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Blogging On History, Science, and Education

On Freedom of Speech

Because of student protests at Rutgers, Condoleezza Rice recently withdrew as commencement speaker. Something similar happened at Smith College where Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, was scheduled to give the commencement address. Now I happen to be a graduate of Smith, where I learned that our founders guaranteed freedom of speech in the First Amendment.
It was a big deal with them. They knew that it is easy to support those whose ideas you share, but their big idea, which has become a defining American notion, is that freedom of speech means allowing free expression to those whose ideas you may detest. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Truth is great and will survive if left to herself.” Have those students at Smith and Rutgers studied any American history?
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