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Satanic Rituals and the Freedom of Expression

I make no secret of being amenable to certain curtailments on the freedom of expression. (You likely didn't know that, but it's not because I keep it a secret but because no one (wisely) ever asks.) Free expression is a treasure, I grant it; but it is still possible to idolize a treasure to the point of dysfunction.

I am often disappointed to see who lines up on my side of the expression issue and who doesn't, and also to see how freedom of expression--formulated by the Founders as a limit upon government--is wielded in matters where government isn't even involved, but simply two or more groups of opinionated people.

Take the brouhaha in Boston over a branch of Harvard University sponsoring the performance of a Satanic Black Mass on their campus.

"[T]he Harvard Extension School said that it supported 'the rights of our students and faculty to speak and assemble freely.'"

Well, okay, and they have them. But you are not the government, Harvard Extension School, you are an institution of education. Is it backward of me to expect that perhaps an institution of education should be one of the groups standing up *against* such a bankrupt act? Because it is bankrupt--not just morally and socially, but educationally as well. A modern recreation of what (I am guessing a bit here) the 19th Century tittered over upon perusing some scrounged-up wild medieval tales of outrageous blasphemy invented in the mind of a cloistered monk? What do we learn from this, except that some people are overly enamored of transgressive behavior (or what they perceive to be transgressive behavior)?

Of course the Catholic community in particular is going to raise their voices over this: They are very explicitly the target of the act in question. But how did educators become not only so blind but also so craven? When did they start to believe that the exhibition of any object or behavior is implicitly educational and a salutary expansion of the mind? When did they stop standing up for the *enrichment* of minds and just begin defaulting to the indiscriminate exposure of minds? I am sure there are many faculty and staff at Harvard who will cringe at the idea of this demonstration taking place on their campus. But how many will raise their voices to object, not only because it is offensive to millions of people, but because it is offensive to a right notion of learning--because it is coarse, fraudulent, and empty?

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