“The best response to micro-aggression is macro-aggression.” So says Cal State University Los Angeles Professor Robert Weide in response to an editor from the news website Breitbart giving a speech before students at Cal State University.
Let’s unpack that statement, shall we? Micro-aggressions, defined as real or perceived everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults that communicate negative or hostile messages to marginalized or perceived marginalized people, should be countered with violence. That’s the type of logic that could only come from a would-be censor.
Some background: Conservative author Ben Shapiro was set to give a lecture at Cal State when he got a message from school president William Covino that the school cancelled the event because the subject matter was too offensive to some students. Shapiro and the Young America’s Foundation, which acquired all the required permits for the event, told the university they would go ahead with the lecture anyway, and the school backed down. Bullies usually do when confronted.
Shapiro gave the lecture as planned, but was met by heavy protests and attempts by protesters to block entrances to the auditorium where he spoke. Despite the protesters best efforts to silence Shapiro – someone even pulled the fire alarm to try and clear the room – they proved unsuccessful. Shapiro’s persistence proves the power of free speech. Students are now calling on Covino to resign. The irony that it was exactly this type of free speech that guaranteed personal safety and autonomy in this country is a concept surely lost on these students.
You can watch Shapiro’s speech in full – including speaking over the fire alarm – here.
In the Learn Liberty video below, Chapman University Law School Professor Tom Bell explains the virtues of free speech and explains why all speech – even speech some deem offensive – is important to a free society. While some would sacrifice the rights of others to push their own political agenda, Bell explains why competing speech is always better than censorship.
To paraphrase, Professor Weide: The best response to offensive speech is more speech.