Fresh off our First Amendment victory in Berkeley, California’s Trump supporters and conservatives around the country rallied to hear President Trump’s 100 Days Celebration Speech.
You know what? He’s doing a great job.
Of course, there are critics. One libertarian-leaning millennial friend of me complained about how Trump spends so much time gloating over accomplishments. My retort? His accomplishments are mine—are our victories. Second, people can pound their chests when they have done great things—Michael Jordan could trash-talk the best on the court because he ended up besting them. Finally, I quipped: “If you don’t like, don’t listen. First Amendment, Baby!”
And about the First Amendment ... Berkeley was a smash-hit success for this sacred right But why? A bunch of conservatives stood their ground in a liberal city. OK, but more importantly, we reasserted that every inch of America is safe space for free speech. Over this past weekend, two insights have re-emerged about these ongoing assaults on free speech.
The first one I had first learned from Ben Shapiro at the University of Redlands. Before his speech, one of the many overpaid campus vice-chancellors announced to the sold-out audience that the university maintained its dedication to diversity, inclusion, and tolerance while opposing the bugaboos of homophobia, xenophobia, and any other fill-in-the-blank phobias. How about ailurophobia for the cat-haters?
Following the disclaimers, conservative wonks enjoyed listening to Benji slaughter the secular leftist sacred cows. The most telling, memorable phrase from his whole talk? “America is a safe space.” Indeed. Safety defined as the right and opportunity to speak one’s mind and pursue happiness free from arbitrary sanctions or suppression. Liberty is not a magic word to justify invidious discrimination, but a state of being absent the opposing confines of government force and fiat. If you don’t like what you hear, you are free not to listen. You are not entitled, however, to shut down someone else’s exercise of liberty, whether in speech, the press, individual conscience, etc. America is indeed a safe space, you liberal pussy-hat wearing snowflakes. In third-world, communist countries, you are forced to listen to the party line’s dogma and dreck—or you go to gulag.
The second insight deals with the whole “hate speech” canard. Freedom of speech does include a license to hate. I hate illegal immigration. Does that make it hate speech? I guess, in that general sense that liberals love to jump into to justify their own hate speech, including “Keep your hate speech off this campus!” or “Hang Trump!” The second hateful remark came from a German professor at Fresno State University two months ago. His classes were canceled, but not because of the content of the courses, mind you. His tweet was more than hate, but a vicious threat to kill the President. Besides, his inconsiderate rhetoric reflected poorly on the university—not that they don’t already look bad to the thinking, reasoning world.
Free speech does not justify shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. But that scenario is not about speech. The prohibitions comes from the imminent danger based on the statement.
Ann Coulter added further depth to this insight. Despite her Berkeley no-show fail, I still respect her keen mind and strong consistency to root out bigger issues underlying debates which can turn mundane.
This Sunday on ABC’s This Week with George Step-on-All-Of-Us, Jonathan Karl rolled out the expected Berkeley-First Amendment wrestling match, this time with Ann Coulter and Robert Reich discussing free speech and its many discontents. Strangely enough, Coulter’s most supporters included Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Robert Reich (even though Reich blocked me on Twitter two months ago!). With Karl moderating, Coulter dismissed the surface-level hustle over freedom of speech. It’s a given from professors left and right that diverse intellects should exercise their right to express their views.
Coulter plumbed the deeper vein of the problem when she slammed the “hate speech” brand seared onto her proposed speech about illegal immigration. Discussion of public policy is not hate speech in the slightest, she indicated, but the necessary engine for good governance in our republic.
And there’s one more thing about this free speech/hate speech brouhaha: this term “hate speech” has grown so broad as to be meaningless. Ha Ha Ha!
“Illegal aliens commit crimes.” Racist!
“Women and men exhibit fundamental biological differences.” Backward chauvinist pig!
“Homosexuality is not an innate trait.” Homophobic bigot!
Yet scientific research underscores these talking points.
Why? Tagging any statement as “hateful” is subjective, lacking clear standards. Wikipedia (not Wikileaks, which was hate speech to corrupt Democrats) defines It’s not hate speech as much as hateful hearing hate speech as “speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin” etc. The offense lies with the hearer, not the speaker. From George Carlin’s monologues or Don Rickles’ ribbings, everyone bursts out laughing at the sharp, explicitly anti-PC retorts. Only the smug, razor-blade Antifa snowflakes want to slash their lungs out because they have predetermined such jibes as hateful.
Now let’s go one step further. In the end, it’s a power struggle, fomented in the minds of the hateful hearers. Leftist organizations smear un-leftist rhetoric as “hate speech” in order to shut down the opposition and remove all challenges. Analyzing the high illegitimacy rates in black communities or criticizing Islam becomes “hate speech”, even though the welfare and safety of our country depend on having these discussions. The “hate speech” controversy definitely explains why Middlebury College snowflakes shut down Charles Murray earlier this month.
Once a brilliant tactic, this Alinskyite shaming and threatening is now failing. The police are protecting conservatives so that violence won’t silence. The problem is now exposed as hateful hearing, not hate speech. So I say: “Suck it up buttercups, free speech is here to stay, whether you hate it or not, and we Americans will safely speak our minds.”