Criticism and conservatism: Guy Benson emphasizes the importance of debate in American politics

Megan Hays, Staff Writer

Guy Benson, a Fox News contributor, political editor, and co-author of the book “End of Discussion,” came to campus to give a lecture on America’s inability to carry out debate on a variety of important political issues. Benson’s talk was planned by Ethan Wise ’17, the leader of the University’s Conservatives Club, and took place in the MacDonald Commons on Oct. 27.

“I’ve been following Guy since around the release of his book a little over a year ago. Since then, I’ve been really impressed by his ability to present points of view and arguments in an intellectual, but easily understandable, and sometimes funny way,” Wise said.

Benson presented the political left as being the primary contributor to suppressing effective argument in the modern world. He included many examples in his argument, including recent developments from the current presidential election. Although Benson openly holds a center-right political affiliation, he allows for the considerate acceptance of other viewpoints in his discussion.

While the event was hosted by a conservative group at Bucknell, it felt very inclusive to members of any political affiliation,” John Mahon ’20 said.It is important to recognize this problem to preserve the intellectual and political diversity of Bucknell University without being divisive. Through highlighting this problem … we can make strides in coming together through constructive conversation and mutual respect,” Mahon said. 

Benson explained to the students in attendance that his book surrounds the theme of intolerance for unpopular views, and how this has led to the deterioration of First Amendment rights in the United States. Due to these impediments to communication, Benson argued, the United States is becoming both “less free and less fun.”

Throughout his speech, Benson cited various instances of guest speakers at college campuses losing their invitation to present their opinions due to their particular viewpoints. He also demonstrated the “lexicon of silencing on college campuses,” in which many micro-aggressions exist that offend people in particular ways. Benson explained his skepticism about these examples and told students that they were a major reason he decided to write and publish his book with his fellow co-author, Mary Katharine Ham.

“End of Discussion” does not focus entirely on policy, which he claims many people would assume a politically conservative piece would concentrate on.

“Overall, it’s about fastening better conversations in our country,” Benson said.

Benson’s acceptance of differing opinions models the mentality he wishes our country will display in future generations.

“Talks like these absolutely contribute to our community in a positive manner. There are few places as diverse as college, so it’s an opportunity to hear contrasting perspectives and broaden your outlook,” Dempsey Wade ’20 said.

Overall, the core message of Benson’s speech rang true: it is important to not only be intellectually honest, but also to accept the political views of your peers with dignity.

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