University of Michigan cancels "American Sniper" screening

american sniper

A couple of days ago Kimberly Ross wrote a diary here on RedState titled “Generation Wuss.” She was talking about the pervasive mindset among a large swath of Americans that they have the right to be sheltered from any opinion that might make them feel uncomfortable:

This really is Generation Wuss. A generation unable to deal with those whose mindsets differ, and whose reaction is either hiding from it all, suffocating the opponents with accusations, or for Pence and his comrades, hurrying to right a wrong…that wasn’t even a wrong. This hasn’t always been the case, but as we have become increasingly coddled as a society, this has been the result. The most technologically advanced generation, which hurries to label itself as the “best yet!’, is weak, reactionary, and spoiled.

This effect was played out in spades at the University of Michigan:

A scheduled movie screening of “American Sniper” at the University of Michigan was abruptly cancelled Tuesday after nearly 300 students and others complained the film perpetuates “negative and misleading stereotypes” against Muslims.

“The movie American Sniper not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim … rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer,” according to an online letter circulated among the campus community via Google Docs that garnered the signatures.

The signers were mostly students, but also some staff, as well as the Muslim Students’ Association and the president of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, a Palestinian solidarity group at UMich.

The online memo, titled a “collective letter from Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) and Muslim students on campus,” accused the public university of “tolerating dangerous anti-Muslim and anti-MENA propaganda” by showing the movie, the highest grossing film of 2014.

It follows U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who served four combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medals, and one Navy and Marine Corps commendation, according to his official Facebook page. But the protestors see him differently.

This is sad on a couple of levels.

First, that we allow to be organized in our universities groups like this “Muslim Students Association” (@MichiganMuslimsand other groups who actively support terrorism. Let’s not forget that Chris Kyle was not hunting random people, he was killing terrorists who used mass murder and torture to intimidate a large population. In essence, this “Muslim Students Association” is little more than a propaganda and political arm of al Qaeda. Why University of Michigan allows such a group to be on campus, much less have a voice, remains a mystery. Second, a university is supposed to be a place where students are not only educated but exposed to ideas. Even Princeton has acknowledged this:

‘Education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.’ . . . Because the University is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on that freedom are necessary to the functioning of the University, the University of Chicago fully respects and supports the freedom of all members of the University community ‘to discuss any problem that presents itself.’ Of course, the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.

What the University of Michigan has done here is hold itself up to ridicule (thereby continuing the reputation the university has held since at least 1968) and it has deprived its student body, including those who oppose Islamic terrorism, of the opportunity to see a good movie. It is really a shame when the football coach seems to be the only person at Michigan that values academic freedom: