Coulter just the lat­est tar­get of il­lib­eral lib­eral at­tack on free speech

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - MERCEDES SCHLAPP

Lib­er­als ready and will­ing to re­sort to vi­o­lence in sup­port of their views have just won a round in their war to sup­press free speech in Amer­ica. Af­ter much back and forth, con­ser­va­tive com­men­ta­tor Ann Coulter has can­celed a speech at Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley pri­mar­ily be­cause of the lack of pro­tec­tion from the lo­cal po­lice and the in­abil­ity to en­sure the safety of Ms. Coulter and those at­tend­ing her ad­dress.

Ms. Coulter called it “a sad day for free speech.” I say it’s a sad day for Amer­ica.

Amer­ica can­not be­come an­other Cuba or North Korea, where cit­i­zens have no right to speak freely. The right to free speech is en­shrined in our Bill of Rights, and those ex­treme lib­er­als who are ter­ror­iz­ing col­lege cam­puses and tar­get­ing con­ser­va­tives have the ul­ti­mate goal of si­lenc­ing any op­pos­ing voices. We must all stand against this kind of in­tim­i­da­tion on cam­puses. Free speech should be one of those causes on which both con­ser­va­tives and lib­er­als can find com­mon ground.

Lib­eral pro­fes­sor Cor­nel West said on Fox News that he is com­mit­ted to “un­nerv­ing stu­dents,” adding that col­lege cam­puses should be “unset­tled spa­ces rather than safe spa­ces.” Col­lege is a time for de­vel­op­ing crit­i­cal thought, fac­ing tough ques­tions and fos­ter­ing in­tel­lec­tual cu­rios­ity — which means be­ing ex­posed to dif­fer­ent points of views.

None of that can hap­pen when lib­eral bullies call their con­ser­va­tive peers in­sult­ing names and block the ex­pres­sion of al­ter­na­tive, con­ser­va­tive views on cam­pus — a tra­di­tional oa­sis of free­dom of thought and ex­pres­sion.

Berke­ley, of course, has a his­tory of its own on the is­sue. Over 1,000 stu­dents in 1964 joined the Free Speech Move­ment and held a protest de­mand­ing that the univer­sity lift a ban on po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties and free ex­pres­sion. To­day, on that same cam­pus, ban­dits and an­ar­chists are ef­fec­tively in charge, em­ploy­ing vi­o­lent tac­tics to sup­press con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties and events. Univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tors lack the will and the power to face down the bullies.

Con­ser­va­tives speak­ers have be­come an easy tar­get for those lib­er­als, who are al­ways ready to de­nounce any­one who chal­lenges their be­liefs as sex­ists and racists. Ms. Coulter, thank­fully, does not shy away from the con­tro­versy but con­fronts it, ex­pos­ing the hypocrisy of her ac­cusers at ev­ery turn.

Last year, the provoca­tive au­thor and com­men­ta­tor par­tic­i­pated in an in­ter­view with Univi­sion an­chor Jorge Ramos, a pro­po­nent of amnesty for il­le­gal im­mi­grants, where she an­swered tough ques­tions on im­mi­gra­tion from an au­di­ence that in­cluded those in the U.S. il­le­gally. Th­ese in­di­vid­u­als did not agree with her, but it was an op­por­tu­nity for real give-and-take.

Berke­ley stu­dents have been de­prived of the same op­por­tu­nity by those lib­er­als who use vi­o­lence to en­force po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness on our col­lege cam­puses, cre­at­ing fear, tram­pling on our con­sti­tu­tional rights and pro­mot­ing an anti-Amer­i­can phi­los­o­phy.

When I was a col­lege stu­dent, my alma mater, Florida In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity, hosted an event for Cuban com­mu­nists. With so many stu­dents at the school com­ing from fam­i­lies who had re­cently fled the mur­der­ous Cas­tro regime, it was ob­vi­ously an emo­tional day for many of us.

I re­mem­ber feel­ing, in Mr. West’s word, “un­nerved,” but I lis­tened to the speak­ers’ crit­i­cal views of the United States and their doc­tri­nal speeches on the glo­ries of com­mu­nism. We en­gaged in heated con­ver­sa­tions, but the ex­change was, in the end, en­light­en­ing. It helped me fur­ther un­der­stand the evils of com­mu­nism and the ig­no­rance of those in­di­vid­u­als who live un­der the regime and fol­low the dic­ta­tor’s rules.

In Cuba, of course, I would never have been al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in a sim­i­lar fo­rum at Univer­sity of Ha­vana, or to crit­i­cize Cas­tro on Cuban soil. It sim­ply was not al­lowed.

The United States lit­er­ally came into be­ing be­cause of the Found­ing Fathers’ will­ing­ness to de­bate and dis­agree — of­ten heat­edly — on is­sues such as state rights, fed­er­al­ism and the rights of the gov­erned. They un­der­stood more than two cen­turies ago that open fo­rums of de­bate and dis­cus­sion were fun­da­men­tal to find­ing com­mon ground and to the long-term health of the Amer­i­can ex­per­i­ment.

The grow­ing in­tol­er­ance on cam­pus — and the will­ing­ness of univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tors to shel­ter their stu­dents from chal­leng­ing voices and con­trary opin­ions — will have long-term neg­a­tive ef­fects. By ex­clud­ing con­ser­va­tives from their de­bates and al­low­ing those will­ing to use vi­o­lence to dom­i­nate the con­ver­sa­tion, the uni­ver­si­ties lose their own voice and are weak­ened as in­sti­tu­tions.

Ex­treme lib­eral groups with a vi­o­lent agenda should not win. Free­dom of speech and the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion must pre­vail.

● Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and for­mer White House di­rec­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

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