Author: William Baumgarth
Ann Coulter had her speech planned for today canceled by the student group YAF. She was supposed to speak at Berkeley College, a public university in California. The event was canceled out of concerns for security and safety. Even the mayor of Berkeley called out Ann Coulter for “having speech that could possibly incite violence.”
In other words, freedom of speech is only for the left. Conservative speakers are not allowed to state their opinions because a bunch of leftists might get their feelings hurt. The only reason that Ann Coulter’s speech could possibly incite violence is because of the in-toleration of the left, not the speech itself. While the only reason that the left’s speech doesn’t incite violence is that members of the right are respectful enough to not protest the left’s speakers (for now).
It’s not as if the left doesn’t come with its controversial ideas as well. In fact, many of today’s leftists are advocates for Sharia law. Linda Sarsour, a Sharia law advocate is giving this year’s commencement speech at CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.
I am completely opposed to Sharia law, however, I believe this woman has the right to make the commencement speech. I believe all views should be heard, and that it is good to have controversial speech be heard. Even if it is speech that attacks or challenges my value system.
What I find absolutely ironic, however, is that Ann Coulter is labeled as an extremist for being anti-immigration and pro-life, and at the same time, the left doesn’t view someone who wants people’s hands chopped off, and mandatory headscarves for women as an extremist.
I’ve spoken to many of my right wing friends who attend CUNY Hunter, their response to the commencement address is complete outrage. “If someone with my views isn’t allowed to speak, why should someone with their views be allowed to? We’re going to protest this,” one of my friends said. That’s correct leftists, you’ve created an SJW right.
While I do not believe that the SJW tactics are correct, I understand why my friends are retaliating in such a manner. It seems wrong that the left get to have their way at every turn, and that it is only the things that they don’t approve of that are silenced.
When you try to silence people that don’t agree with you every chance you get, it makes me think that you don’t have an argument to begin with. If your convictions and beliefs are so strong, they must have reasons. So instead of silencing the speaker, challenge him/her at the end of the lecture. If you’re silencing people it means that you can’t wager an intellectual battle, and instead must beat the person by not letting them be heard at all. It means that you can’t fully comprehend the argument that it presented, and that you believe the things that you do because that’s what the people around you tell you to believe.
I would have no problem attending this woman’s event. Why? It would give me an opportunity to completely dismantle her argument. It’s not that hard to prove that Sharia law is wrong. The only case in which I would silence a controversial speaker, is if I have no argument, but just simply “don’t like” what he/she is saying. If a speaker is blatantly wrong enough to be silenced, then you should demonstrate just exactly how weak his/her argument is.
I do see hope however, even people I severely disagree with such as Bill Maher, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren all believe that Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak. I do not believe these far-leftists are gaining much sympathy from the general public either.
We need to make controversial ideas available to be heard. This means ideas and speeches from both the left and right. But how can we know if an idea is bad if it can’t even be discussed?