facebook pixel
New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism
Speaker with empty audience
WeStudio / Shutterstock

You Have the Right to Free Speech, Audience Not Included

Student protests, disinvited speakers, and cancelled debates have become commonplaces on college campuses. Do people who hold controversial or wrong views have a right to speak on college campuses?

Philosopher Bryan Van Norden, in a New York Times opinion article titled “The Ignorant Do Not Have a Right to an Audience,” argues that no, there is no such right to speak on college campuses. Is it right that stupid opinions are treated with the same respect as intelligent ones? Is it worth finding out what “both sides” of an issue are? These are some of the questions that Van Norden addresses—but there is more than one way in which to interpret his answers, and that is what makes this piece so interesting.

Two of the Ayn Rand Institute’s experts, Onkar Ghate and Steve Simpson, sat down to discuss this article at length, and among other questions they explored: Is Van Norden right when he says that “the ignorant do not have a right to an audience”? Is his general understanding of freedom of speech correct? Does he make a distinction between private property and public spaces as they pertain to free speech?

Watch the video to find out Onkar Ghate’s and Steve Simpson’s opinions about the good, the bad, and the mixed in the article, and to discover many other illuminating insights into the crucial issue of freedom of speech—a little-understood ideal that ARI has been championing for decades.

Audio download here:

Explore more on these topics: Free Speech, Culture and Society, Government, Foreign Policy, Objectivism.

Do you have a comment or question?

Share this article:

Onkar Ghate

Onkar Ghate, PhD in philosophy, is a senior fellow and chief philosophy officer at the Ayn Rand Institute. A contributing author to many books on Rand’s ideas and philosophy, he is a senior editor of New Ideal and a member of the Ayn Rand University faculty.

Steve Simpson

Steve Simpson, a former constitutional litigator, was director of Legal Studies and a senior editor at the Ayn Rand Institute from 2013 to 2018. He is the editor of Defending Free Speech.

Agustina Vergara Cid

Agustina Vergara Cid, LLB and LLM, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and an opinion columnist at the Orange County Register.

Updates from New Ideal

Book Image  

Listen to New Ideal Live!

New Ideal Live is the podcast that explores pressing cultural issues from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, which upholds the ideals of reason, individualism, and capitalism.

Subscribe here.

Ayn Rand University App

Explore unique philosophical content that challenges conventional views — in courses you can take on the go.

Available on Google Play and
the App Store.

Welcome to New Ideal!

If you like what you’re reading, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter! You’ll also receive a FREE copy of our book, Illuminating Ayn Rand.