Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)
Indiana Daily Student columnist Evan Stahr demonstrated last week that he does not understand the nature of tolerance, much less freedom of speech or academic freedom. As an example, take these three statements from his editorial in the IDS.
- It is up to the community of IU students to keep bigots off campus.
- Every time I see an advertisement for hate, it is taken down or painted over within a day.
- They need to be sent a strong, unmistakable message — you are not welcome here.
The group Stahr wants to force off campus is one that will get no support or sympathy from many (if any) outside that small student group - that student group claims to be a "white nationalist" group and has ties to the Ku Klux Klan. (Yes, those people are still around in 2014, and in Bloomington.) Opposition to this wicked ideology is universal across the political spectrum, from Republicans, Democrats and independents.
But here is the problem: It is not up to would-be vigilantes like Stahr, or even the IU administration, to decide that the "traditional youth" movement or the students who support that movement do not belong on the campus of a public university. As long as the self-described white nationalists are obeying the law and not breaking university rules of conduct, they have every right to be on campus spreading their message, no matter how sinful that message is. Such is the nature of free speech.
Censorship does nothing but elevate the white nationalists and makes the censors look like they do not have the intellectual capacity or emotional stability needed to refute easily refutable arguments. Violence against the white nationalists - which has happened - is even more counterproductive because it is not only immoral and illegal, but it completely discredits the people engaged in it. No one is going to respect your argument or you as a person if your first reaction is censorship, or worse, violence.
But this sort of attitude has implications far beyond some unsavory white nationalists. Extreme Leftists who engage in censorship by mob rule as a matter of normal behavior will not stop once the white nationalists are gone. Instead, they will turn to others. It could be anti-abortion students, Christian students openly advocating Biblical sexual morality, or opponents of affirmative action. This has dangerous implications for free speech, free thought and academic freedom. The university administration needs to step up and say that all views - no matter how abhorrent - are welcome at Indiana University.
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, Dan Hiester said...
The flip side of the "all views should be welcome" argument I think you've forgotten to mention (but I have seen you mention elsewhere) is that sharing one's views is not free of consequence. If someone feels persecuted because of the natural or administrative consequences of the views they express, maybe they should re-think how valuable their views really are in the long run.
If the community keeps removing these hate groups' ads, I suggest that's the marketplace of ideas hard at work.
, Mike Newton said...
"Opposition to this wicked ideology is universal across the political spectrum, from Republicans, Democrats and independents."
Well, hardly. Various Republicans we both could name, including elected officials, still speak fondly of slavery, associate openly with the white supremacist CCC, and post the most obnoxious racist "news" on sites such as WorldNetDaily. Ron Paul has never seriously broken with his Nazi cronies from the 1990s, and Pat Buchanan is beloved by Holocaust deniers. Both the Sons of Confederate Veterans and its ally, the League of the South, are infested with Klan allies and associates, including some in leadership positions. Need I mention once again your buddy Larry Pratt's affinity for Aryan Nations thugs and the neo-Nazi Christian Identity cult, or the racist filth posted about the Obamas online by some of your Tea Party cronies?
, Scott Tibbs said...
There are racists, certainly. But they are a tiny minority - virtually nonexistent in modern American politics.