Thursday, February 24, 2005


The Importance of Free Speech

Bruce Thorton has an article on Victor Davis Hanson's website discussing current problems with free speech. Now anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows this is an issue dear to my heart. In his essay, he says something very good:

The whole point of free speech is to get at the truth, a process that often requires airing all kinds of troubling, unpopular, or even offensive ideas. Limiting this process by putting some topics out of bounds means that the truth will be harder to find. Nor should the possibility of hurt feelings prohibit the expression of ideas or subvert the search for truth. We all learn as children that the truth hurts; that's why we all tell so many lies and entertain so many gratifying delusions. But in a democracy, where the citizens are called upon to make decisions on a great variety of issues, an open discussion of ideas directed towards finding the truth is essential. Once you limit that search by letting some people's feelings or sensibilities or ideologies trump the truth, you've made it much more difficult for truth to emerge, and much more likely for dangerous lies, myths, and half-truths to dominate the public discourse.

Silencing students who don't like the left wing is to close off fresh insights. Silencing professors, like Larry Summers is to deny the potential truth of science for political reasons (and we complain about Galileo and his run-in with some church authorities - there isn't much difference here). Knowing that its not PC to criticise the drug and promiscuious sex lifestyle that leads to STD in the gay community when the latest outbreak of drug resistant HIV hit might mean the difference between life and death for some young men. (I had a family member and people I knew who died in the 80s from the first wave of AIDS...I hope we don't PC ourselves into a new one!)

There are those who are screaming for Ward Churchill's job because of what he said. Now if they fire him, it ought to be not because he is a jerk who said some bad things, but because as an academician he did things like falsify his research or other academic wrongs.

There used to be a saying like "I hate what you say, but I'll die for your right to say it." We seem to no longer believe that in this world where political correctness says "I hate what you say, and I will do EVERYTHING I can think of to take away your freedom to say it."

And with that viewpoint, we all lose.

On the American Left the identity politics involved with the gay identity seems to bring about censorship, I've already been censored off of two Leftist blogs after dealing with it.

Yet all I am doing is pointing out some basic biosocial facts and patterns, that men and women are biologically, psychologically and physiologically complementary. They are patterns that are very easy to prove.

That seems to be the ultimate issue for radical egalitarians on the Left. They must remain ignorant to protect an egalitarian prejudice, so they have to censor knowledge.
I agree, let people say what they will and let reasonable minds find the truth. If Churchhill is to be fired it should be for reasons other than what he said.
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