I came across the Time magazine cover themed ‘The Silence Breakers’ and a part of me lit up in ways I have not in a while.It was nice to see how sexual harassment and molestation was a topic.
If you hate gays and want to speak on campus conservatives will rush to your defense.
If you are racist and want to say “politically incorrect” things regarding “those people” Republicans will be First Amendment absolutists on your behalf.
If you protest, even peacefully, the appearance of hateful individuals who want to “out” immigrants on campus by name demanding ICE arrest and deport them, conservatives will wag their fingers in your face pontificating about the first amendment.
When the University of Wisconsin invited adult film actress Nina Hartley to speak during “Free Speech Week” conservatives were livid.
Suddenly free speech fundamentalism vanished into the darkness. All those “free speech” conservatives defending the right to hate didn’t have a thing to say about it, at least nothing indicating they still had any of the former zeal for speech they have when it comes to bigots.
Republicans who got weepy when Nazis were shouted at, instead of being embraced and told to pontificate away on the superior race, all had dry eyes when it came to Hartley.
Hartley spoke about issues of “public health” and erotica—which is an “issue” Republicans have been pushing, as part of a campaign to declare erotica a public health hazard that must be banned—so much for free speech. It’s only Hartley’s speech that has to be banned. Had the University invited one of the instant experts from the Right to demand magazines be burned and DVDs crushed conservatives would have been salivating over it. Some would find it hard to contain their glee—others would practically orgasm at the thought of widespread censorship. It’s a right-wing wet dream.
Funding for the speech came out of the President’s discretionary fund, which isn’t funded by taxes or student tuition. It is funded by things such as parking fees on campus. So, it’s not a use of “tax monies” or tuition that justifies the conservative rage. President Joe Gow has said he will pay the costs out of his own private pocket, but conservative regents of the university are now saying a salary increase that was due may not happen to punish him for actually mistaking their “free speech” policy as meaning what it said.
So, what do conservative free speech advocates say about this? Nothing, there aren’t any. Free speech rights, in conservative circles, are like all other rights—they aren’t for everyone. Yes, bigots, racists, and Nazis have free speech rights—they might even be proclaimed “decent people” by conservatives. Nina Hartley doesn’t. Adult erotica is still on the list of “speech” conservatives want to wipe out—while they simultaneously pretend to be the purist of the pure when it comes to defending speech.
In conservative thinking rights are what straight, white men have—provided they were “born in this country.” When it comes to everyone else—that’s where it gets dicey. They endorse “open carry” laws provided the man doing the carrying is white—when he’s black he’s an open target for snowflake police officers. Hell, he doesn’t even have to be armed to terrify the current crop of cowardly cops.
The University also has a speech scheduled from a group that uses bogus science to demand outlawing porn. President Gow isn’t in trouble for that speech, just Hartley’s. In conservative thinking there are two sides to everything—the side that has rights (their own) and the side that doesn’t—their opponents.
P.S. I did go over to the web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, that conservative leaning bastion of selective free speech to see what they said about the Nina Hartley outrage. The answer, as of that date: not a thing.
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