Free Speech Absolutists Step Up

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Some progressive pedagogues actually believe free speech is for me and thee. “Campaigns led by these students to silence and to exclude from their campuses speakers whose views they find offensive and odious has triggered a serious politicization of the principle of free speech, with ‘progressive’ and minority students tending to condemn freedom of speech, and political conservatives suddenly waving the flag of free expression,” Jeffrey Herbst and Geoffrey Stone write in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “This politicization of a fundamental right would be bad enough if it were to stay on campuses, but, as Evergreen State demonstrates, controversies at higher-education institutions are driving the polarization of free speech nationwide.”

“It also poses a special danger to the interests of those very same minority students because, in the long run, it is they who most need the vibrant protection of freedom of speech as an essential and powerful weapon in our continuing struggle for equality.” Herbst is a former president of Colgate University. Stone is a law professor at the University of Chicago.