I’m also trying to make a point about the nature of protest. Good protest requires giving clear reasons for what you are doing, even if others aren’t listening, and it requires making a binding commitment to uphold what you are affirming, not just sounding off against what you are opposing. I and other critics of the Singapore venture aren’t wishing it ill or trying to provoke an upheaval or scandal; we anticipate that the project will proceed all too smoothly, because the subtle, ubiquitous and cunning self-censorship of fear that I witnessed at the “Singapore Uncensored” panel and described in the Huffington Post is meshing all too smoothly these days with the self-censorship of seduction I’ve seen growing at Yale.


A true liberal education would show students how to put words on things in ways that not only expose public corruption but enlarge personal and public hope. Only by doing both can leaders lead in ways that others can trust. What I learned that wintry morning at Yale is that to kindle such trust and the courage it requires, you have to be willing to “think without banisters” at times, as Hannah Arendt put it—she meant, without a predetermined ideology—and to deepen your own and others’ love of a society or an institution by standing intelligently and affirmatively against what’s wrong in it by summoning the better angels of its nature.

Jim Sleeper, “Discretion and Caution at Yale Have Been Carried Too Far”