About three weeks ago, Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Tulsa, created a stir with his powerful article, This is Not Day Care, It’s a University. It’s probably the best, most succinct defense of a classical, liberal arts education I’ve ever heard.
Piper was responding to the recent campus uprisings in the United States with students demanding “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” to protect themselves from people and ideas they find offensive. They haven’t stopped with merely protesting, but are also bullying and punishing professors and school administrators who fail to meet their demands.
Piper’s letter reminded me of Darrow’s book, Emancipating the World: A Christian Response to Radical Islam and Fundamentalist Atheism, published in 2012. What Dr. Piper describes as “ideological fascism” is the operating ideology of fundamentalist atheism.
In a recent interview, Dr. Piper defined ideological fascism this way: “You are required to conform. You must agree with us. You must believe like we believe. You must believe the ideas we hold dear, and if you deviate, if you have a contrary idea, we will squash you. We will crush you. We will expel you.”
Oklahoma Wesleyan is a place to learn, not a “safe space”
He went on to contrast ideological fascism with what he and his university stand for–classical, liberal arts education: “The liberal arts university was established some 1,000 years ago to educate a free man and woman, and a liberated people, and that liberty is found in the pursuit of truth, not the protection of opinions.”
He went on to write of his university, Oklahoma Wesleyan, “This is not a safe space … it is a place to learn. The free and robust exchange of ideas is facilitated by the classic liberal arts academy, not this foreclosed, dumbed down discussion that is policed by the people that are in power.”
The liberal arts university grew out of a distinctly Christian and biblical worldview. How fitting that a president of a Christian university is vocally defending freedom and the pursuit of truth today.
- Scott Allen
- Intellectual Hospitality: Growth Spaces Instead Of Safe Spaces
- More On Safe Spaces
- Safe Spaces”: Converting Students to Jihadis on University Campuses