Cal Berkeley & Another Loss for Free Speech

I’m disappointed that Ann Coulter’s speech is now canceled at Cal Berkeley. I’m not a fan of Coulter, but I’m a fan of the 1st Amendment, and this trend in our country where anti-freedom thugs are allowed to threaten or cause violence to shut down conservative speakers on college campuses is a black mark for our country. I would write the same post if liberal speakers were being shut down. All those who believe in true freedom from left to right must band together and fight to fully protect free speech in our nation. There is only one way to defeat speech you disagree with in a free society and that is to offer better and more thoughtful speech in rebuttal.

Here’s a thoughtful post on free speech at colleges from ACLU:

We All Need to Defend Speech We Hate

Jim Maisano

(Jim serves as a Westchester County Legislator in New York)

Shout-out to Bernie Sanders!

We applaud Senator Bernie Sanders for supporting free speech. He said the following in The Huffington Post about the Ann Coulter speaking at Berkeley fiasco:

“I don’t like this. I don’t like it,” Sanders told The Huffington Post after speaking at a rally . . .  “Obviously Ann Coulter’s outrageous ― to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation.” . . .

“To me, it’s a sign of intellectual weakness,” he said. “If you can’t ask Ann Coulter in a polite way questions which expose the weakness of her arguments, if all you can do is boo, or shut her down, or prevent her from coming, what does that tell the world?”

“What are you afraid of ― her ideas? Ask her the hard questions,” he concluded. “Confront her intellectually. Booing people down, or intimidating people, or shutting down events, I don’t think that that works in any way.”

We all need to stand up for free speech on college campuses. We must demand that all universities, especially public universities, truly embrace diversity of thought and academic freedom. If students believe their views are correct and other views are wrong, they need to test their views in the marketplace of ideas. The growing totalitarianism of thought on college campuses is a black mark for our country and must be confronted by all Americans that believe in freedom from the left to the right.

Thanks Bernie Sanders for supporting free speech!

Jim Maisano

(Jim serves as a Westchester County Legislator in New York)