Elevator Pitch on Censorship

Educated individuals value the free expression of ideas, yet we recognize some ideas are distasteful, others harmful, and some are likely promoted by quacks. It is through our capacity to critically analyze ideas to decide which deserve our attention, which should be seriously considered, and which dismissed.  

Our human nature and our professional ethics lead us to conclude some ideas should not be given our attention, thus we censor them. Censoring ideas can be active or passive. Active censorship means we take steps to remove the ideas from the environment. Passive censorship finds us simply ignoring ideas; they get no attention. 

While this is new and contentious in education, science has been dealing with this for much longer. Science depends on new ideas emerging and gaining support through empirical evidence; because time is limited, scientists are skeptical, so only worthy ideas are tested.  

It seems educators must help their students adopt a more skeptical stance towards distasteful ideas. If they are obviously the product of unreasonable thinking, then we have a duty to include that in our rationale for not inviting those speakers to campus. If the ideas are not from a “quack,” then we must invite them to our brave spaces where we confront the ideas and our ideas with all of our intellectual tools.