Here’s a quiz. What does the term “freedom of speech” mean? Can it be referring to anything other than just verbal expression? For example, is art freedom of speech? Is giving money to a political candidate freedom of speech? How about public demonstrations? Are they freedom of speech and are there limits on speech? It has been said that one has the freedom to swing one’s fist through the air but that freedom stops just short of my nose. So there are definitely some limits, but what should they be?
An incident which happened at Emory University comes to mind. Apparently someone drew in chalk on the sidewalks of the school the phrase “Trump in 2016.” That phrase offended some of the students. In fact they were so offended they had to have counseling to soothe their shattered nerves. They then demanded a “safe space” so they wouldn’t have to be exposed to such harmful words. Apparently they are just too delicate to have to see such hateful speech. The school is actually considering their grievance.
Yale has had their problems also. It seems their journalism department is closed to any ideas other than the most liberal. In fact most of these high cost universities seem closed to any ideas which they deem non-progressive. That, it seems, would include the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Well I have some news for these schools and for their students. Outside of the hallowed walls of these closed minded schools is a real world. And in that real world real people exist. They work and play as free American citizens. They speak their minds and sometimes their speech might appear hateful to one group or another. Too bad. Freedom of speech gives us all the right to express ourselves even if our expression might be hurtful to someone else. No one is guaranteed the right to never be offended.
The Op-ed page of newspapers is a bastion of freedom of expression. What you are now reading is my expression of free speech and you have that same right. Rarely do I agree with most newspaper’s editorial opinion, but I defend their right to express themselves just as I have the right to express mine.
We have all seen that some universities have cancelled certain Commencement speakers because of their politics. That is called “mind control” or “brainwashing.” In other words if you do not keep in step with the university’s belief system of progressive liberal politics, you cannot express yours. If you are a parent of a student who is being brainwashed, and you are paying the high dollar tuition, how does that make you feel? How do you like the fact that your child is not allowed to hear any dissenting view? How do you think they will react when they surely hear such dissention after they leave school?
Were it not for our strong capitalist economy, a strong military, a government based on freedom guaranteed by our Bill of Rights and our US Constitution, there wouldn’t even be schools of higher learning. These liberal professors who have never had to actually work and make a profit but feel compelled to spew their nonsense would be better served by taking a sabbatical and getting a real job for a while. They need to see how it is in the real world. I once heard that the quickest way to become a Republican is to get a job and a mortgage. That usually cures liberalism.
We absolutely cannot take our freedoms for granted. To ask which of our freedoms is most important would be like choosing your favorite child. Picking one’s favorite freedom is difficult but freedom of speech would have to rank very high.