Those of us enjoying the benefits of a free society often inadvertently demean the virtue of courage by presenting small acts of courage (like risking an academic career by voicing unpopular opinions) as more significant than they actually are. Those on the left, I think, are particularly prone to this error (or perhaps evil), often acting as if they are the equivalent of Soviet dissidents in critiquing the policies of the US government. But risking harsh criticisms by people who think their ideas are stupid is hardly on par with risking 10 years of forced labor in a Siberian work camp for opposing Soviet totalitarianism. We ought to be careful about what we call brave and courageous.
Most of us living in a free society are simply lucky enough to never have had our internal sense of courage put to significant test. If we were, I suspect that many of us who think ourselves courageous would crumble. And unexpected others would rise from nowhere to meet the challenge.