Arts and Culture

The Three Freedoms

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, Wheaton’s community gathered in the Chapel to discuss three core freedoms on college campuses and in the world: the freedom to speak, the freedom to be and the freedom to think. Alireza Shomali, of the Political Science Department, began the teach-in with freedom of speech. He talked about the importance of a good life and how to accurately define it. According to Shomali, “A good life is a life in which the discourse about good life is possible.” Justice goes hand-in-hand with this idea, as a just society is necessary to live a good life. Additionally, the most just society is when a discourse about justice is possible. Freedom of speech is a necessary human right, to allow for the discussion of a good life and justice to happen in our world.

Barbara Darling, of the Religion Department, connected that subject with a freedom to be. She focused on historical events and ideologies that allowed people to be who they are. Some examples include: the Buddhist worldview that gives people the freedom to be, the powerful acts of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other social justice leaders as well as the vote for LGBTQ+ people.

Finally, Chelsea Blackburn Cohen, Ph.D., a staff member of the Scholars at Risk organization, spoke on the freedom to think. Many in this world do not have the privilege of knowledge. In addition, freedom is a power that is often abused by people who exercise their freedoms as a second nature. Therefore, Cohen urged the crowd to ask difficult questions and express their knowledge in meaningful ways, or else the freedom to think is stagnated and obsolete.

In conclusion, do not take any sort of freedom for granted. They establish rights, and without such, a life is not really a good life.