Two weeks ago, I wrote an article stating my opinion on a new piece of French legislation that proposed to criminalize the public denial of the events of 1915 that culminated in the deaths of many Armenians. I argued that the French government, or any other government for that matter, does not have the authority to restrict the freedom of speech and expression. The point I tried to get across with the article was that of liberty. In order to give our lives meaning, each and every one of us chooses and adopts certain doctrines, ideals, and objectives. These pervade through our lifestyle, affecting everything from the way we think, to the way we act, to the way we conduct our relations with others around us.
For me, liberty is the single most important ideal. Freedom, in all its forms, is the quintessential human characteristic that is non-negotiable. The freedoms of thought, speech, and expression are integral to our existence as the intelligent species of our planet. Freedom enables us to come to MIT to do groundbreaking research; freedom gives us the power of ideas and of constructive debate; freedom allows us to be who we are. The Constitution of the United States exists to promote the values of freedom and to protect freedom at all costs. This chief founding principle of America has been the single most effective philosophy in making it and its citizens as successful as they are. History has proven time and again that the pros of a life built on the foundations of liberty significantly outweigh all its cons.
Having elaborated the importance of a life of liberty, I cannot emphasize enough how impossible it is for me to digest the restriction of liberty. My previous article was not about the events of 1915; it was not an opinion piece on what I believed happened or what should be done from now on. It merely addressed the issue of liberty and how I find its limitation unacceptable. Were this any other issue regarding the constriction of personal freedoms, I would have had exactly the same reaction and frame of mind. Restrictions on the freedoms of speech, expression, and thought also portend to bring forth further restraints that I wouldn’t even want to think about. Freedom is one of the most important aspects of our daily lives that seeing any part of it taken away is a terrifying thought.
That being said, I regret that this view was not as clear or explicit as I originally intended in my previous article. As a result, certain members of the MIT community were unintentionally offended. I want to make it clear to all that I never set out to offend anyone, nor pass judgment on the events of 1915. The main objective of my previous article was to evaluate the foundations of liberty and every legislation that seeks to harm it, and to express my discontent with the restriction of personal freedoms. I hope that this letter serves as clarification for my previous article and assures my readers that it was in no way meant to be offensive.