Editorial: Does one speaker have to be right?

Nathan Robinson speaks at the Dodd center on Wednesday, Jan. 24, in response to another speaker on campus, Ben Shapiro, seeking to disarm his opponent. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

Ben Shapiro’s and Nathan J. Robinson’s speeches on Wednesday evening have created a false notion that students must side with one of the two speakers. There is a whole political spectrum along which most UConn students stand with their beliefs and it was not acknowledged by either of these events. While it is important to acknowledge differences in ideological beliefs, it should not be done through antagonism of those with an opposing view. It is this practice that drives an even bigger wedge between liberals and conservatives on and off campus and hinders political discussion. The overwhelming animosity that exists between the two groups is the biggest component in the struggle to conduct respectful political dialogue.

Continuously referring to liberals on campus as “snowflakes” is an attempt to belittle those with opposing political opinions rather than promote listening to and understanding conflicting points of view.Instead of focusing on disproving and making a mockery of opposing views, speakers on campus should promote open dialogue and understanding between different points of view regarding political and social issues.

Ben Shapiro speaks on Wednesday night in Rome Ballroom. He made a speak and allowed a Q&A after his speech. (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

Nathan J. Robinson’s magazine, Current Affairs, while very informative, tends to distinguish and antagonize conservatives. An article “The Politics of Tragedies,” in Vol 2 Issue 3 of the magazine, Robinson writes that the ”Portland attack was taken as proof that Trump had unleashed an army of violent racists.” In his speech, Robinson emphasized the importance of conducting discussions and debates with students of various political stances but mentioned that he “already knows” exactly what Shapiro’s speech would encompass, so there is not much of a need to attend it. He also referred to students who attended his lecture as “correct” in contrast to those who attended the Shapiro event.

There is a great deal of distaste between liberals and conservatives on campus, which pushes students to identify with one group. The reality of the matter is that there is wide political spectrum with more moderate and more radical values; students do not have to identify with a certain group in order to voice their political beliefs. There should be an emphasis on open dialogue between people along various parts of this spectrum rather than a rivalry between liberals and conservatives.

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this article, statements made by Shapiro on a FOX News interview were taken out of context. We have since removed this section of the article.