As the school year begins for students across most of America, Senator Ted Cruz reminds us of the importance of education and the diversity that it must contain. On Friday, at the Young America’s Foundation’s 41st annual National Conservative Student Conference, the Republican from Texas spoke to students and members of Academia saying that educators of America are raising a “generation of pansies.”
This comes after many American colleges, universities, and other educational facilities have begun teaching in “safe spaces” that allow students to only hear what they want to. Teachers, faculty, and administrators censor, blacklist, and ban ideas that are they don’t agree with.
In addition, they even begin discussions by asking students to let them know if certain words, whether religious, gender-based or otherwise, are offensive to them and then prohibit the use of such phrases or words from the room, creating a “safe space.”
To this Sen. Cruz says, “For those watching at home on C-SPAN, there are no safe spaces in this room.” And that “if you are a university administrator, the ideas that are represented in this room are terrifying.”
“What is this sense that you have the right not to be offended? You have the right not to hear ideas that are scary?” And he continued with, “Look, the entire purpose of university is to hear ideas that are scary.”
That’s how we learn, right? When we hear of, read about, and even study ideas that are not natural to us or that may go against what we believe in, it doesn’t mean we agree with those. It merely allows us to understand them better. If we stay in our own little world, stuck in our own beliefs, how will we ever be able to tolerate those who are different from us?
That is what the left is calling for, is it not? If we are going to learn not to be racist, a bigot, or anything else that incites hate and fear, we must first understand those around us. And we don’t get to that point by banning discussions or words that make us feel uncomfortable.
Cruz talks about his educational experiences saying, “Now listen, my family comes from Cuba. My family was imprisoned, was tortured.” He noted that his aunt in particular, “was tortured by Fidel Castro’s goons. But you know what, I was perfectly happy to take classes from Marxists – not because they convinced me to become a Marxist – but because I wanted to understand how they thought.”
He continued saying, “I wanted to understand what they believed, I wanted to engage in the intellectual dialectic; that’s what a good education is about.”
And he has a good point. Peace doesn’t arise through the shutting out of other’s ideas. No, that only makes matters worse. Peace is established through a genuine understanding of concepts and principles, whether you believe in them or not.
The Texas lawmaker noted that “not everything has to be life or death. Not everything has to be ‘if you disagree with me, you’re evil and must be destroyed.’” He said, “part of learning, is learning how to discuss and disagree with people who may have different views, and to understand them.”
And he would know. That’s what our congress members are called to do every day, to listen and hear out others who may disagree with them on specific topics and, through understanding, come to a realistic compromise or agreement that benefits everyone.
However, as Cruz says, “Universities are undermining their core missions when they seek to censor and blacklist speech they disagree with.”
He says that Americans must defend our liberty, and it starts in the way we educate our youth. We have to encourage open discussions in the classroom to focus on our freedoms. If the “stark-raving nuts” of the left have their way, the government will control it all, from healthcare and abortion right down to education.
And as Cruz says, “What young person in their right mind would want the government to control every aspect of your life? We have a message that is much more powerful than that, which is: The person in charge of your life is YOU!”
He encourages students to make their own decisions, to take part in discussions and classes that go against their beliefs and decide their opinions for themselves, rather than having “some damn bureaucrat in Washington” dictate what they and can’t learn.