Last week, I had the privilege of meeting and hearing from Robert Shibley, Executive Director of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education . FIRE’s mission is “to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity.” Mr. Shibley gave a presentation last week to the Mecklenburg County Evening Republican Women’s Club on how Free Speech on college campuses is under attack. He is the author of , from Encounter Books. Robert’s experience serving as the managing editor of a college newspaper that frequently decried (and faced) censorship and bias led him to a career defending the rights of college and university students and faculty members. Since starting at FIRE in 2003, Robert has aided students and faculty members at hundreds of colleges and universities.
Along with traveling to various campuses to speak about First Amendment issues, Robert has represented FIRE on The O’Reilly Factor, CNN Tonight, Stossel, Fox and Friends, and Lou Dobbs Tonight, in national and international radio and TV interviews, and in op-eds in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and many other outlets.
On their website, provides a rating system of college campuses nationwide, rating how restrictive their speech codes are. They have staff who read through the Student Handbooks for every campus and then rate them Red, Yellow, or Green. You can use their ‘’ online tool to research any number of schools and learn their speech codes and a schools Free Speech Rating by FIRE.
We have certainly witnessed free speech under attack in recent months, with conservative speakers being banned from some colleges, and Antifa, or other mobs inciting and committing violence at other campus events. Heck, Tucker Carlson on Fox News has a regular segment now titled ‘Campus Craziness’ that is exposing these events.
But, silencing speech on campuses is really just the beginning here in the United States, and it has been happening for some time now. Thankfully the First Amendment of our Constitution stands as a bulwark of protection against attacks on free speech, but that alone will not stop the forces that wish to silence dissent. It is going to take men and women from across the nation who are willing to make the case, advocate for free speech, and fight the good fight.
To see what happens in places that do not have a First Amendment or other such right to free speech, all we need to do is look to places like Britain and Germany.
Much of what is happening under governance in places like Germany and England continue to become glaring examples of a self-destruction in communities and society.
It appears fighting “Islamophobia” is now a higher priority than fighting terrorism in Germany and England. This is not merely ironic, but outright dangerous considering that 99% of terror attacks in these places are committed by Islamic Muslims. These terrorists are motivated and inspired by the “Hate Speech” of Islamic Clerics.
Obviously, Islamophobia is the real problem, and not the actual terrorists and their Muslim Cleric leaders who call Christians and Jews the “Spawn of Satan”. No, instead they are given a pass and even access to the most powerful leadership in the UK.
South African Muslim cleric and hate preacher Ebrahim Bham, who was once an interpreter to the Taliban’s head legal advisor. He was allowed to enter the UK to speak in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, a government building, at the “Palestine Expo” a large Jew-hate event in London in July. Bham is known for quoting Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels and saying that all Jews and Christians are “agents of Satan”. Meanwhile, a scholar such as Robert Spencer is banned from entering the UK, supposedly on the grounds that what he reports — accurately — is “Islamophobic”.
Now I realize that our 1st Amendment to the US Constitution is a bulwark of protection against this insanity, but we must recognize that the radical left wants to bring “Hate Speech Codes” and censorship to the United States. They are already successfully establishing such codes and enforcement on college campuses.
But, how is what is happening in Europe any different than College Administrations censoring speech by conservatives or Christians on campuses? Or, allowing Antifa protesters to create mob violence to prevent the free speech of conservatives? How is Parliament and the Queen of England giving an audience to hate preacher Ebrahim Bham, any different than President Obama meeting with Black Lives Matter in the White House? After all, they called for and legitimized the killing of cops in the United States.
Free speech must continue to be protected in the United States, not merely because we are the true beacon of freedom in the world, but because the only way for people to find truth, is to make sure that there is a truly open marketplace of ideas. Where would we be if ‘Speech Codes’ or ‘Speech Laws’ had prevented individuals or leaders of organizations from speaking out against slavery? What if such restrictive laws had outlawed speech from people like Martin Luther King, Jr.?
I fully understand, and accept, that true freedom of speech means that I will hear messages and views that I not only disagree with, but despise. But, the only way for people of all ages to find truth is to be able to examine every view or ‘worldview’ on a topic; to compare and contrast the differing arguments, the facts, evidence, or lack thereof, for each position. Lord knows, we already have strong evidence of what happens when one set of views is silenced by ‘Speech Codes’, and another is advanced with no challenge. It has been unfolding on college campuses all over the United States for a generation. -Patrick Miller
Let me close by offering the following encouragement. In today’s data and internet driven world, it is no longer difficult to do some homework and use government, university, and other organization based websites to find the details and make sure you are informed. As a young man during the Reagan Revolution, such research required spending hours in public and university libraries combing through microfiche to find the truth. Something I dedicated myself to (some, but not all of my college professors appreciated this). Facts, data, and historical record more often support the conservative viewpoint and cause, and the Devil is Always in The Details. Help the under-informed to see the light!
(Feature Photo Credit to: Google Search)