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Richard

Just read Maia's post. In it she pens the following, and she isn't being sarcastic or funny or ironic either. She is being completely and utterly earnest about it: "Shouting down a speaker isn’t interfering with free speech; it is free speech."

Legal analysis and hen-before-the-egg parsing aside, this kind of thinking is a prescription for chaos (“So what do you have against chaos?," I hear her say?) It is an attitude and sentiment that should soundly disgust and revolt, and yet I was fascinated to see that not a single commenter to her post took issue with it. Hail the standard of progressive political discourse: If I do not like what you are saying, I will shout you down!

The Happy Feminist

Did you read the same comments thread I did? I took issue with it in the comments thread -- not that specific line, but the idea behind it, and so did the majority of the commenters.

The Happy Feminist

And there you go again -- instead of just making your criticism of Maia's post directly, you implicitly criticize the commenters (most of whom did not accept her post uncritically).

The Happy Feminist

My statement in response to the post was:

I agree that of course the First Amendment only protects citizens from governmental interference. However, I believe that the student protesters violated the fundamental values underlying our concept of freedom of speech. I also disagree that their actions constituted freedom of speech. They had no free speech right whatsoever to speak in a private auditorium in which they were not the invited speakers.

Where I disagree most strongly is with the notion that the Minutemen were the more powerful group in this situation. They may be more powerful out in the world or when they are doing their thing on the Mexican border. They were not powerful in that auditorium when they were being shouted down and disrupted (if that’s what happened). If it’s okay to shout people down, then whoever shouts the loudest is the most powerful. Shouting people down means that might makes right. It was in fact that very power dynamic that I found most off-putting about the protest.

But I would recommend bringing your reactions to the post to the comments thread of the post intself.

Chipmunk

I too had a problem with Maia's view of the heckler's veto. Her comment that "shouting down a speaker isn’t interfering with free speech; it is free speech." Actually no, it is not free speech. It is a form of anarchy. Maia ignores the fact that free speech is to allow for an exchange of ideas. Even those that someone may find contemptible. What's especially troublesome about the incident at Columbia University is not that the speech was disrupted. It's the fact that these people were invited to express their views. As a guest of they University, they should have been allowed to voice their opinions. Alternative views could have been voiced in a peaceful protest that did not interfere with the speech, by asking questions and challenging the speaker during a Q&A session, in a talk to follow the speech in order to present an alternative view point, or in other forums. The actions of the protesters are similar to a guest being invited on a radio or tv talk show and then being attacked for their views without even being given the opportunity to express their position. How sad that they picked up on the tools of the right and failed to allow for a free exchange of ideas.

Katherine

Richard, did you even read the comments? Plenty of them took issue with what Maia said in her post. Let me just point out that saying something blatantly untrue like that makes readers of your comments doubt your bona fides.

Richard

>>> Happy wrote: And there you go again -- instead of just making your criticism of Maia's post directly, you implicitly criticize the commenters

You’re going to turn me into a Gentlemen yet if it kills you, aren’t you? How rude.

:)

>>> Katherine wrote: Let me just point out that saying something blatantly untrue like that makes readers of your comments doubt your bona fides.

Okay. I see now that some commenters did take her on for the silly "shouting down is free speech" comment. I was in a hurry and sloppily skimmed it. Sorry.

The Happy Feminist

Hurray!

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