Monday, December 13, 2004
Another University forgets the First Amendment
What is it about universities, the place where you are supposed to go and learn and experience a wide variety of ideas have become such bastions of unfree thinking? The University of Alabama, has joined the ranks of those who think that the First Amendment doesn't apply to colleges and universities. Mike S. Adams writes:
Professor Holt’s new campus speech code is so overly broad and vague that it stands no chance of passing constitutional muster if fully implemented and challenged. I am one of many who will not rest until a war against this initiative is fully engaged in both the court of public opinion and in a court of law. When clearly unnecessary and illegal speech codes are drafted for purposes of intimidation, justice demands no less.Mike S. Adams writes:The one place true freedom of speech might once have been expected to be found was at schools of higher learning. This, over and over again, is proving to be no longer the case. Our young people, the ones who are supposed to carry the torch we pass them down to future generations are the ones who are being denied. And short changed by the likes of Professor Holt, in the name of some political idealism. And that is very sad.
Wythe Holt, like so many others in academia, fails to understand that free expression is process, not a result. Public discourse cannot be rigged to guarantee certain results for certain groups contingent upon their present popularity with the powers that be.
Our constitution demands that the government remain uninvolved in the marketplace of ideas whenever possible. Whenever government involvement in matters of free expression is necessary, it must take the form of facilitation that is viewpoint neutral. It cannot take the form of manipulation that is ideologically motivated.
Put simply, our commitment to the First Amendment is best shown when we reluctantly support those who contradict our views, not when we enthusiastically support those who share them.
It appeared for a time that Wythe Holt understood that principle. But now the public knows better. Because of his actions, precious freedoms are in danger at Alabama’s flagship institution. Come to think of it, this isn’t the first time.