Not only does it antagonise potential allies in the fight for justice, but it also fails to acknowledge the reasons why controversial views exist in the first place, or to address any logical, moral or ethical problems inherent in them.
For those who hold those views, strategies of censure and reproach are unlikely to eradicate those convictions and actually risk leading instead to confirmation bias, strengthening the original prejudice.
Yet, as history demonstrates, restriction of speech might be most deleterious to the very same people that such restrictions want to defend.
Hindering informed discussion, which considers the views of all sides, shows the validity of some over others, is likely to be ineffective and even counterproductive in resisting prejudice and offensive ideologies.
First, censoring speech that is seen as discriminatory risks perpetuating existing biases by failing to tackle the core of the issues.
Second, by giving control over speech to faceless authorities, those who fight for social change forsake their own ability to challenge the status quo, to participate in the destruction of dysfunctional and unjust systems.As much as I agree with the motives, I disagree with the method.Of course, speech that constitutes targeted harassment or threat, or instigates violence, has no place on university campuses.s Open Future essay competition in the category of Open Ideas, responding to the question: “What should a commitment to free speech on campus entail?” The winner is Katherine Krem, 23 years old, from Bulgaria.Four years ago, I left my home country, a former communist state in eastern Europe and travelled to “the land of the free” to attend a private university, whose founding motto is “The Wind of Freedom Blows”.I was leaving a country where my grandparents used to be afraid to read the Bible or tell political jokes (even in their own home), as such actions used to be punishable by imprisonment or, worse, being sent to a labour camp.To achieve social change, we must engage in a discussion, not exclude our opponents, especially if our rival has substantial political power to influence social affairs, or if—as in the case of contemporary American politics—the “offensive” ideas are held by a majority of the public.Finger-pointing, name-calling and vilifying controversial speakers and their supporters is futile.He did not receive an answer but a label: “bigot,” “misogynist,” “-phobe.” Not only his “privilege” (white, straight, male) seemed to disqualify him from participating in such discussion, but the conversation itself was deemed inappropriate, offensive.In the next four years of tiptoeing around volatile words, I continuously witnessed the shutting down of important discussions—by both students and instructors—as logically valid but “offensive” questions were dismissed and those who dared to ask them were socially ostracised or punished.