Freedom of All Types of Speech Promotes Diversity

James Cantu

November 8th, 2017

Julie Notarianni color illustration of Lady Liberty blushing and covering her mouth. – Illustration by Julie Notarianni

If you put five Americans in a room and have them state their opinion on a topic, it would result in ten differing opinions. That being said, that effect is not limited to Americans, but more of a commentary on how, no matter someone’s background or origin, there will always be differing points of view, some more arguably valid than others.

Everyone has a right to an opinion, but some are more factual than others, and, therefore, more valid than others.

How can an opinion be more valid than others? Well, that depends on what you call an opinion.

For example, the fact that I think black coffee is better than a pumpkin spice latte is a valid  opinion. My opinion that black coffee is better than a pumpkin spice latte is based on personal preference, on facts personal to me, and not to anyone else.

Coffee preferences are generally perceived to be a valid opinion as the “facts” are highly personalized to the drinker.

Conversely, asserting that certain races are genetically superior than others is not a valid opinion.

The idea of scientifically backed racism has been disproven again and again throughout recent history, t herefore, disproving the validity of that statement.

Just because one is more factual than another, does not mean it is an absolute truth. A 100 percent factual opinion is not an opinion, but rather a fact.

For example, “it is unhealthy for a baby to have a prolonged fever of over 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit,” is not an opinion, but a fact. The dangers of a fever in babies are well documented and vetted within the scientific community.

That being said, there should always be a forum where everyone’s voice, valid opinion or not, can be heard and either accepted or rejected by the consensus of the populace.

Diversity of thought allows for progression. It allows for development through new insights and points of view that wouldn’t have been presented if thinking were homogeneous. However, what we see as “progression” in the liberal sense, can only occur with an educated populace.

In recent developments, like President Trump’s twitter being momentarily deactivated, to an American being charged with subversion in Zimbabwe for allegedly calling Zimbabwe’s president a “sick man,” the right to speech and to critique those in power has been questioned.

I find it ironic that President Trump threatened news medias for their coverage of him by tweeting, “network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked,” and on November 2, President Trump’s Twitter became deactivated by a rogue employee.

Although the exact motives of the employee are unknown at the moment, their actions were hailed on certain corners of the internet.

Let it be known that I disagree with 99.9 percent of everything the current president stands for. I retweet articles and posts calling for his removal from office, I find his use of Twitter abhorrent, not only for for its polarizing, unpresidential content and conduct, but also for how it tarnishes the United State’s global reputation.

That being said, as long as the president’s use of Twitter does not pose a threat to national security, he should be allowed to continue to blow hot air via Twitter.

In doing so, it allows for people to form their own opinions of him, and either support or shun him. If he didn’t have Twitter, we would have less material as reason to (dis)like him, although, in my opinion there is plenty of fodder already.

The same protection given to his freedom of speech should be twice as protected for those who challenge authority. After all, those in power still have the power to make change, those who aren’t and critique those in power do not.

It is my opinion that Saint Xavier University meets the baseline by allowing its students to voice their discontent and/or concerns by trying to work with its students rather than abruptly shut them down. This can be seen by their current handling of the petition Campus Ministry has created in order to remain in the Mercy Ministry Center, which could be read more in-depth in last week’s issue of The Xavierite. 

James Cantu

Opinion Editor

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