Monday, Texas A&M announced that it would not let a “White Lives Matter” rally take place on its campus. This was being “organized” by an A&M alumnus and Richard Spencer had been invited to speak. This virtually guaranteed a nasty media spectacle as these two symbiotic groups, the “white nationalists” and the “antifa,” clashed in front of several hundred reporters.
(By the way, if you find yourself defending these Aryan Brotherhood wannabes you need to rethink your values; likewise, if you’ve come to the conclusion that a collection of masked communists and anarchists carrying the hammer-and-sickle flag are the good guys.)
Texas A&M said no way because of the obvious threat to public safety posed by the proposed rally and because A&M rules say that campus space is only available to activities sponsored by a campus organization. On the whole, given what we’ve seen happen the times these groups mix, a prudent move by the university.
There was a general sigh of relief in Texas… for the time being. The organizer plans to try again using public space. One of the best responses came from Senator Ted Cruz:
“When people do choose to use their free speech rights to advocate hatred and evil, the rest of us are obliged to counter it. Now I don’t think you counter it with censorship. I agree with John Stuart Mill, who talked about the marketplace of ideas, and the best cure for bad speech, for bad ideas, is more speech and better ideas. And so I think that’s the approach we want to have. I will say I’m glad that Spencer and the White Supremacists are not coming to A&M. … I think Texas doesn’t need to listen to their garbage.”
That is exactly where I am. Shutting down speech is the worst possible solution because someone gets to decide which speech is shutdown. We saw under Obama what happens when an administration unleashes the IRS to ensure that some speech is not heard and uses other government levers to limit the ability of pro-life people to speak freely. The best way to defeat their ideas is by debate, not by riot and mayhem. If we take that route, I think you’ll quickly find that most of the nation isn’t buying what they are selling.