The Campus-Censorship Hypocrites

Towards the end of last years Joanna Williams pushed back in Spiked Online at the way universities were nourishing censorial attitudes.

They oppose Prevent but cheer No Platforming, even though both threaten liberty. 

Campus censorship, a certain type of radical academic rushes to tell us, simply does not happen. Apparently, free speech is alive and well at a university near you and to suggest otherwise is ‘hysteria’ that fuels a moral panic ‘whipped up’ by a politically motivated minority intent on besmirching students and sullying hallowed institutions. Except, of course, when it’s not.

It emerged this week that a book listed as ‘essential’ for third-year politics students at the University of Reading came with a warning telling them ‘to take care’. Norman Geras’s ‘Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution’ was flagged up as potentially falling foul of the government’s Prevent Duty. Students were told not to access it on personal devices, to read it only in a secure setting, and not to leave it lying around where it might be spotted ‘inadvertently or otherwise, by those who are not prepared to view it’. Rarely has an examination of the ethics of socialist revolution sounded more exciting!

Geras argues that violence can be justified in cases of grave social injustice. This was more than enough for one member of staff to tip off university officials, who in turn agreed it was ‘sensitive’ and issued the stark warning. This lot could clearly have taught the Stasi a thing or two about surveillance and reporting.

It is utterly appalling that anyone could think it appropriate to issue an essay with a warning like this. No work should be considered so dangerous that it is only suitable for those ‘who are prepared to view it’.

Continue Reading @ Spiked Online.

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