Happy New Year!

January 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm

The German translation of my book is now in bookstores, readers of this blog are generous souls, and a troubling examination of free speech on university campuses sheds light on the climate debate.

Thank you, dear gents and ladies, for your response to my holiday cocktail appeal. My Christmas was warmed and my spirits have been lifted due to your generosity.

I am hard at work on a research-intensive story, and expect to be able to share the fruits of that labour with you soon. In the meantime, I’m pleased to announce that a German translation of my book, published in hardcover, is now available in bookshops across Germany and Austria, as well as from Amazon.de.

If you’re looking for a break from climate matters, late last year I read a frightening book by an American First Amendment lawyer titled Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. It’s author, Greg Lukianoff, is my new hero.

His portrayal of contemporary American campuses provides valuable insight into the often juvenile, highly personalized tone of the climate debate. Essentially, he says that American universities now actively discourage the airing of a full range of views on all sorts of topics.

Because little debate is now permitted on campuses, colleges are turning out thousands of students every year who don’t have the first clue how to participate in a civil debate. Good sportsmanship, respect for alternative views, grace under pressure – young people aren’t learning any of these things. That has consequences in the real world.

As Lukianoff says in his first chapter:

The tactics and attitudes that shut down speech on campus are bleeding into the larger society and wreaking havoc on the way we talk among ourselves…the one institution that could be helping elevate the national discussion may actually be making it worse.

By any measure, Lukianoff is left-of-center on the political spectrum. He has never, for example, voted Republican. But his commitment to free speech leaves him horrified at what he sees:

Political correctness has become part of the nervous system of the modern university…For decades our universities have been teaching students that speech with a chance of offending someone should be immediately silenced…When students risk punishment for speaking their minds, something has gone very wrong in the college environment.

This is an important book. One that warns us that “What happens on campus doesn’t stay on campus.”

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