One of the most crucial goals of higher learning is to improve learners’ critical thinking skills by exposing them to a wide range of differing opinions and viewpoints. Unfortunately, that’s no longer what is occurring on American campuses.
Instead, over the last decade or so, an increasing number of individuals who hold the radical left’s ideals have inundated educational institutions’ ranks across this country. These liberal educators have foisted upon our students a censored society. In this left-leaning environment, the classroom curriculum is carefully curated to reflect one particular narrative, but those who think differently are shamed into remaining silent. This approach to learning is certainly not education — but rather indoctrination.
In a video from Learned Liberty, Donald Downs, a professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, makes a compelling case why freedom of speech on college campuses is so important. Downs starts by casting doubt upon the idea that anyone, including students, faculty, or administrators, have the right, let alone the ability, to decide which ideas are just and which are unjust. The professor then goes on to state that pursuing academic freedom means allowing everyone in an “academic community to pursue truth and wisdom and reach conclusions according to his or her own lights” matters.
Yet the faculty and administration from many institutions insist on imposing heavy-handed regulations such as speech codes to limit what can and can’t be said. It seems clear that by doing this, these institutions are interfering with the pursuit of academic freedom. Not only is taking this tact censorship, but it also prevents students from the opportunity of having their current way of thinking challenged. In the long run, this only cheats college students out of a chance to either strengthen or rethink their core beliefs.
Freedom of speech is a right, but the freedom from getting offended by words is not. Not only is the freedom from being offended not constitutionally protected, any attempt to censor the words that represent an idea you don’t believe only shows the weakness of your current belief system.
Professor Alexander Meiklejohn said, “To be afraid of an idea, any idea, is to be unfit for self-government.”
Watch the full video below.