The Thoughts of a College Conservative on Why Speech Codes on College Campuses are Unconstitutional
Introduction: What are Speech Codes
Before delving into what the problems with them are and why they’re unconstitutional, here’s a brief description of what speech codes on college campuses are: they’re rules made up by the same leftist administrators who are ruining academia that are meant to control what students can say, generally for the purpose of restricting so-called “hate speech.” As might be expected, they’re very arbitrary and discriminate against conservative students.
Part 1: Why Speech Codes are Ineffective and What They’re Really Meant to Do
Right now, across America, leftist college administrators are implementing speech codes on college campuses. Some administrators say that those speech codes on college campuses have to exist because of so-called “hate speech.” Other radical administrators say that those ridiculous codes on what words are allowed to be spoken have to exist so that the feelings of the hyper-sensitive students are not hurt. Generally, the consensus among liberal academics is that there must be limits on free speech on college campuses so that nothing “offensive” is ever said.
For one, that contention is absolutely ridiculous. No matter what some unread clause in the school handbook says, people will always say things that someone, somewhere will find offensive. For example, if, for some reason, I cared about political correctness, I could make the most politically correct statement in the world; that all the cultural norms we’ve grown up around need to be thrown out the window to accommodate the preferences of LGBTQ+ people.
But, while that might temporarily appease the political correctness mob that is demanding speech codes on college campuses, it would absolutely offend the imams in Saudi Arabia. The left routinely defends those people, as you can see by reading about the legal teams that defend obvious terrorists in Hunting in the Shadows.
So, who would the left defend? The LGBTQ+ mob or the pro-terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism mob? The left claims to love and defend both sides of that equation, so who would it support by implementing speech codes on college campuses to make it an offense to say anything that might offend those groups? Who knows, it would probably depend on which group the leftists needed to help them win an election.
That made up scenario is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the idiocy of speech codes on college campuses. The leftists are hypocrites, so there are a bevy of issues where saying one thing in support of a leftist, politically correct ideology would offend some other side of the political correctness equation.
To me, that’s why the system of politics of grievance that we’re currently dealing with are so insidious and destructive. No matter what you say and how well-meaning you are, you’ll still be in the wrong.
Frankly, I think that’s by design. Like Dr. Floyd Ferris explains to Hank Rearden in Atlas Shrugged, the system isn’t designed for good outcomes or to help lead to a moral society. It’s meant to punish people so that the powers that be have power over them:
There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kinds of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of lawbreakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.Atlas Shrugged, Chapter 3: White Blackmail
The lesson from that applies to speech codes on college campuses as well as it does to the laws created by bureaucrats. The leftists don’t really care about “systemic racism,” the imaginary oppressive force they claim is holding them down.
In reality, they just want to have power and leverage over you so that they can implement their radical agenda. The leftist professors and administrators that are destroying our universities have found that implementing speech codes on college campuses is the best way to increase leverage over the conservative college students and incoming young conservatives that might otherwise cause them problems through exercising their right to free speech.
Part II: Why Speech Codes on College Campuses are Unconstitutional
The second, and the more severe problem I have with speech codes on college campuses is that they’re unconstitutional. Read Restoring the Lost Constitution. Read Without Precedent. See how the Founding Fathers and original Supreme Court justices conceived of and defended free speech at all costs. Do you think they’d be okay with stifling debate on the grounds that it might possibly offend somebody? No! Of course not! The fact we even have to debate that shows just how severe the problem of the tyranny of the minority has gotten.
Furthermore, our colleges and universities are supposed to be beacons of free speech, not semi-authoritarian police states where every word is punished because some sneaky, left-wing administrator has been implementing speech codes on college campuses.
Just think about the speech-stifling infrastructure that has to be built up to put those speech codes on college campuses into effect.
First, safe spaces, which are also anti-First Amendment, have to be created so that bubble-wrapped students can escape from the hardship of hearing opposing viewpoints. Next, by using safe spaces as a spring-board, administrators have to spend the time to create a speech code and think of ways to enforce it. Finally, once those safe-spaces and speech codes are created and their presence is solidified, more administrators must be hired to hear disciplinary cases related to the speech codes on college campuses and kick out students that would rather speak their minds.
Do any of those steps sound constitutional to you? Does any aspect of the process related to creating and enforcing speech codes on college campuses sound like it’s in line with the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
No, speech codes on college campuses are not in line with that amendment. And before you say, “Well, that only applies to the government, what about schools, especially private schools?,” remember that pretty much every university takes government money. And if they take money from the feds, then they have to respect federal dictates and act in accordance with federal policy. So, free speech has to be respected on college campuses and speech codes on college campuses are unconstitutional. Schools must respect the First Amendment.
Conclusion: What Should Young Conservatives Do to Fight the Speech Codes on College Campuses?
I’m a firm believer in standing up for yourself. Especially about areas of life as important as freedom of speech. Luckily, when it comes to campus issues, at least, you don’t need to stand up alone. There are many young conservatives out there, you just have to look for them. Do so. Find them. And then start fighting back.
But first, let the President do something to help you out. Here’s what President Trump had to say about the issue of speech codes on college campuses recently:
“Too many universities and school systems are about radical left indoctrination, not education. Therefore, I am telling the Treasury Department to re-examine their Tax-Exempt status and/or funding, which will be taken away if this propaganda or act against public policy continues. Our children must be educated, not indoctrinated!” -President Trump on free speech on college campuses.
Remember that part in the previous section where I mentioned that because universities take public funding (even many private ones), they have to follow federal policy? Well this is one way they enforce their rules. By using the power of the purse.
So, if you are a college conservative or young conservative apprehensive about dealing with speech codes on college campuses, look to this announcement for guidance. You don’t have to fight those arbitrary rules created by authoritarian leftists as part of some student coalition that tries in vain to appeal to the humanity or logic of the leftist administrators. They have neither of those traits so doing so would be in vain.
Instead, just start pointing out how your college university isn’t in line with federal guidelines, so it’s about to be in a world of hurt. No more “free” government money means no more cushy administrative jobs. So really, it’s a win-win either way. Either the administrators back down and allow free speech on college campuses to once again flourish, or they’ll be fired as the school enters a funding crunch! And, in any case, the speech codes on college campuses will probably disappear. They’re unconstitutional. At some point, they have to go away.
By: Gen Z Conservative