Cameron Government Moves To Impose Speech Code On English Universities

David_Cameron_official150px-royal_coat_of_arms_of_the_united_kingdom-svgA proposed British law creates a serious threat to academic freedom and free speech. The law seeks to force universities to take action to stop young people being exposed to extremist ideas and speakers. The law is consistent with a trend toward greater speech regulation in the West As I discussed in column yesterday in the Washington Post.

We have seen a crackdown on free speech in the West. For other recent columns, click here and here and here.

This law is part of the government’s counter-terrorism and security bill and imposes a new obligation on universities, prisons and probation services, schools and health authorities to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. Schools would not have to perform risk assessments on visiting speakers, including checking the content of any speeches or debates beforehand, to ensure they are not promoting “extremist” or “radical” ideas.

A Home Office consultation paper insisted that universities “must take seriously their responsibility to exclude those promoting extremist views that support or are conducive to terrorism.” This new “responsibility” includes reporting students “at risk” of being drawn into terrorism to external anti-radicalization programmes and to actively challenge extremist ideas, including non-violent extremism.

This ill-conceived measure would drive into the heart of academic freedom and turn universities into agents of the government in censoring speech. Universities are based on a foundation of free speech. Indeed, the lack of success of governments in France, England, Canada and other countries in increasing speech regulation should, if anything, cause a review of their own approach. It is better for such ideas to be voiced and answered rather than suppressed. More importantly, you do not answer those who would deny freedom by curtailing it.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws.

England’s premier educational institution have been a critical part of its national identity and contribution to the world. This law is a concession not a confrontation for extremists. They want to deny free speech and this law shows that the greatest injuries in the war against terror tends to be self-inflicted.

Source: The Guardian

71 thoughts on “Cameron Government Moves To Impose Speech Code On English Universities”

  1. Hell!! they should do whatever they feel is necessary to end this terrorist nonsense, it’s their laws break them if it suits the end to your means. Crack down on internet freedom too while your at it, block all those bubble-head sites that are advocating religious violence.These days it’s “Freedom or Life”.

  2. We cannot allow various ethnic and religious groups to create their own neighborhoods that do not follow our judicial laws and refuse to assimilate into our American way of life. We cannot have these groups of people overrule our laws and insist we accept theirs.
    This is what Paris and other European countries did, and now they are overrun with extreme terrorists and a divided society.

    1. Gigi

      What you write as “cannot allow” is fully part of who we are as “human” and as U. S. citizens.

      If one attempts, most cannot, to just move into “little (this)” or “little (that)” within metropolitan areas without being of that specific ethnic group, one will discover that what you have described “cannot allow” is very much already part of the American experience. Perhaps the one non-conforming aspect is the effort to force the “minority” culture on the whole of the “other” as is currently experienced in other parts of the world. However, look to the Asian continent influx in Seattle and north to Vancouver Canada. Whole neighborhoods have changed and “foreign” signage, churches, temples etc have been established. The Western (Northern European?) culture has been displaced. Certain ethnicities dominate certain occupations. Take a cab in different cities…radio communications are often in a different language. Sikhs drive cabs, Vietnamese manicure parlors, Chinese dry cleaners,

      While the “reservation” system was forced by an invading culture on those residents of the land during Manifest Destiny, that system has been codified as separate sovereign entities within the borders of the United States. These entities have very distinct characteristics, even between close reservations. Visit Browning Mt then drop south a bit to the area along the southern half of Flathead Lake. While the physical appearances and most customs are hard to differentiate by the average Caucasian, there are two VERY different entities. Religion? Medicine men as spiritual leaders have a very different take on a religion which apparently sees killing God’s son as somehow redemptive.

      Gigi, it appears to me that your last name “La Paz” is of Hispanic heritage. I have no idea where you live but during one assignment I was stationed in San Diego; we lived in Chula Vista. I went to a brand new supermarket in 1983. The aisle product signs, the banners etc were in Spanish with English subtexts. That was 32 yrs ago. The neighborhood street signs were in Spanish. The Hispanic residents were great. Spend time with them and discover that they had a separate “justice” system. Note: area was already occupied when Spain arrived. Then English speaking folks took over and now Spanish is predominate (again?).

      In 1983, Chula Vista compared to Coronado Island? Worlds apart…not bad ….just VERY different.

      Having rambled.. I’ll get back to my point.

      What you write as “cannot allow” is very much part of the American heritage. It is, in my mind, truly a miracle that the colonies united. French, English and Spanish…Roman Catholic, Protestants (of every variety one can imagine) and diests. All European and Christian (some more staunch than others) who displaced (I’m being too conservative PC here……how about slaughtered and exiled) other complete and settled cultures.

      We humans are a great experiment and it is a wonder, both grand and horrific at once, that we are still here. Almost (at least 3 known separate occasions) did not make it when USSR and USA had center stage.

      All terrorists are convinced their cause is just. Same can be said of criminals and homicidal maniacs. Rationalization can lead to extermination.

      How far is one willing to go to uphold it —“cannot allow”? This Is double edged.

      It was a prime mover for the 13 colonies. It was also that which lead to the “Cross.” It is that for which millions died in WWII.

      MY GOODNESS …that was long winded. Pray for us sinners in our time of need.

  3. I had lots of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. So, that worked just fine, thank you.

  4. I’m secure enough to admit I had to Google Mario Savio. MikeA is an old hippie so waxing poetic about the 60’s is understandable. I was sorta a hippie, drug sex and rock n’ roll. But, I was too blue collar to get into the radical Savio types.

  5. This country could use a new Mario Savio and a new Free Speech Movement. The universities are silent.

  6. What is really needed is parents parenting. Encourage open discussions, suggest reading, look at both sides and discuss why parents would chose one over the other. Really warn them of the Internet’s dangers.

    My parents taught me to never lie, don’t cheat or steal, do your best, love of country. Of course, all of that was expected at school.

    Our daughter homeschooled. We were against it. Could she teach everything, no socialization, everybody was paying taxes and they weren’t using what we were paying for. We were as wrong as anyone can be. Her daughters are exactly what any grandparent would want. Well spoken, polite, can discuss various points of history. One speaks French. We have a talented artist which is being encouraged in every way. We give classes and often take her shopping for materials.

    The family is where you learn about their political beliefs and why. They go to church every Sunday and are involved in church activities.

    Two parents working leaves few opportunities for have very involved discussions. My parents were divorced when I was three, but my father taught me to read, at four which is the optimal age. My mother had me taking ballet. I had an aunt who played piano beautifully and I learned from her. Learning an instrument is where you hear classical music and learn its beauty. And from there to Opera.

    You almost have to ask what did you learn in school today, so you can offer different points. My parents got a great education from their taxes. I really appreciate the quality of my education, without it I would not have had the wonderful life I’ve had.

  7. I remember, during the late 1960s some genius in the Oregon legislature proposed a clearinghouse structure for approving any speakers on college campuses (primarily to prevent any anti-war sentiment from being expressed.) A young legislator name Robert Packwood (who went on to become a US Senator) gave a most eloquent speech in opposition and the measure failed. Common sense prevailed and let us hope it continues.

  8. Yo: BelgianBrain: Your name is a contradiction in terms. But could you please translate from Belgium into English just what it was that you just posted above?

  9. Freedumb!! Keep calm and #Charlie on.
    Waiting for the ‘free speech zones’ to reach EU shores.

    Welcome to #Oceania.. Don’t mind the cognitive dissonance.

  10. Just an observation of sorts.
    The Episcopal Church is a direct derivative of the Anglican (The Church of England). If one wants to see an imposed speech code in action, go to an Episcopal diocesan convention or even the triennial national convention and just try to intimate that maybe, just maybe Israel has just cause to hold on to the West Bank, or mention how the Gaza turnover turned out, or stockpiles of munitions in populated public places or some other inconvenient truth.

    Try to amend a resolution condemning Israeli actions with a mentioning or condemning Islamic violence focused on the complete annihilation of the State of Israel. How about bringing Quran 8:12, 9:5 and 33:60ff, actually the whole of chapters 8, 9 and 33. The recent events? 8:12 specifically calls for beheading of the unbeliever. …..Warning M-17 upcoming gruesome scene….If anyone has the stomach for it, posted actual footage of every beheading (not just ISIS) shows what can’t be a very sharp knife and the killer just cutting back and forth against a struggling victim’s throat until an artery is fully severed and person rendered unconscious. The artery is clad bundled with intense sensory nerves.

    Often the head is tossed around. Lord of the Flies is a lighthearted comedy in comparison.

    If we are going to have open discussions, each side should be able to fully present their case.

    I notice that even the TV tabloids are still smudging the offending cartoons. Nearly everyone understands blurring genitalia and actual faces. Jesus serving feces (Last Supper) many years ago? Art.

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