False and dysfunctional speech should be repressed

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In defending and advocating the precept that “all speech should be heard,” you, the administrative head of a world-renowned institution of higher learning, have fallen victim to the most destructive fallacy which anyone who desires the development of knowledge can believe.

“All speech should be heard” is nothing more than an articulation into the social and political spheres of the same ethos which, in educational discourse, gives us the phrase “there are no wrong answers.”

As anyone who has struggled to impress upon a classroom full of students the need for self-discipline and intellectual honesty will understand, to say that there are no wrong answers is to renounce in an instant all hope of progress.

A society which honors the idea that all speech should be heard will likewise have renounced the only possible foundation for its own betterment. Without the suppression of ideas which are demonstrably false and dysfunctional, no forward movement is possible; no innovation, no creativity is possible in a system which forbids the elimination of outmoded ways of thinking.

Chancellor Carol Christ, your email is deeply disturbing because it rejects the fundamental principle on which not only all learning, but on which all sense of truth and justice is founded on. To say that all ideas must be heard, in reference to an idea racism that has been so thoroughly discredited, is to say to everyone who speaks and has spoken out against racism that their work is useless in that it will never be finished.

For if in a just world all speech must be always be heard, then there can be no society in which racism does not deserve to be heard, apologized for, and its logic of division and inequality made to live on.

Chancellor Christ, racism is a wrong answer. Do not compromise.

Aaron Capelli is a UC Berkeley alumnus.