Progressive Polarization

1778 Words8 Pages
The First Amendment guarantees that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press.” The freedom of speech, press, and religion have been pillars of the United States and other Democratic nations who knew the need to have these rights guaranteed. This idea was a major element of the Enlightenment period, the thoughts of John Locke, Jean Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire would be incorporated into the Constitution which included Freedom of Speech as a Human Right. Despite the protection of speech, it is more a matter of what speech is welcome where. A rise in partisanship has decreased the ability to speak an opinion or hold a…show more content…
The Internet has allowed for freer and more open speech than ever before, but it is a double-edged sword in many ways. “Advances in technology and communication have allowed for the proliferation of ideas from every corner of the world…though much of this communication is occurring virtually students may feel connect in ways based on how they make meaning,” (Harris) in this one quote alone you can see both the pros and cons of technologies effects on people (specifically students). On the one hand new ideas can spread, people can find more like-minded people, and more discussions and potential challenges to a particular world view can be challenged in a comfortable platform. The negative though, is this allows for the creation of virtual echo-chambers of groupthink not unlike political parties, and as Harris points out “A challenge of assimilating into a campus become the face-to-face interactions and potential for having your beliefs confronted.” Having a community on your side at an instant as well as being able to think about your response in a familiar environment is much different then a person challenging or talking right in front of…show more content…
Thus one, cannot abide by guidelines that are unknowable until after one speaks.” (Juhan) The result of this is called the “Chilling Effect” where “speakers will say less, even if their speech would be constitutionally protected, because they cannot be assured that they will not be punished for it.” (Juhan) The rules place on environment, though well intentioned and effective leave a gray area for viewpoints or discussions that can be “controversial” or “offensive” to other parties though the discussions may be necessary. Knowing you can speak but not knowing that you won’t go unpunished changes the environment even further than the possibly uncomfortable interactions with strangers. In a classroom or working environment, the grey area for what is allowed is arguably larger than ever. Not knowing what you can say means results in two choices, Taking the risk or Saying nothing, often people choose the latter because the risk isn’t worth the reward of discussion. It isn’t the root of the problem as it doesn’t apply to all circumstances, but restrictions can be attributed to what caused the decreased ability of
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