Freedom of speech does not entitle one to a platform

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Freedom of speech does not entitle one to a platform

I'm a very strong advocate of free speech and have spent time working with (and donating to) organizations that support freedom of speech. However, there is a big difference between your right to speech and your right to a platform. No one thinks that freedom of speech gives you a right to be published in a newspaper or magazine or book right? No one thinks it gives them a right to demand a tv show? I will also say that we are very well aware at this point of the viral power ideas have and how quickly they can spread. How quickly misinformation spreads. In this country (USA), we DO have laws that restrict your ability to spread lies and that restrict your ability to incite violence. Ideas have actually incited people to violent action. I'll ask this - do you think it's illegal for the CIA and NSA to take actions which limit the viewership of videos and websites that incite people to Jihad? Do you think it's right of them to work on stopping radicalization of Muslims? If you think that, then I don't know how you can make a distinction between radicalizing people against Christians v. radicalizing them against minorities.

The idea that we must give slanderous ideas about race and gender - things that are clearly falsehoods and meant to malign some stage to avoid censorship doesn't make sense to me. A number of commentators were outraged that Milo Yiannopoulos was not able to speak, and claimed that free speech was under attack at Berkeley. But the vast majority of the demonstrators were also merely exercising their free speech rights. Thus, the campus efforts were consistent with free speech principles. There are plenty of people who get no stage at all - and that's the way it should be. It's one thing to invite people with different opinions about policy, it's a totally different thing to invite someone whose opinion is that ethnic cleansing is a fine activity. That's not a guy you' should discuss "a difference of opinion" with any more than we negotiate with terrorists. That's a guy that should be loudly condemned, no further discussion necessary. There are things about which we cannot afford to equivocate. There are things we cannot afford to allow people to be poisoned with. We already know the answers here. We already know what happens when we let these people run loose and untempered. We fought an entire world war because we didn't squelch this evil in its infancy. We should not allow these ideas to spread to the point that we find ourselves once again in a position where we must use violence to defend these people's victims. And there will surely be victims. In fact, there already are. The alt-right as a whole supports ethnic cleansing. One of its main leaders, Richard Spencer, wrote about it explicitly. Milo has written about eugenics a few times.

I think a public university has no business inviting someone who openly believes that women and muslims and other minorities should have no rights and are less than white men. Just full stop. That's not free speech, it's harassment and has no place in a public university that's supposed to be welcoming and educating all. And I think there's nothing wrong with students protesting a university decision to bring someone on campus who thinks that half the student body doesn't deserve to breathe.

All I'm saying is that not everyone deserves a platform. And there SHOULD be strong pushback against people who just undoubtedly do not represent the values of the university or even of this country. It would be a really really insane world if the universities started inviting Jihadist Mullahs and the IRA and Al-qeada intellectuals and whoever else and we didn't say anything. If we thought all that was just fine. Having a guy rant for an hour about all the people he thinks aren't human is not "education." Propaganda is propaganda. Education is when you can present some idea or person and allow people to examine that person critically. Could a class be asked to watch him on youtube and then write about it? Yes. Could they read him and rebuttals of him? Yes. But this was not an invitation to be critical. It was an invitation to buy into his shit to a group of Republicans who wanted to spread his shit around even further. He's already spouting his shit everywhere. You need not invite him to hear him. And you need not invite him to educate and be critical.

When people were talking about women's rights, no one had ever tried to give women rights before. But we've already tried letting people run around being nazis and fascists. It didn't end well. And I don't think you can say today that these matters are controversial or undecided. The vast vast majority of Americans would tell you that eugenics, ethnic cleansing, are evil. It's not an open question.

I'm really not worried about drawing lines. Universities aren't obligated to host anyone. His free speech rights aren't trampled if a university doesn't invite him anymore than my rights are trampled if the president doesn't give me a personal audience. You have a right to speak, not a right to a platform. And people have a right not to listen.