An empty marketplace of ideas

Interesting problem at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. You can read the full store online here.

At first glance, the problem is pretty simple. You have a group of students who have created an organization that violates school principles. Therefore, it is only logical that in the name of logic and rationale, this group should be confronted and forced to comply, correct?

Not so fast. We are talking about ideological stances, not corporate rules and conduct for consumption and dispensation in the general public. Because this group does not agree with Carleton University Students Association’s pro-choice views, they are being disciplined. My question is this: since when do we have a university student association having the right and obligation to police a group’s right to disagree? If this were a group of homosexuals wanting to meet at a Christian university, I am sure that there would be an uproar over this kind of quieting of ideas!

Events like this only cement in my mind our need to stand firmly for what we believe in, and to realize that the “tolerant” marketplace of ideas is, in reality, the least of tolerant places for dissenters.

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2 thoughts on “An empty marketplace of ideas

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  1. I don’t disagree with you in this instance, but I disagree with your assessment of the marketplace of ideas. The marketplace analogy works because certain less meritorious ideas are excluded from the marketplace by private gatekeepers, as opposed to by the government. Universities are one of these primary gatekeepers. Without gatekeepers’ ability to censor, we don’t have a marketplace, we have a free-for-all.

  2. I agree entirely that there has to be some semblance of order in order for the marketplace to work. I would also, for the record, have a problem with a pro-life group wanting to hang pictures of aborted fetuses all over campus. However, I do take issue with the concept of a student group being censored and/or disciplined for something that university itself does not have an official stance on. My concern is that this is not a limited occurrence, so we do need to stand strong in a loving and Christ-centered way on the issues.

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