However, Downs offers readers far more than just a historical record and campaign manual. He explores the social and political developments that have resulted in censorship being seen as a progressive rather than an authoritarian force. He tells me that when a society has a strong sense of itself and of its own culture, it can afford to be tolerant of dissent. When society is not strong, but ‘existentially insecure’, ‘illiberal elements can come to the fore and people become dogmatic’. He argues that this pervasive insecurity, which began to afflict the Western world in the late 1980s, has also had an impact on individuals. ‘People have begun to feel more insecure and vulnerable. They readily identify as victims and define themselves by traumas, real or imagined.’ He argues that many of the original advocates of speech codes shared a view that students needed an ‘administrative apparatus to support their self-esteem, psychological wellbeing and identities’. He is clear: ‘In reality this represented a return of in loco parentis legislation to campus in a new and politicised guise after its banishment in the 1960s.’