How much do words matter, really?

College students shouting down a speaker with whom they disagree. Not new. Nor is it new for inhabitants of the lower rungs of the income ladder to protest policies that favor the people on the upper rungs of the ladder. College has long been a time to try out new ideas and voice one's anger with the establishment, and entry level workers have long wanted a raise.

(For background, please search "Charles Murray news" or "Fight for 15".) 

What's new is the unwillingness of college administrators and city leaders to allow views that oppose those of the protesters. Really, we observe scant meaningful response of any kind. That lack should act as an alarm that liberty may be in trouble.

The USA is a liberal society, not in the sense that liberal politics means not conservative, but in the sense that liberal means, literally, "open to new ideas." When one side puts forth a argument, the words matter. When the other side responds, those words also matter, we may hear both sides, and then we may freely decide which side to side with. 

On the other hand, if one side's argument is silenced, we have but one side, which is a terrible way to decide. Wouldn't you agree?

In our day, when protesters (often violently) cut off their opponent's end of an argument, it's consistently the very liberal end cutting off the more conservative opinion. Are we seeing a day when the "open to new ideas" group is closed to new ideas?

Conservatives bemoan this clear block of their freedom to speak their minds, and rightly so. Conservative media, and my conservative clients raise hell. Liberal college administrators yawn. 

5 Ethical Questions

  1. How are we to learn if we hear no arguments but our own?
  2. How does your organization's social media policy open or limit speech?
  3. What do review sites like Glassdoor, Great Place to Work, Indeed, and Yelp reveal about your organization's openness to new ideas? 
  4. How do you (personally and organizationally) actively engage words that compete against established ideas? 
  5. If, as evidence suggests, colleges are increasingly closed to conservative opinions, what effect will that have in your organization in the coming decade?