Free Speech vs. Progressive Activism

Dave Rubin responds, civilly, to protestors. They think the government should forbid speech that makes transgender people feel uncomfortable, including use of the wrong pronouns, and he tries to explain why that is a really bad idea.


The Rubin Report
Dave Rubin goes back and forth with protesters during his entire speech to students at the University of New Hampshire. discussing the importance of free speech the the rights of the individual.

The full, unedited video can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knv7ZwIBmvs.

8 Comments for “Free Speech vs. Progressive Activism”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    The government should not prohibit speech except in extremely limited cases long defined in court cases. Private organizations (employers, private colleges and universities, NGO’s) have, appropriately, much wider discretion to prohibit speech in the workplace, classroom, and other situations, but (in my view) should be careful to draw lines that are limited in scope, and precise.

    You are mistaken if you think that “progressive activists” are the only (or even primary) group calling for government prohibitions on free speech. Think about the conservative uproar that ensued when Westboro Baptist started picketing soldier’s funerals, or the scores of laws proposed over the years to prohibit disrespect for the flag, and so on.

    So don’t play partisan games. Freedom of speech is always under attack, and has been since the founding. As often as not, it is the “normal” folks who think that the government should protect morality and majority views are the worst offenders.

    Reply
  2. posted by Lori Heine on

    Each side keeps projecting its own faults onto the other.

    The game proceeds apace…

    Reply
  3. posted by Jorge on

    You are mistaken if you think that “progressive activists” are the only (or even primary) group calling for government prohibitions on free speech. Think about the conservative uproar that ensued when Westboro Baptist started picketing soldier’s funerals, or the scores of laws proposed over the years to prohibit disrespect for the flag, and so on.

    So don’t play partisan games.

    I think the person playing partisan games might be you. The first event was years ago. The second, I think maybe happened once in the past five years, too.

    One should try to find more than one example of progressives trying to use the government to censor speech. I think there was that story about the Obama administration threatening to sue companies for making some kind of claims about environmentalism. Then there was the former New York City Council Speaker who tried to prevent Chick-Fil-A from opening a store on a university campus. Unlike your examples, these are not narrow issues, but attempts to attack broad groups of people.

    Does it really make a difference whether it’s a majority vs. a plurality that is being censored? Remove the free speech rights of a minority and you risk destroying the nation’s values. Remove the free speech rights of a majority and you risk destroying its basic functioning along with it.

    It occurs to me that your argument wasn’t that conservative censors are more dangerous. It’s that they’re more numerous. The wiser course of action would be to ignore the argument.

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  4. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    I think the person playing partisan games might be you. The first event was years ago. The second, I think maybe happened once in the past five years, too.

    Oh, go suck your own butt, Jorge.

    I chose the two examples because they are well known nationally. I could as easily have pointed to the attempts at prior restraint of speech in the case of campus protests against the likes of Ann Coulter and Milo Silliopoulus, the laws targeting boycotts of Israel, the CFAA prohibition on uncovering racial discrimination online, the Latham Acts’s prohibition on “disparaging tradements”, or any number of other examples from the last year or two. And you know it, or would if you weren’t so self-righteously determined to keep your eyes wide shut. It is nonsense.

    Preserving free speech is too important for partisan games, Jorge. Attacks on free speech are common, at all levels of government, too common for the kind of crap you and Stephen are trying to pull off, trying to pin the tail on the donkey you don’t like.

    So keep your eyes wide shut and blather on.

    Reply
  5. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    It occurs to me that your argument wasn’t that conservative censors are more dangerous. It’s that they’re more numerous.

    My argument was neither. My argument was that attacks on free speech are common and come from across the spectrum — left, right and middle: “You are mistaken if you think that “progressive activists” are the only (or even primary) group calling for government prohibitions on free speech. … Freedom of speech is always under attack, and has been since the founding. As often as not, it is the “normal” folks who think that the government should protect morality and majority views who are the worst offenders.”

    The wiser course of action would be to ignore the argument.

    Well, you certainly did that, misstating the argument I was making and running off chasing red herrings. So I guess you are wise. Wouldn’t have thought so, myself.

    Reply
    • posted by Jorge on

      The word “primary” must mean different things to different people.

      Reply
    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      The word “primary” must mean different things to different people.

      “Primary” has three commonly accepted meanings: (1) most important; principal; (2) earliest in time or order of development; or (3) not derived from, caused by, or based on anything else. I used the word in the context of the first meaning.

      For the record, I don’t think that calls for the government to crack down on free speech from either the left-fringe or the right-fringe are “primary” in the sense of “most important”.

      Attacks from the fringe may cause great excitement in the urban “opinion centers” but they don’t amount to much after all the furor has died down. More sensible people step in and put an end to the nonsense in almost all cases.

      The “primary” designation, it seems to me, should be reserved for the most common (and most invidious in my view) source — ordinary, well-meaning people from the muddled center who call for the government to crack down on speech that offends majority views of acceptable morality, decency and speech.

      Reply
  6. posted by Jim Michaud on

    It was on some other thread that someone (I forget who) pointed out the obvious: if you have to tell someone which is the proper pronoun to use, you’re not doing transgenderism correctly. Agreed. And I refuse to justify grammatically incorrect nonsense like addressing a single person with the plural pronoun “they”.

    Reply

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