Friday, October 03, 2003

A thought for civility codes 

I continue to be impressed yet depressed about discussion on campus over a civility code. At our meeting last Wednesday the campus ombudsman -- who should change his title, given the yobbo using the title at the Sacriligious Bee -- presented a frank discussion of the code. I was pleased with the open discussion but dismayed that some still think we should have a code to prevent some form of speech that nobody could define. "We can't define it, but we know it when we see it." (Sorta like xenophobia, eh?) There was no support from those outside of the Scholars for the "toughen up, buttercup" view of dealing with speech we don't like. They should listen to Jonah Goldberg:
So let me just get this out of the way as quickly as possible. Criticizing someone else's criticism � even when a government official does it � isn't an assault on free speech. It is free speech. And leadership does not require saying "thank you sir may I have another" every time some yutz takes an unfair swipe at you. If giving as good as you get intimidates people from speaking their mind, maybe that's a good thing, because it most likely means those people haven't thought through their positions well enough to offer an opinion worth listening to. If that makes you sad, if that makes you want your boo-boo-kitty and a cookie from your mommy, that's fine. But spare me the prattle about how dissenters are being intimidated. Either offer some facts or stop your whining.
(Thanks to Fraters Libertas, whose invitation to a trivia match vs. the Hewitt Media All-Stars is intriguing.