Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Battle for Free Speech at Vanderbilt University

Kenny Tan
As a Vanderbilt freshman last fall, I was excited about the university’s vision of “intellectual freedom that supports open inquiry.” This year’s freshmen, however, face conflicting forces that will either threaten or vindicate this vision of liberty, showing students what Vanderbilt is really all about.

Vanderbilt’s official blog for first-year students, Common Place, includes a “Free Speech Zone” feature where speech, for now, is not actually free. This feature is an online forum in which students, faculty and staff may post their views. Yet one of the forum rules is “No hate speech.” (link)

Kenny Tan is a rising sophomore at Vanderbilt, where he serves as president of the campus Young Americans for Liberty chapter. This article appeared a few days ago in The Tennessean. I applaud The Tennessean for publishing it and I applaud Kenny Tan for writing it and for standing up for freedom at Vanderbilt.

It continues to amaze me how liberals think they are for free speech when what they really are for is free speech for those who share their views. Liberals are for free speech as long as we don't engage in "hate speech" and "hate speech" can be hard to define. It is a moving undefined target that may simply be insensitivity.  Liberals are for free speech but want to kick conservative radio talk show host off the air.  They want those who disagree with Rush, Beck or Hannity to be given free air time to rebut the argument of those who pay for their own air time. For a liberal, "fairness" trumps freedom and they yearn for a return of the old fairness doctrine.

Liberals claim to value free speech but wish to deny free speech to corporation. They claim to value free speech but routinely shout down conservatives on campuses. They claim to value free speech but routinely support mandatory student fees that force conservative and non-political students to pay the speaking fees for left wing radicals. Forcing other to subsidize speech with which they disagree is not free speech.  Liberals are phonies who do not really believe in free speech but are so deluded they don't recognize it. 

It takes courage to be a conservative on an American campus and challenge the prevailing liberal group-think. I am glad to see Young Americans for Liberty continuing the battle for freedom on college campuses.

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