From the March 2003 newsletter of the American Studies Association.
… Free and frank intellectual inquiry is under assault by overt legislative acts and by a chilling effect of secrecy and intimidation in the government, media and on college campuses. This atmosphere hinders our ability to fulfill our role as educators: to promote public debate, conduct scholarly research, and most importantly, teach our students to think freely and critically and to explore diverse perspectives. Democracy is predicated on the right to question our government and leaders openly and to express dissent without fear. We are told, in fact, that our nation is ready to go to war to protect this precious freedom. The threat of war should not restrict public debate, as it often has in our nation’s past. Vigorous debate and the widest possible discussion are crucial to the health of our democracy….
The full document is at the link, but dig this: “Democracy is predicated on the right to question our government and leaders openly and to express dissent without fear.”