Owatonna, MN Correspondent-One of the most disheartening trends of the past fifty years is the increased intolerance of “non-mainstream” ideas on college campuses. In the 1960s, student radicals were heard loud and clear protesting war, big business, capitalism, right-wing politics, and advocating for communism, socialism, peace not war, sexual freedom, and liberalization of drug laws.
Those ideas generated backlash from the white, middle-class establishment, of course, but the speakers were allowed to speak. Most of these radicals were given forums on college campuses. It seemed that college administrators went out of their way to encourage a variety of opinions on all subjects.
Today, the shoe is on the other foot. Students and administrators seem to have little or no tolerance for radical conservative ideas. Shouting down speakers with whom the student body disagrees is becoming popular. More and more administrators are canceling controversial speakers based on the threat of protests from students. The “liberal elite,” as colleges are often labeled, seem to now be ultraconservative when it comes to the free exchange of ideas. If opposing ideas are not even given a forum in which to express opinions, free speech is being compromised.
Many will argue that anyone can access opinions from those with whom they disagree from books or via the internet, but the effect of reading a speech is different from hearing a speaker in person. College speeches tend to attract sizable crowds. Some speeches get TV and radio news coverage if the speaker is a celebrity or a prominent politician such as a president or senator. Media coverage allows ideas to reach thousands or millions in an instant. Hearing all sides of a debate should foster democracy even if the topic is controversial.
Protestors seem to fear that they can eliminate opposing views by not allowing opposing views to be heard. Unfortunately, that sounds like one of the basic tenets of dictatorships or communist societies: Everyone must think alike.
A genuinely free society allows anyone to peacefully speak their minds. It also allows everyone to cover their ears, walk away, or turn off the TV if they don’t agree with what someone is saying. Dissenters are also allowed to peacefully speak their own minds in rebuttal of an opposing idea. Protesting should be allowed, but only if freedom of speech is granted for all sides of an issue.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Free speech is being compromised at the commands and demands of protestors on college campuses and little is being done to stop the madness that is more and more prevalent on college campuses and in the streets across the country.
When gang like activity can shut down free speech, something is terribly wrong and needs to be remedied quickly before the protestors do more damage to disrupt everyday life, real communication and the true exchange of ideas.
When someone is scheduled to speak on a college campus, and they are basically barred from speaking because of campus protestors, college administrators need to put a halt to the nonsense and start allowing for the free exchange of ideas.
The free exchange of ideas is one that protestors stymie. When protestors and others on the left of the spectrum believe that ideas are harmful to them or the groups or ideologies that they represent, then they want to discredit or delegitimize those speaking as basically unworthy of participating in the exchange of ideas.
Protestors today and in the past have been picking away at the aspect of free speech for years. In your face persistence is definitely part of their ongoing strategy mixed with mayhem and chaos as they love to stir up trouble while they think they are protecting some greater good or preventing some harm from befalling a particular group. They believe they have to shield their world from conservatives and others who may disrupt their protective agenda, and selective suppression of speech has always been their main focus.
What these protestors and others on the same wavelength fail to realize is that they are totally oblivious to the violence and destruction they participate in through the façade of protecting what they believe is being violated or potentially violated, so they go out and demolish and burn down buildings and attack innocent bystanders and others just to show how determined they are to stop someone else from participating in free speech that they believe will lead to violence.
A lot of the thrust of protestors goes back to identity politics, in which leftists believe that everything said must be assessed in terms of how it affects special interest or oppressed groups. When these groups are discredited through speech, leftists believe that these groups are devalued and their expressions through speech will be of less importance. They want to pick at every word spoken that entails ideas and assign a value to those words in terms of whether they defame, discredit or challenge some other group.
When progressives are left to determine the essential value of speech and what should and should not be protected and how it affects or demeans this or that group, the dangers mount as to who is really in charge of protecting and not protecting free speech. The chaos and suppression they create cannot be allowed to continue.
Free speech is being compromised because of twisted protestor demands, and they will continue to think and behave in this divisive way until their demands are challenged through administrators at the university level. Those that disobey the law should be expelled from the university system. Law enforcement must play a part as well in protecting those that want to speak or are scheduled to speak at universities. Strong deterrents must be put forth to protect free speech from complete manipulation and conquest by leftist anarchists.
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-News came down today that Ann Coulter’s appearance at the University of California – Berkeley has been canceled because of the threat of protests and violence by left-leaning organizations and other bands of rabble rousers. While I’m not a fan of Coulter (I think she’s a rabble-rouser herself who often has no more purpose in what she says beyond inflaming hatred), I think she should have as much right to speak as anyone else.
What’s happened at UC-Berkeley is a tremendous miscarriage of justice and an abdication of protection of free speech by the authorities on campus. Bowing down to the precious snowflakes who are afraid their fragile sensibilities might be wounded by the Bad Conservative Lady is sending the wrong message to all those who think that the Constitution can be shouted down. These oversensitive souls never learned the old “sticks and stones” rhyme, and think that if someone says something which with they don’t agree, it causes them some sort of physical harm.
The only way to understand your enemy is to listen to him (or her). Putting your fingers in your ears and curling up in your school-sponsored safe zone where you’re guaranteed to not have to consider anything that doesn’t completely fit with your worldview might be comforting, but in the end it’s leaving you completely unprepared to deal with the big, bad world out there.
Corporate America and society at large doesn’t give a flying fig if your feelings get hurt by Ann Coulter, Bill Maher, Alex Jones or any of the other pundits who live on the left or right fringes of the public consciousness. The first time you try to take off work because you’ve been emotionally traumatized, your boss will be finding someone else to take your job. It’s time to teach these soft-headed university dwellers that there’s a big world out there, and it’s absolutely full of people who don’t give a rip what they think.