Founding father Thomas Jefferson was a huge advocate of public education, but actor and conservative activist Chuck Norris doesn't believe the former president would advocate what's going on in American universities if he were alive today.
In a World Net Daily column, Norris compares Jefferson's words to the demands of college students on many campuses as they seek "safe spaces" and limits on the freedom of speech.
Protesting students want to suppress what others can say so they don't have to hear anything that they feel is "hateful" or "intolerant," but Norris points out that Jefferson, in helping establish the University of Virginia, wrote “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
Unlike today's students, Jefferson welcomed the free debate of differing opinions. Other founding fathers believed the same.
Benjamin Franklin expressed, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
George Washington dramatically put it, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
And James Madison gave a warning as well, saying “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
Norris praises those who are standing up against this rising tide of censorship on campuses. He notes the Princeton Open Campus Coalition of students who are fighting back against the demands for political correctness.
He quotes founding member Evan Draim, who said “We’re trying to fight for diversity of thought, and we’re trying to fight back against a politically correct culture on college campuses that tells people that they have to hold certain opinions based on their race or gender or sexual orientation. We want to defend our students’ rights to form their own independent opinions separate from the judgments or the intimidation of peers.”
Are your college kids willing to stand up for freedom of speech on their campuses?