Sunday, March 12, 2017

Everyone deserves freedom to speak

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 8, 2017- posted days later to the paper's website.)

On many college campuses, the students and faculty are so opposed to hearing anything other than leftist, "social justice" speakers, that they'll threaten violence to keep other speakers away. While the freedom to speak doesn't obligate anyone to listen, nor to provide a platform, you have no right to prevent others from listening to ideas you hate. An echo chamber is a poor substitute for education.

Sure, as long as a school doesn't accept one cent of tax money, it is private property and has the right to forbid access to anyone for any reason, but why would an institution tasked with expanding minds do this?

If you can't handle allowing the other side to have their say, it may be a sign your own views are too weak to withstand competition.

When any speaker is prevented from speaking at a university, those who stand in his way are on the wrong side. The mature thing to do when exposed to views you disagree with is to try to attract an audience and make your own case. If you lose in the marketplace of ideas, reexamine your views and how you present them, and try again.

And don't whine about being offended. There is no such thing as a right to not be offended.

As a libertarian, I find about half the views of both the right and the left to be downright horrifying; I am opposed to slavery, theft, and aggression in any form. Yet, it doesn't hurt me to hear speakers promoting these acts. In fact, letting the other side make their case strengthens my own by giving me the opportunity to expose their flawed reasoning. I don't fear them.

Those who speak out in favor of racism, sexism, taxation, laws, war, and other degenerate notions must be free to express themselves. Free speech is worthless without the freedom to express vile viewpoints. No one needs to stand up for those saying things everyone agrees with-- what would be the point? Give offensive speakers all the rope they want, then watch as they tangle it around their own necks.

My views changed toward uncompromising love of liberty over the course of my life because I heard ideas I initially disagreed with. I am grateful no one was able to silence those whose words influenced me, nor able to prevent me from hearing them. My life would be immeasurably diminished otherwise.

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