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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

The Cancellation of Conservative Thought on University Campuses

In the contemporary academic landscape, an unsettling trend has emerged, one that casts a shadow over the free exchange of ideas and the robust debate that should epitomise higher learning. This trend, often manifesting as the silencing or cancellation of conservative perspectives, stands in stark contrast to the ideals of open enquiry and intellectual diversity.

At the heart of this issue is a philosophical conflict rooted in the divergent views on justice, freedom, and personal responsibility advocated by leading thinkers across various disciplines. The essence of academic pursuit, one might argue, should be aligned with the ideals of a society that values diverse viewpoints as the bedrock of progress and understanding. Yet, on many university campuses, particularly here in Australia, a different reality unfolds.

Consider the case of a well-known former prime minister, Tony Abbott, who was invited to speak at a university in NSW last year. The event, initially welcomed as an opportunity for students to engage with a diverse range of ideas, quickly became a lightning rod for controversy. Protests erupted, petitions circulated, and, ultimately, the event was cancelled, citing security concerns. He instead spoke at the Sydney CPAC Conference, and the same activists failed to close down that event. This incident is not isolated but is reflective of a broader pattern where the mere presence of conservative thought is seen as an affront, leading to its suppression.

The implications of such actions are profound. First, there is the issue of academic freedom, a principle long cherished and defended in higher education. This principle is predicated on the belief that the pursuit of knowledge thrives in an environment where ideas can be expressed, scrutinised, and debated without fear of retribution. When conservative viewpoints are silenced, it's not just the ideas that are stifled; the very principle of academic freedom itself is undermined.

The cancellation of conservative thought reveals a troubling approach to dealing with complex societal issues. Rather than engaging with challenging ideas through debate and discussion, there is a tendency to retreat into ideological comfort zones, where the only acceptable views are those that align with a prevailing consensus. This approach is antithetical to the critical thinking and analytical skills that universities are meant to cultivate.

From an economic perspective, the suppression of diverse viewpoints has practical consequences. Universities that become echo chambers fail to prepare students for the real world, where they will inevitably encounter a wide range of perspectives. Graduates who are not equipped to engage with or understand different viewpoints find themselves at a disadvantage in a globalised and ideologically diverse marketplace. Often, unless employed as politically appointed bureaucrats, they have virtually no value to wealth-creating industries, only parasitic ones.

The trend of cancelling conservative thought raises important questions about the role of universities as societal institutions. Are they merely to reflect the prevailing ideological winds, or are they to stand as bastions of robust debate and free thought? The answer to this question has significant implications for the future of higher education and for society as a whole.

Despite these challenges, there are glimmers of hope. Some universities and academic bodies are beginning to recognise the importance of intellectual diversity and are taking steps to ensure that all voices can be heard. Initiatives to promote open dialogue and protect academic freedom are emerging, reflecting a recognition of the value that different perspectives bring to the academic enterprise. The expansion of online courses and access to online alternatives allows students to escape echo chambers and connect with a more diverse community.

The cancellation of conservative thought on university campuses is a trend that poses a significant challenge to the ideals of academic freedom, intellectual diversity, and open enquiry. It reflects a broader societal struggle over the nature of truth, justice, and freedom. As we move forward, it is imperative that universities recommit themselves to these ideals, fostering an environment where all ideas can be expressed and debated. Only then can they fulfil their role as incubators of knowledge and as places where future leaders learn the value of engaging with the world in all its complexity and diversity.

 From the author.

The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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