Screaming and heckling are not problems on college campuses

You’re dodging, and rather artlessly at that. You know full well that I’m asking how you would condemn their behaviour, given what you said in your OP about how screaming abuse at speakers is just fine and dandy. What I’m trying to get you to see is that, once the norms of civil discourse have been done away with, there’s absolutely nothing preventing people you despise from using the exact same tactics to prevent people you respect from speaking.

So your solution would be to just scream right back at them. What would that achieve? How would that help Bernie? And what about the people who actually want to listen to the speakers and challenge their arguments, and who aren’t interested in watching two groups of monkeys fling shit at each other? What you propose is nothing less than a recipe for the collapse of the very concept of civil discussion.

I agree - it’s freedom of speech and disturbing the peace. The former does not in itself justify the latter. Conversely, one is welcome to engage in civil disobedience as long as one is willing to suffer the consequences thereof. Your cause may be just but if you break the law you get arrested. Good intentions don’t trump legal requirements.

That said, freedom of speech does not include provision of a public platform, and I’m perfectly happy for students to work to get speakers of dubious worth disinvited where they feel it will reflect poorly on the institution they attend.

Do the questions I’d pose to Wakefield strike you as polite? I think most people would consider them pointed, maybe even hostile. And that’s fine. Allowing someone to speak doesn’t preclude you from calling them on their bullshit. Indeed, you can’t call them on their bullshit unless you allow them to speak. And as I’ve already said, screeching abuse until Wakefield gives up and goes home just fuels his “Little guy speaking truth to power” martyr complex. And if you think he can’t use that to recruit new people to his cause then you’re fooling yourself.

Get it straight: If you boycott him, he wins. If you shout him down, he wins. He only loses if you challenge him on the facts, and you can’t do that if a bunch of censorious asshole protestors are screaming at him. Remember, they’re drowning you out, too.

I think the line is relatively clear: in whose forum is the speech given?

Flag burners (from my perspective) are odious but able to buy their own flag and burn it in a public protest without being stopped. But they can’t intrude on restricted property or burn flags that they don’t own.

Colin Kaepernick is welcome to wear whatever socks he pleases and stand or sit as he pleases, but his employers have engaged him to entertain the public, and if they feel his sartorial choices compromise his lucrative entertainment potential, they are free to not employ him.

Planned Parenthood workers are free to say what they please; the government is free to fund what it pleases.

But it’s only only the case of college campuses that this model breaks down: the forum in question belongs to the group that’s rented it for the event. So if the College No-Vaxxers invite Wakefield to speak, assaulting him, blocking the doors, or shouting him down so he can’t be heard is not the same as the examples above: the speaker is speaking in his own forum.

Right, no problem there, as long as the argument used to disinvite the speaker is “This person reflects poorly on us for scientific reasons,” as opposed to “If you DO invite this speaker we will break and burn this campus.”

Exactly so. The brownshirts of the Left have no effective counter-arguments, so they attempt to shut down the other side.

I agree - the Left is intellectually bankrupt, even when it comes to debating obviously wrong opinions. In a battle of wits, they are unarmed. All they have are threats and chanting.


I apologize for all the times I threatened you. Can you provide a cite, by the way? I had thought we had had several calm and reasonable discussions on this board, but if all that time I was chanting and threatening you, I’d like to know so I can fix myself.

WTF are you talking about? The OP wants to debate “when students yell at, talk over, behave rudely toward, heckle, or otherwise aggressively vocalize their negative feelings toward an invited speaker.” Do you have anything to say about that?


I’m objecting to your characterization of “the Left”. That’s a big, big group, that includes millions, and probably myself. You’re saying that I am intellectually bankrupt, and that all I have are “threats and chanting”. It’s reasonable of me to object to that, right? Or perhaps you misspoke?

As for what the OP advocates, it depends on the situation, IMO. Almost any tactic can be appropriate in some circumstances, including shouting someone down. But there are plenty of instances of shouting down that don’t qualify as appropriate, IMO. I’d probably disagree with the OP on when it’s appropriate in some circumstances.

You’re quite right - they should just standing outside the venue holding firearms and signs about “watering the tree of liberty with blood” like good patriotic Americans do.

Or get James O’Keefe to make a fake video about them. That’s always good for shutting down people and organizations one doesn’t like.

Conservative, religious students at Liberty University are capable of sitting quietly and politely while Bernie Sanders speaks. Why is such a thing impossible at Berkeley?

Basic civility just isn’t that hard.

So you are a brownshirt? Do you shout, heckle, harass, and try to shut down invited speakers on college campuses?


I know this, YOU know this, but not everyone thinks this way. Someone with views that are not commonly held deserves to be heard. This is what universities should be about. Hearing things you may not be comfortable with but are willing to weigh the value of. This is how critical thinking is realized.

No – I take it when you said “the Left” in your second paragraph, you meant “brownshirts of the Left”?

Perhaps in the future you can try to be more specific, to avoid such misunderstandings.

I do consider some of the responses to speakers on campus a bit out of line. Were the most radical participants actually students? Was the speaker invited by a legitimate student group or some non-student with an ax to grind?

Well, that can be hashed out later. However, please refrain from using “brownshirt” (or “Fascist” as seen online) to describe these “activists.” Those terms apply to the Right Wing–thus, they are yours. (Since you consider every masked “Leftist” the responsibility of every Democrat.)

There’s a difference between “not commonly held” and “complete batshit”. Most of the people who have seen protests cross that line quite easily.

Those who use threats, harassment, shouting, chants, and otherwise illegitimately to shut down the other side, are brown shirts whether from the Left (as in the OP) or the Right.


What’s hard to understand is why this is so binary. Why can’t we acknowledge both “sides”?

Nobody should be physically prevented from saying anything that isn’t already illegal at any time. (Whether or not any speech should be illegal is another story.) If you disagree with them, don’t listen to them or debate them and show them that these ideas are problematic. It’s probably hard to debate professional speakers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do.

On the other hand, have some empathy for people and don’t be an asshole. People who are deliberate provocateurs, and not much more, do have the right to speak, but they’re not saying much of anything. (Unfortunately, there’s little we humans like more than getting outraged at something.) It’s understandable why someone who has spent much of their life systemically oppressed would react with rage and anger against someone who is blatantly saying things that promote that systemic oppression. (I acknowledge that many, if not most, of these students are not being systemically oppressed, given that they can afford university, though they’re often learning about systemic oppression in their country.) That doesn’t mean these people should be allowed to use physical force, violence or the threat of violence to deter people from speaking. But maybe the speakers should think about the consequences of their provocation for the sake of provocation, instead of pretending they’re the victims of oppression.

Keep telling yourselfthat.

What about that time you egged my car?