When Did 'Freedom' Become a 'Fighting Word'?

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Note: This “Moore to the Point” commentary aired on NewsTalkSTL on Thursday, May 19th. Audio included below.

As detailed here previously, on Tuesday, high school students attempting to hold an informational meeting for Turning Point USA were met with jeers and an overturned and shattered table – from fellow students. It happened here in Missouri – at Lee’s Summit West High School, near Kansas City. Founded by conservative activist Charlie Kirk in 2012, TPUSA is a non-profit organization “whose mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom.” It has chapters at over 3,000 high school and college campuses across the country.

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This is just the latest in a long line of incidents where conservative student groups and speakers have been met not just with vocal opposition but with efforts to outright shut them down – at times escalating into violence. Needless to say, such behavior reflects far more on those committing it than the speech they are attempting to squelch. But it does make you wonder: Why?

Why do discussions of core principles from our nation’s founding documents provoke anger and hostility? What is it about groups advocating for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that elicits such an extreme and negative response?  When did “freedom” become a “fighting word”?

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