Letter: What is to be done about this state of affairs regarding suppression of free speech?
Anric Blatt submitted a letter (“Vail Daily columnist should stop the Trump-bashing,” Wednesday, Jan. 24) criticizing the Vail Daily for carrying a Richard Carnes column (“Pity the poor ‘Shoe Hilt’ nations,” Tuesday, Jan. 16) that criticized Donald Trump. He said: “ There is nothing but downside in publishing articles such as that …”
Of course, Carnes can be counted on to purvey the liberal line; but as long as both sides are carried in the Daily, that’s okay. The better remedy is a letter like that of Robert J. Graff (“Carnes not truly seeking answers,” Friday, Jan. 26), which itemized some of Carnes’ errors.
Just because the Left is guilty of suppressing the free expression of ideas, it doesn’t justify reacting in kind. And there is plenty of such suppression by the Left these days.
How many conservative or libertarian speakers have been prevented from presenting their views to a willing audience? The most dramatic example was at UC Berkeley, where Milo Yianopolos had to withdraw from an engagement because of violent protests. You remember the pictures of the parking barriers being shoved through the windows, and so on.
Who are these demonstrators? Who organizes them, arranges for their transportation and other logistics? I am not aware of the mainstream press checking into these questions. I understand only one of them was arrested because authorities feared more violence if they cracked down. Can we agree that the demonstrators came from the Left?
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There have been similar incidents of free speech being thwarted for Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro and Charles Murray. The excuse given is that they are fascist, racist, hate mongers, etc. Who decides that these speakers are so extreme that they may not be heard? Whoever it is, they are from the Left, aren’t they?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein offered a justification for inaction against these mobs at public universities, saying they lacked the facilities to deal with masked, violent demonstrators. I disagree. It is the duty of the state to protect free speech and suppress violence.
There are subtler forms of speech suppression. The list of forbidden words and phrases grows, in the name of sensitivity and correctness. Terms that are objectively neutral are frowned upon because some group or other is “offended.” Again, this comes from the Left.
And then there are our educational institutions. The Left’s views prevail, with little or no offering of different points of view. For example, climate change (formerly known as global warming) — is there a fair presentation of both sides of this contentious issue?
Then there are the Left’s speech excesses. In the ’60s, with all the demonstrations going on, Vice President Hubert Humphrey observed that the right of free speech does not include the right to be taken seriously. I’ll go further. The right of free speech does not include the right to force others to listen, against their will. It does not include the right of violent behavior as a form of expression.
This includes protesters who occupy private and public places, like those who invade a college president’s office, like Occupy Wall Street obstructing others in public areas. A recent example of this happened to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. When he caved on the DACA issue, demonstrators showed up at his residence at night, shouting that if they couldn’t dream, he couldn’t sleep.
What is to be done about this state of affairs?