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FINAL POST: Permission to Speak Freely


Why would a government, organization or a particular person institute censorship policies in the United States? The Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights clearly take after notable values of the Enlightenment, including the creation of democratic institutions, the rejection of dogmatic policies and the freedom of speech and expression. A curious by product of these values was the acceptance and promotion of free and open debate. The idea that all ideas must be allowed to be brought forwarded so they could undergo the brutal trials of public discourse. This was a form of ideological naturalism, in which only the ideas that stood up best to scrutiny would survive. It is by this process that scientific progress is made and by extension, evolutionary naturalism is exactly the way species better able to adapt become more successful while weaker species die off. Universities developed from scientific research academies and were groomed to idealize and promote the ideological naturalism that drives human innovation and true progress. However, throughout the 1990’s, colleges and universities quietly created speech codes, in the name of political correctness and ‘safe speech’,  and now target both student and faculty who practice their First Amendment rights. These practices are antithetical to not only what it means to be a free society, but also it prevents colleges and universities from fully promoting a true exchange of ideas.


The black gentleman whose comedy musical was interrupted by administration supported hecklers, is Chris Lee, who attended Washington State University in 2005, and was harassed by the University and University supported hecklers. Chris’s musical was entitled Passion of the Musical and was a tongue in cheek, ‘South Park-esqe’, kind of play that found the offense Christian groups on campus. After Mr. Lee contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education it was revealed that the administration had both paid for and trained the hecklers to scream ‘I’m offended’ and making threats towards the actors until they had to shut the play down. After formal warning from FIRE and public outrage at the violation, WSU changed course and allowed Mr. Lee to perform his play, and warned the hecklers to cease there outbursts. As a Catholic, a student and an American citizen, I found the behavior of these Christian groups, which included Catholic Student Center, absolutely deplorable.

So what prompted all of these speech codes to come about in the 90’s and why were they instituted? This goes back to the emergence of political correctness culture and a strive for greater diversity. In his book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and The End of American Debate, Greg Lukianoff explains that these speech codes were sought by campus administrations not with the intent of silencing certain opinions but rather creating a safer atmosphere for students of historically marginalized groups. Lukianoff refers to this as ‘GIRA’ or “Good Intentions Run Amok”. We are even provided several historical examples throughout the history of the US.

“John Adams thought he was saving the country the country from ruin by instituting the Alien and Sedition Acts…  Northerners believed that abolitionists needed to be silenced thought they were preventing a bloody civil war… the communist-hunters of the two red scares thought they were guarding the nation from totalitarianism and, eventually, nuclear destruction.”

Some may ask, isn’t worth censoring someone or something to create a sense of safety and to protect students from potentially harmful language or offending ideas? I argue absolutely not. We already saw in the video above that only 30.3% of seniors in college would say its safe to hold unpopular opinions on campus and only 18.8% of faculty would feel safe holding unpopular opinions. So clearly a sense of safety is not being fostered at universities. Students must constantly be aware of what they say, because, as it is currently, a misplaced opinion or a slip of the tongue can get you reprimanded, suspended or expelled. The purpose of these speech codes was to make campuses more inviting and diverse, ironically to promote greater intellectual and ideological diversity. In a crude way they have cut off their nose to spite their face. College and university campuses have attained a great amount of diversity that is ultimately meaningless because students are either policed into thinking a certain way or they are banned from talking about the subject all together. It is incredibly insulting because it essentially treats adult United States citizens as weak and infantile. One example, covered in the magazine Dissent an African American student argued against a mostly white rally at N.Y.U, calling for safe speech. “The black student then looked at his white colleague and said that it was condescending to say that blacks have to be “protected” from racist speech. “It is more racist and insulting,” he emphasized, “to say that to me than to call me a n****r.”

By limiting what can be discussed universities are not only belittling us, as grown students, but also they are standing in the way of human progress and ideological naturalism. Potentially enlightening debates, conversations and movements are being silenced and banned for the sake of political correctness and ‘safe speech’. We must protect the free speech of everyone because we you never know when your opinion and speech will become the unpopular view point on campus. Professor Alan Charles Kors, co-founder of FIRE, illuminates why free speech is vital to campuses and why the free speech of all must be protected. It is a fairly long interview, so if you find extra time or need background noise, I highly suggest you listen in. This should be the position we all have on our freedom of speech.

I know that this blog went on for a fairly long while and thank you guys for reaching the end. I have posted my resources and questions below. Hope you all have a wonderful Winter Break and a happy New Year.



Do you believe that there should be censorship on campus? What about in general society? If so how far should it go and why?

Do you believe that the Founding Fathers meant for any kind of censorship when they drafted the Bill of Rights?

Have you ever felt censored on campus or that it may not be safe to express an unpopular opinion?



Encounter Books; Campus Censorship and The End of American Debate, Nov. 13, 2012 (

theFIREorg; Free Speech is Under Attack, May 26, 2011 (

FIRE. (2005). Washington State University: Administrative Support for Heckler’s Veto of Student Play. Retrieved from Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

Hentoff, N. (1991). “Speech Codes” On The Campus And Problems Of Free Speech . Dissent, pp. 546-549.

Kors, P. A. (2013, August 14). Who’s Too Weak to Live With Freedom? Prof. Alan Charles Kors on His Fight for Free Expression. (F. f. Education, Interviewer)

Lukianoff, G. (2012). Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and The End of American Debate. New York: Encounter Books.

The Changing Face of Imperialism in the Coming Future

The Imperial model of governance is one that is almost as old as human civilization itself, only superseded in age by tribes and city-states. It is a political system that has changed faces and its technique of conquering a foreign territory for land, people or most commonly for its resources. Ancient Empires were confined to a certain geographic location due to a lack of sophisticated technology. These empires were some of the greatest and most celebrated in history; the Egyptian, Persian, Alexandrian, Roman, Chinese and the Inca empires are all remembered for great battles, great drama and the absolute enormity of their respective territories despite their limitations.

Enter the modern age, and imperialism dawns a new face and a far more efficient method of invading and incorporating territories under the domain of the ambitious European empires. With advances in technology, European governments were able to ‘leap across the pond’, and with gun’s, germ’s and steel were able to colonize almost any country that offered them economic benefit. From the 15th century to the 20th century this was an age known for European imperialism, with major players including, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Russia, Prussia/Germany, Portugal, the Ottomans and some would argue the beginning of the United States imperial aspirations. Most of these empires would fall after the conflicts of WWII, as empires became too much work to maintain. With the fall of the old guard, two new contenders for world dominance emerged from the ashes of the 2nd World War.

Once the Soviet Union and her associates of the ‘2nd world’ were out competed by the US and her associates of the ‘1st world’ a new age of imperialism began again. This time, the United States became an empire by default as she was the ‘unchallenged hegemony’. The United States qualifies as an empire not in the most literal sense of being ruled by an emperor, but by two qualifying factors:


  1. An extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority

2. A policy of extending a country’s power and influence through diplomacy or military force.


These factors and implications are not meant paint the United States in being the the stereotypical evil force that we often associate with the Galactic empire, but rather by being the powerful country in the world, any use of diplomatic or military pressure on other countries in the interest of the US, its people or its economy is considered an imperial doctrine and action. While I detest the imperial systems of earlier centuries, due to the unnecessary violence and unapologetic actions taken incorporate territories, I find nothing wrong in the name American Empire is these are the qualifying factors. As a realist in international matters, I view the game of geopolitics as winner take all. The American government has a duty to its interests and its people to ensure that the promises of domestic tranquility, common defense, and general welfare as defined in the preamble of the Constitution.

However, America’s time in the imperial spotlight may be nearing a close. As corporations and China begin to invest and purchase land rights from Africa and other under developed nations, we may see a new face to imperialism. As of late the Chinese have been purchasing land rights from African nations in exchange for shotty infrastructure. “China takes our primary goods and sells us manufactured ones. This was also the essence of colonialism,” stated Lamido Sanusi, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as reported in the Financial Times. We have also seen the rise of corporations, seizing land and hiring what are essentially slaves in the global south. As we watch in the future, America may soon have to share the title of Empire with competitors.



Do you agree that America’s duty to her citizens and interest’s as more important than than to the international community? Do you disagree? Why?

Do you believe that the United States is a true empire or simply an empire by technicality?

Do you believe that there is a way that there is a way for America to not need to apply pressure on other states and still pursue her interests?

Is there a way to rid the world of imperialism and hegemony or are we forced to repeat this pattern?

Would you call the United States of America an empire?


         American Empire. (2014, July 3). Retrieved November 18, 2015, from

          An Introduction to American Empire | American Empire |. (2014, June 22). Retrieved November 19, 2015, from

          Okeowo, A. (2013, June 12). China in Africa: The New Imperialists? – The New Yorker. Retrieved November 18, 2015, from
       Schroeder, P. (n.d.). Is the U.S. an Empire? Retrieved November 18, 2015, from

       What if European Imperialism Never Ended? (2015, November 16). Retrieved November 19, 2015, from