Punishing Speech & Expression

Sadly, we live in a world where honest disagreement on the issues can cause one to be, metaphorically speaking, tarred and feathered by a liberal social justice warrior hate mob, simply for the sin of holding heterodox opinions.

Sure, you're not run out of town on a rail, but you can become the victim of a dogpile and SJWs will attempt to ruin your reputation and career prospects if you don't kow-tow to their politically correct dogmas.  

It's happened time and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.  And in Europe, where free speech is not considered a human right, you might even go to jail.

We all know what happened last semester to The Voice and one of their staff members who, though his cartoon was defending a black man and chiding two white students, was accused of being racist and insensitive to African Americans, then later subjected to a great deal of public humiliation and national press attention as a result.

And now, as a result of last week's postings on our website (specifically this one on LGBTQ History Month) another social justice warrior is chomping at the bit to destroy the career prospects of writers associated with The Georgetown Academy.  

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In other words, when it comes to her fellow Hoyas making good on their quarter-million dollar educations, she wants to kill their chances.  As a typical left-wing liberal progressive social justice warrior, she probably envisions herself as this . . . 

The reality is more like this . . . 

Either way, as Darth Sidious might advise . . . 

We find such behavior disappointing as it goes against the very purpose of a university, which is to allow for free and fair discussion for all manner of ideas.  We agree with liberal atheist professor Richard Dawkins that if you can't handle hearing differing views then you have no place in any modern day institution of higher learning.

 
 

If you're at all like the feminists from H*yas for Abortion and the Womyn's Center who last year had to set up a safe space because the CRs brought a woman to campus who wasn't the right kind of feminist, then you really should take a hint and . . .

Too harsh?  Then we'll say it nicely.

You can see an in-depth explanation of our views on free speech on our Arguments & Ideas page.  In addition to discussing the issue, we also cover a variety of other important matters with which every Hoya should be familiar.

Suffice it to say, we don't think anyone should be prevented from making their opinions known.  And we don't think threatening behavior is an acceptable form of conduct when something you disagree with makes an appearance during a discussion, whether in class or outside of it.  That's why we've even defended H*yas for Abortion's right to table and protest on-campus, though we do draw the line at them receiving University funding, which is an entirely different matter.

Unfortunately, it may seem free and unfettered speech on college campuses will soon be a thing of the past.  This bodes ill for American democracy and human freedom.  As noted last week in the Wall Street Journal, liberals who have contempt for free speech have become the majority in higher education . . . 

To put some numbers behind that perception, The William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale recently commissioned a survey from McLaughlin & Associates about attitudes towards free speech on campus. Some 800 students at a variety of colleges across the country were surveyed. The results, though not surprising, are nevertheless alarming. By a margin of 51 percent to 36 percent, students favor their school having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty. Sixty-three percent favor requiring professors to employ “trigger warnings” to alert students to material that might be discomfiting. One-third of the students polled could not identify the First Amendment as the part of the Constitution that dealt with free speech. Thirty-five percent said that the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech,” while 30 percent of self-identified liberal students say the First Amendment is outdated.

Even members of the media, who should be among the strongest defenders of free speech, have gotten in on the effort to limit discourse (of course the left already is at war with comments sections and online anonymity).

At TGA there are few issues which matter more to us than freedom of speech.  This may be because of our history of having our press runs stolen by campus liberals (in 1998 and 2002), thefts which have been alternately endorsed or ignored by The HoyaThe Voice, and the administration.

Now we do know engaging in speech subjects one to negative feedback.  We don't for a second expect our ideas (or anyone else's) to stand unopposed.  But the appropriate response is dialogue so both sides may better understand reality and arrive at the truth of things.  The worst thing one can do is attempt to silence speech or advocate ruining the lives of others, which is what liberal social justice warriors who went after The Voice last semester clearly want.  We agree with the University's Speech and Expression policy when it says in regards to speech, that: 

More is better. Discourse is central to the life of the university. To forbid or limit discourse contradicts everything the university stands for. This conviction proceeds from several assumptions. Besides those sketched above, there is the assumption that the exchange of ideas will lead to clarity, mutual understanding, the tempering of harsh and extreme positions, the softening of hardened positions and ultimately the attainment of truth. Some ideas, simply by being expressed, sink without a trace; others cry out for the intervention of reflection, contrary evidence, probing questions. None of that happens when one cuts off discourse. John Henry Newman's formulation applies here: "flagrant evils cure themselves by being flagrant." The remedy for silly or extreme or offensive ideas is not less free speech but more.

As was made clear last year, and this semester in response to our revival, not everyone feels the same.  But we get it.  Free speech is difficult (not really, but whatever).

Our writers

Our writers

We've kept our posts anonymous since we started publishing this year but haven't spent much time talking about why, though we do touch on the subject here.  We have been having some internal discussions about whether or not Georgetown is a "safe space," to use that silly term, for conservatives on campus, and whether or not the climate is tolerant enough for us to include a masthead.  We may do so as early as next week.

But that likely won't happen so long as folks continue to threaten the job prospects of ourselves and others simply for thinking differently than she does.

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