CNN's Zakaria Calls Out Liberal Intolerance on College Campuses

On Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS over the Memorial Day weekend, CNN's Fareed Zakaria gave attention to the issue of liberals on college campuses protesting and trying to bar conservative speakers as he complained that "Liberals think they are tolerant, but often they aren't." 

And, after getting in a quick dig at "anti-intellectualism on the Right," he also called out "an anti-intellectualism on the Left, an attitude of self-righteousness which says we are so pure, we are so morally superior, we cannot bear to hear an idea with which we disagree."

As he began the show's regular "What in the World?" segment, after recalling some of the prominent speakers who have recently given commencement speeches on college campuses, he then informed viewers of the negative receptions received by Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. He then began describing one of the problems he saw on campuses:

American universities these days seem committed to every kind of diversity except intellectual diversity. Conservative voices and views -- already a besieged minority -- are being silenced entirely. The campus thought police have gone after serious conservative thinkers like Heather McDonald and Charles Murray, as well as firebrands like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter. Some were disinvited; others booed, interrupted and intimidated.

After recalling the American tradition of allowing speech with which one disagrees, he continued:

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There is, as we all know, a kind of anti-intellectualism on the Right these days -- the denial of facts, of reason, of science. But there is also an anti-intellectualism on the Left, an attitude of self-righteousness which says we are so pure, we are so morally superior, we cannot bear to hear an idea with which we disagree. 

The CNN host then took aim at liberals:

Liberals think they are tolerant, but often they aren't. In 2016, a Pew study found Democrats were more likely to view Republicans as closed-minded, but each side scores about the same in terms of closed-mindedness and hostility to hearing contrarian views. And large segments on both sides consider the other to be "immoral," "lazy," "dishonest," and "unintelligent."

He then concluded by arguing that people should listen to those with whom they disagree to learn and to question themselves about whether they really have the right answers.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Sunday, May 28, Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN:

10:27 a.m. ET
American universities these days seem committed to every kind of diversity except intellectual diversity. Conservative voices and views -- already a besieged minority -- are being silenced entirely. The campus thought police have gone after serious conservative thinkers like Heather McDonald and Charles Murray, as well as firebrands like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter. Some were disinvited; others booed, interrupted and intimidated.

It's strange that this is happening on college campuses that promise to give their undergraduates a liberal education. The word "liberal" in this context has nothing to do with today's partisan language, but refers instead to the Latin root -- "pertaining to liberty." And at the heart of the liberal tradition in the Western world, has been freedom of speech.

From the beginning, people understood that this meant protecting and listening to speech with which you disagreed. 

(...)

There is, as we all know, a kind of anti-intellectualism on the Right these days -- the denial of facts, of reason, of science. But there is also an anti-intellectualism on the Left, an attitude of self-righteousness which says we are so pure, we are so morally superior, we cannot bear to hear an idea with which we disagree. 

Liberals think they are tolerant, but often they aren't. In 2016, a Pew study found Democrats were more likely to view Republicans as closed-minded, but each side scores about the same in terms of closed-mindedness and hostility to hearing contrarian views. And large segments on both sides consider the other to be "immoral," "lazy," "dishonest," and "unintelligent."

This is not just about tolerance for its own sake. The truth is, no one has a monopoly on right or virtue. Listening to other contradictory views will teach us all something and sharpen our own views. One of the greatest dangers in life -- whether it be in business or government, is to get trapped in a bubble of group think and never ask, "What if I'm wrong? What is the best argument on the other side?"

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