Today’s political and cultural landscape is one of intimidation and censorship, both explicit and implicit. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that the field of academia is overwhelmingly reflective of one particular stream of thinking. It’s pretty much groupthink. While that stream of thinking is present if not ubiquitous among the student population, many actively disagree.
Discovering one’s own values and principles requires the act of seeking knowledge, and that cannot be done without the freedom of speech and expression. In high school classrooms all across America, education is shaping up to be a tool for indoctrination and propaganda, a consequence from almost a century of plunder and deceit.
As William F. Buckley Jr. wrote in God and Man at Yale, “a free association, within a free society, shaping an educational institution toward its own purpose, is practicing a freedom which totalitarian societies would never permit to do.” Pointing out an obvious bias on campuses in North America, Buckley warned of a present and existential threat towards one’s right of free expression and thought. Sixty-six years after the book’s publication, that “free association”, for too many, is still inaccessible. The Foreign Observer will strive to become just that. Granted, our current influence is limited, but the publication will work to set a fearless example in campus journalism by providing unfiltered yet cerebral opinion and analysis. At least so I hope.
While the main focus of yours truly’s tenure at the Foreign Observer will, no doubt, be to grow our corporate structure and expand our organizational influence, I fully intend to cherish my opportunity as a Public Policy columnist to foster intellectual debates in the form of articles, blog posts, podcasts, and more. My role in this section of the new website will feature arguments from various different political, cultural, and religious affiliations. Sure, it might get slightly heated and ugly, but that is the intended consequence. We’re different that way.
The acquisition of knowledge and exercise of true free speech cannot occur without civil dissent. The public policy section of The Foreign Observer will foster disagreements and act as a platform of intriguing debates that motivate millennials to learn more about the current geopolitical landscape. College campuses in North America are where some of the best ideas in recent history have been developed. I often wonder how many more great ideas have been drowned out because they refuse to conform with the status quo?
At TFO, you’re A Voice Not to Be Drowned. While I most likely will not agree with what many of the writers have to write, I am in no way entitled to stifle their freedom of speech. That being said, my column will reflect my deeply-held principles and experiences; personal faith and upbringing. Not everyone will agree with what I write or what I say. What my stances and values are will eventually be clear, and I cherish the opportunity to share them with the world on this platform.
I’ve personally lived the past few years of my life as a political activist, fighting for the Constitution and championing liberty and limited government. My passions brought me to work as a publishing intern at National Review, where I stood athwart history, yelling “Stop!” Moving forward at TFO, I will seek to do the same. My experiences at NR have taught me the importance of articulating my principles in a thoughtful yet passionate manner. NR might have moved its global headquarters recently, but 215 Lexington Avenue is where dreams are made of.
I would like to recognize my boss Garrett Bewkes, supervisors Russell Jenkins, Kevin Longstreet, and Jarreau Weber for introducing me to the media industry and helping me navigate my way through. I cannot thank these great men enough. Furthermore, sharing an office with writers like Rich Lowry, Charles C. Cooke, Reihan Salam, and Jay Nordlinger significantly increased my interest in writing and journalism. I truly have so much to learn and am excited to learn from our readers as well! Please do not hesitate to provide feedback. Contact us and we’re always up for a debate.
That is all I have to say, at least for now. My name is Harrison, and I look forward to a free and bright future with The Foreign Observer.
Harrison Lee is a first-year student in Rotman Commerce, studying economics. He is a former intern at the National Review, as well as a former resident of Taiwan and Vancouver, and is currently serving as corporate liaisons director, as well as a Public Policy & Society columnist at The Foreign Observer.