How should you react to speech you disagree with?
Disagreements should not equal censorship.
NICHOLAS CHRISTAKIS: The answer to speech we do not like is more speech. Not censoring the person we don't want to hear or punishing the person we don't want to hear.
There's a difference between defending an important principle and advocating for the implications of that principle. Let me give you a couple of examples. One example is defending the freedom of expression. Even though you disagree with what someone might say when they exercise that freedom. So, for example, I might defend your right to speak. I might defend your right to express yourself without fear of losing your job, for example. But I might still not agree with whatever it is that you're going to say. So you say something I don't like. I don't like it, I respond to it. That's the proper way to handle it.That is to say we defend the right of people to express themselves even though we acknowledge that the outcome of that might not be what we agree with. So the famous saying, of course, is I don't agree with what it is that you want to say but I will defend your right to say it to the death.
Another related example of this, for instance, is the defense of contested elections. We might say we really want if there are going to be important roles in universities or in our society we want free and open elections. And we want contesting candidates. We don't want one candidate that everyone has to either vote for or not vote for. We want elections to be contested. We should defend that principle even if we don't like the outcome of the vote. To defend that principle doesn't mean you're endorsing a particular candidate. It just means you're defending the principle of open contested elections. And if you don't like the fact that someone you don't want might win, the right strategy is not to prevent fair elections. Only in totalitarian or authoritarian governments do we do that. We don't want to risk that someone who we don't approve of will win. Therefore, we don't have free elections. So again, there's often a confusion between defending the principle of free expression or the principle of contested elections and a conflation of those defending the, and a conflation of defending that principle with defending the content of what someone might say or defending the candidates that might be running. Of course those are two very different things.
You test your ideas by arguing with people who disagree with you and actually if you're good at it you even learn to enjoy it. Some of the most fun I have in life is arguing with a good friend of mine who has ideas that are very different than my own. And I enjoy it so much. And often I talk to him and I'm like, you know, he's right. And my beliefs don't have a very sound foundation. And I wouldn't have discovered that if I hadn't actually engaged in an argument with him. And we enjoy each other's company tremendously and he has very provocative ideas. For example, he thinks you should be able to sell your right to vote or he thinks that the citizen should be able to sell who they vote for. And I think this is a totally preposterous idea that it's so anti-democratic and subverts a very key principle of our society. But in arguing with him about this I think I may move the needle a little with him and he makes it harder for me to recognize well what is the source of my belief. What is my objection to his idea. It makes you think harder even about things you take for granted.
- Defending someone's right to speak does not mean that you have to agree with what they say. The correct response is not censorship, but more discussion.
- Physician and sociologist Nicholas Christakis argues that in politics, defending the principle of a contested election is not the same as agreeing with or endorsing a candidate. "We should defend that principle even if we don't like the outcome of the vote."
- The best way to test your ideas and beliefs is to argue them against someone with a different stance/point-of-view.
- The science behind why our brains make us cooperate (or disagree ... ›
- The hierarchy of disagreement: The best and worst argument ... ›
- "Let's Agree to Disagree." I Don't Agree to That. - Big Think ›
New study of gamma rays and gravitational lensing points to the possible presence of dark matter.
- Analyzing data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, researchers find hints of dark matter.
- The scientists looked to spot a correlation between gravitational lensing and gamma rays.
- Future release of data can pinpoint whether the dark matter is really responsible for observed effects.
An inside look at common relationship problems that link to how we were raised.
- Fear of abandonment or other attachment issues can stem from childhood loss (the death of a parent) but can also stem from mistreatment or emotional neglect as a child.
- Longitudinal studies have proven that a child's inability to maintain healthy relationships may be significantly impaired by having an insecure attachment to a primary caregiver during their early development.
- While these are common relationship problems that may be rooted in childhood experiences, as adults, we can break the cycle.
Tech is rising and America's middle class is vanishing. Here's what to do.
- The rise of new technologies is making the United States more economically unequal, says Professor Ramesh Srinivasan. Americans should be pushing the current presidential candidates hard for answers on how they will bring economic security and how they will ensure that technological transitions benefit all of us.
- "We are at an inflection point when it comes to top-down control over very many different aspects of our lives through privatized corporate power over technology," says Srinivasan. Now is the time to debate solutions like basic income and worker-owned cooperatives.
- Concurrently, individuals should develop digital literacy and get educated on the potential solutions. Srinivasan recommends taking free online and open courses from universities like Stanford and MIT, and reading books and quality journalism on these issues.