Skip to comments.After John Ashcroft Visit, UMass Must Remember That Free Speech Works Both Ways
Posted on 04/20/2014 1:09:14 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Just when you think you know a state ...
Hours after an outpouring of support for gay basketball player Derrick Gordon had sent a message that tolerance reigns in Massachusetts, John Ashcroft came to Amherst on Wednesday. The former attorney general of President George W. Bush spent his University of Massachusetts visit fending off hecklers who called him a hyprocrite and a war criminal among other things.
I am not here to defend Ashcroft. I am here to dispute hypocrisy, a label that becomes attached to university communities such as UMass when freedom of speech and opinion is treated as a one-way street.
It's easy to say that only a handful of disruptive individuals should not be considered to represent a broad community. Yet this is one reason the outside world views Massachusetts in general and UMass in particular as an enclave of liberalism run amok, guilty of the same intolerance of different views they attack in others.
The word "liberal'' itself is left to the eyes of the interpreter. To some, it is a progressive, open-minded outlook to a changing world.
To others, it is a restricted collection of thoughts from the political left wing. People are entitled to those views, as McCarthyites learned in the 1950s, but they are not entitled to have it both ways.
Both ways means everybody gets to speak. Shouting down Ashcroft destroys the principle of free speech, whether his administration's policies were good or lousy.
Ashcroft was a guest of the UMass Republican Club, which spends its existence swimming against the tide of a very liberal, Democratic community. Inviting him to speak had to come with the knowledge of a potentially angry, explosive confrontation, which is why I sometimes wonder why people like Ashcroft even take these offers.
Those who think the Bush/Ashcroft team was damaging to America have a right to picket. They have a right to boycott the event and never, ever vote for people of the same political ilk.
They do not have a moral right to disrupt the speech, not if we are being honest about living in an atmosphere where all views are heard and the public then decides.
One solution would be for the UMass Republicans to avoid bringing in such speakers. Ashcroft drew applause from some in the crowd, before the protesters got warmed up.
But they should not have to do that. If UMass and other universities are to truly represent a forum in which all views and attitudes can be heard, it cannot extend the olive branch only to those with whom it agrees.
It doesn't make Ashcroft right. It would make the UMass community more honest to the ideals of acceptance - whether that was in regard to different lifestyle, different political views or just plain difference.
That would be the type of progressive attitude for which Massachusetts, at its best, should stand. The Gordon rally was a notable step forward in that regard.
The Ashcroft heckling was a small step back. There will be other moments for our citizens to stand up and show they understand the true meaning of hypocrisy, and how it is most nobly avoided when you let someone you can't stand invoke their own right of speech.
The truth just kills libs. That’s why they are spoiled, angry immatures with low self esteem. Self haters bringing attention to their insecure lives
Nothing tolerant about “liberals.” They’re jackbooted fascists happily implementing Stalinism.
Today’s left are total fascist and totalitarians.
And that’s why liberals need a good punch in the mouth from time to time. As one of my old Catholic school nuns used to say, “Never discount the spiritually transforming experience of pain’’.
When were they ever anything else?
Free speech is passe among the trendy Left these days.
Ashcroft is a good man. God bless him.
Is Eric Holder rushing to Ashcroft’s defense?
It may not come to that...but if it does, the media will applaud.
The New England governments and Progressives have determined that the Bill of Rights are merely suggestions subject to their interpretations,
He certainly is and Sarah Palin admires Mr. Ashcroft, as she wrote in America by Heart:
Former attorney general John Ashcroft, a deeply devout Christian, used to say something I agree with wholeheartedly: "It's against my religion to impose my religion on others." What our culture does when it translates religious values into secular terms and applies them to useful ends isn't about brainwashing or trying to convert anyone: Quite the opposite. It's a way of conferring a rich moral heritage while respecting everyone's religious freedom.
Change that to this:
Those who think the Obama/Holder team was damaging to America have a right to picket.
No, if you do the second, you are a RACIST.
Free speech works both ways?
UMass needs one of two things — either a “zero tolerance policy” for disrupting public events, or a 100 percent cut of all federal funds. That’s how you do that. Thanks nickcarraway.
If UMass and other universities are to truly represent a forum in which all views and attitudes can be heard, it cannot extend the olive branch only to those with whom it agrees.
But the ones with whom they agree are the only ones who are RIGHT, so they believe. They think they're doing their students a dis-service if they allow folks who are WRONG to speak on their campuses.
Of course, then they'll tell you, with a straight face that they believe in academic freedom. Riiiight.