Friday, September 4, 2020

Students Say Free Speech "Unacceptable"

The administration of Princeton University recently published a “Statement on Principles of Inclusivity and Free Speech.” The Statement affirmed that the school “cherishes both inclusivity and free speech, which can be protected even when the speech in question is ‘unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.’” It also noted that Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber is on record as saying the free expression policy “rests upon the idea that the pursuit of understanding, discovery, and truth benefits from the open and vigorous contestation of ideas.” That belief was the very foundation of colleges and universities for well over two centuries. Eisgruber correctly added, “We are in an era when many people mistakenly treat free speech and inclusivity as competing values. We need the benefit of multiple voices and perspectives, and we need real engagement among them.”
Not any longer. The president and two vice-presidents of the Princeton Graduate Student Government replied to their school’s shocking affirmation of free speech and the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, calling it “tone-deaf” and “unacceptable.” In a letter written in response to Eisgruber and the administration, the three opined that the free speech policy protects “hate” at the university. They stated, “We as a student body are not looking for ‘dialogue’ on how to cope with institutional racism,” and averred that an emphasis on the importance of free expression “reads as a typical dog-whistle often used to excuse racist speech and hateful actions.”
Their admission that they are not looking for “dialogue” is a refreshing bit of candor, as leftists/progressives never seek dialogue, only victory and submission. Especially submission.
The First Amendment was/is designed specifically to protect speech that some might find problematic or even “hateful.” There would be no reason to have an amendment to protect speech that was universally agreed upon or beloved. Who gets to decide what is “hate speech?” Nazis? Kim Jong un? Progressives? The NAACP? The John Birch Society? Mike Pence? Nancy Pelosi? Taylor Swift?
Maybe I should decide. Maybe I would have prohibited the heads of the Princeton graduate Student Government from saying what they did. After all, I found it “tone-deaf” and “unacceptable.” Hate speech, really.
Free speech is a dog-whistle used to excuse racism and hateful actions? (And civility and decorum are dog-whistles for white supremacy?) If so, then “tolerance” is just a dog-whistle for perversion, death and anarchy.
Little kids used to frequently say, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It would be nice if today’s progressives were as mature and resilient.

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