Though some oppose it, Wisconsin’s “Campus Free Speech Act” is a much needed corrective to the anti-free speech actions and attitudes now pervasive on college and university campuses. These actions and attitudes are in direct contradiction to the purpose of colleges and universities, i.e., the free exchange of ideas in order to add to the fount of human knowledge, and determine the truth or falsehood of ideas entered into the academic marketplace.
As with all other rights, whether derived from natural law, common law, statute law, or Constitutional law, the rights to free speech and freedom of expression extend only so far as their exercise does not interfere with the equal rights of others. This principle should be self-evident to anyone who seeks a “higher” education, and to those who seek to “instruct” them. It is an unfortunate fact of our time that such a principle not only is not self-evident in academia, but the opposite attitude has developed strong roots on campuses everywhere. That this is the case is a sad commentary on the state of higher education.
In 1972, the first year in which I was eligible to vote for President, I attended a campaign speech by then U.S. Senator Edmund Muskie on the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. Senator Muskie was not then or thereafter my choice for President, but I was very interested in hearing what he had to say. I attended the speech with the attitude that I would be open to having Senator Muskie change my mind. During the Senator’s speech, another student stood up and attempted to shout the Senator down. The attendees appeared stunned at first, but after a few moments of the interrupter’s antics, most (including me) began telling him to sit down and shut up. I was so personally upset by the actions of the person who interrupted Senator Muskie, that I made a point of talking to the Senator after his speech and apologizing to him for the other student’s behavior.
Political correctness now corrupts the body politic in every facet of society, but most especially within academic circles and the mainstream media. For ours to be a fully functioning republic, the age of political correctness must end. Only truly free speech and expression are suitable for citizens of a republic, and are the necessary cornerstones upon which a republic such as ours must be built.