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NYU Prof Defends ‘Snowflake’ Hostility to Free Speech

NYU Prof Defends ‘Snowflake’ Hostility to Free Speech

“ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people”

We’ve come to the point where progressives are openly admitting they don’t believe in free speech. Ulrich Baer teaches comparative literature at NYU.

He writes at the New York Times:

What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech

The recent student demonstrations at Auburn against Spencer’s visit — as well as protests on other campuses against Charles Murray, Milo Yiannopoulos and others — should be understood as an attempt to ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people, rather than censorship. Liberal free-speech advocates rush to point out that the views of these individuals must be heard first to be rejected. But this is not the case. Universities invite speakers not chiefly to present otherwise unavailable discoveries, but to present to the public views they have presented elsewhere. When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good.

In such cases there is no inherent value to be gained from debating them in public. In today’s age, we also have a simple solution that should appease all those concerned that students are insufficiently exposed to controversial views. It is called the internet, where all kinds of offensive expression flourish unfettered on a vast platform available to nearly all.

The great value and importance of freedom of expression, for higher education and for democracy, is hard to underestimate. But it has been regrettably easy for commentators to create a simple dichotomy between a younger generation’s oversensitivity and free speech as an absolute good that leads to the truth. We would do better to focus on a more sophisticated understanding, such as the one provided by Lyotard, of the necessary conditions for speech to be a common, public good. This requires the realization that in politics, the parameters of public speech must be continually redrawn to accommodate those who previously had no standing.


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Not just sophistry, but simple-minded sophistry.

If I’m paying the big bucks for a fancy school, I expect better quality lies for my money.

Conservative0317 | April 25, 2017 at 10:26 am

I would tell him that with all his education, reading and experience, what he states as “When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good”, is still merely his OPINION. I have a different opinion on what the value is of certain speech. He has a right to his opinion, but does not have a right to suppress mine. The speaker should be heard, as our 1A directs, and let the students choose to hear it or not and make their own opinion about it.

What Ulrich Baer is really saying: I’m all for free speech, just as long as I get to decide who gets to speak.

Another pussy faced intellectual talking crap.