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Free Speech in the Crossfire By: Kevin DeAnna
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 17, 2009


Congressman Tom Tancredo was recently attacked when he tried to give a speech to the student group Youth for Western Civilization at the University of North Carolina. Before the speech even began, leftists began screaming and shrieking. Tancredo was physically blocked by protesters who spread a banner in front of him. Finally, a window was broken by rock-throwing radicals, as protestors warned conservative UNC students that “we know where you sleep.”

While many websites noted that this was an egregious assault on freedom of speech, it has become routine on college campuses. Don Feder’s speech at the University of Massachusetts was stopped last month by a self-described “Coalition Against Hate” that screamed and interrupted continuously throughout the event. Leftists stormed the stage at the University of Columbia to prevent a speech by Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist in 2006. Pat Buchanan was assaulted by a protester who yelled “stop fascism!” and threw salad dressing at him (while screaming like a coward for the police immediately afterward). Ann Coulter, Bill Kristol, Daniel Pipes, Karl Rove, and many others have all been either shouted down or even physically assaulted.

Let us conduct a thought experiment. What would happen if conservatives disrupted a left-wing event, particularly if it featured someone from the “civil-rights community” or a multicultural group? Certainly they would be expelled from the event, possibly from the school. Threats of physical violence from college conservatives (if you can
even imagine such a thing) would certainly result in arrest and innumerable lawsuits against any groups even remotely associated with the offenders. And yet, leftist thugs frequently use violence to stop speech they don’t like. Not only are they not punished, but they are sometimes rewarded by sympathetic faculty.

Why are we in this situation and what we can do about it? I have organized conservative and libertarian groups full time for over two years and I have concluded that “socialists” and “liberals” are not the problem on campus. On most campuses, the College Republicans are typically better organized than the College Democrats. Speeches for cutting taxes or removing tariffs are not shut down, nor do mask-wearing maniacs cause a scene at lectures on the Federal Reserve. However, speeches even mildly critical of racial preferences, illegal immigration, or judicially imposed gay marriage result in violence, chaos, and ultimately repression.

The problem is the ideology of diversity and multiculturalism itself. Restrictions on free speech, overbearing speech codes – these are the logical result of a corrupt academic culture that puts ethnic identity over achievement, tribalism over assimilation, and a culture of grievance over pride in American and Western traditions.

You simply cannot have a real academic climate when you have resource centers for protected classes of minorities (like the new Carolina Latino/a Center under discussion at UNC) to give special privileges to groups who then have a stake in defending multiculturalism. You can’t have real education when you have admissions policies that require schools to admit under-qualified students to fit an artificial and racist definition of diversity. When subjects like history or English become venues for indoctrination in victimhood, you can’t act surprised when you see hundreds of screaming leftists self-righteously shut down a congressman’s talk because they deem conservative opinions “hate speech.”

Playing by the left’s rules is a losing strategy. This is why I started Youth for Western Civilization as a movement to confront the cult of diversity and multiculturalism and the repression that inevitably follows. Contrary to the smears of the far-left, we are not “racist” – we have a multiracial membership united in the belief that America is our home and Western culture is our culture and we will fight to defend them. We are fighting against multicultural groups largely defined by ethnic identity that despise both.

Prior to Congressman Tancredo’s speech, a number of leftists retorted that they weren’t against Western Civilization—which they took to mean Shakespeare and Bach. But while the great books and arts are certainly a part of Western Civilization, so are traditions and institutions such as freedom of speech and civil discourse. With their behavior at Tancredo’s speech, and at schools nationwide, the campus radicals have revealed that, whatever they may say, they hold those traditions in contempt.


Kevin DeAnna is the founder of Youth for Western Civilization and Deputy Field Director at the Leadership Institute.


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