Very thought-provoking article. As a stated moderate independent, politically and probably in lifestyle, I am appalled by behavior on both sides of the aisle. While I abhor certain right-wing speakers, to prohibit them from speaking on campus based purely on the content of their views, and not their academic achievements or credentials, is totally against the tenets of our country and our university. The only possible way to try to break the current political and societal impasse is to encourage enlightened discussion of differing opinions.
Banning conservative thinking and speaking is revenge against all the past evils when there was blatant discrimination against liberals, minorities, and all subjugated peoples. But how can we progress when we are more interested in exacting revenge or wronging past atrocities without seeing a way forward? To coexist, we need to understand each other and learn more about each other. I have no confidence in our country’s ability to do this since the two major parties are catering so much to their base that there is no place for moderate thought. The best legislative victories in the past were when ideologically opposite people came together and each compromised something for the greater good.
We don’t need to agree with each other, but we have to hear and respect each other. Princeton would be wrong to ban a speaker that I personally loathe. Princeton is the standard to which all academic institutions should emulate, but we need to lead by example. Princeton has embraced diversity which continues to place Princeton as the preeminent undergraduate institution in the country. However, we cannot swing the pendulum so far to the left that we no longer have the very diversity necessary to grow as a university and then hopefully, drag the country to a more balanced place. “Princeton in the Nation’s Service” means conservatives as well as liberals. If we can achieve that, then we will have accomplished something sorely needed in these divisive times.