Safe speech vs free speech: higher education’s false dilemma

Education, Policies

Safe speech vs free speech: higher education’s false dilemma

In the ‘cancel culture’ era, universities should remember that the original purpose of free speech was to empower the weak, not to shelter them

Universities in the US and the UK have become a battleground in the war between safe speech and free speech. I believe that this is a false dilemma – and understanding its falsity can enable us to detect the social forces imposing it on us.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear,” wrote George Orwell in 1945 in an introduction to Animal Farm. The introduction was so controversial that it was not made public until 1972.

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