Reason never Defeats Hate

Steve Bannon is coming to University of Chicago to perform “reasoned debate.” John Warner writes:

Zingales says, “Hate cannot be defeated by hate, but only by reason.”
Huh? Perhaps hate cannot defeat hate, but does this mean our only alternative is “reason?”
I’m trying to think of a single instance in recorded history where hate was defeated by reason and I’m coming up short. Did the reason of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation end the Civil War?
Did Martin Luther King Jr. reason the cattle prod out of Selma sheriff Jim Clark’s hands?
The faith Zingales puts in the power of “reasoned debate” is essentially magical, an all-powerful remedy for whatever ails you.

That’s a good point. 

I believe in this case, the University of Chicago’s commitment to the free exchange of ideas is more symbolic and performative than substantive. Inviting Steve Bannon is an attention-grabbing symbol that says, “Hey, open-minded people over here!” but it’s an inch-deep commitment to the values they claim to hold dear. Meanwhile, they’ve got some academic messy academic freedom issues where they seem less reverent of full and free reasoned debate.


As a second example, Bannon’s invite also led to the ultimate resignation of Samantha Eyler-Driscoll as a member of the University of Chicago Stigler Center publication ProMarket. After her objections to the Bannon invitation were overruled by the board and her request to be personally recused from promoting the event was not fully respected, she was informed by human resources that as staff, unlike Zingales and Bannon, she was not “protected under the University’s stated principles of freedom of expression…and perceived insubordination could be grounds for termination of my employment.”

In her resignation from the board, Eyler-Driscoll observes, “My situation is only the latest example of the ubiquitous reality in this country whereby the de jure notion of an absolute right to freedom of expression conceals a de facto reality in which the right to free expression of the powerful is enforced at the expense of that of their subordinates.”

This is a point I’m interested in –  staff don’t have academic freedom, even when they operate in intellectual capacities.

Watching carefully.

– An academic staffer.

Leave a Reply