Freedom of expression is one of those rights we tend to take for granted but rally around when it suits us. We support it as long as we can effectively define what it means with respect to our own sensitivities or heaven forbid personal or political agendas. A shame really. A thought so simple and we go through tortured machinations about what it means or how it’s applied and to whom and when. Maybe I can make it a little clearer for everyone. Just grow the hell up and you’ll have no problem.

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Free with every diploma….

 

You see, freedom of speech or freedom of expression means pretty much what the simple phrase states; you have the right to express yourself and the government cannot restrict your speech. However, we modify or bend the application based on whatever Supreme Court Justice happens to be the “swing” vote and then we get a little more muddled on what it actually means and how it’s applied legally. Then of course, we get the population in general who seems to forget that the first amendment applies only to the federal government. The government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence; be careful there. That means the government gets to decide what “may” cause a breach of the peace. You know, “the government;” that collection of partisan hacks who can be bought and sold for votes and contributions. Sorry, it says nothing about your employers’ right to restrict your speech. Or the markets’ right. Nope, not a thing. Hey kiddies, let’s review;

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.

Also missing is the freedom from being insulted, offended or just genuinely pissed off by someone else exercising their right. Remember, it’s about protecting that speech which we find offensive; no one needs to be protected from esteem affirmations. But the courts are filled with cases of people being harmed in some way by something someone said or implied. Neat. A constantly aggrieved society we are. Someone hurt my feelings by calling me a poopie head; I want them fired. I’m suing because they injured me. I’m now so psychologically damaged, I can’t work anymore. I’m a protected class, you see; they shouldn’t be allowed to call me a poopie head. Or give their opinion. Or state facts. Holy shit, call 1800-waaahh.

Interesting, but when I looked at the Harvard “Black Mass” story, I kinda thought it was amusing. Yup, a lapsed catholic for sure. (Don’t call me one though; it’ll hurt my feelings…) See, I know the history of the “Black Mass” and what it’s all about. Well, maybe not to the nth detail, but I get it. And it doesn’t bother me in the least. I find it offensive, but hey, I don’t have to buy the ticket and there’s no requirement that I show up. Problem solved. I can understand the howls of protest, but methinks they doth protest too much. Really.

Let’s review Harvard’s President Drew Faust’s response to it. Her take is that it’s offensive, it’s disgraceful, it’s inflammatory; yaddi yaddi yadda. In her response, she supports her students’ rights to be all these things;

“Nevertheless, consistent with the University’s commitment to free expression, including expression that may deeply offend us, the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs. At the same time, we will vigorously protect the right of others to respond—and to address offensive expression with expression of their own.”

Well, that’s refreshing. Sort of. If you think I’m going to let her off the hook, well, no. She struck the right position. This time. I’m not quite sure why or how she came to it, but she got it right in my opinion. Now, let’s see what she does going forward. From what I’ve seen from other supposed centers of “Higher learning”, “free and unfettered debate”, I think she’ll probably come to regret this. Now heaven forbid, she’ll need to allow bashing of groups other than the hated Catholic Church. What then? What of all those frail and sensitive grievance groups catered to in the open and free world of education?

I mean come on, she can’t be serious. Does Dartmouth now have to allow Pi Beta Phi to have their Pi Phiesta? Really, they shut down the whole celebration, a charitable fundraiser, because one individual felt slighted by seeing the hated gringo wearing a friggin’ sombrero. Wanna bet this little pissant was drinking green beer on March 17th?

Where does all this “Protected Grievance Class status” get us, really? It certainly divides us more than some old, white, Franco-American guy drinking a Dos Equis in his local “south of the border” burrito joint every May 5th. Want to be offended? Go ahead, be offended. You can certainly find any number of reasons to get your knickers in a twist, even if you have to imagine the slight. Seek the offense and ye shall find it.

So Faust got it right, but I’m not sure why or how. A blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. But it’s not about this one episode; it’s about the overt efforts to silence any type of conservative thought and discussions on campuses around the country that I’m concerned with. I’m not going to whine about the Catholic Church being attacked; I’m sure the good President of Harvard was more than happy to allow her students to ridicule the faith of Catholics and her statement gave her good cover to boot.

However, the left with its pc apparatus fully in place on most college campuses seeks to make sure that anyone with conservative thoughts or ideas that do not support or defend the liberal orthodoxy are silenced, ridiculed, threatened and harassed. Period.

If you’re a conservative woman on campus, you’re not invited to an “inclusive feminist” conference. If you don’t support Palestinians and hate the state of Israel, no matter how Jewish you are, organized campus thugs will make sure to tell you how hated you are by Jews. If you speak out against the religion of peace that mutilated your body and treated you like chattel, you’ll be shunned for publicly speaking about it. Heaven forbid you be a conservative person of color. You can be discriminated against on the basis of your color on campus; you’re not “black” enough. Defense of freedom of speech and thought dies at the feet of many university presidents, even after being sequestered to postage-stamp sized parcels of campus called “First Amendment zones;” whatever the hell those are supposed to mean. Free speech when and where we tell you, if we don’t find it objectionable. And these are the folks who are handing out advanced degrees, often in law or political science. Sweet.

Of course, the right to free speech should and does come with consequences. People get offended; they fight back. Mozzilla CEO Brendan Eich paid the price for expressing his views on same-sex marriage. He got the boot. Don Jones of the Miami Dolphins found Michael Sam’s same-sex smooch a little too much and had to apologize for his “horrible” tweet. Oh, and he was suspended, fined and is headed to a reeducation camp for his insult of the bully-class du jour. I have no problem with either of these outcomes. Private enterprise you see. The Dolphins and Firefox have every right to dictate what they consider proper behavior and yes, thought control over their employees. You get the check, you toe the line. If their punishment irks you, you can always switch to Chrome and watch soccer instead of football. But you can’t whine about it. Every business has the right to mandate that their employees conform to their principles. That’s their right. It’s only if they refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple that the government will step in and punish them out of existence. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

So go ahead, insult away. I’m not afraid of my convictions. Your parody of my faith does nothing to shake my beliefs. But your hypocrisy is blatant; free speech for thee, not for me. Shutting down discourse because you’re afraid of having to defend your own liberal ideals will get you nowhere. Well, except you’ll all be crowed into a tiny little patch of cement in the far corner of some crumbling University, listening to all your cohorts singing the same plaintive wail of inclusion and diversity.

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