This morning, on KQED's Forum, one of the guests mentioned the need for "epistemic humility." I love this phrase. It refers to the value of suspending judgment, and recognizing that however much we know there will always be much more to learn.
This phrase arose while discussing the "disinvitation movement," a commencement season phenomenon in which speakers are uninvited from campuses. The disinvitations stem from perceived wrongs they have committed against humanity. Condoleezza Rice, Christine LaGarde, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have all received the heave ho.
In 1999 Madeleine Albright was selected as the commencement speaker at Northwestern. Loathing her support of sanctions against Iraqi civilians, I joined other students in protesting her selection. But we never asked that she not be allowed to speak. We just wanted the right to turn our backs to her when she did so.
As it happened she did not show, and a much more innocuous speaker appeared at the last moment.
Let's imagine Ms. Albright had appeared. Admittedly, turning our backs would not have been very epistemologically humble. But at least we were advocates, not censors.