by Kevin Fenchak
Our Glorious Leader Eric Barron, Praise Be Upon His Holiness, has in contravention of his role as a public employee and the president of a university supposedly open to a diversity of ideas, banned NPI President Richard Spencer from speaking on campus.
This may come as a surprise to those of you still under the illusion that the University’s leadership gives two hoots about expression of ideas outside the “acceptable” parameters. Of course, when the man in question is smeared as a “White Supremacist” or a “Neo-Nazi”, the desired shutting down of his ideas and expression is made that much easier. Spencer may be a figure of great controversy, but he’s far from the man he’s made out to be by the Left and their sycophantic media heads and public relations specialists, an avowed White Nationalist who has disavowed violent means. He is, in fact, the direct contradiction of the archetypal “white supremacist” – university educated, professional, and a strong public speaker with an eye for public image. He’s as much a swastika-tattooed prison-gang Neo-Nazi as he is a liberal multiculturalist, and appears to have a general dislike of the more lowbrow and crass appeals to ethnic pride or mindless hatred.
Spencer’s racial position is no more radical than the Left’s, where race is important, but only if you’re any other race than White. The Left’s stupefying ideology of privilege and neo-Marxian equality fetishism will, of course, produce its mechanical rebukes and condemnations of something as horrifying as equating them very loosely with Spencer. We know the old song and dance: White people organizing as White People is Literally Hitler©, while racial minorities organizing as minorities is the bedrock of our Strength Through Diversity©. This will, of course, fail to change the reality that nonwhite identity politics becoming a major plank of even the center-left is a direct challenge to white people in a country that their ancestors built. No wonder Spencer has found an audience in white male college students.
On to Lord Protector Barron. Banning Spencer is a clear affront to the University’s mission of spreading ideas and being an open forum for expression, if indeed we could say confidently that this mission had ever been a reality. FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has taken several issues with PSU’s (likely unconstitutional) speech codes in the past. Here, however, are a couple points highlighted by FIRE’s website which I believe make a case against Barron’s actions based on the University’s own rules, taken from the University Policy Manual:
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies Last updated: May 4, 2017
A university is inherently a marketplace of ideas, and Penn State encourages and protects the rights of members of the University community to express divergent viewpoints and opinions on matters of concern.
Based upon careful study, the following areas of the University Park Campus have been designated as areas suitable for expressive activity:
With a proper reservation, a group will have exclusive use of the reserved location and may not transfer the reservation to or allow use of the location by any other group. If a location has not been reserved, it will be available for use by a group, consistent with the other requirements of this policy.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility Last updated: May 4, 2017
[T]he University expects that persons engaging in expressive activity will demonstrate civility, concern for the safety of persons and property, respect for University activities and for those who may disagree with their message, and will comply with University rules.
Keeping these rules in mind, let’s move to Barron’s rationale presented in his original statement. He claims that the primary driver of his decision is the propensity for violence, saying that “Penn State is an institution of higher education, and fully supports the right of free speech and encourages its expression in thoughtful and respectful ways, even when we strongly disagree with the opinions expressed. But the First Amendment does not require our University to risk imminent violence.”
Let’s assume for the moment that this is a true statement of intent, and it may well be given the violence which has erupted in the streets over the last year or so. Yet, as is tacitly admitted by Barron in his spineless statement, this violence has not arisen from the right. In every case it is the Left which has hounded Conservatives, Nationalists, and Libertarians alike, has pursued us to and from our events, has attacked en masse everything from Donald Trump campaign rallies to Confederate memorial demonstrations. The violence in Charlottesville which Barron cites specifically as a factor in his decision was not begun by rallygoers in Lee Park. This began to escalate over a year ago with Antifa street thugs attacking Donald Trump’s campaign supporters and reached its current height when they pursued Richard Spencer, among others, into Charlottesville. The righteous beatdowns delivered to these scum-sucking left-wing rioters have been a long time coming, arising out of constant provocation and one-sided violence.
Now, if the University’s policy dictates that public space can be reserved for expression concerning issues of importance to the student body, and demands civility of those who do not agree, is it not an open contravention of policy to ban an individual under the assumption that their opponents will not be civil? What we are seeing is the desired outcome of Communist violence – while they have been beaten in the streets many times, their monkeyshines are troublesome enough to vested interests that appeasement has become the order of the day.
Barron would seek to do to us at Penn State exactly what the Virginia government did to the Lee Park demonstration – deny a platform to and direct repression against the people who wish to speak, instead of protecting them from those who seek to prevent them from speaking. I’m sure it’s easier for him to appease the angry mob at the risk of scathing words from disgruntled right-wingers like myself, than it would be for him to acquiesce and face the wrath of two thousand screaming social justice freaks. And yet, this means he has done the most damaging thing possible to free expression and assembly, by giving in to the heckler’s veto.
The heckler’s veto is essentially the ability of the lowest dreg of society to act as the arbiter of expression by behaving like a raving lunatic, giving the government a supposed right to shut down the object of their ire, thus “preserving the peace”. This position has been rendered untenable by repeated Supreme Court rulings establishing a duty for government to protect expression and assembly even where they reasonably believe violence is a possible outcome. Therefore, Barron’s duty as the steward of a university which values thought and inquiry is to defend those values, while the place of the police force is to protect the citizenry from violence, particularly mob violence, and especially where such violence is directed at political expression.
Barron doesn’t give a damn for freedom of expression when it’s inconvenient for him, nor does anyone else in the University leadership. Useless old fools like him don’t see or care about the consequences of appeasing the Radical Left. If he and the local police forces are so eager to neglect their duties, they shouldn’t act surprised or horrified when the right assembles to defend themselves where the state will not. For all his hand-wringing about Charlottesville, he’s somehow ignorant to the fact that appeasement of the Communist far-left will only ensure that there will be more street violence to come.