Philosophy Club Censorship Debate
An article from The Vermilion
Fall 2008




With all the talk about censorship running around campus, it would be helpful to get some professional opinions on the matter. What better way of doing so than by hosting a debate between two political science professors?

On Thursday Oct. 9, students were invited by the Philosophy Club to attend the debate, Censorship: Boon or Hindrance? Rick Swanson, Ph.D., argued against censorship while Bryon-Paul Frost, Ph.D., argued for censorship.

Swanson's introduction included four main points for the justification of free speech: the pursuit of truth, democracy, social safety valve and self-actualization. These points portray the benefit of full access to all ideas competing vigorously against each other, a better way to govern through communication, a safe standard for venting frustration and a more expressive individual.

"Democracy does not exist without free speech," said Swanson. " You lose humanity when you lose individuality."

Frost's rebuttal was that there has never been a truly open society, a society that has not practiced censorship including our own. His example showed how in a hypothetical situation in which a professor wanted to teach a class on the myth of the Holocaust, because he said he believes it never happened, the class would never be considered.

"Censorship is almost always an attempt by a political regime to state the noble ideals of that society," said Frost.

Although both had differing opinions on the subject, both were in agreement that there is censorship and conformity everywhere.

When questioned about the talk radio censorship with UL Lafayette buses, Swanson said, "As long as UL bans all talk radio, it protects a captive audience," to which Frost agreed.