Required Reading

The Chancellor of UC Berkeley has sent out an egregious email concerning “free speech” on campus. Ken White takes him to the woodshed.

People like Chancellor Dirks don’t just seek to raise a generation of civil Americans. They seek to raise a generation of Americans who look to the state to tell them what speech is acceptable. This is vile and shameful.

Read the whole thing.

9 thoughts on “Required Reading

  1. I believe the email is only egregious if you regard it as establishing some new set of rules. To me it just reads as a reminder or suggestion. Something along the lines of “Hey, parties are fun, but remember not to get so drunk that you end up in prison!”

    Many of you may not realize just how uncivil, downright dangerous actually, Berkeley can be. I myself was assaulted there for exorcising my free speech rights back in the 80’s. Trust me, some of these people need reminding.

  2. The letter presumes to set the tone for meaningful speech. The Chancellor along with lots of other folk, think it is their job to manage debate.
    I went back to school several years ago as a 32 yr old and shared classrooms with much younger students who were convinced that they have a right NOT to be offended, and the responsibility never to offend another. Good luck getting anywhere with that kind of system. Most of the younger kids wouldn’t speak up in class.

  3. Maybe because I look at his letter through older, and hopefully wiser, eyes then the kids receiving it, but I also saw that the Chancellor was trying to define what was, and was not, free speech. He should have just said, Listen, people are going to say stupid shit. Feel free to ignore them.

  4. I love Ken White’s take on free speech. Because most of the time it causes me to be uncomfortable with what I perceive as right. Especially when I am being narrow minded and parochial. And that’s a good thing to be reminded that I am not as open minded as I think I am.

  5. I don’t actually read the Chancellor’s letter the way Ken White does. He does not say that speech must be “meaningful” to be protected as free speech. I read it as saying for your right to free speech to be meaningful, you need to be heard and listened to. You can go in your closet and rave to your hearts content – that isn’t free speech.

    And if you go to speak on the campus, and you are shouted down, your right to free speech isn’t meaningful, either. Now, since this is Berkeley, we can suspect all we want that the real meaning here is “free speech for me but not for thee” – and the “civility” argument is often used to silence the right. Too often the Left describes speaking the truth as uncivil.

    But it is possible that the Chancellor means what he says for everyone on campus. He just might mean that if, say, Ann Coulter came to speak on campus, shouting her down is not really an expression of free speech.

    • I first saw this over at American Power and left a comment there that this is the perfect place for conservatives to employ Alinsky’s Rule 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. Then we’ll find out how committed Berkeley is to civility and respect for all views.

      On a related note, RS McCain said a while back that although we have the right to speak freely, no one has the right to an audience. That has to be earned – a fact which usually escapes trolls.

  6. Trying to remember the last time I didn’t regret giving some pencil-necked, ivory-tower dwelling, geek the benefit of the doubt.

    I would not wager more than a ha’penny on Dirk’s best intentions…

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