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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UW-La Crosse Republicans and University Officials "At Odds"

Here's the story:

College Republicans and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse officials are at odds over a 3,000-flag campus memorial to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in which some flags are arranged in the shape of a cross.
Now: let’s not go getting our undies all in a bunch. The College Republicans weren’t ordered to take it down; nobody vandalized it; nobody’s losing their official club status over it.

The university's just doing that annoying tsk tsking thing.

One university official called it a “teachable moment.” And, indeed, I agree that it is. A couple sample quotes:

“We try to find a balance between freedom of speech and creating an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable and welcome and safe on campus,” said (Michael) Slevin, (UW-L student service coordinator).

“The challenge is that people sometimes forget that they are passionate about their particular religion, but there are others with other faiths who are equally passionate about those,” said (UW-L Chancellor Joe) Gow. “We want our university to be inclusive of all faiths and traditions.”

“I think it is a teachable moment where we would like students to realize there is more than one point of view,” (Larry Ringgenberg, UW-L director of university centers) said.
I’d like to use this teachable moment to point out: the whole idea of free speech is to let people express their viewpoints. Others, then, can use their own free speech to express another viewpoint, and so on, and so on, and so on.

When Chinese students hold a vigil to draw attention to Falun Gong, they aren’t taking away from other oppressed groups in other places. They’re expressing their views about what’s most important to them.

If you’re going to try and “balance” free speech with “other viewpoints,” then you’re not “balancing” free speech at all: you’re negating free speech.

Man. You'd think high-level university types would understand that.