Thursday, February 7, 2013

Virginia Legislature Passes Law To Prevent Future Generation of Tyrants - Freedom of Association & Religion On Campus

The Friendly Atheist brings us the good news at  Virginia Senate Approves Bill Allowing College Groups to Discriminate Based On Religious Beliefs . Note it also includes other beliefs.Hopefully the Governor will sign this bill.
This is very good news and is a good rebuke of some disturbing trends that are happening on some Government funded and operated college campuses. Contrary to what some believe the College campus is not an area where the first amendment does not apply.

Freedom of association is very link with the freedom of speech. College students at Government run colleges need to get use to the real world. They ( or the administration) cannot just engage in rampant viewpoint discrimination or try to cut off at the head groups and opinions they do not like. That is , at least currently , not how life in the real world operates.

This has wider implications than just the college campus. Trying to dictate membership and leadership requirements, overreaching  vague speech and conduct codes, and often kangaroo campus " courts" teach students a horrible lesson. Harvey Silverglate pointed this recently in this Forbes article Campus Censorship Breeds Societal Dysfunction where he reviews an excellent and alarming book on this topic.

Unlearning Liberty gave me surprising insight into how it could be that such a large number of graduates of some of the nation’s leading colleges and law schools wind up as U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors doing so many awful things to so many often innocent people. I likewise gained insight into how some of the sharper legal minds now sitting on the federal bench do not blanch when innocent citizens are convicted of violating statutes and regulations that no normal person could possibly understand. Students, who get accustomed to the administrative tyranny that marks the vast majority of colleges, universities and graduate schools today, don’t have much adjusting to do when they gain, and abuse, real power of their own in the nation at large, including in its legislative chambers, executive offices, and courts....

.....Lukianoff observes: “The Founding Fathers understood that the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights would be best protected when individual citizens internalized these principles [of liberty] as personal values.” One rightly asks, upon reading Lukianoff’s profoundly disturbing disquisition on the culture of mindless totalitarianism that befouls the vast majority of our college campuses: how much longer do we have in which to restore liberty and sanity to higher education before our political and legal institutions reach the point of no return?

Amen to that. All these things are connected. That is sometimes in  the noble aim of "tolerance" we decree by law or regulation in toleration.

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