There Is a Much Smarter Way to Deal with Controversial Speakers Than Deplatforming

Awful conservatives will visit your campus. Here's how to hit them where it hurts.



Agreed on most points. I'll add "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." When we find a speaker that espouses ideas that conflict with our own, I'd love to see more of us step up and give a talk, filled with better ideas. If your talk gains momentum, debate the speaker you find controversial. I think this is a much stronger answer than protesting or even walking out of a talk (how will you know what you disagree with if you don't hear it?).


I advocate finding them boring.

Mr Ddy is correct at least to a point - the author of the OUT piece on le beau Milo was a Clinton voter who was so badly treated by friends and acquaintances that it took him only three months to begin identifying as conservative.


Sorry Katie, but right-wingers don't actually want you to deplatform them. That's simply dillusional. Rightists--believe it or not, probably actually want to have events and public debates to get their ideas out there and conversations going. That's how politics works in a free society (which we do not live in, apparently).

Facing censorship and violence is something people generally don't enjoy. The idea that rightists secretly want to be oppressed has got to be some Fruedian(and Marxist) pseudo-pyscological pathologizing of one's enemies. But most importantly, it absolves the leftist of any duty to engage honestly in rightist ideas.

Vigilante violence against political opponents who speak up has had a long tradition on the left; going back to at least the post-WW1 era. They did back then and they are doing again it today.

Why are they so afraid of critically engaging(honestly engaging) in oppositional ideas? Is it their insecurity? Is it because they know they are wrong, deep down? Is it because they have so little rationality behind their ideology, basing their convictions on poorly reasoned moral feeling alone? I have no idea because I cannot read the leftist mind, but they do seem very afraid of any real dialogue with rightist intellectuals; or, increasingly, run-of-the-mill conservatives.


One wonders how German Snausage handles the nazis and racist living under his bed and hiding in his coat closet....


Milo's career has really taken off since those damn silly college kids tried to deplatform him


This article needs a more full-throated defense if WHY free speech is so valued here. The examples you gave from France and England are kinda weak. Kids today need to have the concept explained more forcefully.


@4 I don't think the left in this country has ever had a hard-on for authoritarianism like they do of late (hello @5!). Is it a millennial thing? Always thought this was a peculiar European phenomena. Free-expression has always (at least in theory) been absolutely central to American liberalism and I would say one of the few aspects of our version of leftism that are superior to others. Intellectual lazy-asses who think nothing of employing all variety of outrageous tactics to shut-down speech that offends them should consider: what leg do you have to stand on when arguing against say firing football players for kneeling during the national anthem, religious zealots attempting to censor media they find offensive, oppression of protesters rallying against the next war? Giving more prominence to the martyrs you create is hardly the only way being cavalier about censorship and shutting down opposing views can and will bite you in the ass.


@10 Yeah chief, note that bit about religious zealots attempting to censor things they don't like. They would cite precisely the same thing: moral decency. Which is not at all surprising considering that there is something of the religious zealot in a lot of your fringe left dwellers.


Bernie Sanders was deplatformed here in Seattle just before the last presidential election campaign by the local Black Lives Matter people. Blatantly unconstitutional and with no consequences to the BLM.


No, the far right wants to be heard because being heard is how you advance your ideas into the mainstream. This is a situation where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. If you're willing to pay the price of far right ideas becoming more normal in US society, by all means pursue this idea. Whatever brings the cameras--protests or speaking engagement--is how the far right spreads and mainstreams its message. In other words, your strategy isn't going to work the way you think it is.


Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara faces a storm of student protest when he visits Harvard University to address a small group of students. As he left a dormitory, about 100 demonstrators shouted at him and demanded a debate. When McNamara tried to speak, supporters of the Students for a Democratic Society shouted him down. McNamara then attempted to leave, but 25 demonstrators crowded around his automobile so that it could not move. Police intervened and escorted McNamara from the campus.


14: About 55 percent of SLOG comments are now right-wing trolls and concern trolls. About 25 percent are liberals who are outraged that the left opposes ideas it opposes.


16: McNamara deserved worse.


If the author was around in 1966 I'm sure she would be denouncing the snowflake SJWs in the SDS' intolerance and demanding McNamara have an opportunity to have his views on free fire zones and body counts be given a fair shake


Except that deplatforming works against nazis, as admitted by herr Spencer:


"The right may be, at heart, afraid of dissent—but the left wasn't always this way,"

And the Left no longer uses bombs to get its message across either, so there's that.
The Left generally stands to the principle of no personal violence --- something the Right still has notable trouble with... (Heather Heyer, UW "Milo" protester being shot by a right-winger, the Austin bombings, etc. etc. and that's just in the last 24 months or so.)

[ being ready for a fight is not the same as provoking or initiating the fight, just to add a bit of nuance there... right of self-defense, what what? ]

@11 - "At least the cops don’t let you guys get your clocks cleaned any more."
Say what?!


@20 - Katie might want to research the SDS "Days of Rage" during the 1968 DNC in Chicago, if she has not already.



And THATS the best example you could come up with?


Is the ghost of the former First Lady hiding under your bed too?


The part that upsets is me is how much of the new philosophy is built upon the idea that on a basic, moral level the new left are simply superior quality humans, and that they're immune to the 'herd' mentality and ignorance that have swept the trumpverse. The entire ideology is based on a fundamental principle that even questioning someone is an act of violence/oppression, and that correctness is based on something (privilege status) that is unrelated to rightness or correctness. Only because they're loosely based on Gen-X's do-no-harm philosophy is the only reason this hasn't gone completely over the edge bonkers - but it's only a matter of time.


I am confused as to why you did not include the virulent Zionist organizing on campuses that targets and attacks students working for Palestinian rights and for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, an apartheid state.


Exactly,@15! If you protest,they have a field day and say you were violent and disobedient in society! If you do nothing and walk out,they STILL have a field day and accused you of being weak and saying nothing to oppose them!


"Deplatforming" needs a more rigorous definition. Bannon got kicked from the New Yorker thing not because of protests per se, but because the other invited speakers started cancelling. I guess you'd have to ask them why they did it as individuals. Cooties, I guess?

Is that the same thing as an incident where university administrators cancel an event because they don't want mayhem?


Remember the Promise Keepers? That shit was massive in the mid-90s—like fill the Tacoma Dome, megachurch late-night paid programming massive. It never really went away but it just... no one cares. Perhaps they didn't cross the line and call for the urgent opposition that's felt toward the Milo's of the world, maybe they weren't youth-oriented enough, or perhaps they just didn't have the cache the left stowed upon them. I don't know.


28: I think private magazines reserve the right to do whatever the fuck they want to. I don't see how people think free speech matters in such a context. It's ridiculous. It's like getting bent out of a shape because a private Christian school won't invite Dawkins to speak. Honestly, if you look at this country and your biggest concern is that privately owned magazines have an editorial line and dis-invite people to speak, you're kind of not seeing the bigger picture.


"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

Yes, positions like transgenderism pushes and its 54 genders (or what we used to call ‘your personality’). Cross that one on campus today and watch the torches come out.