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The political left cannot prevent freedom of speech

by Ben Fraser October 25, 2016
The political left cannot prevent freedom of speech

How many conservatives are being silenced by leftist radicals

Divisions between the left and right often open the floor to dialogue. These dialogues are crucial, as they allow both sides to express their beliefs and opinions in a civilized manner.

However, I feel that rather than challenging the opposition with their own ideological views, the left supporters are simply silencing any discussion that doesn’t conform to their beliefs.

Look at conservative speakers, like political commentator Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos, the technology editor for Breitbart News, a conservative news and opinion website. They are currently on separate tours across the United States, delivering speeches and holding events at major universities.

At these talks, both Shapiro and Yiannopoulos speak openly of their beliefs and values. They both answer questions from the audiences afterwards, and many events go by peacefully as students hear out their opinions.

However, in many instances, leftists protest their university’s choice to give these speakers a platform. Some left-wing individuals even purchase tickets to these events and disrupt the speakers by screaming and shouting, according to multiple news outlets, including the Washington Post.

For example, at DePaul University in Chicago, Yiannopoulos was scheduled to give a talk as a part his “Dangerous Fa***t” tour (Yiannopoulos identifies as homosexual), when protesters stormed the stage and shut down the event. Videos on YouTube show protesters rushing the stage and threatening to punch Yiannopoulos in the face and disrupting the entire event. Eventually the police showed up in order to tame the chaos.

Similar instances have taken place in Canada as well. Back in 2010, conservative media personality Ann Coulter was due to speak at the University of Ottawa until nearly 2000 protesters gathered at the venue and created a security issue, according to CBC News. Coulter is quite controversial and has been known to say openly xenophobic and islamophobic comments. She has stated that all Muslims should be barred from airlines, and instead use “magic carpets,” according to the same report. No matter the content of her rhetoric, doesn’t she have the right to express herself?

Many people on the left side are hypocrites. They claim to believe in free speechso long as it reflects their side of the argument. Yet conservatives, and others, have just as much of a right to express themselves. Is that not what’s so great about living in a democratic society? What is the point of having free speech if it only applies to a select few?

I understand that not all liberals and leftists are trying to silence the right, but I believe liberalism must be challenged.  

Just because you are offended by an open discussion of ideas that challenges your beliefs, doesn’t mean a dialogue should be shut down. After all, if we keep silencing individuals who speak their mind, are we truly living in a democracy?

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