Tags: michael bloomberg | harvard | repression | conservative

Michael Bloomberg Harvard Speech Zings Repression of Conservative Ideas

Image: Michael Bloomberg Harvard Speech Zings Repression of Conservative Ideas

By Morgan Chilson   |   Friday, 30 May 2014 04:07 PM

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told Harvard University graduates at their commencement address that they need to keep open minds to opposing ideologies and stop intolerance of conservative ideas.

"In the 1950s the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas," Bloomberg said. "Today on many college campuses it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species."

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Rutgers University and Smith College made the news in recent months after students launched protests that pushed former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and International Monetary Fund leader Christine Lagarde to cancel their speeches.

"A university's obligation is not to teach students what to think but to teach students how to think," Bloomberg continued. "That requires listening to the other side, weighing arguments without prejudice."

Bloomberg was careful to make the point that neither party, conservative or liberal, "has truth or God on its side."

Bloomberg alluded to a Washington gridlock that is caused by failure to listen to ideas.

“On every issue you must follow the evidence where it leads and listen to people where they are,” the former New York City mayor told 6,000-plus undergraduate and graduate students who earned degrees. “If you do that, there is no problem we cannot solve, no gridlock we cannot break, no compromise we cannot broker."

Bloomberg’s speech drew online commentary, as many wrestled with whether colleges are pushing liberalism and intolerance of opposing opinions.

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