Academics & scholars are standing up to 'social media mobs' and 'cancel culture'
- Dozens of academics decided to take a stand against “cancel culture” and free speech by composing and/or signing the Philadelphia Statement on Civil Discourse and Strengthening of Liberal Democracy.
- The statement includes signatories such as Robert George, Christina Hoff Sommers, and more.
- The statement currently has more than 10,000 signatures.
Multiple professors, free speech leaders, and conservative-leaning organization leaders have signed "The Philadelphia Statement," which affirms their support for free speech and civil discourse, both on the college campus and off.
"Social Media mobs. Cancel culture. Campus speech policing. These are all part of life in today’s America. Freedom of expression is in crisis," the statement reads. "Truly open discourse—the debates, exchange of ideas, and arguments on which the health and flourishing of a democratic republic crucially depend—is increasingly rare. Ideologues demonize opponents to block debates on important issues and to silence people with whom they disagree."
The statement outlines the loss of the defining features of our democracy and what that could mean for the future of our country.
According to the statement's website, the authors felt that the Philadelphia Statement is needed because of the increasing amount of "blacklisting and demonizing of those who hold opposing views," adding that this is making it harder and harder for "Americans to express their sincere beliefs."
The statement's "initial signers" include people such as Robert George; a professor at Princeton University, Ayaan Hirsi Ali; research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Christina Hoff Sommers; resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and more.
“If we seek to change our country’s trajectory; if we desire unity rather than division; if we want a political life that is productive and inspiring; if we aspire to be a society that is pluralistic and free, one in which we can forge our own paths and live according to our own consciences, then we must renounce ideological blacklisting and recommit ourselves to steadfastly defending freedom of speech and passionately promoting robust civil discourse,” the statement proclaims.
[RELATED: Republicans propose legislation penalizing publica colleges that restrict free speech]
As of August 21, according to a tweet from the group, the statement has more than 10,000 signatures.
Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former professor at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, explained his reasoning for signing the statement.
“I signed because I've been alarmed by the erosion of America's culture of free speech, especially on our campuses and now extending far beyond,” Kurtz told Campus Reform.
“Without pushback against cancel culture, we are at risk of losing the liberties that are our most precious possessions," he added.
Peter Boghossian, a professor at Portland State University and a national speaker for a variety of organizations such as the Secular Student Alliance and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, told Campus Reform that he hopes, “the Philadelphia Statement may put a slight pause in our civilization’s descent into madness."
Follow the author of this article on Twitter @LeanaDippie