A Miltonic interlude

John Milton’s Paradise Lost used to be required reading for Dartmouth freshmen. That particular paradise is lost, although the English and Creative Writing Department maintains a course devoted to Milton and hosts The John Milton Reading Room.

My college classmate and fellow English major Owen Hughes writes:

(1) When I first read, earlier today, about Antifa bullying Dartmouth into canceling Andy Ngo’s event, I thought to myself, “This was an outrageous assault on free speech. This is a moment when we should take inspiration from the greatest defenders of free speech…and who would they be? Well, I seem to remember (it’s been a while) John Milton who wrote “Areopagitica” in the 17th Century, and very likely stood as as an early guide to the Founders…”

(2) So I quickly googled “Areopagitica” to find the relevant text. And there it was. And what was the link? Dartmouth.edu. Here it is.

Yes: it seems that back in the old days — before Dartmouth awoke to the advantages of shutting down speech whenever some nameless cyber troll pretends to find them offensive — the College actually stood for free speech and served the public by posting the text of John Milton’s timeless defense of free speech.

Quotable quote: “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

One more: “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloister’d vertue, unexercis’d & unbreath’d, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortall garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”

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