On Campus: ‘Turning on the Very Idea of Freedom of Speech’

April 29, 2015

By Jennifer Kabbany at The College Fix

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has issued a dire warning regarding the state of free speech.

Addressing students at UCLA on Saturday as a keynote speaker at a Young Americans for Liberty conference, he described a First Amendment tipping point he’s observing, one that does not bode well for open debate, free expression and individual rights.

“People are starting to think that they are some kind of hero if they censor for the right reasons. This is perverse,” Lukianoff pointed out. “They’re on the sides of oppressors all throughout history, but they actually like to present themselves as like, ‘Well, I did it for good reasons.’”

“Yeah – everyone thinks they censor for good reasons,” he added. “There has never been a movement in the centuries of history where someone said: ‘In the name of evil and unjust means, I think we should go out and censor these people.’”

“So I think there has been a real turn,” Lukianoff continued. “It’s true people tend to
say, ‘I believe in free speech, but …’ and they’ll list that one thing that they actually really can’t stand and think shouldn’t be accepted.”

“I don’t like that, but I accept that people will have that one thing that they wish they could ban. That’s fine. I think they are wrong, but nonetheless.”

Here’s where it gets worse.

“What’s happening, I think, and I see this among professors, I see this, predictably, in Europe – they are turning on the very idea of freedom of speech. And that is one of the reasons why we have to fight back.”

Schools: University of California, Los Angeles