|Wikipedia/Free Speech Wall|
The above picture is of the Freedom of Speech Wall in Charlottesville, VA. Permanently inscribed on one segment of the wall is this text from the Bill of Rights, Amendment I:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
[reference: Bill of Rights Transcript Text]
Free Speech vs PC
My motivation for this thread - PC Watch - is a reaction to the disturbing trend to silence free speech.
You may have heard the recent controversies in the news. Someone says something offensive or has expressed an opinion - even one expressed or acted upon many years ago - that does not line up with the prevailing PC - Political Correctness. What ensues is an orchestrated campaign of personal destruction to censor, boycott, or run a person out of his/her job. (This could be a subjects for many posts.)
That strikes me as wrong, wrong, wrong!
I agree inciting violence and harassment should not be tolerated and not be exempt. But now, it seems, we are to never speak anything to offend anyone - especially those with a powerful grievance lobby.
What has happened to Freedom of Speech in the America I grew up in?
Are some groups not strong enough to hear diverse opinion; therefore anything that offends them must be silenced? Hence, the obvious question is ...
Are we too weak to live with freedom?
Alan Charles Kors who is s a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania makes this case:
Princeton in the early 1960s:
* Professors (though mostly left leaning) did not see their task as producing clones in the classroom
* Diverse set of readings were given to students
* Students were told *not* to write what professor had wanted to hear (can you imagine that now?!)
* The following groups coexisted at Princeton in the early 1960s and were not censored:
- Gay Liberation
- Campus Crusade for Christ
- New Age Leftists
- Campus Republicans
* Students were free to argue among themselves and offend others
* Students learned to talk to each other and humanize each other - and hence change minds
* The answer to horrible speech was bearing witness to your beliefs (hence more speech)
The fallout today of Political Correctness:
* Today we are paying a terrible price for the "comfort" of not offending anyone
* Double standards evolved when enforcing exemptions of free speech on some groups, but not others
* Due process of law should protect freedoms for all - especially those whose expressions are seen as "abhorrent"
* We are either all equally free or we are not free
* There is cause for optimism as long as we hold this belief in our spirit -
It's a Free Country!!!
Reference of reading assignment for Princeton students as mentioned in the video clip above -
Road to Serfdom: The Illustrated Road to Serfdom
YouTube - http://youtu.be/mkz9AQhQFNY
PC Watch (part 1) - Political Correctness (2013)
PC Watch (part 2) - The South Park Offense (2013)