U of Maryland Student Backs Censored Speech if ‘Students Feel Unsafe’

“Where does free speech end and offensive rhetoric begin?”

Here’s yet another example of the crumbling system of higher education in America.

Moshe Klein, a sophomore economics and government and politics major at the University of Maryland, thinks censoring speech is a grand idea, especially if “students feel unsafe.”

In an op-ed for the school’s independent student paper, The Diamondback, Klein states, “Colleges should only prevent speech that makes students feel unsafe.” Let’s see how he determines what is or isn’t safe:

There is nothing inherently wrong with screening speakers, teachers and even students on the campus. Universities should be places where everyone, regardless of background, can come for education. Therefore, intolerant perspectives — those that prevent certain groups of people from participating in campus life safely — should at least not be amplified at a university commencement ceremony.

Now, Klein does admit that things have “gone too far” but only “in some cases.” As he states, “If students feel uncomfortable, upset or angry, as long as the speaker does not directly advocate targeting groups and make them feel unsafe, then there is no reason that students should walk out — even if they find their arguments abhorrent.”

“I find this position compelling because it recognizes the difference between feeling unsafe and uncomfortable,” Klein continues. “That is how decisions about free speech on campus should be made, especially if campuses want to be authentically diverse and open-minded, and not just echo chambers.”

He even mentions Linda Sarsour as an example “where the line between feeling unsafe and uncomfortable becomes blurred.” But when the Left hears conservative speakers, the lines are never “blurred” — it’s labeled hate speech through and through and they run for a safe space.

“This conversation about the parameters of acceptability is an interesting thought experiment because it forces us to discern the difference between what we don't like and what is explicitly dangerous, an important distinction for any truly open-minded thinker,” Klein concludes.

But no matter if Klein has mixed feelings on the matter, the fact remains: the general consensus on the Left is that all speech contrary to its preferred narrative is dangerous, evil, and threatening. End of discussion.

Besides, when you declare “there is nothing inherently wrong” with disallowing some speech, you are no longer a “truly open-minded thinker.”

And commenters on his piece agree:

“I'd like this op/ed better in the original Hunan (or even Mandarin) and stamped with a Mao image. More authentic.”

“Moshe Klein's opinion makes me feel unsafe, so he should be the first one who is censored, banished from campus and jailed...see how that works?”

“Feelings make for a poor standard. Under that system, whoever is the most brazenly irrational can silence everyone else on campus. Just claim that you feel threatened by any opposing viewpoint whatsoever. In fact, that's pretty much exactly what people try to do on every campus in the free world today.”

“It seems that the next extension of Mr. Klein's approach would be prosecuting thought crimes because, after all, if someone can't think about ‘unsafe’ views, then that person can't commit ‘violence’, i.e. say things that may offend someone else. See how slippery a slope this really is?”

Issues