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Roland Martin - Issue #12

Where have all the radicals gone?

Roland Martin

February 23 · Issue #12 · View online
Headmaster - City of London Freemen's school; Chief Officer - City of London - '...write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing' Benjamin Franklin

Where have all the radicals gone?

The Young Ones?
Students have been getting an increased number of headlines in the last few months though it appears that the once partisan voices that we might have been used to have been replaced with a new student voice.  In today’s (yesterday’s) The Independent, writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown argues that ‘too many students at our universities and colleges are censorious and absurdly touchy,’ citing recent cases such as Maryam Namazie and Germaine Greer as examples of visiting voices that students have either successfully or unsuccessfully gagged, through campus-bans.
Alibhai-Brown says she used to be part of this faction, though she has learned later in life that allowing a platform for controversial voices can result in them bringing about their own downfall; I suppose many a political career bears this theory out.  Her conclusion - 'illiberal students are simply reflecting the illiberal society they and we now live in’ - struck me as rather sad.  What would 'Rick’ have thought of this strange social turn where students are not able to listen to a full range of views and work out where there political and social boundaries lie?
Today's student activists only reflect the censorship of our Government | Voices | The Independent
Death of 'the Angry Young (wo)Man'
John Osborne would be turning in his grave if he read The Spectator’s suggestion that 90% of campuses censor speech.  Jimmy Porter may have been pretty impotent when it came to doing anything about the ‘good brave causes’ that he perceived as needing championing but he was never shy of exercising his right to free speech.  In a society that arguably has more wrongs to right than post-war Britain, shouldn’t our students be able to have a voice?  And although I do feel a need for emotional intelligence to be imbedded into schools, do we really need to worry about university students’ 'mental safety’ if they spend forty minutes listening to Germaine Greer?  I can only speculate as to the danger should they read one of her books…
Don't blame the students. They're a product of a Britain that's losing its love of free speech | Coffee House
Censorship: no satisfaction
Censorship usually causes more trouble than non-censorship may have caused in the first place.  The Rolling Stones performing on Shindig in 1965 is a case in point.   The censor - in his infinite wisdom - insisted that a word was bleeped in the phrase ‘you’re trying’ to XXXX some girl’; I wonder how many American teenagers were going to the record shop (when vinyl was really in) expecting to find the word 'MAKE’ added to the uncensored version!
The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction (Shindig) - YouTube
Ultimately, it’s about balance, isn’t it?  Yes - young people need to be protected from the extremist voice that might harm.  But they also need to be able to hear the radical voice that might challenge… 
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