Letter to the Editor | Response to ‘Responding to The Spectrum’s Misunderstanding of Free Speech’

letters to the editor

This is a Letter to the Editor responding to another Letter alleging that Ezra Gray’s articles are hateful, bigoted, and don’t belong in a University newspaper. I contend that their logic is flawed, untrue, and aims at censoring those they disagree with, which as I have seen, is a typical maneuver of leftists to silence anyone on the right.

For example, if someone makes anti-Semitic remarks to another person, one would rightly call the person out on it. However, if the person’s name is Ben Shapiro, I can just about guarantee none of the authors of this particular letter would bother to say anything. Shapiro, an orthodox Jew, is the target of over 7,400 anti-Semitic attacks via Twitter. Where are the SJW’s when this happens?

Also, regarding the charge of hate speech, multiple Supreme Court justices have agreed that there is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is quoted as saying, “Speech may not be banned on the grounds that it expresses ideas that offend.” This is referred to as the bedrock principle. It has also been referenced in this article.

In their letter, the authors quoted Ezra Gray as saying, “if you have a problem with someone saying something that personally offends you, tough luck. Get over it and move on with your day.” Then they move on to say that, “This is a call to silence already marginalized voices. This mindset is rooted in a deep misunderstanding of both modern social issues and their historical contexts. To state that any form of hate speech is acceptable because it constitutes ‘free speech’ is a disingenuous attempt to champion certain voices above others.”

This is logically fallacious because there is nothing in Ezra’s quote, nor in his article entirely, that directly suggests the silencing and marginalizing of others. They seem to ignore the next sentence afterwards that says, “Better yet, make yourself better because of it.” Context matters.

Another thing they mention is that The Spectrum’s “recent issues have clearly privileged a viewpoint that reinforces prejudices without any attempt to question them or open debate.” May I refer you to another Letter to the Editor where the writer pointed out that The Spectrum only had left-leaning opinion pieces. And by the look of things, these writers were not there to critique The Spectrum when it had only left-leaning opinions. So, why is it not okay to have a one-way conversation with the Alt-Right, but it’s worth having a one-way conversation with the Left?

In conclusion, I do sympathize with their frustrations with The Spectrum. I, too, sense a lot of red flags in their practices. The question is, do you truly want both sides of an issue, or do you want to do as one claims that The Spectrum is doing, which is to censor one opinion (i.e. Ezra, myself, etc.) and give free reign to another (i.e. the writers of that letter)?

Mark Simonson, Graduate Student, Agribusiness and Applied Economics, 701-367-3574

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