Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Constitution Daily: 'The First Amendment Speech Debate on College Campuses'

Source:Constitution Center- this should be a great place where the battlefield of ideas and debate goes on everyday. Where people are required to think and learn, especially about things that they don't understand or agree with.
Source:The Daily Review 

"Jeffrey Rosen: [00:00:00] I'm Jeffrey Rosen president and CEO of the national Constitution Center and welcome to We the People, a weekly show of constitutional debate. The national Constitution Center is the only institution in America chartered by Congress to increase awareness and understanding of the Constitution among the American people on a nonpartisan basis. Recently President Trump announced that he will soon sign an executive order that requires colleges and universities to "support Free Speech if they want Federal research dollars." On today's episode of we the people we ask, would the order be a good idea? What would the consequences be and would it be consistent with the Constitution? Joining us to debate the Constitutional and legal merits of the proposed executive order are two great friends of the national Constitution Center and two of America's leading experts on campus free speech. Sitting with me here at the NCC studio is Sigal Ben-Porath who is a professor of Education, philosophy and political science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on citizenship education and political philosophy. And she's the author of the recent book free speech on campus. Sigal thank you so much for braving the cold and joining us here today in studio." 

"As part of Uncomfortable Learning at Williams College, Greg Lukianoff spoke at Williams College about how colleges suppress free speech. Greg talked about the challenges that students have faced, such as students being arrested for handing out copies of the Constitution or Drexel's rule against derogatory laughter. He also addressed what students can do to encourage debate and free speech at colleges." 

Source:Uncomfortable Learning- Greg Lukianoff, talking about free speech on college campuses.

From Uncomfortable Learning

This point has been made several times before and I am one of those bloggers who has made this point over and over, but college is about learning new ideas, thoughts and expressions. If it's censorship that you want, then perhaps you need to create time machine or something that will take you back to the 1950s when the words damn and hell were essentially forbidden in public. Well, at least on TV and in the movies. 

And if it’s just a nice polite world that you’re looking for (well, for minorities that is, leaving majorities subjected to whatever everyone else wants to say about them for good and bad) then perhaps you need to create your own country. Perhaps Paradise Island or someplace in the Pacific or Caribbean where there isn’t any hate or bigotry. (At least towards minorities, that is) 

To paraphrase President Andrew Shepard from The American President: America, is not easy. You have to want it bad in order live and make it here. Because we’re a country where you can essentially say whatever the hell you want to short of inciting violence, falsely accusing people, or harassing people. 

Americans, have the constitutional right to be enlightened, but we also have a constitutional right to be assholes. We also have the constitutional to be truth tellers even if what we have to say may tend to offend people who we are talking about.

That is called America, that is called liberal democracy, that is called the land of the free. This is what a liberal society and free society is about. The right for people to be free and live freely even if what we’re doing and what we have to say may tend to offend people who are oversensitive, or have much more culturally conservative perspective on life. 

America is not a good place for tight asses and people who can’t take a joke and who always find the one cloud on a beautiful sunny day. America, is about freedom and individuality and free expression. Even if that may tend to offend people who can’t ether take a joke and even understand criticism, let alone take it.

I’m almost to the point that I believe everyone who attends college in America should be required to pass a class on both the U.S. Constitution and First Amendment and Bill of Rights in general. Because apparently they didn’t bother to learn those things in high school. I had to take and pass a government course in high school in Maryland in the early nineties just to graduate from high school. When most of these students weren’t even born yet. Gives you a little idea how old I am. And I’m glad I did do that, because it’s a reason why I’m a political junky and blogger today.

But I guess today’s students were too busy texting the student who sits right next to them, or listening to their I-Pod in class, or googling what shoes Khloe Kardashian wore with her new bag when she went shopping in Beverly Hills last weekend. Or whatever else they might have done when they should have been paying attention to their teacher’s lecture on American history and social studies. 

You want to know why Americans get stereotyped as stupid? I’ll tell you anyway: because we now have a generation of Americans who don’t understand their country’s history and form of government and their own constitutional rights, like Freedom of Speech.

And when these kids finally get to college after finally completing summer school, it suddenly occurred to them that some Americans say some rough things about other Americans including minority Americans and some of those negative things are negative facts. And they’ve decided they’re going to try to force their sense of decency on the rest of the country. But America simply doesn’t work that way. 

America, again is that gigantic melting pot of a country. The largest, the most diverse, most beautiful, the freest melting pot in the world. Where all sorts of people have the right to express their own views. And they can’t be shut up for telling the truth. Or because people can’t take a joke, or simply don’t like what someone has to say.

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