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UC Student Op-Ed: America Must ‘Reevaluate Free Speech’


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Racism, sexism, and hatred are serious, pervasive problems in our society, but the best way to combat them is to use our own speech to condemn them.

Katherine Timpf

October 31, 2017


A student at the University of California–Santa Barbara wrote an op-ed calling for the United States to do away with the First Amendment.

“In today’s age, with the third KKK movement and the kneeling during the national anthem, there is no doubt that the freedom of speech has been stretched way too thin,” Emma Xing writes in an essay for the school’s student newspaper, the Daily Nexus, titled “America’s Need to Reevaluate Free Speech.”

“With two different ends of the spectrum, there should be a fine line where free speech stops being a right and starts being a threat to the very idea of America,” she continues.

According to Xing, the whole point of free speech should be “to allow the country to grow and change for the better” and “movements that try to oppress, disenfranchise and strip minorities of their freedom to their own pursuit of happiness and success, their free speech is not guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.”




Let me be clear: There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that racism and white nationalism are real issues in this country, and it’s true that the people who perpetuate those ideas do add disturbing things to our discourse. When I criticized President Trump’s response to white-nationalist terrorism in Charlottesville, I was met with a whole host of vitriol — including wishes that my Polish Catholic ancestors had been exterminated. It was less than pleasant to deal with, but I did not respond by calling for these people to be silenced. In fact, I responded with a column doubling down on my support for unmitigated free speech, because I understand that no amount of relief from my discomfort could ever be worth giving up my freedom to the government.

^ Of course, Xing attempts to defend her position by repeatedly clarifying that she wants to outlaw only the speech of “movements that try to oppress . . . minorities.” Certainly, that may seem like a simple, clear-cut solution — but the truth is, everyone has a different idea of what does and does not qualify. Believe me: In covering college campuses and politically correct culture for the past few years, I know firsthand just how many things some people would put on that list.







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