certain universities for not having “acceptable” views.  Even the statues of past beneficiaries such as Oxford’s Cecil Rhodes have been threatened with removal or destruction for their past misdeeds.

Fair enough you might say, if such individuals or organs are, or have been, encouraging violence or the persecution of minorities, then perhaps they deserve to be silenced. However, now even University lecturers and professors are on their guard lest they are denounced by their students for saying anything “controversial”.  This pressure is leading to self censorship of uncomfortable truths and even a rewriting of history as modern day commentators attempt to retrofit modern views of morality onto the past.

The authoritarian killjoys are also determined that lecturers and their students are not allowed to have any fun either as one Nobel-winning professor of biochemistry found out to his cost when he told a misinterpreted joke. Meanwhile students wearing Sombrero hats for a laugh were similarly admonished for being “racist” towards Mexicans.

It is, of course, the students themselves who are losers in other ways as well.  For they are now being denied the joy of the cut and thrust of intellectual debate, the benefit of new ideas, and perhaps eventually even being denied access to the truth.

And in case you think that this is only happening in UK universities, the same is reported to be happening at universities in USA.  Meanwhile, fearful of being branded as racist, even the German police, have admitted to censoring the fact that certain criminal acts had been perpetrated by certain immigrant groups.

The only partial good news in this censorship story is that, so far, is not primarily scientific thought and ideas that the po-faced censors are targeting, but more political thought and observations.  Having said that, inevitably there is some crossover and it can only be a matter of time before scientific facts will have to be officially authorised as well.

While political correctness is well meaning and has its heart in the right place, this attack on Free Speech has to stop now.  It has to be realised that any damage to Free Speech caused by institutions such as universities and even by democratically elected governments (Hitler and the Nazis were democratically elected) makes it more likely that democracy and freedom will founder.

The right of Free Speech does, of course, mean that those deniers of the measured rise in global temperatures, mankind’s moonwalking, a spherical Earth, evolution, and probably worst of all, those deniers of the holocaust, will get to have their say, however unsavoury that prospect sounds. Nevertheless, it remains best thing to have and the right thing to allow. For at the end of the day, it is Free Speech that is the best defence against tyranny, extremism and ignorance.

Post script:  Other nations, of course, prevent free speech, execute protestors by pretending that they are terrorists, or even prevent their citizens from doing innocent pastimes such as playing chess.  Saudi Arabia can now been accused of doing all three. Religious authorities within the Saudi kingdom have just issued a Fatwa banning the game of chess on the grounds that it might encourage gambling and the missing of prayer. Chess, of course, is one of the few games that can be played between astronauts in orbit and ground control back on Earth. By the way, chess and its “chatrang” forerunner, gained most of its early popularity under Islam.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to https://www.seradata.com/product/

Related Articles

Fears mount for Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander and rover while India hangs on for a signal

Contact has been lost with India's new Vikram lunar lander and Pragyan lunar rover after they suffered a two-week long Read more

OSIRIS REx returns its Bennu asteroid sample capsule to Earth then heads for new asteroid on OSIRIS-APEx mission

Having been launched in September 2016, the main sample return pat of the OSIRIS-REx mission to the asteroid Bennu has Read more

Film of ancient ‘alien bodies’ is displayed at Congress of Mexico hearing

Following on from similar US Congressional hearings on UFOs which appeared to have footage of flying UFOs, at a Mexican Read more

Japan launches astronomy mission XRISM and SLIM Lunar lander

A Japanese H-2A rocket flying in its 202 configuration has carried two satellites, a space telescope and a Lunar lander, Read more

The Moon is not enough: India launches its Aditya L1 solar research probe to Sun-Earth L1

A PSLV-XL launch vehicle was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, India at 0620 GMT on 02 September 2023. Read more

India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission makes history with successful Moon landing

India has become the first nation ever to land a spacecraft near the South Pole of the Moon, as well Read more

Luna 25 lander is sent on way to Moon by Soyuz rocket…but then it comes to grief (Updated)

A Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat M rocket sent Russia’s Luna 25 lander, also known as the Luna-Glob, into orbit from Vostochny cosmodrome Read more

China’s Feng Yun-3F weather satellite is launched by a Long March 4C

A Long March 4C (CZ-4C) rocket successfully launched the 2.8 metric ton Feng Yun-3F (sometimes written as Fengyun-3F) meteorological satellite Read more

Nuclear Thermal Rockets are on! NASA and DARPA award contracts for first DRACO demo spacecraft

While Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTR) concepts (e.g. the NERVA project) have been considered for space missions since the 1960s, their Read more




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochina25virgin galacticfalcon 9ULAFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 5RoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekaressoyuzIGTInternational Space StationBeidouawardsspaceBlue OriginSatellite broadcastingRocket LabStarlinkrussiamoonCargo Return VehicleboeingOneWebAirbus DSmarsblogISROresearchorionspaceshiptwojaxaimpacthyperboladelaymarsEutelsatdemocratrocketobamahypertextgoogle lunar prizelunarlaunchVegabarack obamaconstellationSEStourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightnode 2fundedRaymond LygoIntelsat2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Atlas Vromess2Elon Muskdassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiotestmissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbitinternetChina Manned Space EngineeringAriane 5SLSsts-1222010flightspace tourismNorthrop Grummancotsnewspapermissile defensegalileospaceportExpress AMU 1Long March 4CLong March 2D/2Electronbuildspace stationaltairinternational astronautical congresssoyuz 2-1ashuttleProton MEuropean Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosIntelsat 23scaled compositeshanleybudgetrulesnew yorkAriane 6shenzhouspace shuttleatvVietnamcongressMojaveboldenLong March 2COrbital ATKnew shepardInmarsatGuiana Space Centeriaccneslunar landerksclawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BILSUS Air ForceprotonTalulah RileyApollodarpaFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Kuaizhou 1AVega CSkylonAstriumeupicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatSSLElectron KSNorth KoreaAprilSNCWednesdayinterviewSea Launchfalcon50thcustomerlinkLong Marchatlantissuccessor