Scott Tibbs

Censorship of opinions cannot coexist with education

By Scott Tibbs, April 21, 2023

If you are unwilling to listen to opinions opposite your own, that means you are also unwilling to learn anything. That is antithetical to getting an education at any level, especially at the university level. But Leftist "students" shouting down conservative speakers are not just unwilling to educate themselves, they are determined to actively sabotage the education of other students. The people who most loudly proclaim themselves to be open-minded are often the most closed minded to allowing an alternative position to be spoken.

In fact, it actually can be helpful to read or listen to opinions you dislike. When you more clearly understand the opposing position and the facts and arguments used to support that position, you can more effectively craft your own argument in response, or even anticipate objections to your argument so you can deal with them before they arise. Living in an echo chamber of only your own opinions reflected back at you does not help you become educated or intellectually fulfilled.

The entire point of attending a university is to be exposed to new thoughts, ideas and facts. The heckler's veto of a Trump-appointed judge at Stanford University shows that the disruptors do not want an education. They want to be affirmed in their own beliefs. Even worse, they are actively preventing anyone else from listening to a speech by a federal judge and possibly learning anything.

Leftists around the nation have wailed in horror as elementary schools have curated educational materials to be age-appropriate for the children in their care. But many of the same people have no problem with actively censoring conservative speakers and depriving consenting adults of the right to hear an opinion that Leftist students dislike. The hypocrisy could not be more obvious. Curating educational materials in elementary schools is not censorship. Shouting down conservative speakers is censorship. The Leftists who condemn "censorship" where no censorship exists but actively engage in censorship themselves prove they have no logical argument. They only have their brittle feelings.

University "students" who shout down speakers who hold opposing views show they are not mature enough to be students. Universities around the nation should implement strict policies against disruption of speakers, including discipline of students who disrupt speeches. Any student who engages in violence to disrupt a speech should be automatically expelled. University administrators who allow heckler's vetoes are betraying both their employer's mission and the students who are permitted to act like spoiled children. State legislatures need to step in and pass laws protecting free speech and punishing state-supported universities that allow this behavior.

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