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A complete lack of forgiveness, a stifling of free discussion, an abolishment of due process, and unrelenting judgement is a far cry from an ideal to be strived for.

For years, ongoing debates continue to rage on each side of the political spectrum regarding the strategic viability, societal worth, and overall morality of cultural cancellations. Many left and right-wingers, democrats and republicans alike engage robustly in what has more commonly been referred to as cancel culture, a vague term usually referring to the targeted banishment of a specific individual, business, or idea forever from the good graces of society. Differing…

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“A secular sovereign overseeing all religions equally and without bias towards one faith or another provides a mechanism by which universal religious and rational truths can be nurtured, and society can flourish as a consequence.”

Though originally published anonymously, the secular doctrines which comprise Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza’s famous work, Tractatus Theological-Political (1670), have since solidified the enlightenment thinker as a founding father of secularism and one of the original champions of church and state segregation. Spinoza believed, in an ideal world, that the authorities of religion and rational thought should be entirely independent of one another. Theology, Spinoza argued…

Contrary to popular interpretations, the creation story actually depicts an egalitarian utopia between men and women, an ideal that is entirely conducive with both feminism as well as the progressive teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

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Prominent interpretations of the Biblical creation story throughout history, and more specifically the characterizations of Eve, the first woman in Biblical creation, have led to more catastrophic abuses and exploitations of women than arguably any other interpretations of scripture. From 13th century philosophers like Thomas Aquinas, who believed Eve to be a “defective and misbegotten” male (Summa Theologiae, Ia q.92, a.1, Obj…

When it comes to free speech, it is not the friendly diplomats but rather the harsh provocateurs like Larry Flynt who test the boundaries of expression, preserving our rights in the process.

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Is Hustler Magazine founder Larry Flynt a depraved menace to society, or a civil rights hero? As the founder of a porn magazine notorious for its hardcore depictions of sex and its provocative cultural and political commentary, honoring Flynt with the title of civil rights champion may seem absurd to many.

But in the 1988 landmark case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, the Supreme Court reaffirmed and expanded…

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In the fight to eliminate prostitution entirely, prostitutes become collateral damage.

No job on earth ignites a fury of heated discussion, impassioned stances, and extreme polarization quite like prostitution. For thousands of years, the so-called “oldest profession” has inspired innumerable debates on morality, sexuality, individual liberty, and the rights of women, pitting traditionalists against progressives, abolitionists against autonomists, and even feminists against other feminists. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates there to be 40 million sex workers worldwide, over 99 percent of whom are women (ILO, 2016). While the act of, and moral philosophies behind, prostitution remain widely debated, a…

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In his 1764 publication of the groundbreaking and provocative Philosophical Dictionary, French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire poses an ever-provocative question: “must we not carefully distinguish the religion of the state from theological religion?” (Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary). Though a Diest believer in God himself, the name Voltaire remains synonymous with vehement religious criticism, and his expositions of the inherent corruption birthed from an intertwining of theology and governmental power continue to be hailed as the genesis of modern secular reasoning. Voltaire believed religion to be the enemy of reason, so much so that he espoused the idea of an absolute monarch, or…

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In one of his most compelling and recognized works, Civilization and its Discontents, Sigmund Freud ponders the utility and origins of sexual restrictions within a civilization and questions why monogamous sexual relationships between a man and a woman came to be so glorified, as well as how extra-marital sex, homosexual relations, and polyamorous relationships (among other a-typical sexual encounters) became vilified societal practices. Freud believed the very nature of civilization to be restrictive on human beings and to inevitably cause “discomfort”. In Civilization, he notes how impossible it is, “to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon…

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Known as one of the founding fathers of classical liberalism and neoclassical utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill penned the legendary essay, On Liberty, in which he insists, “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others” (Mill, On Liberty). Put simply, one can move a fist in any direction except for the purposes of hitting a face other than one’s own, but how does this philosophy apply to free speech? The United States inarguably has the most extensive freedoms and allowances for speech of…

Ariana Savalas

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