Jonah Goldberg: Liberal students have a funny definition of 'diversity'
At least that's where Erin Ching, a student at Swarthmore College, seems to be coming down. Her school invited a famous left-wing Princeton professor, Cornel West, and a famous right-wing Princeton professor, Robert George, to have a debate. The two men are friends, and by all accounts they had an utterly civil exchange of ideas. But that only made the whole thing even more outrageous.
Helpfully, she answers her own question: "When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue."
But we all know that this nonsense didn't spring ex nihilo from their imaginations. As Allan Bloom showed a quarter century ago in "The Closing of the American Mind," these ideas are taught.
Let me invoke personal privilege by citing a slightly dated example. When the Los Angeles Times picked me up as a columnist in 2005, Barbra Streisand publicly canceled her subscription in protest (I'm proud to say). You see, Streisand's friend, iconic left-wing columnist Robert Scheer, had been let go. And I was one of the new columnists brought on board. This was an outrage.
More pernicious, however, is that they believe the question of justice is a settled matter. We know what justice is, so why let serious people debate it anymore? The millennia-old dialogue between Aristotle, Plato, St. Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Rawls, Rorty, Hayek et al.? Shut it down, people. Or at least if the conversation heads in a direction where the Korns, Chings and Streisands smell "oppression" — as defined solely by the left — then it must not be "put up with." Diversity demands that diversity of opinion not be tolerated anymore.
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