Beware the Leftist Monopoly of Ideas

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from Walter E. Williams:

The Fight for Free Speech

The violence, looting and mayhem that this nation has seen over the last several months has much of its roots in academia, where leftist faculty teach immature young people all manner of nonsense that contradicts commonsense and the principles of liberty.

Chief among their lessons is a need to attack free speech in the form of prohibitions against so-called hate speech and microaggressions. Here are examples of microaggressions: “You are a credit to your race.” “Wow! How did you become so good in math?” “There is only one race, the human race.” “I’m not racist. I have several black friends.” “As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority.”

It is a tragic state of affairs when free speech and inquiry require protection at institutions of higher learning. Indeed, freedom in the marketplace of ideas has made the United States, as well as other Western nations, a leader in virtually every area of human endeavor. A monopoly of ideas is just as dangerous as a monopoly in political power or a monopoly in the production of goods and services.

We might ask what is the true test of a person’s commitment to free speech? The true test does not come when he permits people to say those things he deems acceptable. The true test comes when he permits people to say those things that he deems offensive. The identical principle applies to freedom of association; its true test comes when someone permits others to voluntarily associate in ways that he deems offensive.

While free speech has been under attack, we are beginning to see some pushback. More than 12,000 professors, free speech leaders and conservative-leaning organization leaders have signed “The Philadelphia Statement.”

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