University administrators and student unions are tearing down something more important than statues. These self-appointed censors are dismantling the dialectic method bequeathed to us by Socrates and generations of scholars, triggering a brain drain away from academia.
Neither arcane nor novel, the rigorous, timeless methodology at stake means examining, discussing, and arguing opposing ideas to learn and arrive at the truth. This has been a fundamental part of the progress in medicine, engineering, technology, law, democracy and justice that we enjoy.
The ‘opposing ideas’ part is not an optional ingredient. Just as a candle’s flame starved of oxygen sputters and dies, so does the advancement of knowledge when starved of criticism. Open inquiry and free expression are no longer under threat; they are becoming extinct on campus.