The level of hypocrisy at American universities speaks volumes that they don’t value either the American constitution or vigorous intellectual debate. While there’s been a closing of the student’s minds at the U.S. campuses as schools silence conservative speakers like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos, across the Atlantic in the U.K., university professors are defending controversial right-wing speakers.
Katie Hopkins, a conservative writer for The Sun and Daily Mail who backed both Brexit and Trump, is set to speak at The Cambridge Union on Tuesday night and social justice warriors are not happy about it.
In the school newspaper, Deputy Comment Editor Sarah Wilson called her “irresponsible to stir up division and anger” and said the choice to bring her to campus was “distasteful.”
The controversy about her was looming, Harry Stovin-Bradford, the President of Cambridge Union, wrote in The Tab on Tuesday why they decided to invite her to speak.
“I don’t agree with the way she expresses them. I don’t think she adds anything productive to our national discussion. We can be better, kinder, and more loving,” Bradford wrote. “However, we aren’t doing or being those things. Britain is more divided than ever, a good proportion of which believe Katie Hopkins talks sense. That is why I will welcome her to The Cambridge Union at 7pm today, because, for better or for worse, she is somebody whose views are influential, and hosting those people is what the Union is all about.”
Intellectual discourse with someone progressives disagreed with was more important than silencing them and creating an echo chamber.
“You have a right to be offended by Hopkins, or to call her a deliberate provocateur. However, what is not right is to claim that she is insignificant,” the President of the Cambridge Union said. “If you, like me, can’t comprehend how Americans voted against their perceived self-interest, then come listen to her today. She speaks from a place that many of us do not understand, but need to now more than ever.”
He insisted that those who want to silence anyone they disagree with are just burying their heads in the sand rather than confronting the ideas they perceive as dangerous.
“It’s why liberalism is losing so much ground at the moment. We refuse to debate issues we disagree with against those expounding them,” he continued. “What is happening tonight is not free speech. It is free debate. This is a small, but absolutely critical distinction, and a distinction that runs to the core of the society of which I am proud to be President. Free speech would be giving Katie Hopkins a platform to say whatever she wants without the ability to challenge her. Free debate is creating a space in which she can air her views, but will be challenged on them.”
How sad of it that the British Universities are leading the way in intellectual discourse and Americans are falling behind to protect their students from having to face an idea with which they disagree.