Free Speech = Hate? Gay activist tears down "free speech wall."

freedom-of-speech gone

This Week’s Sign the Apocalypse is Upon Us

By Rebekah Maxwell


In a land where free speech is historically prized, there is no greater revelry in that freedom than on college campuses. Check it out sometime. You can regularly see students stripped to their skivvies, or dressed up like Big Bird, or posting an art collection made from meat and garbage…all in the name of expressing their opinions.

And now they’re all hate-mongers. Yes, what we have now learned from a college campus in Ottawa is that free speech is really an “act of violence.”

Only hours after students installed a “Free Speech Wall” at Carleton University to prove that campus free speech was alive and well, it was torn down by an activist who claimed the wall was an “act of violence,” against the gay community.

In truth, the wall’s only overt references to sexual orientation were pro-gay, such as “QUEERS ARE AWESOME,” “Gay is OK” and “I [Heart] Queers.”

By Tuesday morning the wall was gone, destroyed in an act of “forceful resistance,” by seventh-year human rights student Arun Smith.

“In organizing the ‘free speech wall,’ the Students for Liberty have forgotten that liberty requires liberation, and this liberation is prevented by providing space … for the expression of hate,” he wrote in a 600-word Facebook post in which he identified himself as an anti-homophobia campaigner.

Calling the area around the wall a “war zone,” he intimated that it was “but another in a series of acts of violence” against gay rights.

In a Tuesday afternoon Twitter exchange with a CBC reporter, Mr. Smith dubbed free speech an “illusory concept” and declared that “not every opinion is valid, nor deserving of expression.”

(excerpt from the National Post‘s coverage)


So let me get this straight: free speech is an illusion, liberty is subjective to how “liberated” a person is, a public wall is a “war-zone,” writing on it is an “act of violence” and if your opinion disagrees with someone else’s, you don’t deserve to express it?

Sounds pretty enlightened to me. Those years of tax-funded education at work.

Like me, you may be wondering what comment on the wall so crossed the line? What written phrase was so violently, aggressively offensive that the whole project had to be destroyed in protest?

The only comment that verged into anti-gay territory was a scrawl reading “traditional marriage is awesome.”

Umm. Yeah.

For just a moment, let us lay aside the unrighteous indignation of this pompous young vigilante. Lay aside the irony that an LGBT activist is censoring the freedom of expression that allowed his cause to become so mainstream in the first place. Lay aside the hypocrisy of decrying the so-called “act of violence” by destroying the entire display in a needlessly violent manner.

Why does celebrating one form of marriage constitute an attack on any other? Isn’t marriage just about love? Shouldn’t you be free to marry whomever you wish? What does calling traditional marriage “awesome” have to do with any other marriage? How does it impact your gay marriage? Can’t consenting adults just live and let live in peace? Why are you imposing your morality on us, Mr. Smith?

Furthermore, who gets to decide these limits on freedom? Who gets to say which opinions are valid enough to be allowed, and which deserve to be silenced, censored, punished? Who? You? Any thoughts you like are completely exempted from scrutiny? What about people who disagree with you, who are offended by your “acts of violence” against their opinions? Are you now a hate-monger yourself, worthy of censure and censorship?

The freedom of speech does not do away with truth: it is a valued tool on the search for truth. Only when we are free to study, to think, to debate big ideas with one another, can we find the Truth, understand it, and live it. Tyrants know this, which is why they eliminate it. But first, they use it, vaunting freedom to choose their way as the ultimate good. Then, when power shifts into their hands, they flip the script to its negative conclusion: anything that isn’t my way is evil. Hate. Violence. Terrorism. Must be eradicated.

And when the tyrants are in control of the hallowed centers of free speech, who is left to speak up against them?