Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Student's wanton destruction of property demonstrates exactly why free speech is needed

A free speech wall created and posted by the Carleton Students for Liberty has been swiftly destroyed by career protester and seventh-year B.A. candidate Arun Smith.

CSL, a non-partisan campus association committed to advancing freedom through individual liberty, purchased and posted the free speech wall in the university’s main centre.

Carleton University, already ranked one of the worst universities for upholding free speech by the 2012 Campus Freedom Index, has been delivered yet another embarrassing blow.

 Click photo to enlarge. Photo credit to Devin McDowell. For an even larger resolution, click here.

You can see why the rogue student would tear down such a hateful poster.  It states obvious thought crimes like “end the welfare state” and “legalize freedom” and “I love the CFS” and “education is not a right.”

That’s not to suggest the language is all rosy and cheerful either.  There were comments posted about abortion, gay rights, Israeli “apartheid,” and demanding “equality for all.”

And that’s entirely the point of the free speech wall.  Free speech doesn’t have to be politically correct or cheerful.  In many instances, free speech is blunt and can be abrasive.  I doubt many people would “like” to see “Queers are awesome” or “I love my clitoris” or “I love queers and eating pussy!” shoved in their face while walking to or from class, but free speech isn’t about what one would “like” to be reminded of between classes.

As if it wasn’t disgusting enough to commit such vile acts of vandalism, discrimination, destruction of property, and mischief, the petty criminal didn’t stop there: he took to Facebook to openly brag about his crime, daring President Runte to punish his "remorseless" actions.

He claimed his act of “forceful resistance” was in response to that “meaningless platitude” and “abstract ideal” known as free speech.

Most ironically of all, Arun Smith is a gay rights advocate, and a noisy one at that.  He regularly takes advantage of his right to free speech to opine in the Charlatan or shout a few chants through a bullhorn demanding free tuition.  And that’s entirely his right.

As a simple viewing of the free speech wall above shows, it was overwhelmed with pro-gay messages.  Why Smith would destroy this wall – the very wall granting his lobby unfettered access to say what they really feel – is beyond me.  My view of free speech is not so narrow or selfish to only include my views; if we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, then we don't believe in free speech at all.  (Noam Chomsky, one of Smith's inspirational idols, said that.)

What Smith does not have the right to do is destroy private property.  The CSL students should press charges for vandalism, destruction of property, and mischief.  Then they should conduct a thorough reading of Carleton’s Student Rights and Responsibilities code and have Smith brought before the appropriate tribunal.  Smith brags about his actions and recognizes his consequences, proudly aggrandizing his "remorseless" behaviour in his letter to President Runte.

Smith’s right to free speech does not extend to the right to wilfully (and proudly) destroy private property.  One could only imagine the reaction if a student were to tear down or vandalize a left-wing cause, or, even worse, a pro-gay poster.  It's rank hypocrisy if the university lets Smith get away with this.

Congratulations, Arun.  You’ve made your point in yet another national embarrassment for Carleton University.  You’ve shown exactly why free speech is needed: because there are dangerous, criminal thugs willing to forcefully destroy and infringe upon that free speech at every opportunity.  Now if only you could show the same commitment to finishing your B.A. within eight years.