Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Free Speech Not Free for All
Free Speech Not Free for All
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
April 25, 2017
Thank G-d former Vermont Governor Howard Dean did not win the presidential election of 2004 – you know, the candidate made infamous by his blood curdling scream upon his third place finish in the Iowa Caucuses.
It seems the former governor and chair of the DNC is in need of remedial classes on the United States Constitution, particularly the First Amendment. Dean recently condemned the upcoming speech by conservative writer and commentator Ann Coulter saying the University of California-Berkeley had every right to cancel her engagement because “hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.”
First, Mr. Dean, who defines hate speech? What is hateful to you may not be hateful to me and vice versa. Are you the arbiter of what hate speech is? On the other hand, I am no more the arbiter of what hate speech is any more than Mr. Dean. We are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, and I would ascertain that were our opinions of what hate speech is, the end of free speech would be upon us as a so-called civilization.
But Dean is merely a symptom of a greater problem – that free speech for all on college campuses creates a free-for-all amongst apoplectic liberal anarchists who believe it is their right to prevent conservatives from speaking on their sacred campuses, by any means necessary. Simply see the violence perpetrated by lefty-loons upon the visit of conservative political scientist Charles Murray to Middlebury College in Dean’s home state of Vermont.
See also the violence at Berkeley in February, to the tune of $100,000 in damages when conservative Milo Yiannapolis was slated to speak. Now, with Coulter scheduled for April 27, UC Chancellor Nicholas Dirks took it upon himself to cancel her speaking engagement fearing for her safety. This at the “home of the free speech movement,” said Dirks when suggesting Ms. Coulter would not be safe on campus.
Dirks and his security team have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all who visit the UC-Berkeley campus. By disallowing Coulter, Dirks is surrendering his campus (as if it had not already been) to the far-left, who ironically lead the “be tolerant of everybody and everything unless it is conservative” movement. They are truly hypocritical. Even senators Bernie Sanders (S-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) support Coulter’s right to speak at Berkeley.
Free speech is for all Americans and should be protected. It’s easy to support speech with which we agree, but the real challenge is to support that which we disagree. And boy, are those campus cupcakes challenged. These anarchists will stop at nothing to shut down any conservative voice, again, by any means necessary. Of what are they really afraid? The real hate speech is derived by the anarchists with their threats and acts of violence.
Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick ruffled a lot of feathers during the 2016 NFL season by opting not to stand during the National Anthem. This spurred many a debate. I thought it was wrong, disrespectful, and offensive of Kaepernick to take a knee, but was his right to do so. The now unemployed football player was recently named one of the 100 most influential people by Time. Does anybody still read that magazine?
After some mild outrage and threats of law suits, Dirks wanted to move Coulter’s speech to May 2, but Coulter rejected that notion. She said that date is unacceptable; the reasons are unimportant, and said she still plans on keeping her original speaking date. I hope she does, and that a huge throng turns out to hear her speech – from both sides of the aisle. Let them agree to disagree and then debate the issues in a civilized, non-violent manner. After all, the answer to objectionable speech is not silence and violence, but more speech. The right must inspire thinking on every campus across the fruited plain by inviting as many conservatives to speak as possible. The intolerant anarchists will continue to out themselves for what they are.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.