Wednesday, December 27, 2017

In 2018, freedom... speak on a wide range of ideas, to challenge people out of cosy networks of convenient slogans, and to make people uncomfortable by raising issues that may affect them personally -  is going to be central to life in Britain, especially in our universities.

Shortly before Christmas, Prof Nigel Biggar at Oxford wrote a thoughtful essay on Britain and Empire in The Times. He was later denounced  by some lecturers and students at the University: it's not really clear why. They just disagreed with him, and were clearly uncomfortable with having to think through the issues that he raised - especially as he was giving voice to people from places which were part of the Empire and were commenting on the realities of colonial rule.

It is already noticeable that many young people simply can't accept the idea of people disagreeing with a world-view that is currently deemed to be politically correct. They are genuinely incoherent about it, saying things like "I can't believe you're saying that!"  Of course this has been a trait in young people in each generation - perhaps it is a necessary part of the journey to maturity, the need for a group-think that provides security before and during the process of discovering the wider world and its depth and width of ideas and information.  But if we are going to continue to expect vast numbers of our young to be urged into Universities, we must accept the need to widen, not narrow, their minds when they are there. They need to be helped and nourished into maturity, not trapped in group-think.

This is the major challenge in 2018 for all who care about the rising generation and the future of our country.

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