The dreadful state of free speech on college campuses

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The dreadful state of free speech on college campuses

I was shocked and revolted as I watched the riot­ing unfold on the UC Berke­ley cam­pus back on Feb­ru­ary 1st. Here is a link which con­sists of a col­lec­tion of videos and tweets: Twitchy cra­zi­est protest. The sole pur­pose of this sense­less vio­lence was to pre­vent one indi­vid­ual, Milo Yiannopou­los, from speak­ing. This should not hap­pen any­where in this coun­try, let alone at Berke­ley, which was the birth­place of the free speech move­ment. It is true that only about 150 indi­vid­u­als, most likely out­siders, com­mit­ted the vio­lence and destruc­tion, how­ever a very large num­ber of stu­dent pro­test­ers cheered on and gave the anar­chists cover. What did Milo do to deserve such an unfriendly wel­come? He is an out­spo­ken, charis­matic, and pop­u­lar libertarian-​conservative. Yes, he is out­ra­geous and provoca­tive, but that is no rea­son to silence him. There is no legit­i­mate rea­son to silence any­one. Most dis­turb­ing of all is the reac­tion of the uni­ver­sity. They did noth­ing to stop the riot­ing, they did noth­ing to pro­tect Milo’s right to speak freely, and they did noth­ing to pro­tect the rights of those who wanted to lis­ten to him.

Free­dom of speech is one of our most impor­tant God given nat­ural rights. This right must include speech that oth­ers might find offen­sive. We are all unique indi­vid­u­als. What offends one per­son, oth­ers might enjoy. Some of the most fun­da­men­tal truths may offend a very large por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion. Being offended is a purely emo­tional response. We are all sup­posed to be ratio­nal and intel­li­gent beings, ruled by intel­lect rather than emo­tion. Only the most emo­tion­ally frag­ile of us need to shel­ter our­selves from every­thing that might pos­si­bly be offen­sive. Free exer­cise of speech and free expres­sion are far more impor­tant than the emo­tional well being of frag­ile indi­vid­u­als. Unfor­tu­nately, polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness has com­pletely reversed this. Far too many peo­ple believe that their right to never be offended far out­weighs every­one else’s right to freely express them­selves as they wish. The right to not be offended does not exist. It inter­feres far too much with every­one else’s right of free speech, there­fore it is not a valid right. If we have to refrain from pos­si­bly offend­ing any­one we would never be able to speak.

Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness has always been a weapon used by the polit­i­cal left to try and silence those on the polit­i­cal right. Far too often, con­ser­v­a­tive prin­ci­ples and ideas are labeled offen­sive or hate speech, and then these labels are used as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, by col­leges, to ban indi­vid­u­als from speak­ing . The lat­est buzz­words used as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion are white nation­al­ist and alt-​right. Before this last elec­tion, I never heard of the alt-​right yet, accord­ing to the left. it is every­where. I believe the white nation­al­ist alt-​right exists but it a very small fringe group. Main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive pub­li­ca­tions, such as the Bre­it­bart fam­ily of web­sites, have been unjustly labeled white nation­al­ist alt-​right, along with Steve Ban­non and Milo. These accu­sa­tions, which have been loudly trum­peted by the media, were used as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion by the riot­ers at UC Berke­ley. Milo dis­cussed the com­plic­ity of the media in this inter­view: Media Legit­imizes Vio­lence on Con­ser­v­a­tives. One of the orga­niz­ers of the Berke­ley riots spoke to Tucker Carl­son. Here is a link to the inter­view. She used these accu­sa­tions as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the riots.

Thanks to polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness , con­ser­v­a­tive speech has become unwel­come on col­lege cam­puses. Imme­di­ately when a con­ser­v­a­tive or a lib­er­tar­ian speaker is announced, the cries to ban them begin at once, and then the protests start. There absolutely noth­ing wrong with indi­vid­u­als peace­fully protest­ing because they do not approve of the speaker. Peo­ple have a right to peace­fully protest for any rea­son. Block­ing entrances, rush­ing stages, shout­ing down, and drown­ing out a speaker with your voice are not valid forms of protest. These tac­tics inter­fere with the rights of the speaker and those in the audi­ence who want to lis­ten to the speaker. Far too often speak­ers on the right are unin­vited by the col­lege the moment the protests start. This is a gross vio­la­tion of free speech. Lib­eral speak­ers far out­num­ber con­ser­v­a­tive speak­ers. Col­lege cam­puses have become “safe spaces” where con­ser­v­a­tive ideals are not wel­come and often labeled bias inci­dents. Accord­ing to this arti­cle, sev­enty col­leges now call author­i­ties for bias incidents.

Thanks to decades of polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, more than half of all high school stu­dents believe the First Amend­ment goes too far when pro­tect­ing free speech. This is not just a dis­grace, it is a national tragedy. Here is a link to a sur­vey on this sub­ject.

Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is pre­dom­i­nantly a phe­nom­e­non on the polit­i­cal left, how­ever those of us on the right have, at times, demon­strated our own bad habits when it comes to free speech. At times we try to force oth­ers to be “patri­ot­i­cally cor­rect.” Every­one has a right to do and say things that are unpa­tri­otic. No one should ever be pun­ished for being unpa­tri­otic in speech or behav­ior. We can crit­i­cize indi­vid­u­als for what they say if we do not agree with them because free speech is a two way street. No one has a right to silence anyone.

I was shocked and revolted as I watched the rioting unfold on the UC Berkeley campus back on February 1st.  Here is a link which consists of a collection of videos and tweets: Twitchy craziest protest.  The sole purpose of this senseless violence was to prevent one individual, Milo Yiannopoulos,  from speaking.   This should not happen anywhere in this country, let alone at Berkeley, which was the birthplace of the free speech movement.  It is true that only about 150 individuals, most likely outsiders, committed the violence and destruction, however a very large number of student protesters cheered on and gave the anarchists cover.  What did Milo do to deserve such an unfriendly welcome?  He is an outspoken, charismatic, and popular libertarian-conservative.  Yes, he is outrageous and provocative, but that is no reason to silence him.  There is no legitimate reason to silence anyone.  Most disturbing of all is the reaction of the university. They did nothing to stop the rioting, they did nothing to protect Milo’s right to speak freely, and they did nothing to protect the rights of those who wanted to listen to him.

Freedom of speech is one of our most important God given natural rights.  This right must include speech that others might find offensive.   We are all unique individuals.  What offends one person, others might enjoy.  Some of the most fundamental truths may offend a very large portion of the population.  Being offended is a purely emotional response.  We are all supposed to be rational and intelligent beings, ruled by intellect rather than emotion.  Only the most emotionally fragile of us need to shelter ourselves from everything that might possibly be offensive.  Free exercise of speech and free expression are far more important than the emotional well being of fragile individuals.  Unfortunately, political correctness has completely reversed this.  Far too many people believe that their right to never be offended far outweighs everyone else’s right to freely express themselves as they wish.  The right to not be offended does not exist.  It interferes far too much with everyone else’s right of free speech, therefore it is not a valid right.  If we have to refrain from possibly offending anyone we would never be able to speak.

Political correctness has always been a weapon used by the political left to try and silence those on the political right.  Far too often, conservative principles and ideas are labeled offensive or hate speech, and then these labels are used as a justification, by colleges, to ban individuals from speaking .  The latest buzzwords used as justification are white nationalist and alt-right.  Before this last election, I never heard of the alt-right yet, according to the left. it is everywhere.  I believe the white nationalist alt-right exists but it a very small fringe group.  Mainstream conservative publications, such as the Breitbart family of websites, have been unjustly labeled white nationalist alt-right, along with Steve Bannon and Milo.  These accusations, which have been loudly trumpeted by the media, were used as justification by the rioters at UC Berkeley.  Milo discussed the complicity of the media in this interview: Media Legitimizes Violence on Conservatives.  One of the organizers of the Berkeley riots spoke to Tucker Carlson.  Here is a link to the interview.   She used these accusations as justification for the riots.

Thanks to political correctness , conservative speech has become unwelcome on college campuses.  Immediately when a conservative or a libertarian speaker is announced, the cries to ban them begin at once, and then the protests start.  There absolutely nothing wrong with individuals peacefully protesting because they do not approve of the speaker.  People have a right to peacefully protest for any reason.  Blocking entrances, rushing stages, shouting down, and drowning out a speaker with your voice are not valid forms of protest.  These tactics interfere with the rights of the speaker and those in the audience who want to listen to the speaker.  Far too often speakers on the right are uninvited by the college the moment the protests start.  This is a gross violation of free speech.  Liberal speakers far outnumber conservative speakers.   College campuses have become “safe spaces” where conservative ideals are not welcome and often labeled bias incidents.  According to this article, seventy colleges now call authorities for bias incidents.

Thanks to decades of political correctness, more than half of all high school students believe the First Amendment goes too far when protecting free speech.  This is not just a disgrace, it is a national tragedy.   Here is a link to a survey on this subject.

Political correctness is predominantly a phenomenon on the political left, however those of us on the right have, at times, demonstrated our own bad habits when it comes to free speech.  At times we try to force others to be “patriotically correct.”  Everyone has a right to do and say things that are unpatriotic.  No one should ever be punished for being unpatriotic in speech or behavior.  We can criticize individuals for what they say if we do not agree with them because free speech is a two way street.   No one has a right to silence anyone.