“We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.”

A few nights ago a group of SMU students gathered to hear a speaker talk about abortion. This was not a debate or protest, and it did not affect any SMU students or faculty in a negative manner. Students and interested non-students gathered to hear the speaker. He gave his introduction and invited questions to be asked at the end. Here’s what happened afterwards:

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what side you’re on here. The issue is that free speech is being denied once again at SMU. The group chanting is making good use of their right to free speech, and are ironically using it to stifle the speaker. This is absolutely the wrong way to go about supporting a cause. You come out of it looking pigheaded and reeking of censorship.

There’s a good old quote that states that while I may not agree with your opinion, I will fight to the death to preserve your right to have it and express it. Beyond the topic of abortion, this incident is terrifying in that one group completely silenced the other by chanting for over 45 minutes. I am saddened that university-educated students don’t realize that the tactics they’re employing have always been favoured by fascists. If our universities don’t support open discourse on “uncomfortable” topics like this, then who will?

Ed Walson chats to Eric Crookshank

Shaun Gillis interviews Phil Currie from Atlantic University Sport