Do Americans have shared values anymore? How would we know? We can’t even discuss them. People speaking on college campuses are shouted down. Presentations are banned. Riots break out. Starbucks windows are smashed. Police cars are burned. And the perpetrators are exclusively individuals identifying with the “liberal left.”
Suppression of ideas and freedom of speech have not occurred to this degree since the Brown Shirts and the Hitler Youth attacked Jews on November 9, 1938 – the infamous Kristallnacht. Kristallnacht refers to the glass windows broken during the night.
Can anyone talk about our values without being attacked?
Starting with the question, “What are our values?”
The common ones from western culture, particularly from the cradle of democracy – Greece – include wisdom, temperance, courage, justice.
Wisdom is a basic value
Let’s address Wisdom. Wisdom is the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
Early writers like Cicero and Quintillian argued that basic to obtaining wisdom is debate and oratory. Debate and oratory contribute to persuading individuals with regard to the soundness of actions or decisions.
Debate is necessary for wisdom
Debate is essential to wisdom because debate helps determine the truth. Determining the truth and deciding on the prudent course of action or decision is a deliberative, give and take process. Skillful application of oratory makes the truth appealing, and persuades individuals to act wisely.
If we cannot engage in freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas we cannot engage in debate. Without the exchange of ideas, debate, and wisdom – deliberating on what right action to take – democracy is not possible.
Wisdom, hence debate, is necessary for good democracy
Why? Because democracy requires that people are informed, that they discuss ideas and make decisions about the right course of action.
Every bill in the legislature is debated. Every conceivable interest group weighs in. We can’t pass a bill about water without hearing from pepper farmers, golf course owners, the chamber of commerce, and Green Peace.
The left suppresses speech and incites violence, just like the Hitler Youth
But the actions of the “liberal left” and the so-called “antifa” have become the antithesis of free exchange of ideas, free speech, and open debate. Despite the left’s name calling, it is actually the left that has become the new incarnation of speech suppression and violence. The left’s violence is bringing a modern Kristallnacht, with behavior rivaling the Brownshirts and Hitler Youth.
When was the last time you heard of chile pepper farmers burning police cars to protest someone speaking about corn?
Think of how western civilization has placed primacy on freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech first was officially protected 800 years ago in the Magna Carta signed in 1215.
Bill of rights were ratified on December 15, 1791 and were based in part on the English law Bill of Rights of 1689. Freedom of speech was specifically identified as a foundation of our rights as part of the 1st amendment.
The left is attacking democracy
The left’s attack on speech is an attack on the exchange of ideas, on open debate, and ultimately on wisdom, on our values, and on democracy itself. This an evil.
Americans need to stand up, step up, and speak up in support of our most basic right: freedom of speech. Americans need to stand up against evil.