Should We Be “Offended” At the Folsom Street Fair?
I have not blogged on the controversy over Miller’s sponsorship of the Folsom Street Fair and the appearance of its logo in conjunction with a parody of DaVinci’s Last Supper.It’s nice that Rick is mellow, but we think his position ignores a larger reality. As we noted in his comments section:
One of my rules in life is that you ought to try very hard not to be offended. For that reason I am not a fan of Bill Donohue and the way in which he has run the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. His appetite for offense appears to border on gluttony.
Rick,Forty years ago, we would never have made a comment like this. Professors were liberals, to be sure, but had internalized the norm of free speech and academic freedom.
I understand you logic in thinking badly of people who are perpetually offended. And maybe in some perfect world, everybody should be laid back.
The problem is that the politically correct left has changed the rules. Claiming to be “offended” demands concessions from others.
Think of it as a prisoners’ dilemma. So long as the left can play the “offended” card to silence expression they don’t like, they need to face a right that will play by the same rules.
This logic is why I rather applaud attacks on academic freedom from the right. I don’t want them to succeed, but I do want leftist academics to be afraid that their academic freedom might be taken.
Once the campus left decides that the right doesn’t have the power to take its freedom, it will proceed to fire conservative professors.
As for the academic freedom of students: the process is already far along.
Now . . . we don’t think they did that because they somehow had superior reasoning powers. Rather, they thought that way because it served their interests in an era when most threats to free speech on campus came from the right.
But they had genuinely internalized that norm. They really believed it, and they really would (at least a large number would) tolerate free speech from the political right.
But academia has changed, and for the worse.