The Speaker Ban After 50 Years — The legislature at its Worst? That’s the headline slapped on top of the latest missive from Rob Christensen, McClatchy-Raleigh’s “Mr. Politics”:
It was one of the most infamous acts of the legislature – and no we are not talking about anything the current crop of lawmakers did.
Fifty years ago, a Democratic controlled legislature passed the Act to Regulate Visiting Speakers, better known as the Speaker Ban Law.
The law forbade anyone to speak on a University of North Carolina camus who was a known member of the Communist Party, or who was known to advocate overthrow of the U.S. Constitution, or who had invoked the Fifth Amendment in respect of communist or “subversive” connections.
It was rushed through the legislature in the closing days of the 1963 legislature with virtually no debate. It was largely regarded as a response to the civil rights movement, who many conservatives felt was communist-led effort to undermine the American way of life.
Really, Rob? How “many conservatives” are we talking about? We were in the midst of very turbulent times. We were a decade past signing an armistice with commies in North Korea. We were in the heat of battle with commies in Vietnam. Nikita Kruschev had put missiles in Cuba and told the people of the United States “we will bury you.” I can see how our leaders might have been concerned about a movement promising to “bury” us gaining a foothold in our universities.
Rob’s piece promotes a presentation from some UNC professors talking about the rise of “academic freedom” and “free speech” at UNC-Chapel Hill since the lifting of the speaker ban. Let’s take a look at how things have been going in “Blue Heaven”.
Here, UNC student Anthony Dent talks about his experiences
within the conservative minority in Chapel Hill. Here is a piece about former Colorado GOP congressman Tom Tancredo being shouted down and shut down
during a speaking engagement at the Chapel Hill campus. Here’s some video
showing what you get treated to if you dare to say something the leftist mob doesn’t like. Here is a piece about lefties planning to AGAIN shout down and shut down
Tancredo, as well as fellow anti-amnesty speaker and former GOP congressman Virgil Goode.
Here is a piece about a 1975 protest and shout-down
of KKK leader David Duke, who was invited to speak at UNC. (I am certainly no fan of Duke. But Rob & co. moan about conservatives shutting down speakers they don’t like. Here’s a case NINE YEARS
after the fall of the speaker ban where lefties are DOING THE SAME THING
To lefties, freedom of speech is COOL as long as your speech aligns with what THEY support. I currently teach business courses at an area college. The state and the feds regularly set “outcome” assignments and benchmarks for our courses. During one semester, my management students were required to write papers championing the “importance of diversity” in the business world. One course I taught included a textbook that declared Hillary Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, and Mao Tse-Tung as examples of “great leaders.” (Of course, I added substantially to that list.)
On my own, I started holding discussions about Ayn Rand’s great book “Atlas Shrugged.” We read the book and discussed it in class. I had the students rent the movie “Atlas-Shrugged: Part I.” I was amazed at the emotional responses resulting from this experiment. Students who had been initially spouting the “rich get richer, poor get poorer” nonsense were telling me about how Rand opened their eyes. Many were wanting to track down Part II of the movie, and learn more about Rand and her work. I had several students tell me they had NEVER even heard of the book or the author before my class.
Contrary to what “Mr. Politics” and the mainstream media want to tell you, the fall of the speaker ban didn’t free the college campuses. It allowed the hard left to gain ironclad control of higher education. For every professor like me or UNCW’s Mike Adams, there are 100 hammer-and-sickle huggers. The left has a death-grip on K-12 education. They use the college arena to basically put whipped cream and a cherry on top of their earlier indoctrination work.
Speaker bans are a bad idea. Education should be all about exploring all sides of issues — NOT telling students what to think or believe.
I was a college undergrad during the FIRST Gulf War. Professors were trying to whip up anti-war protests. But they were floored and ANGRY at how many students were flying American flags in their dorm rooms and “God Bless The Troops” signs outside their apartment and dorm windows. Instead of celebrating this bit of free speech, the faculty and the mainstream media decried what they saw as the decline and fall of America’s youth.
I remember having breakfast in DC with the late Tim Russert, then-host of “Meet The Press”, and some of my other media colleagues. Russert told us of the importance he placed on preparing for his shows by reading stuff he agrees with, as well as stuff he disagrees with:
“You’re a much more well-rounded person if you truly understand where people on other sides of issues from you are coming from. Read The National Review AND The Nation. Read The New York Times AND The Washington Times.”
Give students accurate information, and let them come to conclusions. Inspire debate. Don’t clamp down on it. Don’t shout down someone you disapprove of. Come up with a good counter-argument and offer it in a civil manner (one that does not require the police to use mace).