In a forum at the University of Delaware last Tuesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) made a comment regarding the free speech catastrophe on college campuses, saying that he wouldn’t “let one of these hate speech speakers come,” according to The National Review.
Kasich’s comments on how a university should respond in the event of a student organization inviting a speaker who speaks in so-called “hate speech” is not only constitutionally wrong, but also betrays a large portion of the people who supported him during his 2016 election run.
Whether Kasich was making these comments in an attempt to appeal to the left or he was simply referring to blatant racism and bigotry is unknown. Regardless, he is wrong. As the Washington Post reported this past summer, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that hate speech is, in fact, free speech and is completely constitutional.
Additionally, his comments make one seriously question his knowledge of the Constitution, especially when several college administrators have admitted that they have a “constitutional obligation” to provide a venue, as well as security, for a speaker invited by a student organization.
Looking past the fact that Kasich was constitutionally inaccurate, it is ignorant of the biggest conservative belief: limited government. If Kasich had his way and became a university president, how would he decide what speech is considered “too offensive” for college students to hear? Would he disinvite Ben Shapiro because some people at Berkeley call him a “white supremacist? Would he cancel a speech by a state lawmaker because protestors called him or her a racist? Where would the line be drawn?
What role do public colleges have in determining what speech is offered for their students to hear?
The answer is none. Absolutely none.
Sure, hate speech in its purest form (racist, bigoted, homophobic) is morally wrong, but the government should not have any say in what private citizens say.
Kasich’s comments are a betrayal of the very people who supported him during the election, college conservatives, who are often wrongly labeled by the campus left as bigots, racists, and arbitrators of hate speech. Kasich had a considerable following come from college students, and to say something like this regarding the volatile issue of free speech makes Kasich look totally oblivious to the issues facing this country and strongly impacting his base.
Sadly, even former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat, gets it right on free speech.
“Liberals have a short memory . . . we hurt ourselves badly when we don’t allow speech to take place,” Biden recently said, adding, “You should be able to listen to another point of view, as virulent as it may be, and reject it or expose it.”
In this instance, Biden is correct. Instead of completely shutting down “hate speech,” use more speech to counter those points and show why your beliefs are better. That’s how the First Amendment was intended to operate, and that will never change.