Ronald Beiner, the noted Canadian political theorist, spoke lucidly and compellingly about the influence of Nietzsche and Heidegger on the “alt-right” today. NMU’s own Dr. Jonathan Allen gave a marvelous response, picking up on an extending some of Beiner’s themes. Turnout was excellent. An experience of robust free speech was had by all in an environment that embraced differences of opinion and cultivated viewpoint diversity. Beiner also gave a marvelous seminar the day before, for select faculty and advanced undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, Executive Director of Scholastic’s for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) spoke about prospects for peace and intellectual freedom in the Middle East. We had a great turnout for this event, and a wonderful, robust conversation with an engaged audience. If we can debate these contentious issues with civility while respecting viewpoint diversity, the future of free speech on campus is in good shape!
Mark Lilla spoke about citizenship and identity, themes drawn from his important 2017 book, The Once and Future Liberal. Turnout was spectacular and Prof. Lilla was extremely generous with his time, talking to students individually after the talk until we had to drag him off to dinner. All in all, an instructive experience of robust free speech about controversial matters of common concern. Score another one for viewpoint diversity on campus—as Lilla challenged the dominant politically correct view of identity politics, which he argues is harmful to democracy in America today. NMU’s own Dr. Jonathan Allen provided brilliant introductory remarks, as well. A fine occasion and a win for intellectual freedom, all in all!