Opinion / Politics

Free Speech Matters – President Trump is Right

free speech

This week, President Trump announced plans for an executive order supporting free speech on college campuses nationwide. His action responds to growing suppression of conservative voices across “the academy” going back a decade. 

Colleges not honoring First Amendment rights will face denial of federal grants.  Liberals are up in arms, as are universities.  Arguments lofted against the President are as diverse as the dialogue on campus is chilled, self-censored, and vacuous.   

Some argue campuses are plenty diverse, others that the First Amendment needs no executive champion. Some argue the President has no right to arbitrate, while others claim this will open the door to conservative ideas.

So, what are the facts?  Scary.  Nationwide, colleges are adopting “speech codes,” banning words subject to “misuse,” banning speakers who require more security (since schools teach intolerance of tradition and tolerate violence against conservatives), banning religious groups that disagree with progressive orthodoxy, berating academics and students who support Second Amendment rights and gun ownership, who question federal overreach, socialism, climate-hysteria, drug legalization, and leftist demagoguery. 

Support for traditional American values – like unencumbered freedom to praise or criticize authority, hold religious views consonant with conscience and Biblical text, support law enforcement and military action, honor the American flag and anthem, oppose killing of unborn and just-born babies, and protect the integrity of citizenship, territorial sovereignty, drug-free communities – is anathema.  Not to be tolerated.

Tools deployed against students include kicking individuals and groups off campus, failing to protect students and conservative speakers from physical violence, withholding grades, advancement and social positions, as well as a plethora of social control techniques, from ostracizing and intimidating traditionalists to promoting “normalization” of leftist ideologies, norming illicit drug use, promoting racial resentment (e.g. “white privilege”), condemning patriotism, law enforcement, and traditional support for rule of law. 

Conservatives are progressively recast as “outliers,” young Americans reeducated to “understand” that the work, sacrifice and freedom that brought our country to this point are not worth studying or admiring, rather should be condemned, disowned, and rewritten.  Sound familiar?  Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – as well as fascists – all subscribed to this idea.  

The boldly stated justification for censorship, a pro-suppression agenda?  According to speech policies, we must “protect the vulnerable,” “promote social justice,” and “assure diversity.” 

George Orwell would be so proud.  He predicted this development with clarity, care and granularity 35 years too early – in 1984.   Ray Bradbury predicted it too, his book-burning in Fahrenheit 451.   Arguably, one of the most thorough, articulate thinkers of our time, Russell Kirk, laid out the stakes in The Conservative Mind, published in 1953, updated in 1985. 

So, President Trump is right – we live in times that demand a defense of free speech, especially on college campuses.  But take the rejoinder apart. 

Liberals say they want more “diversity.” But what do they mean?  Diversity is no longer about greater idea inclusion, broader academic dialogue, more openness to intellectual, moral, and social difference. Diversity is not about expanding viewpoints, understanding truth, or inviting variety into the public square – more robust debate, discussion, advancement, idea dismissal or thoughtful integration. 

Diversity is no longer about seeking truth at all – although this remains the primary venture on which we should hope to enter, especially on a campus. Now, the term is constricted – by an unspoken code.  Today, it does not mean inviting different views to advance moral understanding, science or social unity, entertaining diverse viewpoints for general edification, but the reverse. 

Today it means, using race, demography, politics and group markers as surrogates for diverse thought.  It means settling old scores, resurrecting and preserving divisions – some of which were laboriously closed over generations – to advance the division of America.  Is that not odd, and profoundly sad?  

Diverse opinions are now quashed in the name of diversity, while physical characteristics are used to differentiate groups and advance a divided society, reelecting politicians who promote divisions and groupthink, while saying they are all for unity. 

So, campuses less and less promote truth, unity and genuine diversity – instead perpetuating divisions under the rubric of diversity.  Let’s be clear:  Speech and people are not made freer by suppression of speech and people.

As for the idea that speech needs no executive champion, a president has no right to arbitrate, and conservative ideas are dangerous?  Free speech needs no champion so long as constitutional rights are honored.  But when they are dishonored – and students are censored on our campuses – speech needs a champion.

The President, Congress and Article III Courts are not arbiters of free speech, except when free speech is chided, chilled and killed by violence, intimidation and misuse – and by accusing those who use words to communicate ideas of “misuse.”  Then, free speech needs defenders.  

Conservative thought dangerous?  Hardly.  Promotion of immediate violence of any kind and for any reason, short of self-defense or defense of another, against any American – or anyone on our soil – is forbidden, and does not count as free speech.  That is a conservative principle, tied to another one – rule of law. 

So, if you think this column is dangerous – if you think ideas like free and open exchange, use of words that may be offensive, direct, candid, insulting and strongly held; if you think advancing un-chilled speech – some hot enough to spur argument; and if you think rule of law to support open talk is dangerous, then – well, go back and read your American history. 

You may be surprised.  Free speech is about the human conscience, intellect, emotions and spirit – gaining a voice.  That is what our Founders fought for, died for and left to us.  Our job is to speak freely in defense of that sacred right.  That is what President Trump is doing.  And that is why he is right.

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2 years ago

a sad state of affairs, when the President keeps winning and no media other than Fox news even talks about it, why are people listening to the other networks, because of them, nbc msnbc cnn abc and others, talk about empeachment and other negative things, where do they get there marching orders, why don’t they say something positive on occasion, never, it would strenthen the health of this nation, it cant be negative all the time.

2 years ago

Wow, aren’t we proud of the demoncrats, all they have done for the country in 3 years, now they are promising more free stuff, i thought we got away from that when nobama left the white house, i guess with all the illegals and those who want free stuff, thats how they will continue to build there party, they sure cant do it by improving the country, unlike Trump, he wants to earn the vote by doing good things for America, the demorats are just the opposite, those who follow that party must be proud, what can we say bad about this administration, not cover what has been done for america, i am sick of it.

2 years ago
Reply to  don

sorry, i miss spelled a couple words, Demon-crats and Demo-rats, i meant DEMOCRATS

2 years ago

And Gov Cuomo of NY is trying to take away free speech rights by threatening various financial institutions and insurance companies with some type of penalty if they deal with the NRA, an organization that expresses what many people think – it’s a matter of free speech through proxy. That’s what I just read today. Sounds like something NY government would do….

Kathy Thompson
2 years ago

It’s very scarry to think of my 18 yr old grandson going off to college this year. Not because of what could happen to him physically, but because of what his professors may shove down his throat. There are so many antiamerican liberals “teaching” on campuses these days, you just hope and pray he can hold his own against them. He has already come up against this in High school! He says he just doesn’t say anything though he thinks they are wrong.
I’m all for Pres. Trump’s idea of holding back federal funds for universities that refuse to give conservative views equal footing on their campuses. It’s high time we started fighting back. I’m also a veteran and I didn’t serve my country to allow these socialist/communist ideas to get a foothold. I believe in the Constitution and swore to protect it then and have sworn to continue to protect it now.

2 years ago

Excellent discussion. We will lose our country if we don’t speak out in defense of the Constitution. We need President Trump more than ever, he is not afraid to take on a clear and present danger and the spineless Never Trumpers should start giving credit to this Godsent leader for our times
Let the liberal insults and racist accusations end on dead ears. Truth will overcome

Keith Mc
2 years ago

Just part of the liberals & left wingers plan to kill off America from the inside out……

Thomas F Hurd
2 years ago

It starts way before college. Our children are being taught this garbage in elementary school. We, as Americans, have to be more outspoken and clean up this horrible agenda that is taking over our country.

2 years ago

Thank you and God Bless and Protect you, President Trump. You are the best president America has had in many many years. ??

JJ Johnson-Smith
2 years ago

Sadly, Free Speech DOES need a Champion and Arbiter, especially since it is the FIRST, Constitutional Right of a free people. Liberals want protections for LGBTQ issues, illegal immigrants, mothers who wish to murder their unborn or newly-born babies, the emotions of snowflakes, assaults on ALL rights that they don’t like,suppression of faith, etc.,etc. Yet they do NOT think the Bill of Rights should be defended? Guess what Snowflakes, it’s going to be defended, now and always, even if I have to do it alone! Want to help? Go to Facebook: Rapid Response Teams of NY. Start YOUR County Team asap!

2 years ago

I fully support Trump….I can’t believe the thick skin this man has. Most people would have caved and crumbled in his position by now. I pray God protects him and gives him strength to lead us through all this craziness!

julienne johnson
2 years ago

Thank you – I agree!

American Believer
2 years ago

Sorry, we lost the college campuses a generation ago. The only way to gain them back is to put education back in the hands of the state and start afresh with elementary school. Academia has become addicted to Federal funding, and Congress has become Pontius Pilate.
God bless the charter school and church sponsored private school.

2 years ago

The only way to stop this is ‘hurts’! How is it that the leftist scum get to destroy this country while we just watch. It would be better to step up before shooting starts. When that starts the psys won’t have a chance! It would be a good idea to stop liberal educators.

Harry L. Burley Sr.
2 years ago

Amen and Thank you President Trump. It’s obvious in this Amac writing that College Campuses need to be protected from Liberals who are against free speech and anti Christian ideas and a lot more, the sooner the better. It’s unfortunate that it has come down to this but I have watched this coming for years, and the time is now.

David Burkett
2 years ago

It’s about time!

Stephen McLean
2 years ago

What is most disturbing is that there is a need for an Executive Order to counter academic resistance to constitutional freedom. However, the commentary speaks truth about this very real situation that has grown out of hand.

2 years ago

We must support the president especially with the upcoming impeachment process the liberals are planning

2 years ago

I hope the Education Department will start looking into what is being taught in the elementary and high schools by some of the teachers. I have a 7th grader who has a teacher teaching her students radical ideas and the conservative students are afraid to speak up for fear of getting a bad mark.

2 years ago
Reply to  Doris

hi Doris,

So why don’t you and the other conservative parents band together and make a real stink about that teacher? Raise public awareness of the situation. Bring pressure to bear to change the situation. Waiting for the Department of Education in Washington, which has always been dominated by Progressives (Socialists) since its creation, to “do something about it” or simply sitting home in silence is NOT going to change the situation. Stop waiting for “someone else” to do something or living in fear of being called names by the liberals in your community! Nothing will improve as long as sane and rational people do nothing.

Ivan Berry
2 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

No kidding, PaulE. That’s how we got to this point–inaction. Whining about it never works. It takes action, real action, of which seems in short supply.

Linda Zerangue
2 years ago

Well said! The uneducated are easy targets and easy to convince by those who desire to destroy the USA by condemning the tenants of the Constitution and would suggest violence and not civil debate as acceptable.

Todd Taylor
2 years ago

YES! We all need to be heard.

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