Recently, my friend Rick Canton wrote a blog post entitled “Give Free A Chance” (please follow the link at the bottom of the page) in which he encourages young people lost in the wilderness of Progressivism and bummed out about the recent election to explore their God given, Constitution protected freedoms. I would like to add my own assistance by clearing up a subject that has been muddied over the years: the difference between ‘freedom of’ and ‘freedom from’ something.
The First Amendment of the Constitution provides for Freedom of Religion, Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Political Speech. This means we can exercise our “Rights of Conscience” without fear of government interference. Being able to worship, or not worship, as we see fit is guaranteed. The ability to express our disagreements with the government without fear of reprisal is guaranteed. The government cannot pick and choose winners in the public arena. The free flow of ideas is vital for a healthy society.
We are not guaranteed, however, to never hear something we don’t like. If we are free to express ourselves, others are just as free to disagree with us. The validity of our ideas should be judged by the strength of our arguments in support of those ideas. While schools think they are helping young people by establishing “safe spaces” and talking about “microaggressions,” they are doing folks no favors. There is a whole big world out there, and we will inevitably meet people we disagree with. Rather than hiding from it, we should be encouraged to hear these other ideas. At worst we will be offended, at best we can learn something. Either way, we will ultimately be better for it. I would encourage all who read this to examine their own ideas, step into the proverbial town square, and participate in the free flow of ideas. The more of us that share our thoughts, the stronger we become as a people.
Lastly, for the record: calling people names and trying to shout them down is not a free flow of ideas. Think about the other side of the argument, whether you are a Democrat or Republican. Does it make you more inclined to listen to someone when they act like a boor? Of course not. Give others the same consideration you would expect from them. You’ll be surprised how often it works.
Now, reinforce your ideas, get out there, and participate.