Sunday, June 07, 2020

The Real Threat To Free Speech

Has always been the Oberlin Student Council.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, given all this, that years of angst about political correctness and speech on campus have culminated in efforts to tether higher education funding to discursive standards set by conservative state legislators and the White House. Similarly it makes both no sense whatsoever and all the sense in the world that a cadre of centrist speech advocates have been less alarmed by a Senator’s call for the deployment of the military against protests than by an editorial debate at the Times over whether it should have been published. Their advocacy has always been guided by a conviction that the truly critical threats to speech are coming from the left. “The censorious left has become more aggressive and promiscuous in its condemnations,” Stephens wrote in February. “No wonder the administration has taken up the banner of free speech: Even a president who called the media the ‘enemy of the people’ has a case to make that his opponents are more hostile to the letter and spirit of the First Amendment than he is.”
To these people the big threat to free speech is someone yelling back at a powerful person with a powerful microphone, operating from an unnecessary platform (they can just tweet it out like the rest of us) in order to obtain the institutional stamp of approval of that platform. Conservatives don't want to go give speeches to college students (for example) so those students CAN HEAR THEIR IDEAS. They go give them to say, "Fuck you, I own this space, too. I am going to shit on your bed and there's nothing you can do about it."

The "free speech" crowd doesn't care anything about protest-as-speech. They oppose it. Those "snowflake college kids" are always just protesting, using their available tiny microphones. The free speech gang just support the symbolic boot on the face, and reject any attempts to lift it.