A Troubling Trend Regarding Free Speech

The news has been filled recently with news stories that should send chills down the spine of every freedom loving American. In late 2015, we learned from a Pew Foundation poll that 40% of millennials favor some sort of restrictions on free speech. This alone, should be enough to scare us, but like a late night infomercial salesman, I need to say, “But, wait, there’s more!”

In just the past two weeks there have been news stories about censorship in a scientific journal because the authors of an article dared to use the word “Creator.” The article was retracted and cries went out for the dismissal of editors and peer reviewers. The message was clear: there is no room for discussion of a “Creator” in a scientific journal. So, if you have ever doubted the claims of certain scientist who hold to the idea of the divine role in creation when they say they do not get published in science journals, well here we see a live action demonstration of censorship.

At the same time the hand article referencing a “Creator” was being retracted, we also had the joy of reading about “Feminist Glaciology.” Because, you know, that seems far more likely to advance the scientific enterprise. Anyhow, the point being, we castigate some researchers for positing the idea of a “Creator,” while at the same time giving a level of credibility to researchers that want to opine about the possible role of sexism in the study of glaciers.  Was the retraction of the “Creator” article motivated by the pursuit of scientific integrity, or the silencing of talk about the divine?

But, wait, there’s more! Now we read about protesters shutting down a Donald Trump political rally. Now, I must say, that regardless of anyone’s political leanings, this is a scary situation. You would think we were living in the early stages of the Bolshevik Revolution. Seeing young people cheering the fact that they had stopped a political rally during a party primary from taking place is simply disgusting. While such a “victory” may seem grand to the protestors, I wonder if they realize that what is good for the goose, is good for the gander. In other words, I can easily see those who celebrate the forceful shutting down of free speech wailing if there own voices were suddenly silenced.

Whether it is the censorship of alternative ideas, the shutting down of the political process, or the growing acceptance in general of limiting free speech, we should all recognize the dangers that such a path can lead to. We must also realize that those who are silencing the voices of others can soon turn around and silence ours. We must all stand for the right of free speech, lest we all lose it.

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