A Pew Research survey asked people of different age groups whether the government should be able to censor racially offensive speech. The results are striking. For respondents over the age of 70, only 12% favored censorship. For Baby Boomers between 51 and 69, 24% favored censorship. For Gen Xers between 35-50, 27% favored censorship. But, for the millenials (of which I am a member) between 18 and 34, 40% favored censorship. The younger you are, the less you appreciate the importance of free speech. This isn’t to say that people should make offensive statements about minorities, but it is an altogether different matter whether the government can censor so-called “hate speech.”
As I noted recently, today’s college students become tomorrow’s law students, lawyers, politicians, and judges. If this trend continues, we are in serious trouble.
In related news, please read Michael Krauss’s column on why institutions should be very hesitant to rename colleges.
The idea, I take it, is to preserve only the names of individuals whose nomination would not arouse substantial opposition if the same buildings or schools or universities were to be named for the first time today.
To this I say, if we’re going to go on a re-naming splurge, here (in alphabetical order) are a few other institutions whose names we might want to reconsider:
Among those that would have to change names are the College of William & Mary, George Mason University (my alma matter), Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (JFK did not have the best relations with women), Howard University (Gen. Howard led attacks against the Apache), anything named after Abraham Lincoln (he favored sending slaves back to Africa), Washington & Lee (double no-no), and Yale University itself (Elihu Yale oversaw a slave trade).