Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Brasch Column -- Conservatives ARE Right

Conservative Group Is Right: Free Speech Is Not a Political Issue


by Walter Brasch

The Sunbird Conservatives, a student group, put out some pro-McCain literature at a recruiting table at Fresno Pacific University a week ago.

Seemed innocent enough. The conservatives weren't harassing anyone, nor were they blocking any sidewalks.

But, administrators at this Christian-based college didn't like it. A dean told the students to either remove the McCain literature or to agree to what he said was university policy to present both sides. The dean correctly noted that the First Amendment applies only to government intrusion. A private university, unlike a public university, may curtail any free speech it wants.

The students still argued "free speech rights." Enter the provost, head of all academic affairs at the university. She reaffirmed the dean's demands. One of the members shouted: "free speech" at her. They challenged her, arguing that for a political organization to present both views would defy common sense. The provost's response, according to the conservative Leadership Institute, was "Shut-up! I'm the provost. That is disrespectful."

The students were warned if they didn't comply with the administrators' demands, they would be restricted in future activities on campus.

The Founding Fathers wanted all views to be heard. Channeling the revolutionary political philosophy of poet John Milton and judge Lord Blackstone, they believed that mankind is rational, and if all the facts were available, mankind would find the truth. That became the basis of the First Amendment.

Now, the twist is that the Fresno Pacific administrators were wrong. Their own university actually believes that all views should be allowed, as long as there is the opportunity for opposing views. It does not require one organization to put out all views.

But, the Fresno Pacific administrators are also right. A private university can do what it wants to do. It can encourage or restrict free speech. Except in California.

California is the only state that extends the First Amendment to private colleges, which as a matter of educational philosophy should encourage, not restrict, freedom of expression.

This means that the wishes of the Founding Fathers have been extended into California, which many believe is a hellhole of liberalism. Disregard the fact that some rabid conservatives actively try to restrict free speech rights of others. Disregard the reality that conservatives who want to keep government out of our lives used both the constitution and state law to underscore their right to distribute political literature.

It's time for all states, especially Pennsylvania where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written, to enact legislation to assure that the principles of the nation, and especially the rights of free expression, are extended to all sectors, both public AND private.

*************

[Walter Brasch's latest book is the second edition of Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (November 2007), available through amazon.com, bn.com, and other bookstores. You may contact Brasch at brasch@bloomu.edu or through his website at: www.walterbrasch.com]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Philip Temple: Hang On A Minute, Mate
Peter Dunne quietly omits some salient facts when arguing for retention of MMP’s coat-tailing provision that allows a party to add list seats if it wins one electorate and achieves more than 1% or so of the party vote... More>>


Cheap Grace And Climate Change: Australia And COP26

It was not for everybody, but the shock advertising tactics of the Australian comedian Dan Ilic made an appropriate point. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a famed coal hugger, has vacillated about whether to even go to the climate conference in Glasgow. Having himself turned the country’s prime ministerial office into an extended advertising agency, Ilic was speaking his language... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Funeral Rites For COVID Zero
It was such a noble public health dream, even if rather hazy to begin with. Run down SARS-CoV-2. Suppress it. Crush it. Or just “flatten the curve”, which could have meant versions of all the above. This created a climate of numerical sensitivity: a few case infections here, a few cases there, would warrant immediate, sharp lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, the closure of all non-vital service outlets... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>



Our Man In Washington: Morrison’s Tour Of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sign of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>