Let’s start off with some good news: If anyone reading this is disappointed Ann Coulter couldn’t talk freely at UC-Berkeley last week, you can read her 12 bestselling books, join the 1.49 million people she regularly updates on Twitter, or watch one of over 500,000 YouTube videos of her speaking. These can be quickly and easily accessed on and off campus, so her conservative views are never at risk of being truly silenced.
However, we still need to discuss the speech we keep off college grounds — beyond those from well-established provocateurs like Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos.
Conservatives feel their voices are being stifled on liberal campuses nationwide, and there is some credence to that. Do you remember campus the day after Trump was elected? You’d have thought every liberal student’s grandmother died, and conservatives couldn’t so much as sneeze without implicating themselves as grandma murderers.
Nevertheless, the current debate on campus free speech presents a false dichotomy: progressives and conservatives as two singular ideologies rather than two vast spectrums of thought. We rally around the loudest, most polarizing figures in defense of free speech instead of elevating the wide range of opinions that occupy the space in between.
By taking a narrow progressive view on college campuses and characterizing all conservatives as Coulters, we not only lose valuable partisan voices; we silence the variety of other perspectives that exist on campus between the ends of the political pole.