The cost of free speech

Students used to want it; now they try to deny it to others

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American college students in the 1960s challenged their institutions to stretch their tolerance for free speech.

Today, those institutions – populated with some of those former free-speech champions – have become increasingly intolerant of free speech.

This page has occasionally reported on politically correct “speech codes” and other unconstitutional actions by college administrators who have attempted to silence speech they disagree with. In Valdosta a few years ago, a then-college president actually had a student expelled for speaking out against planned parking garages there.

And this week, at Brown University in Providence, R.I., a group of student hecklers, in a coordinated assault on free speech, prevented the New York Police commissioner from speaking at an event and, therefore, from also taking questions from the audience.

They may be proud of themselves today for making a statement against that city’s controversial “stop and frisk” crime reduction program. But they chose to make that statement in such a way as to prevent someone else from making his own statements.

Ironically, they didn’t make the police commissioner or his department’s actions look bad; they made themselves look awful.

Yes, you have free speech. But there’s a cost to it: You must respect others’ right to it.

“Many students and other community members who strongly oppose policies and initiatives of the New York City Police Department were prepared to present their perspectives and arguments to Commissioner (Raymond) Kelly,” Brown University President Christina H. Paxson later said in a statement. “Not only was Commissioner Kelly denied the right to speak, members of our community were denied their right to challenge him.”

Even the school’s student newspaper scolded the hecklers.

“Kelly should be given a platform to speak, and students who oppose him should be given the opportunity to ask questions and present counter-arguments,” the student paper said. “... (W)e are certain that students who challenge Kelly on factual grounds will meet greater success than those who focus on trying to keep the event from taking place at all.”

America is a nation of ideas. To stifle the transmission of them is to cut off the country’s blood flow.

Perversely, those students only impoverished themselves intellectually by refusing to let the speech take place. And they took everyone around them down with them, which they had no right to do.

Protests are a great American tradition. But the new scheme of coordinated heckling to shout down speakers who’ve been invited to speak? That’s about as un-American as you can get.

This is a real black eye for American education in general and for Brown in particular.

Rather than have unconstitutional speech codes that try to outlaw certain kinds of speech, we’d encourage our friends in higher education to adopt and enforce strict guidelines to protect speech. Any student who attempts to prevent free speech, particularly where an invited guest or dignitary is involved, should be suspended or expelled.

Students once protested in order to safeguard free speech; now they protest to prevent speech they disagree with.

Their colleges and universities need to be better than that. And they need to give such students a lesson in the First Amendment, applied.

Comments (24) Add comment
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Riverman1
93637
Points
Riverman1 11/02/13 - 04:35 am
8
1
Sometimes We Need Roscoe Rules, Sometimes We Don't

The Police Commissioner should have had a long taser to zap anyone who disrupted his talk. Tase the little darlings and make them do the chicken dance as "black-glove officer," Officer Roscoe Rules would say in The Choirboys.

As the editorial points out, you can accomplish so much more by asking questions and having a dialogue. Remember Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being exposed when he was allowed to speak at Columbia University and took questions from the audience?

By the way, I’m also opposed to without cause stop and frisk procedures of people walking down the street. That’s truly a “show me your papers” mentality. The next step is to have black sedans show up and grab people on the street who are never seen again.

carcraft
28457
Points
carcraft 11/02/13 - 03:55 am
6
0
Ithink we are all ways

Ithink we are all ways looking for the balance between security and freedom because increasingly fewer people understand great freedom brings great responsibility!

myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 11/02/13 - 05:00 am
10
0
The lies of the left!!

The left has always claimed themselves "Champions of Civil rights". But it's one of the greatest lies ever told in this Country!! The extreme left is the exact opposite of civil rights champions!! They are the extreme opposite!! If your opinion doesn't tow the line with theirs, they want you to shut up, sit down and never speak again!! I would say they would willfully go farther with that; seeing as the Weather Underground made their intentions known (do away with 25 million people).

The leftists of this Country are NOT the compassionate, caring party they make themselves out to be!! Compassion is just a tool they use as a "means to an end". It helps them achieve their goals, so they use compassion, diversity, racism, bigotry, sexism and many more as tools to supress the voice of the opposition. They disguise their intentions behind the environment, civil rights and compassion. Probably more that I'm not thinking about this early in the morning.

Bottom line is; the Ward Churchhills, William Ayers and the left of this Country couldn't care less about freedom of speech unless that speech agrees with theirs!!! That is a FACT!!!

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 11/02/13 - 06:32 am
8
0
Charlton Heston

In 1997, I watched Charlton Heston deliver a spell binding speech to the National Press Club that highlighted and condemned this specific practice. Our colleges and universities had, even then, become the leaders in the suppression of free speech. The leftist led administration of so many institutions of "higher learning" had become and remain little better than the European fascists of the 1930's and 1940's. The very concept of so called "hate speech" is laughable on its face and yet we see this being used on a daily basis to suppress thoughts that the left cannot tolerate. Tolerance is only afforded to those who march in lock step with the left. Political correctness is the anathema of a free society.

Bodhisattva
7193
Points
Bodhisattva 11/02/13 - 06:38 am
3
8
The case in Valdosta appeared

The case in Valdosta appeared to be more a personal vendetta by the President of the college Zaccari against the student, and claimed that the student presented a risk to Zaccari and the campus. " For example, he posted a status message on Facebook that he was "cleaning out and rearranging his room and thus, his mind, or so he hopes." He also posted a link to an article about the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech, and one page included a banner ad for Project Spotlight, a Web-based film submission contest. The contest's tagline was: "Shoot it. Upload it. Get famous. Project Spotlight is searching for the next big thing. Are you it?""President Zaccari considered Petitioner's actions, including the statement on the Facebook website, to be a specific threat to his safety and a general threat to the safety of the campus," the Board of Regents wrote." (per the SPLC)

As to Brown. They were free to protest, but not to interrupt the speech. Freedom of speech flows both ways, even when some on the right post uninformed ridiculous comments to the contrary they still have the right to post it. It's nonsense, but it can be posted. The hecklers should have been removed.

As to whether "speech codes" at colleges are unconstitutional. There ARE limits to free speech, such as the famous shouting fire in a crowded theater. College is a time of learning, and kids are often away from home for the first time and exposed to people of different cultures and lifestyles that they have never encountered. Allowing them to "freely" use sexist, racist, homophobic, or culturally insensitive language directed at others is not exactly part of a good learning process. Demeaning others harms those the attacks are directed towards and can result in retaliatory action that can result in physical confrontations. Just this past week, a Marine was beat to a pulp trying to take up for two of his friend who were gay and wearing dresses to an event. The Marine was straight and was trying to prevent a confrontation, but the jerks attacked him after staring at them the whole time they were eating at a restaurant. Just allowing hate speech to go on as a natural occurrence gives the impression that it's ok. It's not. If they haven't learned that by the time they've entered college, it's high time they learned. What they do off campus is their business, but while they're on campus I see no problem with not allowing them to use racial slurs when addressing minorities and other speech codes.

KasparHauser
368
Points
KasparHauser 11/02/13 - 06:59 am
0
0
Sauce for the Goose...
Unpublished

I'd imagine the Chief of NYC Police has the ability to talk and get his words in the paper ANY TIME HE WANTS TO and if the videos of his 'officers' are not dramatic recreations, he also seems to have the power TO TELL OTHERS TO SHUT UP WHILE BEING HARASSED BY HIS THUGS, whether being Stopped and Frisked or merely being a non-white buying an expensive belt?! In fact, the Chief's actions in harassing law-abiding citizens speak FAR LOUDER than words.

College students have the excuse of being young, outraged and powerless; which excuses are obviously trumped by the Chief's traditional Authoritarian excuse that he's 'only following orders'.

And, of course, the AC always comes down on the side of Tradition and Authority...

Bodhisattva
7193
Points
Bodhisattva 11/02/13 - 07:25 am
2
10
The European fascists of the 1930's and 1940's were right wing

First gain power, kill the leftists, intellectuals, and communists. "May 2nd, 1933, police units occupied all trade unions headquarters and union officials and leaders were arrested. The funds that belonged to the trade unions – effectively this was workers money – were confiscated." Capital was owned by private businessmen and the ruling elite, who dropped wages on the workers from 1933-1936. "National Socialist" didn't mean socialism as we think of it. It meant nationalizing foreign industry (which ended up being industry owned by their enemies), such as international banking, into state owned industry. German owned industry was private (VW, Krupp, Hugo Boss, Bayer, a lot are still doing just fine). Heston was a pretty good actor, not a good political mind. There you go. You just had the wrong end of the political spectrum. The name confuses a lot of people but they were far right wing.

seenitB4
97407
Points
seenitB4 11/02/13 - 08:22 am
5
0
Just imagine this

The little darlings will soon run this country...yikes..

Give them a swift kick in the rear & eject them from Kelly's speech.....they didn't deserve to stay.

ymnbde
10662
Points
ymnbde 11/02/13 - 08:28 am
6
2
The European fascists of the 1930's and 1940's were liberals

oh, bod, closed minds can interchange rude words with savage beatings so easily, can' they?
First gain power, kill freedom, kill dissent, and enslave the ignorant with rewards of food from cards and roofs and heat and cooling from government programs. The funds that belong to the worker are confiscated by the union and by the government to enrich the union and the government.
There you go. You just had the wrong end of the political spectrum. The name confuses a lot of people but they were liberals.
Big all controlling government liberals.
Go by what they actually do, what actually happens.
Liberals are big government, conservatives are small government.
Stalin didn't want to be head of IBM.

deestafford
31880
Points
deestafford 11/02/13 - 08:36 am
5
1
The blame of these interruptions and disruptions lies at the

feet of the university and college presidents. When Conservatives go to speak on campuses they do nothing to protect them or insure civility. As a matter of fact, they semi-encourage the disruptions. Yet, when convicted terrorists and their supporters speak everything possible is done to insure they are allowed to be heard.

Of course, as mentioned in the editorial those running our education system today were the radicals of the 60's and 70's. This is truly a case of the inmates are now running the asylum.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 11/02/13 - 10:16 am
0
0
Young lefties
Unpublished

taught by old lefties.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 11/02/13 - 10:27 am
1
0
1st Ammendment / 2nd Ammendment

Looks like the people that observe the 1st are getting like those who observe the 2nd, TO LIBERAL in their understanding of these ammendments!!

dahreese
4907
Points
dahreese 11/02/13 - 11:30 am
0
2
As opposed to ‘liberal’,
Unpublished

As opposed to ‘liberal’, which advocates progressing forward from where we presently are, the word “conservative” means to keep/favor established conditions and traditions. Threats to those traditions and conservative ways of thinking are an easy sermon to preach and thus manipulate people who don’t know just are poorly informed and how staid they are. Such conservative fears are daily expressed on these forums, and sometimes in these editorials.

I wonder if we could call those protesting students a bunch of closed minded liberals for blocking the chief’s speech?

If the N.Y. police were stopping and frisking every male Muslim walking down the street, especially if he’s wearing a turban, I doubt seriously if any of the conservative commenters on here would protest at all, nor would there be an editorial about it.

After all, Muslims aren’t traditional to the ‘christian’/our/conservative way of thinking, are they?

Certainly a dialogue with the N.Y. police chief is better than not. But then, it’s obvious the chief already has his ‘conservative’ mind made up and he is going to bend with the way the conservative political winds are blowing.

But we expect better of students?

ymnbde
10662
Points
ymnbde 11/02/13 - 12:17 pm
2
0
as opposed to "conservative"

which means to do what works, instead of adopting every new method of failure that makes anyone feel good
a humble success is better than a flamboyant failure
stop and frisk has saved many hundreds of lives
hundreds of black people are alive today, that would have been dead
if stop and frisk had not been implemented
i suppose ending stop and frisk is okay with you?
if that was okay with me i would re-examine my philosophy
plus, young black males are less than 3% of the population
and commit over 50% of violent crimes
even worse because a good portion of that 3% is often in prison
even worse because the remaining 97% avoid that 3%
but i suppose that is okay with you, too
and we don't expect better of liberals

dahreese
4907
Points
dahreese 11/02/13 - 12:33 pm
0
3
“An humble success is better
Unpublished

“An humble success is better than a flamboyant failure.”

If you’re successful.

If liberal Eve just hadn’t eaten that apple we’d all be little conservative automatons.

myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 11/02/13 - 12:45 pm
2
2
Bodhisattva

That is an absolute UNTRUTH!!! One that has been told for many decades, but repeating the lies, doesn't make them truth!! The European communist/fascists regimes were NOT right wing; far from it!! That's what the left LOVES to do, is distort history!!! Trying to connect those vicious regimes to the right or conservatives of today; and it's an outright LIE!!! The most famous of those leaders being Hitler, who the left LOVES to try and make him out to be right wing; so they can somehow connect him to right wing groups today!! Why because Hitler was a racist and believed in a superior race; and if the left can successfully lie and connect him to right wing groups today, all the better for them.

Hitler, Mousilini, Stalin and Lennon had nothing in common with the conservatives of the United States today!!

These men have FAR more in common with the Weather Underground and the far left of today!!

myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 11/02/13 - 12:44 pm
3
0
How many right wing groups

How many right wing groups have we seen completely disrupt a left wing liberal speaker?

How many left wing groups have interupted conservative speakers at events?

The TRUTH, doesn't lie!! Believe what you SEE with your eyes, not what THEY will tell you!!

myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 11/02/13 - 12:46 pm
2
0
dahreese

I don't recall the Bible saying anything about an apple. Do you?

dahreese
4907
Points
dahreese 11/02/13 - 01:00 pm
0
4
Without wasting my time to
Unpublished

Without wasting my time to refute your ‘points’ your in depth knowledge of German history is equal to your in depth understand of religion – not much.

As to the frisking, what makes any of you think you’re not next;

you aren’t in N.Y.,

you aren’t a Muslim wearing a turban;

you aren’t Hispanic or Black?

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 11/02/13 - 01:15 pm
2
1
dahreese, why do you think
Unpublished

dahreese, why do you think the NYPD frisk blacks and Hispanics?

Bizkit
35555
Points
Bizkit 11/02/13 - 01:26 pm
3
0
You know sociopaths will

You know sociopaths will accuse others of things they themselves are guilty of. Like making bigoted statements that externalize their own perceptions of others and are themselves discriminating. LOL. But even if these methods are successful it is too much an infringement on our rights and liberty. Just like I can't support the NSA spying on us for our on safety. I don't want to give up my liberty and freedom for safety-me personally.

Bizkit
35555
Points
Bizkit 11/02/13 - 01:30 pm
3
0
An apple a day will help keep

An apple a day will help keep the doctor away. So many good varieties any time of the year now-as all fruit. Remember when you only ate fruits in "season"-now they come from all over the world. Course with that comes the risks on potentially introducing disease, pest, etc from other places too. Pears are OK but I couldn't eat them everyday. Apples I could.

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 11/02/13 - 01:31 pm
4
0
dahreese, since I am sure you
Unpublished

dahreese, since I am sure you will not answer my question I will.
'Blacks and Hispanics commit nearly 99 percent of all violent crime in the 88th Precinct and over 93 percent of all crime.'
http://nypost.com/2013/08/13/ignoring-the-realities-of-nyc-crime/

dahreese
4907
Points
dahreese 11/02/13 - 01:31 pm
0
2
Wouldn’t have anything to do
Unpublished

Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that they’re Black’s and Hispanics, would it?

Bizkit
35555
Points
Bizkit 11/02/13 - 01:32 pm
3
0
Sometimes the cost of free

Sometimes the cost of free speech is death-remember Kent State. That kind of scenario is haunting.

Riverman1
93637
Points
Riverman1 11/02/13 - 02:18 pm
0
2
Dahreese, actually, I'm

Dahreese, actually, I'm conservative and I did in the very first post point out the unwarranted stop and frisk is wrong...and I know they are mainly frisking blacks.

CobaltGeorge
175757
Points
CobaltGeorge 11/02/13 - 02:24 pm
1
2
dahrees 02:31 pm

"Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that they’re Black’s and Hispanics, would it?"

Damn Right It Would! PERIOD

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 11/02/13 - 02:30 pm
1
2
My father still doesn't get
Unpublished

My father still doesn't get history.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 11/02/13 - 02:30 pm
1
2
My father still doesn't get
Unpublished

My father still doesn't get history.

myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 11/02/13 - 03:14 pm
1
0
Owensjef3

You are absolutely correct!! I do NOT "get" nor believe some liberal's distortion of history.

But please, feel free to tell me where I'm going wrong; instead of just making a vague comment "My father still doesn't get history." Tell me exactly where I'm going wrong and we can have a discussion. Otherwise, just continue to make comments without backing them; as you usually do.

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