Thursday, September 20, 2018

Don’t censor hate speech at Yale

James Kirchick ’06, a former member of the Yale Independent Party and current candidate for the Yale Corporation, wasted no time before throwing a jab at the Party of the Right when he returned to the floor of Yale’s Political Union on Tuesday.

The Yale Political Union invited Kirchick to debate the topic “Resolved: Hate Speech is Free Speech.” In recent months, he has emerged as a divisive figure on campus and among alumni as he campaigns to garner the 4,266 signatures necessary to secure a spot on the ballot for the alumni fellow elections next year. Since he was not one of the two candidates nominated this year by the Alumni Nominating Committee — a body appointed by the Association of Yale Alumni — he must petition to make the ballot.

Kirchick, a journalist and foreign correspondent, has made headlines for his campaign, which advocates for the restoration of free speech and “basic liberal” values at Yale. He announced his campaign in late spring in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled, “I’m Running to Restore Yale Values.”

During the debate on Tuesday, Kirchick argued that hate speech has not been well-defined and should not be regulated or censored.

“Attempts to define hate speech and limit it as many do is nothing more than an attack on First Amendment rights,” he said. “Freedom of expression and speech is the most fundamental right of a free society.”

Kirchick touched on a number of topics during his speech, which lasted for approximately 15 minutes. He argued that the absence of restrictions on speech has significantly benefited marginalized communities and that the media cannot move to censor hate speech while simultaneously fighting for a free press.

“Unfettered free speech, including so-called hate speech, helps marginalized communities,” Kirchick said. “The gay rights movement, like the movements for African American civil rights and women’s rights, would not be where they are today if it wasn’t for unfettered free speech.”



Bill R. said...

It is not the Party of the Right that is trying to censor speech. It is the left who is trying and sometimes succeeding in censoring free debate.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - I don't get that opening reference either Bill.
In fact, the "Party of the Right" is actively trying to restore free speech to University campuses - because it has been so badly eroded by the storm-troopers of the left.