One would think that everyone fortunate enough to live in the United States of America would celebrate and respect the First Amendment that guarantees everyone the right to voice their opinion, however disagreeable it may be.
That said, the atmosphere that exists in many quarters would lead to the impression that expression of free speech is something to be suppressed.
Consider that on college campuses, those supposed bastions of higher learning and free speech, some students look for “safe spaces” to shield themselves from hearing ideas not in accord with their own. They also shout down invited speakers whose ideas and opinions clash with theirs. I suspect that those immature seekers of wisdom and truth would feel more at home in China or North Korea where thought and speech are tightly regulated and controlled. But I don’t blame them entirely, if at all. They are immature vessels, into which has been poured strange ideologies K-12 and beyond, and thus, they are products of their “education”.
Recently, supporters of the civil rights organization Color of Change sent over 20,000 emails to CNN calling for the news network to terminate commentators Jeff Lord and Andy Dean for the analysts’ “steadfast” support of Donald Trump. That is outrageous. It would be just as outrageous for a conservative group to try to shut down Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
Then we have those who unfriend “friends” on Facebook if the expressed choice of candidate is not in line with theirs. Or they threaten to leave the country, preferably for Canada. If their worst fear materializes and the despised candidate wins, I wish the malcontents well if they actually have the guts to follow through on their pious pronouncement and I hope they find Canadian health care to their liking, especially when they want new hips or knees in a hurry.
Perhaps the most disturbing are vile anonymous comments made by closed minded cowards directed against those who dare to think differently.
As “correct” as we all tend to think we are about our ideas and choices, and about what we believe, no one knows it all. When I hear a call for a shutdown of ideas and free speech I recall this admonition from Herbert Spencer:
There is a principal
which is proof against all information,
which is proof against all arguments,
which cannot fail to keep a man in
that principal is –
Condemnation before investigation!
The bottom line? It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. Let’s give it a try.
Speaking of giving something unorthodox a try, please take a look at my updated, expanded “masterpiece”:
Ann Herzer says
Absolutely right on target as usual. Ann
Barbara Morris says
Thanks, Ann. I appreciate you and the good work you do in the cause of freedom.