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Post Reply Free Speech and Higher Education
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Posted 5/2/17
http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/04/25/free-speech-higher-education

So what's going on?

Protesters are disrupting or preventing conservative speakers from speaking at schools.

Why is it happening?

Political/ideological differences.

Who's doing it?

Students and "outside agitators".

What are your thoughts on it?



Oh man where to start. I'm pro-life. I'm pretty vocal about it. People don't like it and I don't care. That means anti-death penalty and anti-war. I also know black Americans have the freedoms they have after a war that killed a million of them and their countrymen. I wish it would have never come to that but it did. After listening to both sides rant and vent, which some people don't get to do because of echo chambers etc, I've come away with an idea.

Deciding who can and cannot speak is wrong. Stopping people from speaking is dangerous. People are uncomfortable with ideas they don't agree with and when you get enough scared people together that fear turns into anger. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had to stick to his Christian teachings of non-violence because he knew it was all too easy to give into your animal instincts and start fighting back when you are treated like shit.

Someone told me that Professor Xavier and Magneto from X-Men were based on Dr. King and Malcom X. Blew my fucking mind. Both men set out for the better treatment of their people. Each had their own idea on how to achieve that.

Schools are supposed to be places where facts prevail. Ideas are talked about and nothing should be taboo because you can always look back at the facts at the end of the day. By preventing a particular group of people from talking is exposing another group's bigoted intolerance. This weird duplicity where they are engaging in the same exact same behavior they are condemning. Using all kinds on mental gymnastics to justify their actions. This is even before we talk about getting physical.

I think like in a relationship when dialogue breaks down there is nothing left but separation or violence. I think letting people talk is the best way to avoid both.
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Posted 5/2/17
I don't care anymore because everything is too ridiculous to take seriously. I don't have the energy to concern myself with all this meme-tier poppycock going on with these young kids. They're hopeless. I'm busy trying to make a living and move up in the world. I'm not going the school route because all this weird stuff makes me not value what colleges offer.

I have no motivation to even express my thoughts on these things anymore, I'll just keep it all to myself for the sake of not wasting time.
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Posted 5/2/17 , edited 5/2/17
Honestly I think anybody should be able to express their ideas/beliefs and this is becoming a real problem. People aren't accepting others right to speak their mind. When people do this it hurts us all. Ideas should be shared and at the very least be accepted as someone's opinion.

I think what people need to do is learn to get out of their special bubble and learn to accept other's ideas. I'm not saying follow them but at least hear them out and discuss it. This is how we move forward together. Right now we're becoming more divided and moving backwards.
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Posted 5/2/17 , edited 5/2/17
A admirable stance OP but we can't let idealism over rule the historic precedent that letting certain people speak has caused great harm in the history of the human race. If Hitler had been silenced in the 1930s the Third Reich might never have happened and 60+ million people wouldn't have had to die. If Lenin had been silenced Stalin might never have risen to power and 100s of millions of people wouldn't have had to die. If Mao had been silenced China might be less of a cluster fuck then it is now.

And there are literally thousands of other examples I don't have the energy to write that caused great harm. Great harm that begin with mere words. I am not allowed to freely wave around a loaded fire arm in public. So to should a citizen be careful with their words. Speech is not a given right but a privilege earned. Because words can enlighten or they can create genocide and thus are a form of power. And power can not be wielded recklessly.

You say all topics are allowed to be spoken of. I say look at all the bodies of those killed by those who abused Free Speech. It's easy to say such things in the comfort of your 1st world life. But you're not the one who has to clean the mess up when Free Speech is used to turn people into genocidal madmen.
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Posted 5/2/17 , edited 5/2/17


I'd actually just downloaded that podcast the other day, but haven't gotten around to listening to it yet. Once I do, which should be soon, I'll return with my thoughts if I'm not too lazy or time-constrained.

Overalll, your thoughts are reasonable. I think where things get more complicated is when considering things like when and where. Is every time the right time? Is anywhere a good place? And what do we (I?) mean by "right" and "good" in those questions.

I've also got a quibble about "facts prevail" but it's going to take me time to work out an articulate way to express that.

Posted 5/2/17 , edited 5/2/17

Someone told me that Professor Xavier and Magneto from X-Men were based on Dr. King and Malcom X.


Eh. Not really. I'd say X-Men was probably influenced by the Civil Rights Movement, but no, they didn't directly base either character on either person.

As far as the actual focus of the topic is, I have no clue what to think honestly. On the one hand, my knee jerk reaction is to actually READ THE FIRST AMENDMENT WHERE IT GUARANTEES PROTECTIONS FROM THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT DORKY COLLEGE KIDS WITH PINK HAIR

I mean, I'm not going to waste my time defending every shitlord out there that has some dumb thing to say. He's welcome to say it not on a college campus. In fact, even if somehow the First Amendment guaranteed protection from pink-haired college kids WHICH IT DOESN'T I don't really think the First Amendment says that I'm protected from speech on a college campus. I don't understand where people get the idea that we can say whatever we want on a campus.

Regardless, to me, it's more bullshit because the FIRST AMENDMENT GUARANTEES PROTECTIONS FROM THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT DORKY COLLEGE KIDS WITH PINK HAIR
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Posted 5/2/17

Ranwolf wrote:

A admirable stance OP but we can't let idealism over rule the historic precedent that letting certain people speak has caused great harm in he history of the human race. If Hitler had been silenced in the 1930s the Third Reich might never have happened and 60+ million people wouldn't have had to die. If Lenin had been silenced Stalin might never have risen to power and 100s of millions of people wouldn't have had to die. If Mao had been silenced China might be less of a cluster fuck then it is now.

And there literally thousands of other examples I don't have the energy to write that caused great harm. Great harm that begin with mere words. I am not allowed to freely wave around a loaded fire arm in public. So to should a citizen be careful with their words. Speech is not a given right but a privilege earned. Because words can enlighten or they can create genocide and thus are a form of power. And power can be wielded recklessly.

You say all topics are allowed to be spoken of. I say look at all the bodies of those killed by those who abused Free Speech. It's easy to say such things in the comfort of your 1st world life. But you're not the one who has to clean the mess up when Free Speech is used to turn people into genocidal madmen.


You gave me another way to look at it, thanks.

I can agree with you but it's hard for me to fully go with this (I tend to be on the fence on a lot of things). I personally think that everyone should be able to speak their mind but at the same time I do suppose that there should be a line that we shouldn't cross but I have no idea where to put that line. Everybody is different and are raised differently. I was raised christian but I've grown away from that and I became more accepting of other opinions. I guess at the end of the day if what you say doesn't cause harm to someone it's alright but with how with everyone is nowadays people get butt hurt over the smallest things.
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Posted 5/2/17

Paradise_ wrote:



You gave me another way to look at it, thanks.

I can agree with you but it's hard for me to fully go with this (I tend to be on the fence on a lot of things). I personally think that everyone should be able to speak their mind but at the same time I do suppose that there should be a line that we shouldn't cross but I have no idea where to put that line. Everybody is different and are raised differently. I was raised christian but I've grown away from that and I became more accepting of other opinions. I guess at the end of the day if what you say doesn't cause harm to someone it's alright but with how with everyone is nowadays people get butt hurt over the smallest things.


Yes in an ideal world we could much more laissez faire about such things. But this is not an ideal world nor are we an ideal race to be masters over it. Humanity has created create works of art, written philosophy that has influenced us for thousands of years, created democracy , and the ideals that we consider noble.

At the same time we created concentration camps, enslavement, genocide, rape, murder, inequality, starvation, and worse.

All of that created by men and women merely speaking.
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Posted 5/2/17 , edited 5/2/17

Paradise_ wrote:


You gave me another way to look at it, thanks.

I can agree with you but it's hard for me to fully go with this (I tend to be on the fence on a lot of things). I personally think that everyone should be able to speak their mind but at the same time I do suppose that there should be a line that we shouldn't cross but I have no idea where to put that line. Everybody is different and are raised differently. I was raised christian but I've grown away from that and I became more accepting of other opinions. I guess at the end of the day if what you say doesn't cause harm to someone it's alright but with how with everyone is nowadays people get butt hurt over the smallest things.


You say you moved away from your Christian upbringing but you're preaching right now. Preach!

But you raise the main point. Where are the lines set, around what topics and by whom and why them?
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Posted 5/2/17
Protest is a form of free speech. So long as it doesn't turn violent (an therefore punishable by law) students and other people have just as much right to protest another person's speech. You don't have the kind of back and forth discourse that colleges are looking to initiate by inviting a controversial figure if protestors are not allowed to voice their own opinions in the process.

To paraphrase a question from a dating site (legit wisdom, yo) 'do you listen to respond or do you listen to understand?' And I think that goes as much for the speaker as it does the institution who invited them and students who they were invited to speak to. There's no shortage of figures who specialize in garnering fame through shock value and stump speeching to rile their base. Any institution giving them a platform also invites questions of how do those figures reflect on that institution. If you want a debate where two sides are telling each other to 'sit down, shut up, and listen to me' you already have an abundance of cable news programs filling air-time with professional pundits. There's not much point in a school inviting a controversial figure if they're not prepared to field a forum for that controversy to play out.

I think it's perfectly healthy for a school to decide whether or not it's worth having any particular figure come and speak. There may be free speech, but there are no free platforms for which to do that speaking. If a school doesn't have the environment to actually listen to a speaker, they're not obligated to host a nonconstructive debate. That doesn't make threats or use of violence acceptable, but neither should those threats be allowed to silence dissenting voices.
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Posted 5/2/17

MysticGon wrote:



But you raise the main point. Where are the lines set, around what topics and by whom and why them?


I am guessing you're a poor student of history? The lines have always been set by the populist movement, the people at large are their own arbiter when it comes to everything. And while they do a piss poor job at that is one of the universal truths.
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Posted 5/2/17
I think we're talking about 1st world problems being discussed/silenced at schools, not entire social movements.
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Posted 5/2/17 , edited 5/2/17

Ranwolf wrote:


MysticGon wrote:



But you raise the main point. Where are the lines set, around what topics and by whom and why them?


I am guessing you're a poor student of history? The lines have always been set by the populist movement, the people at large are their own arbiter when it comes to everything. And while they do a piss poor job at that is one of the universal truths.


Can we make it past the first page before you start hurling abuse at people. K thanks.

Popularity isn't the only deciding factor and you know that.
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Posted 5/2/17

MysticGon wrote:


Can we make it past the first page before you start hurling abuse at people. K thanks.

Popularity isn't the only deciding factor and you know that.


That wasn't abuse, it was bluntness.

Regardless Popularity isn't the only deciding factor true . But it is the baseline factor upon which all other factors hinge. Popular figures get put in charge, and from there right and wrong, permissible things , and so forth are decided.
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Posted 5/2/17

Ranwolf wrote:

A admirable stance OP but we can't let idealism over rule the historic precedent that letting certain people speak has caused great harm in the history of the human race. If Hitler had been silenced in the 1930s the Third Reich might never have happened and 60+ million people wouldn't have had to die. If Lenin had been silenced Stalin might never have risen to power and 100s of millions of people wouldn't have had to die. If Mao had been silenced China might be less of a cluster fuck then it is now.

And there are literally thousands of other examples I don't have the energy to write that caused great harm. Great harm that begin with mere words. I am not allowed to freely wave around a loaded fire arm in public. So to should a citizen be careful with their words. Speech is not a given right but a privilege earned. Because words can enlighten or they can create genocide and thus are a form of power. And power can not be wielded recklessly.

You say all topics are allowed to be spoken of. I say look at all the bodies of those killed by those who abused Free Speech. It's easy to say such things in the comfort of your 1st world life. But you're not the one who has to clean the mess up when Free Speech is used to turn people into genocidal madmen.


Not in the United States, the amendment which allows for free speech is located in the section called, "The Bill of Rights". So, factually, speech is a right. You also forget that all of those leaders seriously cracked down upon free speech, which to was what I can assume is your opinion, to keep the common populous from questioning the actions of the government. Which is ironic because that is the primary purpose of free speech; to keep the government in line through discussion among the people.

I would argue argue that the problem in modern times is that there was, with the popularization of the internet and social media, a decrease in confronting opinions that were heard. That, along with a growing egotism within the whole of our culture, creates a perfect storm. For one, people now are only used to hearing certain opinions and thus have no understanding of opposite points of view, and also that people believe that they are always right and are unwilling to admit when they are wrong. Furthermore, people are growing ignorant over what is fact and what is opinion. This is because the institutions that are supposed to be leading us out of ignorance and into free thought and tolerance, have stopped and sometimes promote intolerance to other ideals.

(A bit off topic, but everything can become a form of power if people perceive it to be. Also, words are only a form of power if people are willing to listen, otherwise they fade away. If you look back at the examples you gave, you will realize there was more to them gaining power than just shouting really loud into a crowd of people.)

...but that's just my opinion :/
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