“Zhao said that he believes speakers like Robert Spencer should be banned from speaking on college campuses, especially if countries like the United Kingdom have deemed them a national ‘security threat.’ ‘The question [of] whether this man is dangerous has already been settled,’ Zhao said. ‘We have to draw a reasonable line between what is educational, what is conducive and what is simply dangerous.'”
Dangerous! I gotta tell you, I’m loving this. I went to Stanford with bodyguards, but if I had known that I was dangerous, I needn’t have bothered. Little did I know that Stanford students would be cowering in horror at the sight of a 5’5″ guy in his mid-fifties who writes books. One would think I had rampaged through the Stanford campus brandishing my top hat that emits laughing gas, or vaulted to the roof of Pigott Hall using the super-secret gravity-defying portable elevator that I deftly conceal in my briefcase, cackling fiendishly at the fools below. Maybe the Stanford fascist community was wise to walk out of my speech and prevent others from entering — after all, what if I had started trying to do standup comedy? Talk about dangerous!
Anyway, seriously, can’t anyone at Stanford think anymore? Apparently not: “Loupeda answered that students’ divided response to Robert Spencer’s arrival to campus was the ideal response: The event drove students to protest, sign a petition against Spencer’s coming to campus and hold conversations about free speech both in person and through student publications.”
No, the “ideal response” would have been to consider the ideas I presented and accept or reject them on their merits. Instead, Stanford students and administrators labeled them “hate speech” a priori, without consideration, and proceeded to the discussion of how much “hate speech” to allow. That is how totalitarian states operate. It is not how universities should operate.
And as for my banning from Britain, it was not in reality because I posed a “security threat.” In reality, I’ve never called for, excused, or justified violence. I am banned from Britain for the crime of stating, quite correctly, that Islam has doctrines of violence against unbelievers. Terence Zhao should refute that assertion using evidence from Islamic texts and teachings, if he can. Also, before using the British ban as evidence that I am “dangerous,” Terence Zhao should consider the fact that Britain has a steadily lengthening record of admitting jihad preachers without a moment of hesitation. Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri’s preaching of hatred and jihad violence was so hardline that he was banned from preaching in Pakistan, but the UK Home Office welcomed him into Britain. The UK Home Office also admitted Shaykh Hamza Sodagar into the country, despite the fact that he has said: “If there’s homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One – the easiest one maybe – chop their head off, that’s the easiest. Second – burn them to death. Third – throw ’em off a cliff. Fourth – tear down a wall on them so they die under that. Fifth – a combination of the above.” Theresa May’s relentlessly appeasement-minded government also admitted two jihad preachers who had praised the murderer of a foe of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. One of them was welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Meanwhile, the UK banned three bishops from areas of Iraq and Syria where Christians are persecuted from entering the country.
Anyway, look out, folks: I’m dangerous. Apparently, opposing the jihad massacre of innocent civilians on buses and in pizza parlors — that’s dangerous. Opposing female genital mutilation, honor killing, the death penalty for leaving Islam, the institutionalized subjugation of women under Sharia — dangerous! Opposing the denial of the freedom of speech when that speech violates Sharia blasphemy laws — very dangerous! At least in the eyes of the little totalitarian snowflakes at Stanford.
Stanford has a huge problem that no one there seems to notice or care about: proscribing any ideas is death to a free society. Ideas should be refuted on the basis of evidence, not outlawed. Stanford is training its students to favor an authoritarian state over a free society. That’s what Stanford should be discussing. But it isn’t, and won’t.
Meanwhile, has Stanford ever had a public discussion about how “dangerous” jihad terrorists are? Why, no.
“Robert Spencer came on campus, and we’re still here.”
“Student panelists debate free speech and hate speech on college campuses,” by Eliane Mitchell, Stanford Daily, January 25, 2018:
On Thursday, six student panelists discussed whether universities have the right to ban campus guest speakers considered hateful for their views at a panel-debate entitled “Who Deserves to Speak?”
Stanford in Government (SIG) hosted and moderated the panel months after the Stanford College Republicans invited “counter-jihadist” Robert Spencer to speak on campus in November, a decision that sparked controversy.
“I assumed that there would be a majority perspective on campus on this issue, but there isn’t,” said Bryce Tuttle ’20, co-director of SIG’s Public Policy Form Committee. “This is really an issue where people are divided.”
The panel featured students representing various positions in the debate: Terence Zhao ’19, an op-ed columnist for The Stanford Daily and co-director of Diversity and Outreach for SIG; Jana Kholy ’20, a co-organizer of the protest against Spencer’s talk in November; Caleb Smith ’17, who circulated a petition calling on the ASSU to withdraw support and funding from Spencer’s event; Melissa Loupeda ’21, a member of Stanford Women in Politics; Alp Akis ’21, a writer for The Stanford Review; and Quinn Barry ’21, a member of the Stanford College Republicans. SIG members Kasha Akrami ’21 and Ngoc Vo ’21 moderated the discussion.
The debate began with one-minute opening speeches from each panelist. Zhao said that he believes speakers like Robert Spencer should be banned from speaking on college campuses, especially if countries like the United Kingdom have deemed them a national “security threat.”
“The question [of] whether this man is dangerous has already been settled,” Zhao said. “We have to draw a reasonable line between what is educational, what is conducive and what is simply dangerous.”
Kholy echoed Zhao, arguing that panelists should consider to whom universities ought to give a platform.
“Everyone has a limit when it comes to free speech,” Kholy said.
She cited Milo Yannipaulous’s [sic — why bother to spell his name correctly? He’s “right-wing”!] resignation from Breitbart due to his comments on pedophilia as an example of this: Even Breitbart, known for its inflammatory views, drew the line at Yannipaulous’ [sic] remarks, she said.
“Free speech is never an absolute,” she reiterated.
The rest of the panelists held contrary views, with Loupeda arguing that the benefits of bringing speakers to campus who hold views that might be deemed hate speech outweigh the drawbacks.
“When we have a controversial speaker on campus, we’re able to partake in difficult conversations that we would not have the opportunity to do otherwise,” Loupeda said. “We’re able to hold speakers accountable to what they say and subject them to public judgment and opinion.”
Smith, Akis and Barry agreed with Loupeda, with Barry adding that choosing to ban some kinds of speech in private academic institutions contradicts a commitment that students should expect institutions to uphold: a duty to educate their students.
“If [universities] want any claim to being a legitimate academic institution that wants to … educate their students, then they need to be committed to the free exchange of ideas,” he said.
Still, speech that incites violence should also not be allowed, Barry added.
While Zhao and Kholy declined to specifically define where the line on allowable speech should be drawn at college campuses, Kholy suggested that institutions should not invite speakers who target “systematically oppressed groups” to speak to their students.
“[Universities] have to uphold the dignities of [their] students,” she argued.
Throughout the debate, Smith held the position that free speech should be respected — but with one important nuance.
“There’s a distinction to be made between University funds and student government funds,” he said. “I would suggest when it comes to the expenditure of student government funds, our student government should adhere to a basic test of ‘we should treat all speakers with equal respect who essentially respect the equality of Stanford students.’”
The moderators of the discussion quickly opened the debate to audience participation, seeing that two audience members were raising their hands even prior to the debate’s close.
One audience member asked the panelists what they thought was the “ideal” student response when speakers known for hate speech are invited to campus.
Loupeda answered that students’ divided response to Robert Spencer’s arrival to campus was the ideal response: The event drove students to protest, sign a petition against Spencer’s coming to campus and hold conversations about free speech both in person and through student publications.
The observation echoed a point that Loupeda made earlier in the debate with regard to the measures that the University takes to prevent events from escalating to violence — for example, making events exclusive to students to keep out “outside agitators.”
“Robert Spencer came on campus, and we’re still here,” she said….