Thursday, March 08, 2018 by JD Heyes
Throughout my career as a journalist and political scientist, I’ve never come across any historical evidence indicating that our Founding Fathers sought to limit Americans’ free speech rights to certain areas.
And yet that’s precisely what many colleges and universities do. Administrators have adopted policies creating “free speech zones” where they essentially funnel students and speakers who espouse political, social, and cultural viewpoints with which they disagree.
Thankfully, more and more states are waking up to this speech suppression, and that includes Florida.
The Sunshine State is set to enact new protections for free-thinking, liberty-minded, largely conservative students on campus who have been increasingly shunned, persecuted and harangued by Marxist university administrators and professors.
As reported by The Washington Times, state lawmakers recently passed the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018, with votes in the House and Senate of 84-28 and 33-5 respectively. Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, now has it on his desk.
The Times noted:
Introduced by state Rep. Bob Rommel, Naples Republican, the bill contains a provision that prohibits public universities from establishing so-called “free speech zones” and instead designates generally all outdoor campus areas as “traditional public forums,” effectively keeping colleges from restricting protest activity to certain areas.
“I’ve received thousands and thousands of calls from students that feel that their right to speak freely where they want to in outside areas has been infringed upon and how can they stand up to the big university when they’re just a student struggling to get by,” Rommel said, The Gainesville Sun reported.
If Scott signs the bill, Florida would instantly become the latest of only a handful of states that have passed laws that ban public colleges and universities from establishing free speech zones.
“Attempting to limit the First Amendment rights of students by tucking them into the hidden corners of campus is not only unconstitutional but goes against the very concept of what a college education should be about,” Demetrius Minor, the coalitions director of the Florida office of Generation Opportunity, a right-of-center group that supported the bill, told the Times.
The Sun reported that Democrats in both chambers of the Florida Legislature tried but failed to strip out Rommel’s language from the bill. They claimed to be concerned about language that might open up universities to litigation and also give controversial groups such as neo-Nazis and white supremacists a platform on campus. (Related: Present-day irrational hatred against conservatives resembles the SALEM WITCH TRIALS of the 1600s.)
Patently missing from groups Democrats said they were concerned about were Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other far-Left organizations that have either supported racist school policies or violence. To Democrats, Left-wing hate is always okay and Right-wing hate is always the problem.
But the fact is, our Founders wrote speech protections into the Constitution specifically to protect politically, culturally, and socially unpopular ideas. The Founders believed that unless all sides of an issue are presented, the people could never make fully informed decisions about them.
“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government,” said Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers and an author of the Constitution. “When this support is taken away, the Constitution of a free society is dissolved.”
“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable,” Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan once wrote.
So yes, speech — even disgusting speech — was never intended to be suppressed. And yet, it routinely is, especially on college campuses, even if that speech is merely political in nature.
Bottom line: This legislation wouldn’t be needed if the Left-wing authoritarians who run most universities and colleges would ensure that all students were being heard and their right to speak protected.
Apparently, that’s not been happening in the Sunshine State.
Free speech is also under attack by the social media giants Facebook, YouTube and Google — stay fully informed at Censored.news.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.