A Free and Open Society for All

Duane Paul Murphy, Class of 2019

As a self-describe leftist, individual freedoms and liberties as well as social equality, representation, and justice are the primary principles and goals in order to have a nation with liberty and justice for all of the citizenry. These values and objectives include the freedom to believe and worship any religion, freedom of the press, freedom of peaceful, civil disobedient assembly or to organize, right to a court trial with a jury of your peers, a right to privacy, a right to a lawyer, free public education from preschool to university, universal healthcare coverage, and, most of all, freedom of speech. Non-violent freedom of speech is meant share or expose ideas of both the past, present, and future of any civil society or culture in the modern world as well as vocalize criticisms of government or other institutions of higher authority. However, our institutions of higher education are gradually becoming locations of incoming free speech suppression or marginalization. From University of California Berkley’s schism with conservative commentator Ann Coulter to public shouting match at Yale over offensive Halloween costuming, some students have started to shut down alternative or differentiated thoughts by others inside or outside their own respective student or university communities. While a few of these students have legitimate concerns about systems and ideas of structural or cultural oppression, the suppression of controversial speech by interruptions or disinviting someone is not the way to get your message across. In agreement with the liberal likes of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joy Behar, and Bill Maher, we must allow controversial speakers on campus to challenge our beliefs, show them no interests by not giving them a strong audience, or challenge their beliefs during the question and answer session. And this trend is not just occurring only on liberal leaning universities such as University of California Berkley, Yale, Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia or Dartmouth. Conservatives or right-leaning groups on college campuses in certain parts of the have been trying to demonize and suppress the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Also, institutions of higher education such as the Catholic University of America have been not allowing speakers to discuss the real issues or topics regarding women’s reproductive health, LGBTQ rights, euthanasia, and drug policy due to their strict moral codes as well as values of heteronormative cisgender theocratic supremacy. Overall, all universities and colleges, religious or non-religious, must allow all perspectives and views to be expressed and properly debate within higher academia. As President Truman once said, “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” Our cultural and institutional structures of free speech and free assembly are vital to our democracy. Free speech is free speech. Despite our country’s flaws within society or economy, we are still powerful when it comes to our basic human rights and privalges of free speech, free press, free assembly, and overall free express. If our globalized world can become open to one another either politically, religiously, economically, or socially, why not our

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