Civility in the Wall Street Journal — at 94% Off Full Price! November 23, 2023November 23, 2023 I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I was particularly struck by what two women I admire had to say in the Wall Street Journal. First, Peggy Noonan: We Should All Give Thanks for Taylor Swift. Infused with goodwill, a Noonan trademark; and beautifully written (another). → If you encounter a paywall, don’t despair! The Journal seems to be running a Black Friday sale today — a year’s subscription for just $26 — 94% off! Second, PEN America’s Suzanne Nossel: A Free-Speech Fix for Our Divided Campuses. . . . As the conflict continues in the Middle East, college students are alternately emboldened and alarmed, faculty are at loggerheads, donors are irate, and college presidents are embattled. But the crisis presents an opportunity. . . . . . . Students and faculty alike . . . need to see that free speech is most valuable not as a weapon to wield against ideological opponents but as a tool in the search for common truths. Among top universities, the University of Chicago has taken a lead on these issues, making free-speech awareness a key part of orientation programs for undergraduates and law students and recently launching a new campus center to reinforce those efforts. But free-speech education must not end there. Today’s students have come of age in the era of social media, where speech too often consists of short, angry ideological salvos. The speech promoted by engagement-driven algorithms is long on outrage and virtue-signaling, short on nuance, balance and basic politeness. . . . . . . During the short years that students share meals, dorm life and classes with those unlike themselves, they need to be taught how to use the power of speech, how to listen and how to grasp and hold the complexities of a pluralistic society. . . . Universities also need to reinforce the idea that hateful speech, though protected by the First Amendment, is still contemptible and thwarts reasoned discourse. . . . Rather than shying away from uncomfortable subjects, professors should encourage students to hear out ideas that may be upsetting and learn how to regulate their own feelings and reactions. . . . . . . Turning universities into thriving free-speech communities is not a matter of a one-time freshman orientation or, worse, click-thru online training. What is required is a whole-of-university approach, supported by donors and alumni. Presidents and provosts, student affairs offices, residential staff, faculty, administrators and even facilities and security personnel need to understand and embrace the norms and habits of democratic discourse. . . . They also need to demonstrate the behaviors they seek to inculcate by ensuring that heterodox views are represented in academic departments, hosting debates between speakers who sharply disagree and facilitating meetings where contentious subjects are discussed. In recent days, some campuses and scholars have modeled this approach. The Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies departments at Dartmouth hosted joint events about the Israel-Hamas war, and the deans of the policy schools at Columbia and Princeton—one of them Israeli, the other Palestinian—wrote an essay together on how to keep dialogue going. . . . Worth reading in full. Peggy Noonan concludes her column: Happy Thanksgiving weekend to the great and fabled nation that is still, this day, the hope of the world. Amen.