I still find it amazing that America has one of the strongest constitutions of any
nation in the world, and was written with little more than a quill pen and a bottle
of ink. However, some recent events got me to thinking about an interesting quote by one of Americas founding fathers who helped craft both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom;
and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”
One of the great hallmarks of America has been the freedom of speech, while reasonable people realize that rights are not with out limits, both the right to freedom of thought and the freedom of speech have come under increasing attack. Ironically the very institutions that were once vaunted for being the bastions of new ideas have become the vanguard of group think and group speak. Take the example of Student Senator Roderick King from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.
King and a group of friends took it upon themselves to destroy a visual demonstration set up in the college commons by a student group called Pointers for Life. The Pro-Life group had obtained the appropriate permission to set up their display of simple white crosses in the lawn to draw attention to the number of abortions occurring in America.
King claimed that Pointers for Life had “no right” to display the crosses and that it was “his duty as a paying student” to take it down. “The freedom of speech does not cover these signs and symbols,” he claimed. King argued that the crosses were an affront to young women on campus who might be considering abortion, and didn’t need to be confronted with the crosses in the lawn. King continued his outrageous behavior even when confronted by campus security, most of the confrontation was captured on video and posted to www.youtube.com
Members of Pointers for Life have called for King to be removed from student government, and University officials have refused to comment on the commotion, however they may be more reluctant to allow future exhibits by the Pointers for Life group, just because the ruckus provides them with justification to silence the Pro-Life message.
Roderick King may be right in that abortion on demand is legal, but history is filled with examples of things that were morally wrong but sanctioned by governments and society at large. Genocide has been sanctioned in several countries in the last 50 years, and resulted in moral outrage by decent people all around the world. America has been involved in several wars, which have been legally sanction, but considered immoral by some people. Consensual sex may be legal for adults, but that doesn’t mean fornication or adultery are moral. Compounding a poor moral choice by choosing to abort an unborn child is hardly the moral high ground.
In the attempt to be more sensitive and inclusive of differing viewpoints, society has become less tolerant of people who hold to traditional moral values. However, scientific research shows repeatedly that in spite of current cultural trends, traditional moral values are the key to a stable and productive society. Stiffening discussion of moral issues may be less confrontational but it does not change the results for those who unwittingly make poor moral choices based on poorly conceived social norms.
"This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation
of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights
which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of
ignorance that tyranny begins." Benjamin Franklin