Note: The following article is an opinion piece based upon the views of the author, and does not reflect the views of AYCE or other writers at AYCE.
In February of this year, Student Life, an independent newspaper at Washington University, published an article with the title: "It’s OK that conservatives don’t feel welcome". The article begins by mentioning another survey conducted at the school, which found conservative-leaning students feeling unwelcome and excluded from the discussion. The Student Life article then descends into what I would view as hilarity, with the author directly stereotyping all conservative-leaning individuals as holding morally abhorrent views, and then deems that open discussion is irrelevant as these views should never be pondered. After finishing this article, I asked myself the question: "Are we really at a time where people are perfectly ok with silencing millions of voices and opinions?" My conclusion?
Yes, yes we are.
This article will focus on 2 ideal areas for political discussion: College Campuses and Social Media Platforms. I will go over both and discuss the potential chilling of speech and censorship in each region. My overall position is this: All speech, including hate speech, is protected, and thus should be allowed on colleges and social media in so far as it does not directly incite violence (Criticizing Christians would be distinct from directly calling for physical harm against Christians). At the least, these platforms and colleges ought to directly establish clear and concise delineations between what counts as hate speech, and apply it equally to both sides of the political spectrum. Outside of what is considered hate speech, I worry that campuses and social media platforms are restricting conservative speech and opinions that are not "hateful", and that even if this is not empirically true, an alarming percentage of people believe this to be true. I contend that on certain campuses, there is definitive liberal censorship, however, as a general principle, my position is that conservatives are censored at a greater percentage. Statistically, in the status quo, a Cato study finds that over 71% of Americans, in general, feel as if political correctness has silenced overall discussion, with a heritage poll finding that restrictions on speech are popular for many l