The normalization of free speech limits marches onward. In the NYT is an opinion piece by Ulrich Baer titled “What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech”:
During the 1980s and ’90s, a shift occurred in American culture; personal experience and testimony, especially of suffering and oppression, began to challenge the primacy of argument. Freedom of expression became a flash point in this shift. Then as now, both liberals and conservatives were wary of the privileging of personal experience, with its powerful emotional impact, over reason and argument, which some fear will bring an end to civilization, or at least to freedom of speech.
We should resist the temptation to rehash these debates. Doing so would overlook the fact that a thorough generational shift has occurred. Widespread caricatures of students as overly sensitive, vulnerable and entitled “snowflakes” fail to acknowledge the philosophical work that was carried out, especially in the 1980s and ’90s, to legitimate experience — especially traumatic experience — which had been dismissed for decades as unreliable, untrustworthy and inaccessible to understanding.
Baer leans on pomo philosopher Jean-François Lyotard, who basically rehashes Herbert Marcuse’s infamous “Repressive Tolerance” (1965), before unleashing this whopper:
The recent student demonstrations at Auburn against [Richard] Spencer’s visit — as well as protests on other campuses against Charles Murray, Milo Yiannopoulos and others — should be understood as an attempt to ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people, rather than censorship. Liberal free-speech advocates rush to point out that the views of these individuals must be heard first to be rejected. But this is not the case. Universities invite speakers not chiefly to present otherwise unavailable discoveries, but to present to the public views they have presented elsewhere. When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good.
Baer then asserts that being truly progressive “requires the realization that in politics, the parameters of public speech must be continually redrawn to accommodate those who previously had no standing.”
Continually redrawn? Wow.
Reading opinions like this should terrify you:
The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks. It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community. Free-speech protections — not only but especially in universities, which aim to educate students in how to belong to various communities — should not mean that someone’s humanity, or their right to participate in political speech as political agents, can be freely attacked, demeaned or questioned…
What about this piece is most shocking? It is whom is writing this bizarre ‘argument’.
As a scholar of literature, history and politics, I am especially attuned to the next generation’s demands to revise existing definitions of free speech to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences. Freedom of expression is not an unchanging absolute. When its proponents forget that it requires the vigilant and continuing examination of its parameters, and instead invoke a pure model of free speech that has never existed, the dangers to our democracy are clear and present.
We should thank the student protestors, the activists in Black Lives Matter and other “overly sensitive” souls for keeping watch over the soul of our republic.
Ulrich Baer is not some 18 year old Antifa freshman. He is vice provost for faculty, arts, humanities, and diversity, and professor of comparative literature at New York University.
Perhaps even more terrifying, however, are the ‘Comments’ to the piece that the NYT picks as the ‘Best’. Among the comments receiving the vaunted “NYT Picks” stamp is one from “C.C. Kegel,Ph.D.” which reads:
Would we grant Hitler, Al Baghdadi or El Chapo speaking engagements at our universities? I hope not. On the other hand, McCarthyites denied free speech to the ACLU as a “Communist front.” The difference is incitement to violence. But White Nationalists DO incite violence, whether explicitly or implicitly. We all deserve protection from this. It is dangerous.
So, basically, any race realist speaker – hell, even a Charles Murray – is tantamount to Hitler (extreme case)… or, at a minimum WN “incitement to violence” (the more ‘moderate’ case).
The Left is unhinged and getting more ‘unhingier’ by the day.