Commentary: Princetonians must invest in the marketplace of ideas

September 17, 2023 1 min read

Aidan Gouley
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: This year’s Pre-read, “How to Stand up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future,” by Maria Ressa ’86, argues that defending democracy requires no less than a transformation in how liberal societies engage in discourse — not simply specific policy prescriptions or direct action-based activism. Ressa’s call for open discourse should be resonant on a campus where free speech is considered core. Each of us must work to build such an environment. As Ressa says, effective activism can only be preserved in environments that catalyze rigorous discussion and critical thought.

Should free exchange erode, the University community does not merely risk losing the educational value of speech, but also threatens to concede a critical pillar of free society altogether. We have to reclaim the mantle of free speech from right-leaning groups and ensure that free speech isn’t harmed by either institutional overreach or communal neglect.

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