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Monday, August 28, 2017

Debra Soh: The left is alienating its allies by shutting down free speech

...The risk in all of this, for the left especially, is in polarizing once-allies who might abhor the views espoused by controversial speakers, but still value the right to free speech and appreciate the role of the university as a venue for debate.

Those promulgating censorship, however, argue that it is in the best interest of marginalized and targeted groups to shut down these speakers, based on the notion it will protect them from further oppression and harm.

But a solid perspective doesn't need to be insulated from criticism in order to stand. And contrary to what these groups would have you believe, many of the folks advocating for free speech are not racist, sexist, alt-right zealots, but often people who are left-leaning and questioning the cause. Take, for example, the plea by CNN host Fareed Zakaria — who is generally viewed as a liberal — to so-called progressive university students, urging them to listen to opposing points of view instead of silencing them.

Many "progressives" on the left often call anyone who criticizes it "far-right" and "fascist," including those who, by many people's standards, would be considered liberally minded...

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