Once again uneducated hooligans used the heckler’s veto to shut down a speech on a college campus. This time, appropriately enough, it was a speech a couple of weeks ago by an ACLU executive about free speech. Students supposedly linked to the so-called Black Lives Matter movement at the College of William & Mary in Virginia chanted, shouted and held up signs for an hour preventing anyone from hearing the speech by Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU’s Virginia chapter.
The students chanted idiotic slogans such as: “ACLU, free speech for who?” “The oppressed are not impressed,” “ACLU, you protect Hitler, too,” “Blood on your hands,” “Shame! Shame! Shame!” and “Your free speech hides beneath white sheets.”
When students later tried to approach the ACLU speaker after it was clear the speech would not be allowed, the protesters yelled louder and prevented even that conversation.
According to Inside Higher Ed, the college out a statement saying, “We do not want any event to be ended early or shut down because someone disagrees with the views of the speaker or is attempting to prevent speech and questions by those attending. We must be a campus that welcomes difficult conversations, honest debate and civil dialogue. We are reviewing our planning and protocols and taking measures to prevent this from happening again” But the college, citing privacy laws, refused to be specific about what, if any, punishment might to handed down.
Among the more hare-brained comments from an alleged leader of the speech protesters was this: “The ACLU and liberals believe that legality determines morality. Not too long ago, the Constitution dictated that black people only counted as three-fifths of a person. The Constitution cannot be your moral compass. In contrast to the ACLU, we want to reaffirm our position of zero tolerance for white supremacy no matter what form it decides to masquerade in.”
In other words, they will not tolerate intolerance, apparently not having a clue that such tactics cut both ways and can be used against them, too. They apparently totally misunderstand the significance of the concept of free speech as a tool to win an argument instead of a war. Dismissing the precepts of the Constitution simply because its drafters had to compromise on slavery is tantamount to refusing to hear or heed anyone but the pure of heart.
The free speech the students are denying is what has allowed the mindset of the country to evolve over the years. They are fighting for civil rights that were won half a century ago. The instances of abuse are now rare, but the children have taken up a self-defeating argument under false assumptions about a handful of incidents. By gawd, they have seen injustice and it is theirs — to make their petty lives meaningful.
A little education about wise words from more than century prior to the Constitution might be in order:
And though all the windes of doctrin were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licencing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falshood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the wors, in a free and open encounter. Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing. … When a man hath bin labouring the hardest labour in the deep mines of knowledge, hath furnisht out his findings in all their equipage, drawn forth his reasons as it were a battell raung’d, scatter’d and defeated all objections in his way, calls out his adversary into the plain, offers him the advantage of wind and sun, if he please; only that he may try the matter by dint of argument, for his opponents then to sculk, to lay ambushments, to keep a narrow bridge of licencing where the challenger should passe, though it be valour anough in souldiership, is but weaknes and cowardice in the wars of Truth. For who knows not that Truth is strong next to the Almighty; she needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licencings to make her victorious … — John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644, a speech for the Liberty of unlicenc’d Printing
Nor vulgar protesters claiming to already grasp the truth.