Belinda Brown: Campus censorship? The only safe space is the family

On Wednesday I attended a conference “The New Intolerance on Campus”, organised by Spiked. Important arguments and valuable points were made both by the excellent speakers and from the floor.

We were reminded how important it is for our human growth, and our moral development to have our ideas, beliefs and assumptions challenged - Newman’s “The energy of the human intellect does from opposition grow”. However, instead of welcoming those who have opposing or even repulsive views, for the opportunity that they give us to challenge their arguments, modify our own or even guide them to more promising territory, the current trend is to shut them up.

This is best illustrated on our university campuses where the National Union of Students under a fug of progressiveness is actually doing the work of the State. Those who question the gender or race politics of our liberal elite are ‘no platformed’.

Safe spaces are created for the delicate, easily offended flowers of our education system. While claiming that their powerlessness means they need protection, they have the power to make sure that those expressing views they don’t like are silenced. Shut up.

Brendan O’Neill, the editor of Spiked, told us that “Censorship is the midwife of stupidity”. In universities identity politics squash discussion of ideals or quest for the truth. Instead of exercising their intellectual muscles or capacity for moral judgement, students allow others, such as the NUS, to do their thinking for them. The students and the universities, which submit to this process, will, inexorably be dumbed down.

However, students should not be held entirely responsible. They are the fruits of what the education system has become.

Teachers have to submit to a form of brainwashing in order to be trained so are unlikely to  have the tools to teach pupils to think for themselves. Pupils’ fragile egos are protected through absence of individual competition, red ink is not used and spellings remain uncorrected for fear of damaging their creative souls. No wonder when they come to university they have to be protected from original and challenging opinions. They do not appear to have been given the tools to argue robustly and challenge these opinions for themselves. Defenceless they turn to their NUS mummy, who will make those who say things they don’t like, shut up.

How much better they would do if they turned to The Conservative Woman instead! We not only talk about the virtues of freedom of speech. We do freedom of speech. As a member of the audience pointed out on Wednesday , what the NUS and others deem hate speech is in fact right wing speech. That is us. We don that most unpopular mantle ‘conservative’ and we challenge feminism, the rightness of abortion, gay marriage or most recently the untouchable status of doctors. We use rational arguments, evidence, hopefully humour and sometimes a little vitriol to lay  waste to the liberal establishment’s  most holy sacred cows. We do this under our own identities and we leave ourselves open to discussion, criticism and attack.

We drag identity politics into an arena where feelings are no longer in currency. The discussion centres on ideals, beliefs and evidence. It is not our fragile egos but the truth which is at stake.

Our support for individuals and the family is our real defence against intolerance and tyranny. It is the family with its idiosyncracies and complexities that provides the security that enables individuals with all their uniqueness, quirkiness and originality to thrive. Institutionalised  childcare may look after the body, it may even allow for functional personalities, but I believe it encourages conformity to the whole. An example here might be Denmark, which while highly enviable in many ways encourages conformity amongst the Danes.

Where the family is strong plurality is encouraged because individuals no longer need state protection. They can fight lies and ugliness where they find them. They have the strength to challenge views and opinions they don’t like and get bruised and battered in battle. Because when they have finished they can go home and recover. For they have their families – a real sacred, and very safe space.

Belinda Brown

  • Terry

    Hate speech is speech which the cultural left hate.

  • James60498 .

    And you are brilliant at it to. Writing is excellent and pretty much all of it is what I want to hear.

    But I already know all this, even if I couldn’t articulate it half as well.

    How are you get your views out to the general population? To the people who don’t generally read conservative websites, or even any websites at all. I found you through another conservative leaning website, but that’s because I have always been a part time politician of sorts and don’t have any party meetings to attend or electioneering to do since the Tory Party left me.

    Am I being impatient? Maybe. But things are pretty seriously wrong out there. There are many intelligent people who can’t see past what is presented by the liberal politicians and their allies in the BBC. Even my mother has now decided that Obama is a really great guy who just gets it wrong on abortion.

    The intelligence talked on this site is surely what many people are waiting to hear. How is that going to happen?

    • Colkitto03

      I completely understand the frustration you raise in your last two paragraphs. That said, I think that conservatives have been a bit late in using social media, but now its use on the right wing of politics is booming!. More and more people are finding sites like this every day. I had never been one for alternative blogs of newsites. I would sit and rage watching the BBC every evening! But then my wife bought me a kindle fire for Christmas. I found “conservative woman” from a link on twitter. I have a 22 year old son and an 18 year old daughter both of whom never watch the standard television news. They prefer to get thier news of websites like Breitbart for example. I really beleive that blogs and newsites on the internet will eventually break the left wing strangle hold of the MSM.

  • Colkitto03

    Great piece Belinda! My son is now doing his MA in English and in his fourth year at Uni. We have always, as a family, talked about politics and since he was a child the Spectator has popped through out door every Friday. He has right of centre views. What shocked me was that from the start of university he was presented with cultural marxist views from lecturers and professors from the start. The pressure created by this meant that any disagreement was very subdued. In the end my son decided that it was best to keep his mounth shut as any view that opposed the tutors’ risked being down marked. There must be tens of thousands who have had an experiece like him across the UK. I should finish by saying that he also had several wonderful tutors who did not inject thier own personal political views into lessons.

  • Gimme some fightin’ room

    Our western society of the twentieth century seemed to move forward with every decade that past – sadly the western society of the twenty-first century (riddled with self-hatred) appears to be taking enormous leaps backward deep into our intolerant unenlightened past. There is a very dangerous notion in western society today – enthusiastically promoted by politicians (hate speech laws) and ‘safe space’ education establishments alike – that everyone has the right to have their beliefs and views protected from challenge – by force of criminal sanction if necessary. This western regression into self-censorship is a godsend to any group of sanctimonious lunatics and fanatical religionists who are able to encourage an atmosphere of repression using this self-imposed blackout which will only ill-serve western society and it’s future (if any).

    Excellent article Belinda.

  • Sheelagh Hanly

    It never fails to amaze me that people who are otherwise assertive, have exceptional talent and ability and are highly academic educated people could be reduced to parroting off the politically correct lingo. They seem to lack courage basically and a bit of wisdom and the ability to think for themselves. Sad!