Speech only stays free if we renew our subscription

Another way to say this is “history doesn’t repeat itself, it rhymes.” One of the surefire ways to know a generational shift has taken place is that the same issues come up, often with the same arguments. The latest example is with “political correctness” or PC.

Here is a public debate from Firing Line, the show hosted by William F. Buckley, from August 28, 1991 (26 years ago), starring a few names you might recognize, including Dinesh D’Souza.

“Resolved: That Freedom of Thought Is in Danger on American Campuses”

 

And here is a discussion from July 27, 2017 (less than a week ago) from the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, regarding free speech on college campuses:

“Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses”

 

Even though the discussions are not isomorphic, they are a fairly clear demonstration that issues which might have once seemed hashed out and “settled” have re-emerged for a new generation. Perhaps if everyone paused, watched the first debate, and read pieces that were written in the previous iteration, we might sidestep some of the pitfalls that will readily present themselves this time around. But I suspect this is wishful thinking.

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