Freedom to oppress: Berkeley’s civil war
Pax Ahimsa Gethen

I appreciate the perspective.

I think you touch on this in the article, but to me the strongest argument against folks like Milo speaking at public colleges and universities — and being paid to speak with public money — is less about freedom of expression and more about whether there is educational merit in their speech. What benefit does the academic community gain from hearing someone like Milo speak? What potential harm is there?

In the case of Milo in particular, there is clearly near zero academic merit in having him speak, and a clear risk of harm — both to the physical and emotional well-being of the school community.

Now, inviting someone with a position similar to Milo’s but who has more of an academic focus, and who is therefore less of a risk to student and staff health? Sure. Someone like that could, theoretically, inspire meaningful debate and discussion. So, the problem is not Milo’s speech per se, it’s the value of that speech when compared to the health and well-being of the community.

Contrarian viewpoints are not inherently valuable and they should always be evaluated in terms of their merit and potential benefit to the community. If found lacking in those regards, people can, as you say, exercise their freedom of expression in an actual public space just like everyone else. The institution need not subsidize their speech in the name of “freedom of expression.”

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