Students Need to Hear Divergent Opinions

It is hard to imagine taking a position more antithetical to Thomas Jefferson’s, and all of our Founding Fathers’ insistence on freedom of expression and freedom of association than that which has been put forward by the Cavalier Daily. Frankly, it is astounding that the University’s student newspaper is in favor of banning free speech and free association. Even if you don’t agree with me, I have the right to speak!

I note that Mike Pence is speaking at no charge to the university, while the U paid Ibram X. Kendi $32,500 to speak for an hour. There was no outcry as to his POV or shutting him down. But, then, he is part of the ill-named “liberal” orthodoxy.

“Dangerous rhetoric is not entitled to a platform,” says the editorial headline. “Speech that threatens the lives of those on the Grounds is unjustifiable,” reads the sub-head.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Not only is Pence’s speech bigoted, hurtful, and violent, it literally threatens the well-being, safety and even the very lives of UVa students!

It does seem to be case of whose ox is being gored — free speech is all well and good, as long as you agree with me. That is not in keeping with the spirit of a university, which is the search for truth, rather than imagining that one already has a death grip on it.

This is a general observation, and we need not go into the many factual errors in the Cavalier Daily’s report on what Michael Pence actually said or has publicly advocated. If the students cannot hear divergent opinions or feel genuine physical risk, as is suggested in this piece, it is time for them to read the Constitution. I hope that the students are not so weak that they fear physical harm from a civilized discussion. The CD would be well in line with George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth and Thought Police if this were the case.

Puerile commentary such as this does no good whatsoever.

Kerry D. Moynihan
College ’82

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John L. Warden
John L. Warden
2 years ago

That the writer of the “editorial” is a student at the University is remarkable malfeasance by the admissions office. He or she is obviously in a state of arrested adolescence. The University should condition his or her continued matriculation on a reading of “A Woman of No Inportance” followed by an essay on the meanings of “danger” and “safety.”

Jim Rutt
2 years ago

Anything we can do to help?

Jim Rutt. MIT Free Speech Alliance.