This past week my alma mater, Liberty University, hosted a very special speech from the most liberal mainstream candidate our nation has ever seen. Senator Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist who is currently polling in 2nd place in the Democrat Party presidential nominating process. Liberty University is a Christian college that has become the flagship institution for the Southern Baptist Convention, and as such, the two (Sanders and Liberty) seem like odd bedfellows. However, Liberty University has some things that most colleges today just don’t seem to care about…
Tolerance. Diversity. Curiosity.
Not in terms of the student body, but in regards to the information taught and the personality of the campus itself. Yes, most of the students and faculty are committed Christians. Yes, most of the students and faculty are political conservatives. However, this doesn’t mean that the school harbors ill will toward liberal politicians, activists or voters. The same can’t be said on liberal college campuses where conservatives (and even moderate Republicans) are often booed, boycotted or assaulted.
Liberals often argue that conservatives shouldn’t be heard because they are offensive, yet at Liberty University, Bernie Sanders, a man who advocates for things that the majority of the students and faculty find immoral, unjust and outrageous, was heard with respect, humility and generosity.
On Monday afternoon President Obama argued that more colleges should act like Liberty University… even when it comes to hearing out what conservatives have to say. (No, the President wasn’t praising Liberty University – but he might as well have been.)
This may be the one time we agree wholeheartedly with President Obama.
Now, he began by attacking Dr. Ben Carson and conservatives in general, but his overall point is actually much more applicable to liberals on college campuses everywhere. I’m only going to say this once, so listen up. Obama is right – we shouldn’t be coddling college students. Colleges should be places of diversity of thought, conversation and argument… even if some of those ideas happen to be offensive.
I hope liberal academics and their students are paying attention because the fascist atmosphere on liberal college campuses is getting old.
“The purpose of college is not just … to transmit skills. It’s also to widen your horizons, to make you a better citizen, to help you to evaluate information, to help you make your way through the world, to help you be more creative…
Because there was this space where you could interact with people who didn’t agree with you and had different backgrounds from you … I started testing my own assumptions, and sometimes I changed my mind. Sometimes I realized, maybe I’ve been too narrow-minded; maybe I didn’t take this into account; maybe I should see this person’s perspective. That’s what college, in part, is all about.”
It’s not just sometimes folks who are mad that colleges are too liberal that have a problem. Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal, and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues, who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too.
I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. I gotta tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view.
I think you should be able to — anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with ‘em. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, “You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.” That’s not the way we learn either…