Advocates of social justice have actively fought against free expression in recent years because of the alleged negative emotional impact it can have on marginalized people. In their effort to stifle speech they disagree with, they’ve called for the imposition of trigger warnings and safe spaces, as though they have a right to not be offended. The irony cuts deep given that social justice warriors owe their existence to the very principles of free expression that they are trying to limit.
A new essay from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education explains why you can’t achieve social justice without free speech. It argues: “[I]t is difficult to predict the causes that in the future will be considered important components of social justice. It’s therefore crucial that as society evolves, our thoughts and arguments are allowed to mirror such evolution.” In other words, a more just society has more protections for the freedom to express ideas that are controversial. A marketplace for ideas can emerge only if people are free to disagree.
In the video below, Senior Program Officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Ari Cohn explains how free speech actually helps minorities. “Granting majorities the authority to determine when speech is harmful and to censor it,” he explains, “only invites further oppression.”