The first amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified in 1791 and states that there will be freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition in the country. The first amendment has been a vital part of the development of American society and the success of the country. The American constitution was considered highly liberal when it was conceived and has been a source of inspiration for other constitutions all over the world.
Free speech on campuses is important for education since both professors and students can express their thoughts without any fear of repercussions. This creates a platform for the development of thought, the freedom to express it, and the freedom to criticize others’ opinions. This creates a platform for intellectual growth and prosperity. Having the freedom to express your feelings also contributes to deradicalizing the students on both sides of the political specter since they can securely declare their beliefs. This right is protected by organizations such as F. I. R. E, which strive to enforce the first amendment on college campuses. From my perspective, free speech is essential for my process of education and communication with professors and classmates. Without being afraid to express me, I feel more confident and open.
In recent years, there have been attacks on the first amendment on colleges. In 1980, the American campuses experienced restrictions on free speech with the ban on racism and sexist speech. Today, the campus experience even more constraints on free speech, especially the desire to restrict conservative speakers’ access to college campuses. In 2017, America saw large protests in Berkley because the famous writer and podcast host Ben Shapiro was holding a lecture. This is one of many events where the increased polarization in the US presents itself and contributes to decreasing the freedom of speech across the country.
Personally, I believe that there should be limitations to the first amendment. It is not agreeable for most students to hear racist and sexist language made by outliers in the political spectrum. Furthermore, it is not desirable to give extremists a platform to share their message. This can normalize negative aspects of society, such as racism and sexism. Allowing fanatics to share their views and beliefs can also contribute to the radicalization of certain students. Nevertheless, I think that the current situation with regards to free speech has put too many limitations on our communication. I also believe that this creates a gap between how we act with our friends and family and how we act in public. The concept of cancel culture is ever-growing and many people fear saying something that might be misinterpreted reduces communication in society.
Additionally, I consider the ever-increasing encroachment on free speech to increase the polarization. This is evident on both sides of the political specter. For example, if you comment something negative about immigration, the left is quick to brand you as a nazi or fascist. The same goes for the right, where the slightest comment towards increasing the governmental welfare programs, you are labeled a communist or a socialist. However, in both scenarios, the person is just commenting on policy changes they believe are in the best interest of the country.
The first amendment is an important part of the American campuses and has helped the country become the leader of the free world. With the increased limitations to free speech, we should be worried about the future of the first amendment. It is not enough to simply have it ratified in law, but it should be fought for in our daily lives as well. The current limitations to communication are a contributing factor to the increasing disparity between left and right in politics.