The Closing of the Mind at Stanford

By Richard Nelson

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March 20, 2014

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An interesting, ironic, and ultimately sad episode is taking place at Stanford University. At this esteemed institution of elite education, LGBT activists have persuaded Stanford's student body government to prevent school funds from being disbursed to pay for a conference featuring conservative thinkers on the topic of sexuality. Originally, the conference was granted approval and the funds, too, until, that is, LGBT activists caught wind of the event and protested its happening. According to one individual quoted in the piece, people like Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, one of America's premier defenders of natural marriage, is a threat to public safety. Another aspect of this debate? In addition to putting up the hurdle of raising funds for the event to go on as non-university sponsored event, Stanford is now insisting that the group hosting the event, the Anscombe Society, should raise funds to have security at the event.

So the Anscombe Society raised the money themselves from other sources and when they found the money this week, the university upped the ante, saying they’d have to pay an extra $5,600 for “security” — ten security personnel at a conference with an expected attendance of 120. The security was only deemed necessary after students at Stanford argued they felt threatened by the idea of the conference.

Today the Anscombe Society, which had been playing nice until now, finally cried foul. In a strongly worded press release, it demanded that Stanford remove this burdensome tax, adding:

This fee is a tax on free speech. We love Stanford’s commitment to academic freedom and freedom of speech, so we are disappointed to see them set a precedent of taxing speech that they don’t like.

The likes of liberalism and its dalliance with the LGBT lobby, is proving, yet again, that the combination of these two forces represents an unspeakable pettiness, self-protection, and insularity in the exchange of ideas.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center