Chairmen and women like Yasith Weerasuriya from around the country’s colleges are facing a tough time right now as the cancel culture begins to roar. It seems that in this day and age someone is not allowed to have an opinion which differs from many, through the fear of being cancelled on social media.
The result of this is that we have seen many individuals banned from speaking at colleges and universities around the country. In most cases these people do not have views which are extreme or wild, they are just seen in that way because of the times that we are living in. The reality however is that we have to let these people speak, and here is why.
Open to Criticism
Trying to critique an idea or an ideology on social media is very tough and there are very few examples of when this turns into a healthy debate. On the university campus however we can give our students the chance to ask questions to those who are speaking, and try to tear down any bad ideas which they think that they see. If we ban people from speaking then all we will have is their opinion, and nobody to try and debate them on it or ask questions about them.
Fueling the Fire
If we ban people from speaking then we are not able to silence them like this, what happens in fact is that you create something of a media storm and that then gives people more interest, more fans and more followers. It is far better to allow people to say their piece, and then allow the world to decide as to whether or not they have a point or an argument.
Shutting Down New Ideas
The danger of silencing all of these people, on both the right and the left, is that we may find ourselves in a position whereby nobody is allowed to challenge the status quo. Whether these people are right or wrong, we have always had a healthy society which allows people to question ideals and ideas. We cannot continue in this way otherwise we will end up having a society whereby nobody dares to question ideas, and that will result in progress being stunted.
And finally we have to recognize the fact that we can trust our students to be curious and adventurous with their thoughts, and to call out bad ideas when they see them. If we fail to do this then we are going to show our students that they are not trusted, and that is a bad precedent to set. We have to let these people talk, let the students who are interested listen and then allow them to make up their minds on what they have heard.
Challenging ideas is critical to a healthy society and this is why we have to make sure that we are doing all that we can to prevent the silencing of these speakers.