(Above is video of my asking Professor Cute, Rob Atkinson, about his Argument From Nice against the freedom of speech. Video thanks to Jamie.)
(L-R): Eric Giunta with me and my friend Tim
I decided to attend the counter-Spencer meeting at FSU today, and in one sense I was pleasantly surprised. From how it was advertised, it looked as if “The 1st Amendment & Professional Responsibility in a Republic” would be an apologia for the restriction of the freedom of speech. Unexpectedly, however, Professor Nat Stern actually gave a defense of the First Amendment, explicitly ruling out the possibility that a group could restrict free speech on the grounds that it was offensive.
Stern was followed, however, by the clownish and vapid Professor Rob Atkinson, who spent what seemed like hours preening and being cute, but ultimately only making one point: that even though speech that offended others was legal, his mother would tell him to be nice and not to do things that offended other people, and that was a good rule to follow. During the question period I told him that I was offended by attempts to restrict free speech, as they opened the door to tyranny, and so when two parties were offended in contradictory directions, who would play the role of his mother and apply the Argument From Nice to decide who would have to put up with being offended? In response Atkinson said — amid more billows of nothingness — that one must consult the founding texts of the great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He did not address the problem of what to do when those texts contradicted each other, as in the Qur’an’s repeated assertion that it was offensive to Allah’s transcendent majesty to have a son, and the New Testament’s avowal of Jesus as the Son of God.
Atkinson drew a final laugh from the happy and sympathetic crowd when he emphasized that no one among the FSU administration was telling students not to attend my talk tomorrow, but…he himself would not be able to make it. As he was leaving the hall I asked him again to come and have a discussion about these issues, but he screwed up his face and said with palpable insincerity, “I’m busy.”
But aside from those unable or unwilling to defend their (indeed untenable) positions, the meeting today wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be — and of course it was attended by the Dean of the Law School and many others who told Eric Giunta, the courageous law student who brought me to the campus, that they somehow had conflicts during my talk tomorrow. What a coincidence!
Anyway, I want to thank all those who wrote to the law school telling them not to cave to intimidation. Dean Wayne Logan of the school told me that he had been getting large numbers of emails lecturing him about the First Amendment, and complained that I shouldn’t have said that the administration was trying to block my talk. However, when I asked him if he had read what I had written, he said no. In fact, this is what I wrote: “I’m scheduled to speak at the Florida State University College of Law on March 30 at 12:30PM, but the Leftist and Islamic fascists are working overtime to try to silence me — and the truth about Islamic jihad, Islamic supremacism, and Sharia.” I didn’t say anything about the administration trying to cancel the talk. You can read here in detail what Eric Giunta got from the FSU law school administration.
My address is tomorrow at 12:30. All those who are not joining the Muslim students’ cowardly boycott are invited to attend and ask me hard questions.
Professor Atkinson wasn’t in