First Amendment, Schmirst Amendment Redux

San Antonio is in the forefront of First Amendment news yet again, regrettably. The Higher Education Council of San Antonio, which includes among others the presidents of Texas A&M San Antonio and the University of Texas at San Antonio, has promulgated a letter that includes this passage:

As members of the Higher Education Council of San Antonio (HECSA), we — the presidents of colleges and universities throughout this community and supporters — feel that it is important for us to speak out and make a distinction between diversity of thought and disingenuous misrepresentation of free speech. We further attest that hate speech has no place at our colleges and universities. Inappropriate messages, banners and flyers that are meant to provoke, spread hate, or create animosity and hostility, are not welcome or accepted.

Disingenuous misrepresentation of free speech is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. As such, if it is an exception to free speech, free speech is gone. Hate speech, however deplorable, is not an exception to free speech and it cannot be if we are to have free speech.

I prefer to counter speech with more speech, but our society is experiencing a concerted effort by those who consider themselves our betters to stifle speech they find uncongenial. The constitutional protections we all enjoy are always  established by the treatment of those we abjure. If we do not protect them, we will have no protections.

As with the previous post, if you want to read more, read the discussion on the Volokh Conspiracy.


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