Protests broke out this week at Middlebury College when Charles Murray appeared for a guest lecture. The crux of his message was the work that he has done on race in the United States, and his assertion that IQ is the biggest predictor of success in America. Students came to protest and the rally turned violent at the end.
Some students were wholeheartedly opposed to Murray’s lecture and urged the university to cancel it. Others felt uncomfortable with his message but equally uncomfortable with shutting down the lecture. I personally feel that the lecture should absolutely, 100% continue. I agree with little, if any, of what Murray claims, but free speech and the exchange of ideas simply must be preserved. An open dialogue about any issue is so crucial to its eventual resolution that by shutting down any side of the argument we invariably make the issue worse. Places of higher learning have an especially sacred responsibility to preserve the freedom of speech. No one person or institution can be the arbiter of what one is allowed to say or not – rather, ideas that are harmful, backwards, or untrue must be sifted out of the collective consciousness through their expression, not their being silenced.
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