1. The U Should Protect Free Speech

Nicholas Coleman

The nation is focused on the University of Utah, as Ben Shapiro will soon appear on campus. Hosted by the University’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) Chapter, Shapiro’s upcoming appearance has already affected discourse on campus. Those who ordinarily avoid speaking about politics are suddenly reflecting on their values, questioning how the First Amendment right to free speech applies to controversial figures. These uncensored discussions led to the Chicanx Student Movement of Aztlán (MEChA) and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) demanding that the speech on Sept. 27 be cancelled. President David G. Pershing, responding to these requests, announced that the event will continue as scheduled.   

Last week, UC Berkeley braced as ‘Hurricane Shapiro’ arrived on campus. The university reportedly paid local authorities $600,000 for event security — a ludicrous sum for a single evening. The Salt Lake City Police Department attended the event, observing how violence was prevented. Although protesters did emerge, there was little else done to prevent the speech. Unfortunately, life near UC Berkeley was put on hold as police barricaded streets and established checkpoints. The campus transformed overnight, thus resembling a town in the pathway of a storm. For comparison, Shapiro’s speech at UC Berkeley lasted roughly two hours — preparing for the event took hundreds of hours to ensure safety. Is this how free speech in the United States should operate?

I spoke with the Chair of YAF, Dillon Clark, about the upcoming event on Sept. 27. Glancing at any of the protest pages on Facebook, one imagines that Clark is surely bent on disrupting the status quo. That characterization could not be further from the truth. Responding to the recent criticism, Clark told me, “When you listen to people you disagree with you can gain a better understanding of their argument, why they think that way, how they came to that conclusion.” He continued by stating, “…If you can do that, not only can you broaden your overall understanding of a subject, but you can adopt new views or harden your own…” Disagreeing with his interpretation is rather difficult, as Shapiro’s entire career is focused on education and lively discussion.

Shapiro is a Harvard Law alumnus with significant intellectual prowess. His speech at the U will be brimming with statistics, and those who disagree with Shapiro can skip to the front of the Q&A line. As Clark told me earlier this week, “[Ben Shapiro] is popular for a reason, and people need to interact and engage with speakers like Ben to gain a better understanding of why and how people like him so much.”

Those requesting that Pershing cancel Shapiro’s speech center their argument around the term “hate speech.” Alternatively, his opinions do not align with the progressive movement and are therefore harmful. The political firebrand is admittedly not an admirer of the LGBTQIA movement; indeed, many of Shapiro’s comments severely aggravate leftists for this reason alone. Notice how I did not say “liberals,” as Democrats traditionally admire free speech. I wrote “leftists” to acknowledge social justice activists such as Lex Scott, founder of the United Front Party, who want to dismantle open dialogue. 

The movement that Scott and others represent in Utah has evoked a resistance to controversial ideas, evident in the title of the protest organized against Shapiro. “Counter-Protest to the hate speech of Ben Shapiro at the U,” reads the Facebook group’s heading. Wait, counter-protest to what, exactly? Shapiro might be controversial, but his appearances are guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Furthermore, the event is being hosted by a reputable organization and the University is aware of all details. Terming Shapiro’s educated rhetoric as a “protest” reveals a lack of understanding for how free speech operates.

There are limitations to the First Amendment, but Shapiro is neither preaching violence nor chaos—conservative speakers should not be viewed as counter-culture. No one is forcing the audience to attend and, if anything, disruptive protests actually attract more people to the venue. Instead of asking President Pershing to cancel Shapiro, groups like MEChA, SDS and Lex Scott should establish their own speeches. On Sept. 27, 2017, at 7 p.m., you have a choice: either attend the speech or choose to stay at home. Either way, Shapiro is coming to the U, thanks to Clark and a few others who recognize the value of free speech.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

 

2. Don’t Give Hate a Platform

Connor Richards

The normal quietness and lack of action that defines the University of Utah’s Park Building was absent on the afternoon of Sept. 12. It was replaced by the voices, yells and drum-bangs of about 50 U students who took part in a sit-in outside President David W. Pershing’s office. The protest, which was organized by the U’s chapter of Chicanx Student Movement of Aztlán (MEChA) and supported by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Black Student-Union, was against conservative commentator Ben Shapiro who will be speaking at the U on Sept. 27. Armed with harmonious chants and the synchronized beating of bass drums, the students demanded President Pershing cancel Shapiro’s talk.

Pershing, before being escorted out of the building by three police officers and a campus official, came out of his office to listen to the concerns of students. He said that while the university has a strong commitment to diversity, it is out of the university’s control to cancel a speaker invited by a student group (Shapiro was invited by the U’s chapter of Young Republicans). “The policy of the university is that a fully-registered student group has the right, just like you [the protesters] do, to invite speakers,” Pershing said, according to The Daily Utah Chronicle. “The jurisdiction we have is safety.”

The protest created outrage among the Utah community and led to accusations that the protesters are intolerant of conservative ideas and voices. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When Mitt Romney spoke at Kingsbury Hall in March 2016, there was no organized opposition by left-wing groups. Similarly, no leftists organizations attempted to cancel the conservative-leaning Evan McMullin’s speech when he made a presidential campaign stop at the U. With both of these recent instances in mind, it seems inaccurate to accuse U students of wanting to shut down conservative ideas, values and voices.

But Shapiro is not Mitt Romney or Evan McMullin. It isn’t Shapiro’s conservative tendencies that leftist students groups are hostile towards — it is his hateful and degrading comments towards minority groups. Shapiro consistently labels transgenderism as a mental illness and refers sex reassignment surgery as self-mutilation. He has repeatedly misgendered Caitlyn Jenner and scoffed at the idea that it takes any bravery to come out as transgender. When one student called him out for his insensitive rhetoric, Shapiro asked, “If I call you a moose, are you suddenly a moose?”

Shapiro is a coward. Rather than own and embrace his all too apparent disgust for transgender people, he hides it behind a poorly constructed veil of objectivity, using outdated psychology research on “gender dysphoria” to promote what is nothing more than hatred for people who are different from him. Shapiro’s catchphrase is “facts don’t care about your feelings,” as if he held his opinions on any intellectual grounds and not on outright prejudice.

The debate as to whether the U should host Shapiro centers around the idea the universities should be welcoming of all opinions, and that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects Shapiro’s right to speak. The idea that universities must allow all invited speakers, whatever their beliefs, to speak on campus is a nonsensical one. Universities exist to promote and harbor productive intellectual ideas, not to offer a free-for-all forum where all ideas, however out of whack, are treated as equally valuable. There is a reason universities do not offer courses in alchemy and astrology; these ideas have little intellectual merit.

Allowing Shapiro to speak simply because he was invited sets a dangerous precedent for what kind of speech can be promoted on the U campus. What if a student group invites a speaker who believes Sandy Hook was staged by the Obama administration, or that the Holocaust never happened, or that vaccinations cause autism? Should the U feel obligated to gives these ideas I platform? No, and it would be dangerously irresponsible to do so.

Controversial figures have been uninvited from the U before. In 2015, the rapper Asher Roth was invited by ASUU to headline the U’s annual Redfest to kick off the school year. ASUU revoked the invitation, however, after concerns were raised that the rapper’s lyrics “contradicted ASUU’s efforts to improve the campus climate.”

If a musician’s lyrics can be so disruptive to campus climate as to justify the cancellation of their performance, the same can certainly be said of Shapiro’s comments towards transgender people. It is high time colleges stopped providing hate with a platform and instead recognized that not all ideas deserve to be taken seriously in a university setting.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

Connor Richards is the assistant opinion editor of The Daily Utah Chronicle. Formerly a news writer, he covers politics, social issues and student life. He has won both regional and statewide awards for his writing.

34 COMMENTS

  1. It seems that Connor Richards has shown a tremendous amount of misunderstanding and lack of analysis on the suggested policies that Shapiro has espoused. If Richard has considered Shapiro’s thoughts a little more critically instead of dismissing him as a “coward”, he would certainly find that Shapiro’s conservatism is frankly unremarkable, he just simply defends his points very well (as noted by Coleman). Richard’s argument are full of slippery slope fallacies, including thinking that conservative thought is almost as equivalent as holocaust denial. Coleman’s take on the Shapiro speech shows far more consideration while Richard’s opinion seems very haphazard and lazy.

  2. Respectfully, Mr. Richards would do well to note that the suppression of any ideological platform—yes, even Holocaust denial, alchemy, or crazy conspiracy theories—is a refusal to listen. If Ben Shapiro’s ideas are dangerous, then we ought to be evaluating them carefully in order finely to tune better ideas against his. A placard reading “No hate speech!” inhibits accomplishing this, and calling a person hateful on the basis of a politico-cultural ethos is hardly convincing as an argument. One wonders why “hateful” is a criterion for incredibility, anyway.

  3. Shapiro is being lumped into the same category as Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer –which is hilarious because he’s not a troll and a practicing Jew. I’m a liberal and have arrived to the conclusion that the main reason he’s being protested is because people disagree with him. This nonsense of ‘hate speech’ needs to stop. The Supreme Court ruled in June (yet again) that even speech you disagree with –hate speech in this case– is protected under the FA. I won’t cling to the blanket that is the constitution, but has anyone given thought to the precedent that it would set if a conservative speaker were blocked? Would it be OK then if liberal speakers were refused a space to hold their event simply because a conservative took issue with it? If you don’t care about this, you’re living in the wrong country. Shapiro is a prominent figure in conservative politics, he was invited by a student group, and the U is doing the right thing by allowing him to have his event. I’ll be going to this event, not because I agree with him (I don’t in most cases), but because higher learning is a battleground of ideas, and as stated in this piece by Clark “When you listen to people you disagree with you can gain a better understanding of their argument, why they think that way, how they came to that conclusion. If you can do that, not only can you broaden your overall understanding of a subject, but you can adopt new views or harden your own…”

    • Donald, thank you for renewing my faith in the human ability to objectively examine information. Recently a student asked the professor for a few minutes at the beginning of class to announce the protest her affiliate group was sponsoring against Shapiro being allowed to speak at the U and to passed out a flier for anyone interested to join their protest. While I applaud and support her passion and desire to have her voice heard, the intensity of her bias concerned me. I refrained from commenting knowing that to do so would spark a heated conversation in class–a conversation I would have welcomed but may have disrespected the professors allotted time to teach. After class, not surprisingly, this student captured me in a discussion. I expressed to her how much I valued the freedom of speech this country has fought so valiantly for, as suspected, she got pretty heated that I disagreed with the University’s stance to protect “freedom of speech”, she equated my desire to protect freedom of speech with supporting Hitler’s murderous rampage for world dominance. I was at first offended by her logic, as I have a few years on her and have spent years studying such oppressive regimes and conflicts such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Korea, Vietnam, Rwanda’s genocide of the Tutsi community, etc. I have walked on the soil of many of these countries, walked through museums, burial grounds, seeking to gain understanding; to honor and never forget the victims caught in the cross-fires of such atrocities. However, instead of matching her antagonism I reaffirmed my respect for her convictions in bringing awareness to others as I now felt I had an obligation to investigate Shapiro’s point of views. “Higher learning is a battleground of ideas” broadening my understanding of the world at large.

    • Bravo. I’m very conservative, and I appreciate hearing dissenting views from educated people because I LEARN SOMETHING from them. I don’t always even agree with Ben, as I am more libertarian, but I always learn from him.

    • Here’s my Bottom Line…. ANYONE who tells me I have no right to express what I wish and tries to stop me is an enemy to me and all who love freedom. ANYONE who tries to stop someone from speaking at a publicly funded university is a Fascist/Communist>>> Destroyer of FREEDOM! People need to realize that the Republicans AND Democrats have brought America to the brink of disaster. Some believe America went; over the falls, long ago. Some will understand the quote; “Awaken to your AWFUL SITUATION.” There is only ONE POWER that can change things and this will only be done on an individual level. For those who are wise enough to read and believe the “Good Book”; KNOW that time is about up for this ole world. The ‘major signs’ are here. We are RIPE in INIQUITY! This world is going to get ‘cleaned up’…But it won’t be by the politicians…if ya know what I mean…. Hope yer ready…

  4. Believing that universities exist to promote “productive” ideas is to surrender your intellectual honesty. Who decides which ideas are productive? Apparently, Mr. Richards would prefer that a panel of administrators declare which ideas are productive and which shall be banned. Universities do, in fact, exist as a “free-for-all forum” for all ideas to be debated and refined through public discourse and argument. If an idea is not worth defending in the public square, it is not worth holding. Should you take issue with an idea being presented, the onus is on you to dispute it. Mr. Richards has failed to do this, dismissing Mr. Shapiro as cowardly and xenophobic, rather than engaging honestly with his arguments. Cancelling his appearance, as many other institutions have done, would be a grave disservice to the students and the larger community. Dismissing an argument or a speaker out-of-hand teaches you nothing of their faults and leaves you blind to their merits.

  5. Mr. Richards has committed the same act that far left groups, like Antifa, are committing: that is, painting someone as inhuman with labels like “Nazi” and “KKK” as a means to justify any act against them. They justify physical violence against someone if that individual is painted as a “Nazi”. They justify burning down a campus if a campus visitor is painted as “alt-right”. Finally, they justify the cancellation of an event if the speaker’s rhetoric is painted as “hate speech”. Their goal has transitioned from intellectual, thoughtful debate, to immediate suppression through character assassination. The truth is, Mr. Richards, the individual has rights, and those rights do not end where your opinions begin. Anyone can label any event, seminar, topic, or discussion as “hateful”. If, hypothetically, I so chose, would my labeling of this article as “hateful” against Shapiro, with the use of terms like “coward”, justify the removal of it? The answer is a resounding “no”.

  6. Connor, censorship is not an effective means of defeating ideas you deem dangerous. If Ben’s “ideas have little intellectual merit” then confront him on intellectual grounds. Ben allows all those who disagree with him to ask questions (and challenge him) before those who agree with him are allowed to ask him questions. And he won’t talk over you. So, I fully anticipate you participating in the event, and challenging him directly during the Q&A.

    Also, if a campus group wanted to host an outspoken neo-nazi speaker, or an active member of the KKK, or a leader of any other abhorrent group, your assertion that this would be harmful to the campus is unfounded. I have no doubt that the student body would challenge such a speaker’s ideas and be entirely capable of putting those ideas in their place (the intellectual garbage bin). In fact, I believe the campus would become stronger and more unified in opposing actual hate if such a speaker were given a platform. While if a student group was denied that opportunity, then people are left wondering why someone’s words and ideas are forbidden, and those same ideas become more seductive than they would otherwise. The irony of censorship is that it only proves to promote what’s censored.

  7. Neither of these writings are particularly interesting. Both writers have rehashed the same argument on both sides that’s been around for… months, a year, longer probably. And it’s the same criticisms. Where is the point that people will actually sit down and reach some sort of decision about this information after talking about it? Richards main method seems to be an attack that, “Haha! He says Caitlyn Jenner is a man with a mental disorder! That must mean his ideas are so idiotic he must not be allowed to campus!” Why is it so foreign when this idea of men and women being different seemed normal 20 years ago? You can see how I feel, but I think the more important point is the denial of ideas, statistics, or speech (which can be on either side) is so core to the way people think. Ben Shapiro offers answers to many of these criticisms at least and if you can’t see that as valuable in a speaker, that’s sad. Furthermore, in World War II, kids were drafted and blown up before they even hit the machinge gun fire beaches in Normandy. Jenner, is living a rich posh life and being applauded for having to elect to identify as a woman. What is real courage? I see it in the people that fought against the real Nazis the left hates.

  8. Let’s do better than Berkeley please. Let the man speak. If you disagree with his position debate in a respectful manner. Protest in a peaceful manner. Violence does not prove your point or further your agenda it makes you look like compete nut-jobs. This is The U. Let’s show some class, shall we?

    • So far the Left have shown their TRUE CHARACTER…Little, to No Class! I reflect on the Women’s March who left out women’s groups who where Pro-life and used hateful language during their speeches and how about their wearing their female reproductive units on their heads…Now you talk about classless… Remember the Take Over Wall Street fiasco… these sad creatures TRASHED the parks they took over. The Lefties are a Dangerous Joke. They support the MURDERING of BABIES in the WOMB…yet they say they are the ones who CARE!! Here’s a good one… Bill Clinton>>> The Poster Boy for>>> Mister NO CLASS!! He’s having sex in the Ovar Office as he’s sending our troops to go fight in the Faulkins… what a piece of work these ELITIST SLIM are…. (and believe me the Republicans ARE NO BETTER!!!!!!) My grandpa used to say>>> “Ya get what ya DESERVE sonny boy!!!” And America is going to ‘REAP THE WHIRLWIND’!!! Hope yer ready friend!

  9. We don’t need to show class, but humanity and respect for other people’s ideals or beliefs. If Mrs. Shapiro shows respect and decency for other people’s or cultures or ideals and then I’m sure he will be respected and even if we don’t like his speech we are adults and we can take it. But if he begins to bring the worst on people, then I don’t think that he will be respected.

    • Blanca, what you are articulating in your concluding sentence here is essentially what is called the Heckler’s, or Mob’s Veto: It is the idea that you can shut down an opponent by threatening violence in response — the fact of that violence is then taken as evidence that the person’s speech is invalid or should not be tolerated, merely on the basis of the reaction.

      Because this has become such an effective tactic in recent years there is an acceleration of the frequency of groups using the heckler’s veto as a lazy way of avoiding engagement with articulate opponents more fluent in the facts behind arguments than yourself. And this is definitely what Shapiro is. He is not, by any objective measure, objectionable, though you may object to the positions he takes. He is a reasonable, charitable and nonthreatening speaker. But he is hard to answer — and THAT’S what has people riled up.

      Please don’t throw your weight behind the heckler’s veto.

  10. I’ll start with the typographical errors.

    Correct the second sentence of paragraph four to read, “It isn’t Shapiro’s conservative tendencies that leftist student groups are hostile towards—it is his hateful and degrading comments towards minority groups.” It currently says “students groups.”

    Correct the third sentence of paragraph four to read, “Shapiro consistently labels transgenderism as a mental illness and refers to sex reassignment surgery as self-mutilation.” It currently says “and refers sex reassignment surgery as self-mutilation.”

    Also correct the third sentence of paragraph seven to read, “Should the U feel obligated to give these ideas a platform?” It currently says “obligated to gives these ideas I platform.”

    Now for the content.

    “The protest created outrage among the Utah community and led to accusations that the protesters are intolerant of conservative ideas and voices. Nothing could be farther from the truth.”

    They, along with you and many liberals, absolutely are intolerant of some conservative ideas, e.g. LGBT issues. You spend half of this article talking about how hateful, degrading, dangerous, prejudiced, and out of whack his views are of transgenderism. To you and the leftist camp, there is no moral or rational opinion about this other than your own; anything else is worthy of the “hate” label.

    “He has repeatedly misgendered Caitlyn Jenner…”

    You certainly have the right to use the term “woman” however you want. But Shapiro’s argument is that the rest of us have the right to call a spade a spade. This obviously bothers you, and it seems to be your biggest problem with him. But let me tell you something: the students in the Union cafeteria have the right to laugh with each other about how my Church is actually a “cult” while I eat my hamburger five feet away from them. Trust me, things like that make me feel much like you do when Ben calls Caitlyn Jenner a “him.” My business professor apparently has the right to endorse and quote the Book of Mormon musical during his lectures, a piece of work that makes Ben Shapiro’s rhetoric look like a flower arrangement. Should I complain to President Pershing that he’s using a university platform to spread insensitive views and demand that he be sent away? How about my philosophy professor who peppered his lectures with derogatory comments about LDS religious texts? When my business professor saw that what he said made some of us uncomfortable, he told our class, “I believe in the right to offend.” This is a difficult principle for most people, including me. But we need to accept it and learn to deal with it because, at some point or another, a university environment will expose us to irritating or offensive ideologies. This offense and dislike is the price we all pay for the first amendment. What’s annoying about these protestors is that they’re suddenly crying foul now that it’s their turn to pay.

    “…and scoffed at the idea that it takes any bravery to come out as transgender.”

    This is an example of Ben’s tendency to overcorrect. He is pushing back against society’s praise of the transgender movement by acting like it doesn’t matter or even exist, which I really don’t like. He would be better received if he wasn’t so emotionally charged.

    “The idea that universities must allow all invited speakers, whatever their beliefs, to speak on campus is a nonsensical one. Universities exist to promote and harbor productive intellectual ideas, not to offer a free-for-all forum where all ideas, however out of whack, are treated as equally valuable. There is a reason universities do not offer courses in alchemy and astrology; these ideas have little intellectual merit.”

    So, who are the judges of intellectual merit? Who gets to decide which ideas are productive and which ones are out of whack? You suggest that the process would be simple, like differentiating pseudo-sciences from valid sciences. But political and moral opinions don’t work like that. Whoever is in charge of judging merit, you seem convinced that they should use left-wing thought as a model, and that social and moral propositions ought to meet some liberal standard to be considered acceptable. Anything reasonably close to your philosophies is fine, but it’s time to hyperventilate and demand justice when someone won’t call Caitlyn Jenner a woman because he put on a dress. Then comes the outrage about how this is nothing but hate, transphobia, prejudice, bigotry, etc. There are, of course, no other explanations.

    “Allowing Shapiro to speak simply because he was invited sets a dangerous precedent for what kind of speech can be promoted on the U campus. What if a student group invites a speaker who believes Sandy Hook was staged by the Obama administration, or that the Holocaust never happened, or that vaccinations cause autism? Should the U feel obligated to gives these ideas I platform? No, and it would be dangerously irresponsible to do so.”

    Again, the proposition here is that Shapiro’s opinions are as dangerous and obviously wrong as holocaust denial and vaccine paranoia. Most people don’t buy that.

    Finally, the University of Utah is not giving these ideas a platform. The private student group that invited him to speak is. The 2015 rap concert cancellation isn’t a fair comparison because the ASUU is sponsored by and directly affiliated with the University, whereas YAF is not. President Pershing understands this.

  11. It is not surprising that an illegal theocracy like the state of Utah, aligned with the beliefs of a xenophobic religion and shaping its public policy accordingly, would welcome at its flag ship public research University a pseudointellectual like Ben Shapiro with his well organized talking points for justifying hateful beliefs as if belief is equates to knowledge.

    Why doesn’t Ben Shapiro challenge the fact that there is an LDS institute sensoring free speech at the University of Utah, influencing policy there. Let’s see if the U of U would welcome him then, being that all of its key leaders are Mormon, which is by design.

    • It is obvious, Riley, that you are either not from Utah, or do not pay attention to your surroundings. If this were not the case, then you would be fully aware that the University of Utah is a predominantly liberal university and your claim that the government of Utah or the LDS church has anything to do with President Pershing’s decision to allow this talk is unfounded. I add my voice to Edwards, where is the evidence? The Salt Lake Institute (the “LDS institute” to which I assume you are referring) is an independent entity from the university and has no power over the decisions made therein.

      Judging by the grammatical errors in your comment as well as Richards’, it is evident that you both were very emotional when writing your responses and failed to take the time to proofread. The way you have conveyed your opinion about the LDS religion (whether intentionally or not) is quite on par with the way Ben Shapiro conveys his opinions. Do I not now have the right, by your very own standards, to label your words as hateful? Shall I demand your comment be deleted? Are you not doing the very thing you accuse Shapiro of doing, that is, justifying hateful beliefs as if belief equates to knowledge? I am exasperated by the level of hypocrisy contained in arguments for preventing this speech.

      Ben Shapiro has people who disagree with him scared because they are finding it difficult to make substantial counter arguments. Let me be clear. I am not advocating that his opinions are right. I myself disagree with several of his positions. But I am calm enough to observe that many liberals are self-impairing their ability to combat opposing views because they refuse to give audience to such things; or even allow others to hear them. Since they are uninformed of the ACTUAL positions of their opponent, their arguments become weak. They then resort to character attacks and demand more censorship, as this is the only effective tactic left, and the vicious cycle continues. In my opinion, liberals hoping to convince others that their views are correct cannot afford to miss this speech. Similarly, conservatives with the same desires cannot afford to miss a prominent liberal discourse.

      • Then why isn’t there a muslim institute so prominently situated right up against the campus. Would it be allowed?

        In addition, I invite you to personally survey all the key leadership of the University of Utah (U of U), and ask them their religion. You know what their answers are going to be.

        Also, I am from Utah. My ancestors were here before it was stolen from them after the war with Mexico, and I am observant of my surroundings, Mormon white supremacy is everywhere in this state–e.g., this state fell to Donald Trump during the last presidential election.

        Moreover, the University of Utah (U of U) is not as liberal as the watered-down liberals in Utah think it is or the conservatives in Utah think it is. The U of U is not a quintessential example of intellectual excellence like the University of California at Berkeley, nor is Utah an economic power house and epicenter of innovation like California; California is that way because of its diversity and secular government, which is one of the best examples in the United States of a government of the people by the people for the people (such a government is best accomplished by a secular government, one free from relying on myths like those about the origins of the universe, an after life, etc.–morality is found in the present moment).

        Finally, speech or print isn’t hateful just because it is intolerant of intolerence. There’s a difference between discernment and judgement. Pointing out injustice isn’t unjust. Just because the Nazis party was opposed doesn’t mean people were intolerant; fascist don’t have the right to annihilate people who don’t fit their accepted profile, and people will leave fascists alone if they don’t try to annihilate them. (Oh, and correct Donald Trump’s spelling and grammar. He could actually use the help.)

        • I thought I had made my point clear, but apparently, I did not.

          1. I did not accuse you of being intolerant of intolerance. I did not even accuse you of being intolerant of Ben Shaprio. I DID accuse you of being intolerant of religion, an accusation for which you so conveniently provided more evidence in your last rebuttal. I likened your rhetoric to that of Ben Shaprio as evidence of your hypocrisy. It is outrageous and disrespectful for you to use a religion, namely the Muslim religion, as leverage to promote your intolerance of religion. By your very ideals of religion and government (described in detail, in your own words), you obviously don’t believe that ANY religious institute should be allowed to be built near a public university. You answered your own question in a way that negates the effectiveness and purpose of asking the question of the first place. There is a Jewish Community Center on campus as well, also independently operated from the university (which is obvious since neither of them are allowed to use the name of the university or its logos). Are you aware of this? Are you going to accuse Jews of controlling the University of Utah as well? Of course a Muslim mosque, or institute, or any type of facility of their choosing would be allowed! There is talk on campus right now seeking to address this issue. But you wouldn’t know that because you refuse to pay attention to reality. And you say you promote diversity…

          2. Why don’t we conduct this survey together? I would LOVE to hold your hand and walk you into each and every office of the administration at the University of Utah and ask them, “This person is claiming that you are in bed with the LDS Church and that you are in fact LDS, but has no evidence to back up this claim. Would you like the opportunity to correct this person?” I guarantee YOU, that they would be offended and shocked by such allegations. YOU were the one that made the original claim without evidence, and the responsibility to provide such evidence falls upon YOU. I am serious about this. Let’s go together like civilized intellectuals. My number is: 385-209-9185

          3. Oh yes, the wonderful University of California at Berkeley! What a shining example of intellectual excellence it is to violently riot and cause $100,000 worth of damages in February. What immense maturity it demonstrates to violently confront opposing views in April and August. It takes a certain kind of intelligence to advocate for, and successfully achieve, a ban on pepper spray for use in the police force and then become the perfect counter example of the very thing you advocated by driving the police in the city of Berkeley to repeal the ban and spend $600,000 in security, all in response to the fear of your own violent behavior. Might I remind you that UC Berkeley, however reluctantly, chose to allow Ben Shaprio to speak. If Berkeley is so wonderful and can do no wrong, then why are you condemning the University of Utah for doing the VERY SAME THING. Again, hypocrisy at its finest. And all this, ironically, occurs at the university known to be “The birthplace of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960’s”.

          4. I give no support for Donald J. Trump. I have no affiliation with the man, nor did I vote for him. I completely AGREE with you that his grammar is awful and he carries himself like a buffoon. You have no idea what my political affiliations are and you assume that because I disagree with you, I must be a supporter of Mr. Trump and therefore you can discredit me by bringing him into the discussion. This is a brash assumption, albeit not a surprising one given that your entire argument has been founded on assumption.

    • Riley-
      “It is not surprising that an illegal theocracy like the state of Utah, aligned with the beliefs of a xenophobic religion…”
      What an astoundingly ignorant thing to say. Aside from being demonstrably false in every conceivable way, your first statement alone indicates that you have passed judgement upon an entire group of people based on woeful misunderstanding and glaring closed mindedness. I think you would call that prejudice and bigotry if directed at a politically favored “protected minority group” …actually, Mormons ARE a minority. Even in Salt Lake City.
      I guess that only leaves me questioning: Why so hateful and bigoted, Riley..?

      • Mormons are not a minority in Utah, and they weild the power of a state goverment, which is illegal; the U.S. Constitution adamantly calls for the separation of church and state.

        Moreover, for being an oppressed minority group, if that’s wholly true, they seem to have no problem oppressing non-mormons–and they are overwhelmingly endorsing of the Republican party.

        • Riley, re-read the U.S. Constitution, nowhere there-in is a separation of church and state adamantly called for. The term “separation of church and state” was coined many, many years after the ratification of the constitution by Thomas Jefferson as a response addressing the ramifications of the first amendment. Reading Thomas Jefferson’s letter it becomes apparent that he was using it to describe to prohibition of the federal government interfering with religious pursuits and practices, not the other way around.

  12. Soon the company making the loud speaker system will demand it not be used for conservative speech. Then the power company. Then the water company. The cell towers. The satellites.

  13. At one time, hate speech was saying that the world is round. They would never allow someone to speak this idea publicly. People are afraid of hate speech because it does not endorse their ideas. People who want to protest such speeches are afraid of something. What that is depends on the person. And what is “Hate-Speech?” Give an operational definition of this. “Hate-Speech”, is the same as “equality”. So many definitions and perceptions of what this means.

    • Apparently, “Hate Speech” is now defined as any opinion that challenges your own. With that in mind, I now formally accuse Connor Richards of Hate Speech because he is freely expressing his opinion that I simply do not agree with. Would anyone care to join me at President Pershing’s office to protest in order to suppress Connor Richards’ First Amendment Rights?
      I wasn’t even interested in attending this event until I realized how many people are trying to oppress him. The last time I heard groups of people attacking a practicing Jew, they called it the Holocaust. Knowing that about Shapiro, what do these protesters call it now?

  14. 40% of millennials believe speech should be regulated (that “hate speech” be illegal). It’s time for the other 60% of us to stand up and oppose what amounts to the repealing of the First Amendment. College and university campuses are only the first battleground. Defend your First Amendment rights- before it’s too late.

    • Robert…this IS the Bottom Line! On a personal level I don’t put up with letting the ‘liberals’ jabber on….I challenge their view points! Here’s an example: Abortion is clearly the ‘taking of an innocent life’.; This is easy to point out. Point out that there will NEVER be another child that has this DNA…it’s a “one of a kind” child that is being MURDERED! Here’s another one… Al Gore… the ‘Climate Change guru… point out that 1… just 1, of his houses uses 32 times more energy that the average home!!! Orange is the new black…..And Liberals are the new LOOOOOSERS !!!

  15. I almost saw him speak in California but the crowd had blocked all entrances. I plan to try to see him speak at the U of U now that I’m in Utah. I hope our great state and university can handle diverse opinions and accept free speech better than California did. Great article

  16. Connor, you are one of my new favorite people. Thank you for such an educated, authentic opinion piece. Attaching your name to your criticisms is incredibly brave and I am very grateful to you for using your privilege, platform, and freedom of expression to speak out for those who may feel afraid or unable to do so.

    The First Amendment in the United States Constitution reads that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” The freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution in this amendment prevents the United States Congress from prohibiting or abridging the freedom of speech. It does not “guarantee” Ben Shapiro, or any other speaker, an appearance or a platform at this University. I disagree with Nicholas when they write that it does.

    That first amendment, however, absolutely protects and ensures that Connor, Nicholas, and the rest of the press at the Chronicle the right to freely speak as they have done in this H2H article. It also protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” in protest and petition. For those who choose to protest this event tonight, I am excited to stand in petition and exercise my constitutional rights with you.

    Thank you again, Connor. Great work.

  17. Connor, I didn’t get past your title — I have only so much tolerance for uninformed bluster, and your title is a clear indication that what you have to say is flush with it.

    I’ve read enough screeds with essentially that sentiment as an overriding theme; I’ve insufficient patience left with such to digest any more looking for scraps of reasonable commentary. Never, in all those anti-Shapiro screeds I’ve read, have I seen any substantial evidence of objectively hateful things Shapiro says or does. He is provocative — yes. So are you. So is any speaker in today’s political climate that is worth listening to, left right or center. The “hate” label is nowadays too often only a substitute for intelligent engagement with an articulate opponent. Reasonable people no longer have time for that nonsense. Get over the fact that it’s hard to answer his arguments on their own terms, and more facile just to make up labels to stick on him, to excuse yourself from that hard work.

    I don’t doubt there are a few things he’s said some can TAKE — and INTERPRET in hateful ways. But Shapiro is clearly, demonstrably, not a hateful person and no honest rendering of anything I’ve ever heard him say is consistent with that characterization. This comes from one who has followed (and read) Shapiro for many years — if there was hate to be found, I would have come across it. The mere fact that it’s so hard to produce actual examples, and that nobody ever does, is a clear enough demonstration that you’re tilting at windmills, like everyone else who swings this particular cudgel in his direction.

    Let me tell you a bit about Shapiro and Hate.

    Shapiro is an important TARGET of hate. For one, he was identified by the Left-wing Anti Defamation League as the number one target (worldwide) of anti-jew hate attacks during 2016. He has to travel with bodyguards because of ongoing credible threats against his personal safety.

    Now I sincerely doubt you intend any antisemetic hate toward him in your probably well-meaning but misguided attack on Mr. Shapiro.

    However, finding yourself joining forces with some of the most hateful mobs in political life today, and piling on your efforts to theirs to silence and marginalize him … ought to at least give you some pause. But apparently in the Left today, that kind of self-awareness has become a rarity.

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