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Where Free Speech Ends, Ignorance Begins


Where Free Speech Ends, Ignorance Begins

Michael Winship

At the risk of sounding like a geezer complaining about “these kids today,” back in my college days, when it came to points of view we were unhesitatingly exposed to literature, teachers and on-campus speakers covering the ideological waterfront.

In one instance, the student body was addressed by civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory, radical Irish activist Bernadette Devlin and the conservative writer and critic Russell Kirk — all in the course of a week or so.


Civil order is always fragile and civil unrest is always just below the surface. With Trump relentless in breaking that order, Professor Stanger will not be the last innocent caught in the chaos he has called up. Students of liberal arts might want to re-read Antony's funeral oration in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!"


That was a bad scene at Middlebury College. Violence related to controversial right wing speakers also recently occurred at Berkeley and the University of Washington. None of this violence should be condoned. Universities should be places where controversial ideas can be debated without fear of people being injured. Students need to learn how to tolerate views they disagree with. This is essential to democracy. For democracy to thrive universities must remain places where all views can be expressed without student reacting violently.


So I guess that the oh-so-open minded rich-man liberal Winslip would have also allowed Hitler to speak at Middlebury college too.

If you wasn't to see why the liberal-run left loses, and loses, and loses, this is it. One does not welcome someone who intends to crush you.


Personally, I recommend reading Howard Zinn's The People's History of the United States instead of the tripe from this liberal. As Zinn well documents, freedom always has, does, and always will come through violent struggle.


I would hope nobody on a campus would invite someone like that but free speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment. So if someone like that is invited to speak they should be allowed to speak. Whatever they say can then be criticized. Murray's views could have been criticized if they had let him speak. One important purpose of the university is the exchange of ideas in a civil forum. That is what needs to be protected.


The freedom is in the powerful person controlling the propagation of speech, not the speaker. One is always free to say what one wants by among a few trusted friends in a soundproof room. Thus, while vile people like Murray of Kissinger seem to always get invitations from the wealthy leadership to speak at universities, we almost never see universities inviting people like Beradette Devlin, Leila Khaled, or even Noam Chomsky.


Oh please, I never thought you were so intolerant and would speak so harshly about a fellow progressive liberal. United we stand, divided we fall.


One thing that needs to be made clear is that not all speech is free speech. Targeting an individual for attacks is not free speech. Some of the alt-right people have been doing that but it is not protected under the Constitution. However, if someone wants to make the argument that white people are genetically superior they should be allowed to speak. People then offer counter arguments to show that that view is not scientifically valid. It doesn't matter whether people inviting speakers are wealthy or poor. The issues are the right to free speech and the role of the university.


Murray's current topic is very relevant, even if he has been a eugenissist in the past.
It is about the class system in America, and the new creme de la creme that has emerged from the forty years of neo liberal economics.

There might have been some benefit to listening to him, and calling him an ass when the chance arose.
There some truth to what you say about the overly comfortable journalist in his Ivory tower library.

I have learned that when the content is too familiar and nothing jumps out as bothersome, I am not confronting something that is familiar but need to. I still can't find this thing in most of Winship's writing, but somehow, it is always immediately apparent in his often co author's and former PBS host, Bill Moyer's work.

I would have to favor on the side of free speech over giving a voice to a fascist.


Professional Spectator Sports inculcate the masses to accept the Duopoly, rather than Recognize it.


And what about if someone advocates doing away with capitalism and replacing it with worker-run councils? Or someone who advocates ending the Palestinian occupation by imposing economic sanctions on Israel. Because they never get a chance to speak at the universities at all! In the latter case, students can be expelled for advocating BDS. So should you really expect the new-student-left at places like even the elite Middlebury College to be open-minded about the free speech of fascists like Murray when they are never given free speech themselves?


I am not a "progressive" nor a "liberal". I am a international socialist - specifically an anarcho-syndicalist. This forum used to have lots of socialists and not so many "liberals". Where have all the socialists gone?


I don't spend 10% of the time in here as I did just one month ago. I've thrown in the towel concerning liberals. What's coming is theirs to own and live with the best they can. I feel no empathy or sympathy.

I saw this coming years ago. That's why I moved out of the U.S. The pseudo-left (liberals and/or progressives) have no will or plan - beyond bitching in various forms - to right the wrongs. The liberals are all bark with no bite and Trump and Company know it!


I like the line where he says...."...a fever of know-nothing intolerance afflicting the nation." The best example of this truth can be seen at any pro-Trump rally!


This brings to mind an incidence in France where Noam Chomsky spoke up about a French Professors right to speak about the holocaust, and denying it-
Chomsky was merely making the point that this guy had the right to speak his opinion, and was drown out while speaking, both in the University and at a public forum-
His only point was that this guy had the right of free speech-
Chomsky even stated that for himself, to deny that the holocaust took place, would be the equivalence of losing his humanity-
I believe that there is now a law in France that makes it illegal to publicly deny that the holocaust took place....


They should also have to write 100 times Voltaire's quotation, "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."


Did you learn your grammar in college?


I wouldn't have any problem with having speakers on campus with those views. As far as I know universities do not ban speakers based on their views. If you have some specific instance that Middlebury banned someone from speaking because of their views I would like to hear about it. I have not read about any such instance in what I have read about the MIddlebury incident.


You got that right. Raving crazies yelling "Lock her up." If you don't like what the opposition is saying put them jail. The US could become the next Turkey if the Trump know-nothings get their way.