To fight speech you don’t agree with, use more speech, not less
March 15, 2017
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Freedom of speech is enshrined in our Constitution under the First Amendment. It’s a fundamental right, inherent in our republic, and it’s needed to function as intended.
Safe spaces on campus violate the principle of free speech in its entirety. Safe spaces do not provide safety from words, they only provide an echo-chamber of ideas and thoughts among a common group of people. Safe spaces gut the premise of freedom of speech, especially in a place designed for learning.
Freedom of speech is designed to work very simply by allowing for anything to be said. There are restrictions on what can be said, but the idea behind freedom of speech is to foster debate.
It is to cause people to have discussions and persuade others. Without this fundamental right, there would be a deterioration of ideas on college campuses. College would no longer be a stronghold for academia, but a monarch of conformity and complacency.
A safe space on campus hurts the fabric of a college campus. The same ideas allowed only in one spot cause radicalization of thoughts that could lead to dangerous consequences.
Freedom of speech does not entitle any person to hear only what they agree with; freedom of speech must not be only hearing thoughts from the same side. If that happens, then freedom of speech deteriorates. We would absolutely lose that right which entitles us to debate and challenge others.
College campuses are where people should air out their ideas, challenging their deeply held beliefs on abortion, climate change, and healthcare by debating one another. Challenging your college campuses should represent the diversity of American thought, ranging all across the spectrum from the most liberal to the most conservative. No speech should be shut out because it does not conform to your beliefs.
Debate and arguments are the cornerstone of American freedom and democracy. Free speech invites those principles. Conformity of thought does not lead to any positive solutions, and progress is made when discourse knocks on the door.
Progress for any group feeling marginalized at the ballot box or in their community should always have an outlet, and that outlet is their fundamental right to speak freely about their ideas. Those ideas should not be placed in a box on campus where their outreach is only heard by those who agree with them. Ideas are meant to be challenged. Thoughts should be provoked by the deepest of insights by the brightest minds.
Feelings are not important when it comes to debating. College campuses are not parents and should not shelter you from ideas that make you uncomfortable. Free speech should make you angry, but it should be fought back with more free speech, not less.
Dear college campuses: Don’t protect your students from harsh words. Let them use their wits and their diversity to overcome any challenging speech they may face. To fight speech you don’t agree with, use more speech, not less.