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.