Ever think that something is so crazy that it can never actually happen? Or, that when it does happen, it can never be topped?

I used to, but the news proved me wrong so many times I stopped making such presumptions. Today’s bit of OFFS: A University of California, Santa Cruz student group calling itself “College Republicans” (CR) had its meeting disrupted by a group of protestors who decided they needed to shout down the meeting’s attendees. The protestors asserted that the CR group was a “threat” and that it must disperse. The CR group seems to have kept its cool in the face of the protestors’ rage, fortunately.

This incident mirrors others, both on college campuses and elsewhere, where protestors decide that a group’s ideas or mission or motives or words are so “dangerous” that they had to be quashed by disruption. These protestors routinely defend their actions by citing freedom of speech and freedom of assembly protections.

Ponder that for a moment. Ponder the idea that denying another’s right of free speech is itself an exercise of free speech. The attached screen grab says it all. The protest organizer apparently feels that liberty can be denied based on content or ideology i.e. some pigs are more equal than others.

This is the natural result of the emergence of the grievance hierarchy, where your identity or identities, rather than actual validity, are used to validate your complaints, where those below you don’t get the same considerations you demand, and where you don’t get the same consideration as those above you. When your grievances are judged by your race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, etc, rather than on their own merits, it’s inevitable that your rights are going to be subject to the same filters and disqualifiers. The grievance hierarchy translates to a rights hierarchy.

Then there are those who don’t insist that they themselves have the right to be violent, but instead demand the government be violent on their behalf.  Contemplate the attached protest placard, which calls for the banning of bigotry, the registering of racists, the “draining” of deplorables (whatever that means – perhaps leeches?  Vampiric exsanguination?  Green jamba juice high colonics?), and the “tossing” of Trump (how that’s supposed to happen is mostly a mystery).  Alliteration aside, the protestor is demanding things that would be carried out by the government.  The government, by the way, headed by Trump.  That’s its own irony, of course.

We can find a better form of response to “hate speech” in the recent hullaballoo centering on white nationalist Richard Spencer. As the NY Times suggests, shutting the Spencers of our nation down serves more to make them free speech martyrs than anything else, and it’s far more useful to be able to refute and counter their own words. In other words, protect their right to speak, then dismantle and mock the garbage they utter.

Then there’s this brilliant bit of protest combined with marketing and self promotion: a Florida brewery offered free beer to anyone who brought in two tickets for the Spencer speech at the University of Florida. The intent was to create a whole lot of empty seats at the event, without infringing on anyone’s rights. A lovely form of free market counter-protest. Of course, once word got out, the organizers took their own countervailing measures, but that’s how things should work in a free society committed to individual liberty.

Unfortunately, there are too many who feel Spencer should not be permitted to speak. Their insistence that it is within their rights to deny him his rights is a terrible irony, one that’s become all too common across our college campuses and elsewhere.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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