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Can Free Speech be declared Hate Speech and Shutdown?

Getty Images By Tristan Fewings
Getty Images By Tristan Fewings

We all of heard of the liberal college campuses students and administrations attempting to shutdown speech they do not want to hear.

It is happening everywhere it seems these days.

The new tactic of the left is calling speech they disagree with “hate speech”.  The problem is anyone who does not like the words that are spoken from anyone can essentially call it “hate speech” can they not?

The latest example is from once again the University of California Berkley.  All of the anger against the scheduled speech of conservative writer and pundit Ann Coulter was based on the assumption, an assumption made by the liberals on and off the campus, was that her views amount to “hate speech”.  According to some Democrats her words has no justification for being expressed on a college campus.

When people think of Free Speech it is not to protect the speech they would like to hear but the speech they might not like or want to hear.

Last week, former Vermont governor and Presidential candidate Howard Dean declared that “Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment”.

Who determines what speech is hate speech and what is not?  Is that not in the ear of the beholder?

By former Vermont governor and Presidential candidate Howard Dean’s standard all speech can be considered hate speech as long as one deems it to be, thus it is not protected by the First Amendment.

The First Amendment to our Consitution states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

As the First Amendment stated the “Congress shall make no law” it does not refer to the public restricting Free Speech.  So the question is, are college activist and in some cases administrations shutting down “Free Speech” when they disinvite or cancel a speech?

My answer would be they cannot.  These public colleges and universities are funded in large part by our tax dollars, thus making them government entities that are tied to the Consitution.

Should Free Speech be shut down because it offends someone’s emotions?

The New York Times recently published an essay from New York University vice Provost Ulrich Baer. Baer deal not attempt to deal with the Constitutional issue, but went right for the heart strings and attempted to make the issue of banning speech about what speech would make the world a better place.  Once again is that not him or whomever deciding what would make the world a better place.  What if I or some other college administrator decided that speech he does not like would make the world a better place.

That goes back to what I was stating earlier.  The meaning here is that if protected classes in society say that a view offends them then that speech should be shut down.  Which protected class, who decides who the protected classes are and what may or may not offend them.

What people label hate speech has more to do with subverting dissent from the establishment’s orthodoxy or power, not necessarily to protect the “minority” classes.

What many of us know America is the last true stronghold of free speech in the world. What will happen if we allow these college activist, students, administrators and some would call rioters to decide and dictate to us what hate speech is.

God help us all then.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595

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