Free speech on campus: The real crisis is the confrontation that never happens

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  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 22, 2018 7:45 p.m.

    The real crisis on campuses is how very liberal they are and the push to make all students liberals. Campuses need to go back to everyone having an equal and supported voice whether it is a liberal voice, moderate voice, or a conservative voice. This true freedom of speech is gone. Campuses have been pushed too far left or too far right.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2018 11:34 a.m.

    The gist of the article seems to be that, as a nation, we're all increasingly polarized now. It's hard to disagree with that, but we elected a man to the presidency who seems to govern by urging us to be divisive -- as long as his side wins. It's a real conundrum, one for which I have no ready answer.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 16, 2018 12:09 p.m.

    Who ever thought we would see the day where free speech was more welcome at BYU than at Berkeley. My how things change.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Sept. 15, 2018 12:33 p.m.

    To say confrontation isn’t occurring risks mischaracterizing the issue. Shouting someone down is confrontation. What’s sadly lacking is thoughtful engagement and dialogue.

    My experience in that many who self-identify at different places along the political spectrum are motivated by compassion for others and a desire to foster self reliance.

    That commonality should motivate us to listen to and learn from each other, seek common ground and, most importantly, collaborate.

  • Lilly Munster , 00
    Sept. 15, 2018 1:56 a.m.

    It is inaccurate to claim that most of the enemies of Free Speech are from The Left.
    That is a historical and factual absurdity.
    The Right Wing has a long, long history of silencing women, blacks, Latinos, the entire LGBT Community, Atheists, and Progressives.
    It is not repression, nor is it "political correctness" to oppose speech that is sexist, homophobic, or misogynistic.
    Of course, The Right wants to protect their very bad behaviors: bulling, sexual shaming, religious persecution against Atheists, Nones and Secular Humanists.
    Turn on your television to sample the Fundamentalist Christian programs.
    They are absolutely nasty in their lies, false witness, and extreme hatreds.

  • Roadside Philosopher Fayette, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 5:00 p.m.

    I have run the Roadside Philosophers group for over a decade. An online virtual verbal and written discussion group not geographically located. I’ve learned to moderate all the extremes. First you give everyone the right to speak in turn. Truly wish to understand and never insist on a a general validated conclusion. Each participant needs to ponder how new info integrates with what they know.
    It taught me a lot. The first 2 years I kept wanting it to end my way. I would even cry about my inability to convince others.
    This long decade with shifting global perspectives has allowed me my one all encompassing truth, “we do not live for reality; we live for our fantasies. Enjoy yours!”
    Since none of us know all- we all tie our frame of reference into the things we perceive, but there are leaps made when connecting those dots of perception.
    When I tried discussing in another group at a university, the needed topic of Child Abuse, I was silenced and told I couldn’t talk about that cause it might cause trauma for someone who has suffered. So stop talking about difficulties seems like a counter productive education.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 13, 2018 4:38 p.m.

    The claim about shouts of non-existent emergencies should be more suspect than it is. Justice Holmes used it to justify the government inprisoning anti-war activists during World War I.

    I have to say that the Deseret News is doing a service in providing balanced, nuanced and well thought out articles. I hope it continues to both cover and solicit articles from multiple viewpoints.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 13, 2018 4:28 p.m.

    It is high time that journalists started respecting how groups refer to themselves. Thus references should always be to pro-life activists to accurately reflect the way they refer to themselves.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 3:20 p.m.

    From the article: "Students are failing to learn how to engage the arguments they hate, which puts all of us at risk..."

    Stepping back and recognizing the failures or possible fallacies of your own ideology is the first step. I am conservative but I agree with some of the criticisms of conservatives put forth on this thread. I do believe that conservatives have, at times, put their values as paramount, and others' as subsequent.

    Understanding those fallacies does not diminish me as a person or a conservative (though it is why I'm registered Independent/Libertarian). And that is where I think students struggle. They believe that relenting a position (no matter how indefensible) is somehow tantamount to personal failure or weakness.

    As the article suggests, this introspection and then engagement in arguments we hate is learned, not innate. Despite my zeal for debate and passion for my tribe(s), I've found that listening to other tribes and serving alongside them has been a worthy and enlightening exercise.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 2:42 p.m.

    Free speech it paramount. Colleges need to remember this.

    The response to bad speech is better speech.

    OTOH colleges dont need to provide a forum for every crack pot out there. Nor do private businesses like facebook, youtube, or twitter.

  • MGoodwin Murray/USA, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 2:35 p.m.

    I got in trouble a few times for speaking up at school, but I was fairly blessed in my field of study, most of the teachers weren't bothered by it. Don't be afraid to say what you got to say, and frankly don't apologize for your ideas, better to say what you want then let it fester like a wound.

    I hope the humor isn't lost that the people who once clamored for free speech are the ones cowering behind big tech to save them from all those hateful people, hateful now being anyone who disagrees because surely there's no other reason why someone could disagree. Intellectual arrogance at its absolute finest. And before you yell about the government not being involved, exhibit A, Lois Lerner and her merry band at the IRS. Yell for it when it suits your purposes and abandon it when you are holding the power, guess everyone does it but don't try to pull the mote of hypocrisy when you got beams of it in your own.

  • TucsonUte Oro Valley, Arizona
    Sept. 13, 2018 2:23 p.m.

    Parents should be preparing their kids for the road and not the road for the kids. A world of macroaggressions, safe spaces, and zero tolerance of opposing ideas or speech are destroying a generation of minds. The rotting education system of the United States is no longer capable of stepping up and allowing children to develop critical thinking skills. College campuses and administrators are stifling free speech because they don't want to deal with legal headaches brought forward by the offended, microagressed folks living in safe spaces.

  • liberty or ...? Ogden, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 1:32 p.m.

    I guess the Deseret news is now enforcing politically correct speech policies on its comments board. Even when you point out that speech has to be protected regardless, because the ever expanding definition of what is defined as hate speech can be construed to mean anything anybody doesn't like is now subject to censorship. Shame on you Deseret news. Often the people engaging in hate speech are the ones making the accusation. Its interesting that the Dog whistles idenetifiers & code language decryptionists are the only ones who can here or catch the code like a bunch of enigmatists. Or is it just whatever word of the day Secular Sesame street moral relativism declares? Todays hate speech and code language words are brought to you today by the word political and correctness also the word censorship. Maybe if I identify as cookie monster I can have free speech again right. Or are muppets anywhere on heiarchy of victimhood?

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Sept. 13, 2018 1:29 p.m.

    screenname - Salt Lake City, UT
    How would the results today differ from, say, 30 years ago? Is it because we've evolved as a society, or is it because we've encourage the demonization of those who disagree with us?

    Your examples are calls for making certain practices illegal, and those who engage in such criminals.

    It is not a plea for 'don't have an abortion' or 'don't engage in same sex'. But basically using the force of the state to effect your demanded behavior.

    And if you want to talk about socially sanctioned demonization, one can point to Mormon Fundamentalists who have the burden of such criminalization put upon them by the Free Speech/Free Association loving Utah legislature.

    I'm not Mormon, nor do I practice polygyny. But I can support their choices, despite my disagreement with their religious beliefs or practices.

    That is what a Free societies, not whining about how others behave that has no impact on oneself in the least.

    (In the case of 'abortion' approximate 50% of the population will never, ever be faced with that question at all insofar as their actual body is concerned.)

  • Anti Bush-Obama , 00
    Sept. 13, 2018 1:22 p.m.


    I just watched a documentary about the free speech movement last night. The first thing I said to myself is these guys would be labelled as right wing extremists if they did the exact same thing today. Instead the Antifa Nazis stifle free speech whenever they can and these are people who claim to agree with people like Mario Savio.

    Savio would surely be spinning in his grave to see all the anti- free speech on college campuses and social media. I think he would be a leader in the walkaway movement if he were alive today.

  • American First Merced, CA
    Sept. 13, 2018 1:22 p.m.

    Since the 60's the entertainment industry, news media and educational institutions have replaced parents in teaching and influencing children. Now what we have is a culture of self important narcissists and ideological zealots. The failure of Americans to stay true to our countries traditional founding values and multiculturalism (not race / ethnicity) has spawned a generation of headless children who could quite possibly be the downfall of our nation.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Sept. 13, 2018 12:53 p.m.

    sashabill - Morgan Hill, CA
    So, are you saying that people like Yannapoulos are being tailed by the FBI for the next 10 years, as was Mario Savio?

    Are you saying that the President of Berkeley has been a target of FBI 'dirty tricks' compaign, using false information to smear character, as the FBI did in the case of Clark Kerr. Kerr of course wore his being fired by Reagan as Red Badge of Courage.

    The same sort of dirty ticks that led to Nixon's resignation.

    I could go on.

    At no time have conservatives taken some moral high road in their fight against Free Speech.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 12:47 p.m.

    A Scientist,

    Not sure why your comment was allowed, considering it was only barely tangentially related to the article.

    However, I suggest you live up to your moniker and stop just hypothesizing without any evidence and follow the scientific method. Find some objective criteria to base your findings on and report them. Do members of this unspoken organization have a higher prevalence of committing hate crimes? Do they have a higher prevalence of having anxiety or depression (this is difficult to gauge, since having and being diagnosed is very different)? Do they report lower levels of happiness in their life? Higher divorce rates? Higher incarceration? Fewer hours volunteered to service?

    Ironically enough, there was quite a bit of implied judgment in your comment, but hey, you're just trying to help them with the motes in their eyes, right?

  • HSTucker Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 12:32 p.m.

    The parallel between control of speech on college campuses and the use of a subjective, selectively enforced speech code at the Deseret News cannot be ignored. They both spring from the same anti-American philosophy of political correctness.

  • Muteki Roy, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 12:15 p.m.

    It's sad today that so many are unwilling to see past the lie that our ideas or beliefs define our value as a human beings. Every person has the inalienable right to express themselves. I think the proliferation of easy media makes it appealing to confine ourselves in echo chambers where the only voice we hear is "I was right". I served a mission for the LDS church in a foreign country, where I was treated poorly because I was a missionary for a "weird" and "extreme" religion. What a wonderful life experience to find myself in the minority!

    I was forcibly exposed to viewpoints and ideas that were commonly held by the people, and ran totally contrary to my sheltered lifestyle. Realizing that maybe I don't know as much as I thought I did taught me an important perspective - *everyone* is trying to get along in life as best they can. Everyone wants to feel loved and validated. We all do the best to see the world through the lens of experiences we've been given. Though, in our increasingly connected world, we have become more isolated by screening (pun intended) out untrustworthy voices in favor of those who support us. We lack challenge and don't grow without it.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Sept. 13, 2018 11:20 a.m.

    jeclar2006, I was around during the 1960's and '70s to see the emphasis which liberals once placed on freedom of speech. (Does anybody here remember Mario Savio, leader of the Free Speech movement at UC Berkeley during the 1960's?) Liberals seem to have curiously changed their tune about free speech, however, when people began disagreeing with them (on issues like abortion or the definition of marriage, for example). Hate speech, it seems, is a term which means pretty much what anybody wants it to mean.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 11:09 a.m.

    Political correctness is the attempt to control language so that only one side can be expressed and the opposition is silenced. For example, anything that the Left opposes "makes people feel uncomfortable"; and making people uncomfortable is a "micro-aggression"; and any form of aggression in speech is "hate-speech". We can't allow "hate-speech", can we ??!

    Similarly, anyone who opposes illegal alien entry is cast as "anti-immigrant", and since immigrants are human beings, anyone who is not for almost completely open borders is a "hater/racist". We can't allow racists and haters to spread racism and hatred, can we ?!?

    This is exacerbated by the fact that Conservatives generally consider Liberals as simply naive or ignorant (in the simple "lacking full knowledge" sense). Conservatives are therefore eager to debate, discuss, present facts and logic, etc. But Liberals assume that Conservatives are greedy, racist, and evil, and so it is their moral duty to silence them. They don't even want to consider any discussion. You wouldn't discuss human rights with Hitler, would you ?!?!

  • gatsby Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 10:46 a.m.

    thanks for a wonderful thoughtful article. I absolutely concur that silencing one another is harmful to all of us and that I often feel that we are experiencing another era of McCarthyism, or attempts at mind control. The narrative of political correctness I think generally came out of a generous place in the human heart/soul, but it has become a weapon to beat one another with. I applaud any who are seeking to open up true, meaningful dialogue. thanks for the piece DN

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Sept. 13, 2018 10:27 a.m.

    Free Speech became a issue for the conservatives, when they no longer could impose their beliefs and practices on the college population, or the general population for that matter.

    Conservatives didn't mind laws which limited, or eliminated public discussion of sexual matters, and they remained in place for nearly a century.

    Conservatives didn't mind laws criminalizing same sex activities, to varying degrees, and used any means to suppress any public discussion of such, usually by accusing the advocates of sexual crimes.

    One can point to any number of issues, where personal choice differs from the conservative views, and one will find a long standing use of the state to suppress Free Speech.

    The article seems to be a puff piece for a 'Goldwater' legislative model. This is a conservative who is listed as a supporter of Joseph McCarthy, and refused to extend civil rights of blacks beyond the voting booth.

    50+ years since 1960 seems like a long time, and what has been forgotten, or covered up by the conservatives, is their use of state or institutional power of the church, to suppress Free Speech, Free Association, and even Freedom of Religion, unless was 'their' brand.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Sept. 13, 2018 10:22 a.m.

    @I M LDS 2.
    Is there a problem with a liberal defense of free speech on college campuses? Perhaps you can clarify.

    @A Scientist.
    I assume you are referring to some religious organizations that meet weekly, do not tolerate questions, discussions or speech that is not pre-qualified by their leaders.

    Thank goodness I don’t attend such a church. Mine welcomes all visitors, and the civil expression of virtually any idea or opinion in its adult meetings. We follow the philosophy presented by Gordon B. Hinckley, to bring all the truth you have, and see if we cannot add to it.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 10:16 a.m.

    One of the insidiously divisive trends that I've noticed in the last 15-20 years is the use of the word "community" to describe all sorts of groupings of people.

    It's a strangely counter intuitive use of a term which, as it has been used more and more during that time, at once describes the joining of some number of people in some common interest or cause while simultaneously fraturing the larger "community" within which all these increasingly disparate "communities" exist.

    It is disturbing primarily because of the way it has become so politicized and oppositional. It fosters an attitude and world view that seems invariably to result in a sense of factionally splintering group think. Something which history tells me is **never** good.

    My hope is that more and more people will come to realize the danger in continuing this trend which will cause them to seek a more universal perspective regarding each other. And, that we will reverse this trend and realize that all of the differences we see in one another simply confirms the fact that we're all merely different versions of the same thing. That is, human beings, each with the same individual rights and responsibilities.

  • eigerjoe Sandy, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 9:28 a.m.

    Since when has there been free speech on campus? It wasn't there in 1966 when I attended college or when my daughter attended there in 2005. We both had to suppress our own conservative personal points view and replace them with liberal left-wing dogma on exams and essays in order to pass classes with an acceptable grade. Free speech on campus - that's hilarious.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 9:21 a.m.

    I just have to wonder how it would psychologically condition a group of people if they met once per week in a meeting where it is only allowed to share ideas and opinions about which everyone agrees? Would they be more inclined to dismiss those with whom they did not agree as "uninspired", "unworthy", or otherwise demonize them in some way? Would the belief that they "know" based on "the Spirit" (which is only available to the "worthy") incline them to be drawn toward only those who share their beliefs? And ostracize those who hold different beliefs? Would it make them increasingly insular, "tribal", cliquish, and "peculiar"? Would it foster a culture of judgmental-ism, with increased anxiety and depression because of the constant pressure to "avoid the appearance of evil" and out-perform neighbors in worthiness?

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Sept. 13, 2018 8:59 a.m.

    Tribalism is our default setting. It’s in our DNA via evolution, and it’s been our normal way of organizing societies for thousands of years (and explains virtually everything that’s wrong in the world).

    Only in the last few hundred have a growing number of societies tried a new experiment and the results have been nothing short of miraculous - read Steven Pinker for an excellent account of how we’re living in the best of times… by far!.

    We revert to our innate tribalism at our peril.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 8:39 a.m.

    6 comments "echoing" the same sentiment.

    That's exactly the problem.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 8:40 a.m.

    From the article, nearly 90% of college students believe that free speech protection is extremely important to democracy. Right above that line is an image showing that almost 65% of college students do not believe "hate speech" should be protected.

    These two poll results, when taken together, paint a very scary picture of the future of this country.

    No one believes their own speech is hate speech. Hate speech is only what the other guy is saying. Where have the people gone who believed "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?

    For those who believe this is a slippery slope fallacy, ask yourselves how many college students today would call these sentences hate speech:

    People struggling with transgenderism should be encouraged to meet with mental health professionals.

    Marriage should only be between members of the opposite sex.

    Abortion should be illegal.

    Women should pay for their own contraceptives and feminine care products.

    How would the results today differ from, say, 30 years ago? Is it because we've evolved as a society, or is it because we've encourage the demonization of those who disagree with us?

  • Bloodhound Provo, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 8:34 a.m.

    Who exactly is the authority that will define "hate speech?" Either you believe in freedom of speech or you don't. Otherwise, some "authority" will define any speech they dislike as "hate speech."

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 7:49 a.m.

    I grew up in that generation that was taught. "sticks and stones break your bones, words can never hurt you." Now, I do believe words can be hurtful, depending on who they come from, but it's gone way too far the other direction. It is not only creating a whole generation of people who feel offended by the smallest slight and thus are perpetual "victims;" it's has created a culture of fear from being able to speak what you believe. Fear is a dangerous thing!

  • mal murray, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 7:14 a.m.

    media monopolies. concentration of ownership. intel agency penetration. stupification of the masses. its all part of the plan.

  • KSM's Dad Ogden, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 6:19 a.m.

    Free speech and counter arguments need to start with the administration and faculty. Far too many faculty lean or are firmly planted to the left in my opinion. They were put there by the administration. Yes, some students are early leaders and come with a range of thoughts and ideas but many wither when challenged by a professor who shuts them down in class. Maybe it’s only perception because that’s what we’ve heard in media, but when professors ask for “some muscle over here” to remove student journalists, that’s a problem. Or when professors create a 3x3 area in the back of the room for those who support the 2nd amendment, we have a problem. How to engage in a civil discussion and discuss opposing views should replace all the gender study classes and should be required for all students.

  • windsor Logan, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 6:12 a.m.

    What I find so interesting is that those who are so very intent on freely expressing their views are the very ones who are offended with others also expressing theirs.

    Just this week, an LDS student was asked to leave a meeting for daring to express his views that he was told were " no longer politically correct and were offensive".

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Sept. 13, 2018 4:27 a.m.

    The most valuable idea in this article, “You’ve got to open yourself to the thought that you might just be completely wrong.”

    Too many American college students (and college faculty) are now seemingly incapable of considering such an idea.

    Yet truly mature minds must be capable of continually mentally challenging their assumptions and making educated course corrections to their actions.

    Otherwise, we stop learning and stop growing, and atrophy as an individual and as a society.

    Of all places in America, it is vital that universities teach students and faculty that all humans really know very very little about our world, and the universe.

    Learning really is a life-long activity (and for those of us that believe in life after death, even longer).

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Sept. 13, 2018 12:35 a.m.

    Social Marxism is alive and well on all college campuses. Free speech if free only if you agree with the vocal liberal left.