BY TUDOR DIXON
Everywhere we look, free speech is under attack — especially on college campuses.
“Whereas the American University was once the center of academic freedom – a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas – it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech last fall, Fox News reported.
Every week we hear more calls to silence speakers, essentially moving to kill one of the freedoms our founding fathers fought to secure. Americans need to understand, undermining the First Amendment is a slippery slope.
Too often, university administrators are caving to — or creating — a “heckler’s veto” — a tactic by opponents of free speech to drown out the voices of others who have differing opinions.
“Often times what we’re seeing is that it’s coming from top down…from administrators and professors who allow it and even go as far as organizing and endorsing it,” Campus Reform’s Hannah Scherlacher says.
“We saw a Dartmouth scholar actually come out and publicly endorse ANTIFA violence. So, it is no surprise these students are only learning to stomp out and respond with chaos and violence to any ideas they don’t like.”
Scherlacher was talking about Dartmouth Professor Mark Bray, who defended using physical violence to combat words.
“I think that a lot of people recognize that when pushed, self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacy and neo-Nazi violence,” he said.
The First Amendment Center lowered its grade for free speech to a “C,” noting the attacks on speech on campuses “continue to be a concern.”
“You don’t defeat an idea you disagree with by keeping it from being heard,” First Amendment Center Executive Director Lata Nott says.
“What you should do is listen to it, and then counter-argue it. And that’s why I think it’s important for students to hear speech they disagree with, speech that they hate, if only so they can be better prepared to argue against it.”
Free speech is what makes America exceptional — a country where citizens can debate ideas and offer opinions without fear of violence or punishment.
We at Lumen Student News are doing something about it.
We’re producing a special First Amendment episode to teach kids the importance of Free Speech to America. We ask you to support it by donating at our GoFundMe page.
With your support, we will interview the executive director of the First Amendment Center at the Newseum in Washington, DC. We’ll talk to Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. We’ll interview a professor who has seen first hand the attacks on campus, and hear why these attacks and attempts at changing the amendment are so worrisome.
We hope you will donate to this worthwhile project. Every dollar you give will go into producing this special and sharing it with schools and students across the country.
To learn more about us, please visit LumenNews.com!
Tudor Dixon is CEO of Lumen Student News.