Free Speech or Hate Speech? Where do we draw the line?
The article linked above was written by a Berkeley student and describes the tension at UC Berkeley over Milo Yiannopolous and Ann Coulter being invited to speak.
From my perspective, inviting Coulter, who openly opposes gay marriage, abortion rights, and amnesty for immigrants, to a campus that is home to a large queer community and a large undocumented/immigrant community is intentionally welcoming hate into their home. The university accepted these students and it is the job of the university to make them feel safe while on campus.
So, Milo and Ann are gonna make folks feel unsafe? Really?
There was a tortured sentence at the end — really I felt badly for the words involved. But it ended with this clear statement of jello:
…the right to protest must be held in as high esteem as the right to free speech. Both sides were more comfortable with the idea of ‘offensive’ free speech only if those who were in protest were allowed to be present.
Um. This happened at Berkeley:
This country produces such dunderheads, who I hope someday will grow up to understand that the culture really is dynamic and changing. Things will be a surprise, or a shock. Ideas will appear before you which are unpleasant. You might be scared. I hope you’d be scared that you’re wrong. Fear like that is just your brain telling you that there is a huge other world — and most of it does not have safe spaces.
The college professor who taught this youngster that free speech means only “speech that does not make anyone feel unsafe,” is doing her no favors.
Trust me. Speech will make you feel unsafe, and Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopolis should be the least of your fears. By the way, UC Berkeley has changed its mind and Ben Shapiro is coming to campus. (Link)
I hope it actually happens, but I suspect there will be riots, protests and more destruction. They will be protesting “hate speech” by throwing Molotov cocktails. I’ll put money on it right now.
So, where is the line?
The law says we draw the line at speech that incites violence. Speech that promotes specific violent acts is always wrong.
Speech that hurts the feelings of college students should never be silenced. In fact, that’s exactly the stuff that should be examined by an open minded college community.