Campus libertarian club poses no problem

Thomas Anthony, Staff Reporter

College campuses should be places where everyone is allowed to express their opinions, regardless of how palatable those views are to other students, staff or teachers.

The Young Americans for Liberty club at De Anza College recently brought attention to itself by hosting a “Why Free Speech Matters” event on March 4, featuring Lauren Cooley, a prominent conservative speaker.

YAL is a libertarian club whose mission is to “cast the leaders of tomorrow and reclaim the policies, candidates and direction” of the government. Their stated purposes on campus include recruiting students as future leaders, hosting events to spread their views, distributing literature and participating in student and local government political campaigns.

Students unaware of the group might be surprised and even discomfited by a right-wing presence on campus. They should not be.

College is a place for expanding intellectual horizons and engaging with different ideas. It should not be a place with only one acceptable viewpoint.

Whether or not students choose to interact with those who hold views different from their own is their choice. But it is important to realize there are differing ideas and ideologies, and to be able to live with that fact.

Only those that are insecure about their own beliefs or their ability to defend those beliefs would advocate for the removal of conflicting ideas. Using reason and substantive arguments to defend a belief set is a much more convincing way of furthering one’s own ideologies than banishing the opposing belief set.

Some people may argue that groups with goals that are antithetical to their own threaten their safety, or impinge upon the safe space that they see college campuses as.

But college is not a space safe from conflicting or even offensive ideas. It is a space where people can safely express themselves and their ideas, without having to change for the benefit of others.

This applies for everyone, from far-left to far-right, and it is ridiculous to argue that a public institution should dictate how people think by removing voices from the conversation.

It is completely fine that conservative groups are on campus, just as it is fine that liberal groups are on campus. If anyone has a problem with that, it is incumbent on them to examine their own views, not on clubs to silence theirs.