Oklahoma frat boys and free speech

Tonight, a political rant, but this time I’m going after many of my fellow liberals: I’m against the expulsion of University of Oklahoma students involved in the recent racist video. I’m not defending these guys. (And I think the closing of their frat house is another matter; one could make a case for it based on nondiscrimination laws.)

What I’m talking about is the expression of ideas, good or bad. There’s an important reason to support free speech as a principle, and not just when we agree with the content, and this reason is amply illustrated by history: Once people get used to prohibiting speech they find offensive, they soon ban the defense of many good ideas and the criticism of many bad ones.

Speech codes have no place at a university. Aside from libel and threats of violence, the only rule should be, “If you say it, you will be called upon to defend it.” Open prejudice is its own worst enemy.

2 thoughts on “Oklahoma frat boys and free speech

  1. sara

    I was looking up this topic and found your blog. I hate what these guys had to say as well but feel we should all be defending their right to say it! Isn’t free speech supposed to be a founding American principle? I would not classify myself as a liberal , maybe more of a libertarian. And this is a big reason why. People such as myself get confused about the definition of a liberal these days. Especially if it doesn’t include protecting the basic rights of everyone, such as their right to free speech!

    1. thecuriouspeople Post author

      Yes, labels are always tricky… at some point you just have to explain what you think about a given issue. Unfortunately some people let the labels do their thinking for them!


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