President Barack Obama briefly criticized politically correct college campuses on Monday when he said that students are too often “coddled” from opposing views, often conservative ones.
Obama was in Des Moines to unveil a new college affordability plan. After prepared remarks, he was asked by one student about Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s recent proposal to defund universities that display political bias.
“I have no idea what that means, and I suspect he doesn’t either,” Obama began.
“The idea that you’d have somebody in government making a decision about what you should think ahead of time or what you should be taught, and if it’s not the right thought, or idea, or perspective or philosophy … runs contrary to everything we believe about education,” Obama said, adding that that “might work in the Soviet Union, but that doesn’t work here. That’s not who we are.”
But Obama turned what could have been a partisan attack on Carson into a critique of college campus culture, which skews liberal. (RELATED: New York Times Warns: College Lectures Are Racist)
“It’s not just sometimes folks who are mad that colleges are too liberal that have a problem. Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal, and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues, who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too,” Obama said.
I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative, or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. I gotta tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. Anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, ‘You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.’ That’s not the way we learn either.