[Marxism] Fwd: Berkeley chancellor angers faculty members with remarks on civility and free speech @insidehighered

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Sep 9 07:12:02 MDT 2014

Most recently, this week, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks of the University of 
California at Berkeley sent an email to faculty and students asking them 
to honor the 50th anniversary of the free speech movement on campus with 
a focus on civility.

“As we honor this turning point in our history, it is important that we 
recognize the broader social context required in order to free speech to 
thrive,” Dirks wrote. “Specifically, we can only exercise our right to 
free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so, and this 
in turn requires that people treat each other with civility. Simply put, 
courteousness and respect in words and deeds are basic preconditions to 
any meaningful exchange of ideas.”

Dirks continued: “In this sense, free speech and civility are two sides 
of a single coin – the coin of open, democratic society.”

Bloggers and online commenters immediately criticized the message, with 
some on Twitter calling it “Orwellian” and “wrongheaded.” Popehat, a 
legal blog, offered a line-by-line critique of the chancellor’s email, 
with a particular focus on the “single coin” metaphor: “Civility is not 
weighed equally with free speech. It is not a prerequisite of free 
speech. It is a value, an idea, to be tested in the marketplace of ideas 
with other vales. Free speech is often uncivil.


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