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Philip M. Mouch, Moorhead, Published May 05 2013

Letter: Let’s not stifle exchange of ideas

I was sad to read how low of an opinion Tony Walz (letter, April 23) has of Minnesota State University Moorhead students.

The university setting is supposed to be one place for the marketplace of ideas; perhaps the first real chance young adults have of exploring a vast range of ideas. We underestimate and insult their intelligence when we try to protect them from some ideas.

Students come to campus with values received from their family and close friends over nearly two decades. Does Walz, or anyone, really believe that those values will be undermined by listening to one man speak for two hours?

Whatever anyone thinks of Bill Ayers, does he really have that much power? Are our young people so gullible that they will be led astray by the first person they hear? Surely we can trust them to make decisions for themselves.

If we believe in democracy, and if we believe in capitalism (a la the marketplace of ideas), then we ought to believe in the intelligence of our young people to make their own evaluations of the ideas to which they might be exposed, rather than limiting those ideas.

In North Korea, only one viewpoint is allowed. I believe the United States is better than that. If Walz and others had their way, I fear it would no longer be true. By all means, the detractors of Ayers ought to be able to have their say, but they ought not be allowed to stifle others.