Free expression is one thing. But universities’ social responsibility does not mean being a jobs program for disgraced white supremacists.
Coulter, Milo, this guy — they have earned their pariah status and then some.
— James Noonan (@_jmnoonan) January 25, 2018
We keep hearing this from our elite totebag liberals, that we simply must invite the most cancerously dishonest wingnuts we can find into every place we can fit them, so as to promote the free speech which will eventually lead to the downfall of these human tumors.
If we do not, of course, we are Just As Bad because “not wanting to listen to someone scream about the master race” is Exactly The Same as “let’s put all members of this ethnic group in an oven.”
And it’s just such fucking crap I can’t even engage with it anymore. Look, if Bannon is owed a speaking opportunity at the University of Chicago, why isn’t he owed one at UIC as well? At Northwestern? At Loyola? At IIT? Why isn’t he required to speak at the Art Institute? At the Field Museum? At Brookfield Zoo? At NASCAR? At my kid’s birthday party? Wouldn’t that just be the height of enlightened discourse, and prove once and for all my commitment to free speech, letting him spew his nativist crap while a bunch of confused preschoolers eat blue-frosted cupcakes?
Institutions book speakers to send a message about what those institutions are about. Classical opera houses don’t do Fiddler on the Roof. Shakespeare companies are not doing Death of a Salesman. I don’t go to the Art Institute to look at live pandas and the zoo is under no obligation to hang Picassos. Private universities do not have to book in people like Bannon or Milo or Coulter. They do so to tell their students, faculty, staff and communities what they consider worthy of a hearing.
They can jaw on all they want about presenting all kinds of free thoughts on the issues of the day, but the stage on which they propose to put Bannon is not available to everyone. It’s not available to the people Bannon’s work in the White House displaced, terrorized and silenced, for example.
Look, it’s 2018. We have a whole Internet now, which happens to include several thousand sites which are just absolute buttholes of white supremacist nonsense where these people can get together and sing their little songs and talk about how much they hate black and Mexican people. Bannon had the entire goddamn White House from which to speak.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives him the sidewalk and the open air. That’s all he’s owed, and it should be all he’s given.