One of my maxims is:
If you cannot defend the right of free speech for the person you disagree with the most, you don’t believe in free speech.
As this article from The Economist relates, free speech is under attack around the world. It’s not surprising to see this in dictatorial countries, but suppression of free speech is alive and well in democracies. Most disturbing is how it is tolerated — encouraged even — in the American university. The purpose of universities is twofold: Preserve and pass on knowledge and history to one generation to the next; and promote the free exchange of ideas and foster new knowledge. Instead:
Free speech is hard won and easily lost…[even] in mature democracies, support for free speech is ebbing, especially among the young, and outright hostility to it is growing. Nowhere is this more striking than in universities in the United States…and an incredible 10% approved of using violence to silence [speech].
I have been following the Death of the University, which itself is a sad situation of this great institution of western culture. Just as bad is the trend of silencing speech — often by the very people who claim to be for it.
This trend must be stopped dead in its tracks.