Don Downs: ‘Free Speech on Campus: Under Attack from Both Directions?’

By on March 29, 2005

Check out a great article by Don Downs titled “Free Speech on Campus: Under Attack from Both Directions?

In this article Don observes:

[T]he last thing American campuses need is censorship from the right piling onto the preexisting censorship from the left. Universities will not regain the public trust that they have squandered until they stand up and defend the principles of free speech and academic freedom for everyone, regardless of their politics.

We agree. As I stated in my Senate testimony in October of 2003:

As noted earlier, if there is one constant in the history of free speech, it is that the censored of one generation often become the censors of the next. This vicious cycle of censorship teaches citizens to take advantage of any opportunity that they have to silence those on the other side. Students educated in this environment can hardly be blamed if they come to view speech as little more than a tool that one must do their best to deny their enemies, rather than as a sacred value. That is a terrible threat to American liberty.


FIRE hopes that we can put an end to this vicious cycle of censorship with this generation. With the help of a coalition of individuals and organizations from across the political spectrum, we can teach the current generation that a free society’s cure to “bad” speech is more speech.

After reading this column I am excited to sit down with his new book: Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus.