In a Time article, the administration of the University of Chicago discussed why freedom of speech is important on their campus and why they’ve banned trigger warnings and safe spaces. By censoring various phrases and ideas from being used on campus, they believe that certain people and their beliefs may not feel accepted, and they, as an institution, want to promote diversity. With students from a wide variety of backgrounds, one of their goals is to ensure that everyone can feel safe to practice and discuss their beliefs. With this idea in place, students at the university can also explore their own beliefs by exposing themselves to the other ideas that are out there, rather than keeping themselves sheltered from potentially controversial ideas.
Similarly, Greg Lukianoff and Johnathan Haidt discuss the concept of “The Coddling of the American Mind” and how college students demanding trigger warnings and protections against certain ideas surrounding free speech is extremely limiting. Not only do trigger warnings and the banning of certain topics prevent students from a misguided view on the world, but it can cause them to be ill-prepared for the future. Out in the real world, no one can really control what anyone may potentially say to anyone else, so by sheltering kids in college, they’re not going to be ready for what may come after they leave their bubble. Controversial and potentially harmful and discriminatory topics are never going to cease to exist. So, instead of creating an environment where these topics are barred from being talked about, they should rather be encouraged to be discussed in order to create these intellectual conversations to occur.
Another point that Lukianoff and Haidt address is the use of trigger warnings to prevent people from reading or listening to something that may give cause them to experience PTSD or anxiety due to past traumatic events. Although this seems like a great idea, there’s actually proof that, psychologically, the best way to treat PTSD and fears is actually through exposure therapy rather than avoiding the problem. Pavlov’s discoveries with people using exposure therapy to get over certain phobias is actually very effective; so, while people think that avoiding their fears will cause less stress, the opposite is in fact more verified.
These articles will ameliorate our second approach of our deliberation where we discuss the positives of the freedom of speech on campus. The idea that the freedom of speech provides suitable conditions for controversial beliefs to be discussed, therefore exposing impressionable minds to new ideas, is one of our main points. Although we believe that some restrictions may be necessary, this section is to focus on why it’s important. By implementing the ideas in these articles to our discussion, we can have a clearer and more justifiable “argument” per say.