“For the past few years, “free speech” has become a shortcut for shifting the frame of argument away from the content of bigoted speech itself and toward broader discussions of the value of free expression—a value we all share. The strategic advantage is obvious: It’s much easier to defend the right to bigotry with grandiose statements about freedom of expression than it is to defend the substance of what speakers have to say.

Thus, when a campus is embroiled in protests (speech) over bigotry or disinvited speakers, the real censorship happens by ripping the debate away from the substance of marginalized students’ concerns and focusing instead on “free speech”—that is, on the sensitivities of those who would rather not have to think about their capacity to hurt or offend. But an intellectually honest free-speech advocate wouldn’t cry censorship; they’d instead address the substance of the speech being censored or marginalized, and argue for why that speech deserves to be heard on a college campus in the first place.

However, that’s the kind of open debate that Bloomberg and Koch don’t want to have, because that would mean forcing them to defend bigoted speech on its own merits.”

The above passage comes from a an article written by Aaron Hanlon for the New Republic. The more recent follow-up articles (here and here) are also pretty fantastic. I share these articles  by Hanlon anytime conservative libertarian types wine about their parochial ideas not being valued.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *