All people around the world practice free speech daily, but not all people have the privilege of doing it publicly. Even though there is freedom of speech in many western countries, other countries in the world still do not have the luxury of this basic right, but now we may be in danger of losing this right after fighting long and hard for it.
After centuries of Americans fighting and dying for the right of free speech, a generation of young adults is now being taught not to believe in the freedom of speech because it is seen as uncivilized. How will mankind ever advance if people across the world aren’t sharing new ideas or discoveries? Instead, this generation thinks that they should have freedom from the speech that they dislike or find offensive. This is highly common in Russia and China where the country’s sensitivity-based censorship platform bans anything unpleasant or hateful, it even bans criticism of any type of religion. Imagine living in a society where you could never say or post your feelings without getting punished. The United States is not new to the rising trend of people going against freedom of speech, or today what is now called ‘political corrections’. This is particularly occurring at American universities and colleges. Highly restricted speech code is now the new norm on college campuses. According to a study by The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or in other words, ‘FIRE’ 54% of public universities and 59% of private universities currently impose politically correct speech codes for students.
How bad is it?, you might ask. On March 6, 2019, a conservative activist reported named Hayden Williams was attacked while recruiting students for Turning Point USA at the University of California-Berkeley. The man who did it never got accused of assault. Of course, the First Amendment does have its limitation where we’re not allowed to harm others to get what we want. That’s why we’re not allowed to use speech for force, fraud, or defamation. FIRE took these universities and colleges to court for reasons like this. After having won these court cases FIRE proved that the right to free speech is a basic human right, but the fact that they had too, shows us how bad the threat to freedom of speech has escalated.
The latest threat to our Constitution’s First Amendment comes from something called “Trigger warnings which are alerts that warn students that they are about to read or hear something that triggers a negative emotional response”, – says Greg Lukianoff. Also, conservatives against the First Amendment encourage microaggression, which is defined as “Any statement that might be constructed as racially insensitive, sexist, classist, otherwise non- PG” according to Greg Lukianoff. Campuses are policing students on what they should and shouldn’t say.
Other Americans criticized FIRE’s viewpoint by saying that the First Amendment needs to be repealed because it’s outdated and a threat to liberty and privacy. Paul Denlinger CEO and founder of China Bridge Marketing makes a critical observation: “a free-society is not necessarily a healthy society”. Paul Denlinger also said, “Too much free speech causes distraction, superstition, rumor-mongering and lost productivity”.