It's a great shame that Cambridge University, where some of the world's greatest thinkers were educated, has embraced "safe space" delusions.
In that once-learned city, a student society has just disinvited a black, gay feminist from speaking, due to her stated intention to question the transgender consensus. That the individual in question, Linda Bellos, is a renowned left-wing activist against racism, doesn't matter.
Speaking to the BBC, the head of Cambridge's LGBTQ society defended the disinvitation on the basis that "a person's identity and who they are is never up for debate." The vice-chair of that society added that higher than average suicide rates in the transgender community mean that transgender ears must be protected from uncomfortable speech.
If you thought other students would stand up for free speech, you'd would be wrong.
Amazingly, even the editor of Cambridge's University student newspaper defended the ban, arguing, "I think, really, it's a case more of students wanting to be considerate of each other. Making sure that everyone feels welcome and that our public spaces, whether that's a lecture or anywhere else, are as inclusive as possible."
All these excuses are intellectually pathetic.
Considering their growing influence in public policy discussions such as those pertaining to restroom access, transgender issues must be open to debate. In addition, the causal link between transgender suicide rates and exposure to alternative transgender viewpoints, such as those offered by Bellos, is totally unproven. Finally, education is supposed to be about broadening perspectives, and that obviously cannot happen if students are shielded from certain viewpoints.
Unfortunately, at Cambridge, this saga seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. Consider, for example, that students are now being given trigger warnings in relation to certain Shakespearean plays.
There can be only one response to this idiocy: rejecting it.
As David Crilly of The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival put it to The Independent, "If a student of English Literature doesn't know that Titus Andronicus contains scenes of violence, they shouldn't be on the course. This degree of sensitivity will inevitably curtail academic freedom. If the academic staff are concerned they might say something students find uncomfortable, they will avoid doing it."
Crilly is right. Emotional instability is always a poor excuse for educational censorship.