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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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DOden

Could not have said it better. Universities have adopted Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and know that our children are easy targets for their misleading propaganda. Can you imagine what would happen to the leftist movement if the majority of college graduates started their adult lives as Conservatives? The movement would be non-existent. Protecting the 1st amendment for ALL citizens is an absolute must!

Dean

Pres. Trump, Probably the best president we’ve had since Reagan

Loraine

Finally there will be accountability for these universities to honor the freedoms that our forefathers created this great country on. I thank god for our president who is fighting for American values. The fact that liberals & universities have a problem with the president enforcing “freedom of speech”, justifies why it is the absolute right thing to do.

Frank Schaddelee

What a sad state of affairs…what would the “Greatest Generation” have to say? This is what you get after allowing idiots, and in many cases criminals, to teach American kids for 50-plus years.

VICTORIA T LOWRIE

Money talks and the removal of it talks LOUDEST.

PaulE

Of course free speech matters. The left has been using political correctness to effectively stifle any speech or views other than their own for quite some time now. This is NOT something new of something that cropped up under Obama. The left has essentially created islands of restrictive speech and thought at almost every college and university in the country. That the American people have stood by silently while this was all carried out is the real shame in all this. I am happy that President Trump is trying to at least lessen the total control the left has over speech and views at our nation’s colleges and universities, but the American people need to push back harder themselves. The idea that so many parents willingly send their children off to be indoctrinated, not in centers of higher earning, but increasingly centers that exist only to preach the values of… Read more »

Rick

Free speech is disappearing at an alarming rate. Speech, is only free, if you tow the PC/ leftist line of thought.
Decent will not be tolerated. These are the same people who call conservatives “fascists”. I think it’s time for
the “fascists” to tell these self appointed speech monitors what they really are…..Censors. They also need to
understand there are no censors allowed. If you don’t like what’s said…. tough… I have the right to say it … you
have the right to walk away or disagree…You don’t have the right to censor or infringe on my right to say it.
If you censor or infringe on my rights…. then we’re going to fight.

Stephen Russell

Fix it colleges , Univs OR lose funding.IE grants 2.
FIX IT NOW.
Tired of being kicked by sh** for brains professors, elitists, admin & Antifa.
Make= or shut down campus on Free Speech.
Hell Yeah Chap 13 the UC CSU CA system awesome
Make changes or Lose.

Phyllis Armeli

Boy, in reading this, the words “George Orwell would be so proud”, I thought “how true, how true”. I read 1984 many years ago, never in my
wildest thoughts thinking it would ever come to pass — “newspeak”, “newthink”. How innocent I was. Our country has turned away from righteousness
and if you espouse words or thoughts that are opposite the sadly growing progressive liberal views, you are castigated — both verbally and physically.
Yes, we do need laws that protect speech (especially conservative). Things have gotten out of hand. We have to do something about it!

Brad Krones

The author is not exaggerating about the assault that is currently ravaging the country’s universities. It is that bad. It is no coincidence that V. I. Lenin’s first act on the very day that he assumed power in Russia was to ban free speech. The leftists who are in charge of America’s education system, being the intellectual progeny of Lenin, understand what is needed to win.

Bob Nielsen

It is a shame that we find in the “human condition” a plethora of greed and lust for unrighteous dominion over others. In a pure society of “socialism”, each enjoys the fulfillment of needs, care, and consideration of others. There is a shared harmony of peaceful coexistence. Unfortunately, we as a society of peoples across this globe suffer from the ailment of lust and greed. A utopia at this stage of our development is not possible because no matter how hard we may try, we find among us the occasional peoples who wish not to quell this desire found within us. The article read was excellent in the portrayal of that which infests our society today. Although “man” is not perfect, that which our nation has been established upon, our very Constitution, has proved to be the best we have been able to create to date which makes a society… Read more »

Diane Puchyr

I totally agree, but I think he should also not allow the taking down of statues. Even if these statues represent past injustice, they are part of our history!

Bill TX3

Socialists (Democrats) plunder not only property of others but their speaking rights. Trump is the last of the protectors of the Constitution and the ideals which made our country great. He is taking action. Stop relying on others to protect your rights. What specifically have you done to show what you believe in?

Joyce

Unfortunately this started as far back as Viet Nam. When a high ranking member of the Weathermen becomes a university professor instead of going to prison our society is seriously off kilter. Those people were terrorists of the 1st order. It will take dec ages to help our young people understand what a free society is if we are ever able to do so. This is sad and may forever destroy our country as we have known it.

Gino

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

Barbara

This country was founded number one on freedom of speech, men and woman have fought and died to give this right to all Americans. If the radicals, socialists, democrats don’t like it they need to leave this country and go somewhere where they don’t have any rights! These people are idiots!

R.S. Helms

Posted this to my blog “Bob’s Opinion” … rshelms.wordpress.com well written , timely and on point. Charles, sees the hope that our education system now has a hope to change from a socialist training camps.

Doris

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.

Harry L. Burley Sr.

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.

Linda Zerangue

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.