Suppose I said “I support free speech in principle, but I think things I disagree with are inappropriate”? *
That would make no sense. As long as I’m not inciting a riot, or disturbing the peace, or trashing cop cars, shouldn’t I have a right to say even things which you find offensive or “inappropriate.
Meet Douglas Muir.
Douglas Muir, a lecturer at UVa’s Darden School of Business and School of Engineering & Applied Science, voluntarily took a leave of absence, according to UVa, over a comment he posted last week on Facebook that compared the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan:
“Black lives matter is the biggest rasist [sic] organisation [sic] since the clan [sic]. Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!!”
Both schools took both the high and low roads, which is common in these cases.
“While free speech and open discussion are fundamental principles of our nation and the University, Mr. Muir’s comment was entirely inappropriate,” a statement from the engineering school said.
The Darden statement reads: “As an institution of learning, we also recognize that diversity of opinion is foundational. However, the personal statements made by Doug Muir regarding Black Lives Matter do not represent the views of this School.
Each press release should have stated it plainly: “While we give lip service to freedom of expression, we certainly don’t condone its use here at UVa.”
Or how about “While we disagree with the content of Muir’s comments, no one who misspells three words in such a short Facebook post should be taken seriously on social issues.”
Or how about “He’s an engineer, you idiots?”
There is a symposium on Free Speech at UVa this week on campus. Apparently the irony conference was last week. The young writer at the Daily Progress called the organizers “free speech hardliners.”
*I actually did suggest once that a guy take some time away from writing, but mostly because he was trying to hurt people.