Ben Shapiro is one of the most brilliant thinkers in the conservative movement today, able to dismantle the illogical position of any liberal on just about any issue in a mere matter of seconds. Yes, he’s really that good.
He’s also one heck of a brave young man, attending events in places like Berkeley, which are extremely hostile to his point of view and almost rioting when he arrived there to discuss free speech and many other topics with the student body at the university.
Shapiro’s famous saying is “facts don’t care about your feelings,” a scathing rebuke to the emotional, knee jerk reaction of modern progressives to pretty much anything and everything.
Well, Shapiro recently attended a California senate committee hearing where he gave testimony about the importance of senators doing their actual jobs to ensure that freedom of speech is protected for all citizens.
“Your job job obviously here at the legislature is to ensure that our freedom of expression is maintained that our first amendment rights are maintained,” Shapiro began, “and what that means first and foremost in my experience on college campuses, is that the heckler’s veto must be stopped.”
The “heckler’s veto” is a phrase describing the unfair shutting out of speech by opponents through threats of violence or shouting down.
“And this does bring up one final point in the long period of time to discuss,” he added, “and that is, the problem with a legislative body such as yours trying to draw lines specifically about what hate speech constitutes because the fact is that one of the reasons groups like Antifa show up is not because they know who I am, it’s because they’ve been told by people that I am promulgating hate speech which is utterly false, and utterly untrue.”
“There are people who say vile things and with whom I disagree,” he explained. “Among them, people like Milo Yiannopoulos who sent me a picture of a black baby on the day of my child’s birth because I wasn’t sufficiently standing up for the white population supposedly.”
“But that does not mean that the legislature gets to decide what hate speech is,” he argued. “I’ve been labeled a promulgator of hate speech when I was the number one target of hate speech according to the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), according to the journalistic community in 2016.”
“So let me suggest that as a legislature,” he concluded, “your chief job is to ensure that my taxpayer dollars in this state go towards making sure that people like me and people with whom I disagree get to speak in place like college campuses and not toward regulating what speech you find good and what speech you find bad, because it’s a really dangerous business. And there’s speech I don’t like, there’s speech you don’t like, but if we can’t agree that there’s a difference between speech and violence, we’re not going to be able to have a free state, let alone a free country. Thanks.”
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) October 3, 2017
Nailed it. Absolutely nailed it.
Just because someone says something you find offensive, doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to say it. Sure, there are moral principles at work, but if a person violates said principles, they will be punished by society shaming them and criticizing their ideas, exposing them for what they really are. The government is not needed here.
Free speech, even with offensive things being said, is still critical to the health and progress of any free nation. Ideologies are to do battle against one another so that truth might prevail. This is impossible if opposing systems are not allowed to fully articulate their beliefs.
If we truly love our culture, we need to keep moving forward, and that’s only possible if we are free to speak our minds.