Hastings College of Law Bars the “Heckler’s Veto” in Defense of Free Speech

For years, some of us have called upon schools to impose stricter rules against students or faculty disrupting classes or events by shouting down speakers or preventing them from being heard. While some law professors and legal sites have supported such cancel tactics, the University of California Hastings College of the Law has joined those schools in barring the use of what is loosely called the “heckler’s veto.” It is now routine for protesters to prevent others from hearing opposing views and there are often allegations that some schools quietly allow the use of the heckler’s veto

The new Event Policy prohibits

“forms of protest that substantially disrupt an in-person or virtual event in a way that has the effect of silencing a speaker,” but still recognizes and protects peaceful protest such as banner holding, counter events, and engaging in question and answer periods as part of the “essential right to protest.”

Under this rule, Administrators may now hold violators “accountable for violating the UC Hastings Code of Student Conduct and Discipline.” We have seen convocations and other important events disrupted by such protesters. We recently discussed how Cornell is pledging to punish students who prevented conservative writer Ann Coulter from speaking.

We have previously discussed the worrisome signs of a rising generation of censors in the country as leaders and writers embrace censorship and blacklisting. The latest chilling poll was released by 2021 College Free Speech Rankings after questioning a huge body of 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities. It found that sixty-six percent of college students think shouting down a speaker to stop them from speaking is a legitimate form of free speech.  Another 23 percent believe violence can be used to cancel a speech. That is roughly one out of four supporting violence.

We discussed this issue with regard to a lawsuit against SUNY. It is also discussed in my recent law review article, Jonathan Turley, Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. We have seen how in universities (including state schools) this can turn into a type of “heckler’s veto” where speeches are cancelled in advance or terminated suddenly due to the disruption of protesters.

This has been an issue of contention with some academics who believe that free speech includes the right to silence others.  Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over the use of a heckler’s veto on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers, including a speaker from the ACLU discussing free speech.  Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech.  At another University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display.

In the meantime, academics and deans have said that there is no free speech protection for offensive or “disingenuous” speech.  CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,”  Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech. (Bilek later cancelled herself and resigned after she made a single analogy to acting like a “slaveholder” as a self-criticism for failing to achieve equity and reparations for black faculty and students).

A few years ago, I debated NYU Professor Jeremy Waldron who is a leading voice for speech codes. Waldron insisted that shutting down speakers through heckling is a form of free speech. I disagree. It is the antithesis of free speech and the failure of schools to protect the exercise of free speech is the antithesis of higher education. In most schools, people are not allowed to disrupt events. They are escorted out of such events and told that they can protest outside of the events since others have a right to listen to opposing views. These disruptions, however, are often planned to continually interrupt speakers until the school authorities step in to cancel the event.

Hastings has taken an important stand against these disruptive cancel campaigns. It must now carry out its pledge to protect free speech by holding students accountable when they seek to prevent others from speaking or being heard on campus. Of course, you must also invite speakers who offer alternative or dissenting views, which has become increasingly rare at law school.


90 thoughts on “Hastings College of Law Bars the “Heckler’s Veto” in Defense of Free Speech”

  1. Saying that shouting down a speaker is free speech is equivalent to saying that throwing tomato soup on masterpieces is a right to showcase your art. This is the new left, you know, people like Svelaz.

  2. I surmise if people cannot state their views they will have no choice but to resort to violence.

    1. That’s not what I do when I can’t state my views somewhere.
      Is that what you do when you can’t state your views somewhere? If so, why?

    2. I am a student of violence.
      And your tax dollars paid for it via the US military.
      However, I also sworn to up hold and defend the Constitution and all those it applies to. Even if I disagree with what it is they say.

      I have stated more than a few times on this blog that kind of violence must be avoided. But I now also feel it may be inevitable.
      While you surmise, “people cannot state their views they will have no choice but to resort to violence.” I see it as those who feel a given point of view is violence, at some point they will resort to violence to silence others.

  3. As grateful as I am for, and as much as I continue to support the furtherance of what happens on this blog: can you really not see that this alone is not enough? The principles are great, but the principles are not what are playing out before our eyes. Hold onto the knowledge and hold it sacrosanct, but please, please stop ignoring what is unfolding right before your eyes. We are quite literally on a precipice, today, right now. The principals are how we ultimately deal with things, what is happening in real time has got to be addresses too. Hiding in the corner with historical facts is not going to change anything more than hiding in the corner with contrivances will.

    1. James,

      Just an FYI I located several of your comments that were trapped (for unknown reasons) buy the spam filter. They have been restored.

  4. There is a right to ignore others. Is that not one of the most natural and civil modes of censorship?

    I suggest the national TV news media apply that judgment to what Trump is trying to do tonight. Just don’t send a crew to cover it. If asked why, there are at least a half dozen things that make Trump an “outlier” as a 2024 Presidential contender, undeserving of normal treatment.

    First, his timing violates a longstanding norm that Presidential announcements wait until the summer or fall a year before. We need respect for a governing season, and need to marginalize a zealot who disrespects norms. 2) There is reason to believe Trump’s weird announcement schedule is acting on the advice of lawyers to erect a defense against indictment. 3) The J6 Committee has presented objective evidence of a 7-pronged plan to overturn the 2020 election result, up to and including interfering with the EC result in both states and in Congress, in gross defiance of Constitution principle….making Trump untrustworthy of high public office ever again. 4) Recent revelations from former Chief-of-Staff John Kelly that Trump wanted the IRS to harass his opponents suggests corruption, and place a new cloud over Trump until investigated. 5) There is insider info that Trump’s campaign is not a team effort, and that he is rejecting thinking from political advisors and leading Repub voices — further suggesting a mental disconnect from reality. 6) “The audience has had enough of Trump, and we decided to let our audience prejudge the Mar-a-Lago presser as not worthy of coverage”.

    Trump thrives on “us vs. them” conflict theatrics. The way to shove him aside is to stop fighting him, and just ignore him….as a former Prez who has lost touch with reality.

    1. Ignore that guy, smoke some weed or have some fentanyl, and listen to the dulcet sounds of CIATV talking about your favorite ex-CIA Congressmen.

      Look, we know what ciamsnbcnn tells you to think, no need to act like you get the credit for it.

    2. @pbinca

      Yes, but the modus operandi of the left for decades has been more along the lines of we should quite literally hate the others, because merely by existing they have harmed us. Fighting insanity is easy when people reject insanity. When they embrace it, that is another thing entirely. It isn’r even about values anymore, it’s about mental state. Sane and healthy people do not vote for their own subjugation.

    3. There is a right to ignore others.
      Like all rights, the results of excercising that right could result in personal harm.

      What there is not is a right to FORCE others to ignore those you deem should not be listened to.

      Rights are always choices you are free to make ONLY for yourself – not for others.

      And the exercise of a right – may benefit you, or it may harm you,

    4. Are you planning to listen to Trump ? I suspect not – your choice.

      Why is it you think you are free to make that choice for others ?

      You are not talking about ignoring Trump.
      You are talking about canceling him. That is not your right.

    5. Any argument can be flipped.

      It is already self evident that Biden and Democrats have been targeting Trump BECAUSE he is the likely candidate in 2024.
      It is trivially arguable that should he bow out, the DOJ will leave him alone.

    6. The J6 committee produced extensive evidence of lots of people acting legally but in a way Democrats do not like.

      Conspiring to overturn an election is not a crime.
      Succeeding is not a crime.

      It is important to describe things narrowly and clearly – because otherwise we confuse opposing our prefered results with criminality.

      Every single thing that the J6 committee pretends to have proven is an effort to replicate the events of a prior election.
      Because what has occurred in the past without objection is defacto legal and constitutional.

      If Trump did not seek to use the IRS to harrass opponents he would be the only recent president that did not.
      If he did, he should be held accountable – so should Biden and Obama.

    7. “There is insider info that Trump’s campaign is not a team effort, and that he is rejecting thinking from political advisors and leading Repub voices — further suggesting a mental disconnect from reality”

      What does this even mean ? And why is it your business ?

      Trump alone gets to decide whether he will run in 2024.
      Other republicans get to decide if they will support him.
      Each of us as voters gets to decide if we will cote for him.

      It is certain that all republicans will not support Trump.
      and that all voters will not support Trump

      The same is completely true in reverse regarding Biden.

      YOU are free to discourage Trump, to refuse to support him if you are a republican,
      and to vote against him.

      You are not free to control what the rest of us do.

    8. “6) “The audience has had enough of Trump, and we decided to let our audience prejudge the Mar-a-Lago presser as not worthy of coverage”.”

      Some of them have. Some of them haven’t.
      Regardless, you can only speak for yourself.

      He still garners more attention than pretty much anyone else on the planet.

    9. “Trump thrives on “us vs. them” conflict theatrics.”
      Absolutely – and that is why you hate him – he is very good at YOUR tactics.

      “The way to shove him aside is to stop fighting him, and just ignore him….as a former Prez who has lost touch with reality.”
      And YOU are free to do so, the rest of us get to make our own decision.

    10. “Trump thrives on “us vs. them” conflict theatrics.”

      Yes, I was horrified by his speech, in front of a blood-red background with marines standing dutifully at attention, where he declared the opposition “semi-fascists.”

      And I was aghast at his hysterical claims, right before midterm voting, that the opposition aims to end democracy and will (probably) kill your children.

      Oh, wait.

    11. While Biden is burning the Constitution and the left condones Antifa and BLM violence, Americans are being financially compromised, yet we hear such lackluster complaints of Trump thriving on conflict? One has to wonder about the poster and whether her glasses are able to focus her eyes.

  5. I recall talks in the 60s where the audience disagreed. In the polite old days they waited for the Q&A to take the mic and disagree. That is free speech countered by free speech. Hecklers were simply told to hold that thought for the Q&A. Disruptive hecklers who refused to wait their turn were removed. Times have changed. In many cases the mob rules today.

    1. Would that be back when society as a whole expected to respect others? Social norms?
      In a world where woke Leftists turn into quivering blobs if you dont use their pronouns, someone with a different POV might speak, where discussion is violence, but their violence is okay is what infects academia today.

  6. Preventing someone from speaking can only be considered a “form of free speech” by the most delusional and disingenuous liberals. In fact, it’s an act of violence, an assault, and should be dealt with as such. But even more obvious, it’s an act of desperation by people who have been taught ideology instead of history and biology; who have been taught that they are such pathetic victims that their only recourse is to stop all opposing opinions by any means necessary. These fools couldn’t put together an argument if it was laid out in front of them. They are incapable of logical and critical thought because all they’ve been taught is hate, grievance and self-pity. That’s why they can’t bear to hear anything to the contrary, and so they need to silence all opposition. If silencing the opposition is considered “free speech,” then the Nazis were the biggest free speech enthusiasts in history.

    1. “Preventing someone from speaking can only be considered a “form of free speech” by the most delusional and disingenuous liberals.”

      No. Preventing someone from speaking by speaking louder or more IS a form of free speech. It’s not an assault or violence. It’s no different than when two debaters constantly interrupt one another in order to prevent the other from expressing their view.

      I pointed out that this CAN be countered with MORE speech. Comedians d of his all the time when dealing with hecklers. Some expertly use the audience to their advantage and silence or embarrass the hecklers by turning the audience against them. Speakers who can’t do that and hide behind the curtains or give up lose to the hecklers. That is THEIR fault. Not the hecklers or protesters. Jordan Peterson is famous for his ability to stand firm in the face of protesting and heckling and he’s a prime example of how one should handle them.

      1. “can only be considered a “form of free speech” by the most delusional and disingenuous liberals.””

        You proved his point, svelaz

        1. Nope. Case in point. Parents screaming and disrupting school board meetings during the CRT hysteria a year ago. A LOT of parents engaged in what Turley would call censorship by “heckler’s veto”. Remember that?

          Parent’s shouted down speakers and members fo the board during those contentious meetings and when they were ushered out or board members canceled a meeting because of the parents’ inability to exercise civility the board was accused for censorship. They were exercising their right to free speech too. Right?

        2. Neil
          It’s no longer entertaining to spar with Svelaz, I’m guessing he is some bot. just programed to say hot is cold, white is black and its well known that water runs up hill . He really has not earned any consideration.

      2. “[S]peaking louder or more IS a form of free speech.”

        No, it isn’t. It is a form of initiating *physical* force. Sounds are material, physical. Sounds above a certain level for a sustained period of time violate an individual’s rights, e.g., to property, to free speech. That is why municipalities, quite properly, have noise ordinances.

        The heckler’s *veto* is the initiatiion of physical force against the innocent (speakers, organizers, attendees). Violators should be removed immediately and (at the very least) fined.

    2. A ban on heckling prevents the heckler from speaking. So, has Hastings Law committed assault?

    1. No, because your 1st amendment right is a right to speak, express your opinion, or views. Not to listen. The only person whose right would be infringed would be the person speaking in the event.

      1. That is without a doubt, the dumbest logic I have ever read.

        And, goomer, please do not respond to my comments. Even online, your responses make me feel unclean.
        And stay away from children, especially those under 10 years of age.

        1. Upstatefarmer, it’s clear you have no idea what the 1st amendment does and does not do for you. You should read it again. It’’s a limitation on GOVERNMENT infringement. Not private individuals. Not being able to listen to a speaker because of a protest or heckling. Is NOT an violation of your right to SPEAK FREELY. Remember you’re complaint is about being able to listen, NOT speak. Pay attention man.

            1. Should others refer to you as a groomer in return, also for no reason? As ye sow, so ye shall reap.

                1. “Shut up groomer.”

                  That is grotesquely inappropriate.

                  If you do not see the value he provides by presenting opposing ideas and arguments, then the problem is yours — not his.

      2. Hmmm…that’s a strained, hollow definition of “speech”. Speech is communication involving both speaker and listener(s). There is no communication without listeners and listening. Therefore, there is an implicit right to voluntarily listen (read, watch) implicit in freedom of speech.

        1. No, a discussion is as communication involving a speaker and a listener. So is a debate. Speech is simply spoken words in a certain order. Nothing else. Listening is an entirely separate concept than speech. They are both part of communication, but speech alone is not both.

          Speech; the expression of or the ability to express thoughts and feelings by articulate sounds.

          A formal address or discourse delivered to an audience.

          1. “. . . a discussion is . . .”

            You and I disagree about almost everything. But you do not deserve the nasty slurs (which I will not repeat).

  7. I am glad to read about this move by Hastings College of Law. The Republic stands for rule of law and if those that study and teach law cannot get it right then we are doomed to fail. This removal of the Heckler’s veto should be standard at all universities and colleges. The Heckler’s veto is often accompanied by violence and is therefore the antithesis of the American Ideal. We are also supposed to respect the thoughts and rights of the minority, hence the Bill Of Rights. We adhere to mainly majority rule but with limits. There needs to be more instruction on the Tyranny of the Majority and that is why we have a Federal Republic and not an Athenian Democracy. We based much of our Republic on Rome and the Roman Republic lasted hundreds of years whereas Athenian Democracy lasted about 100 years and was brutal to those out of power. All most have the right to speak unencumbered. There is a practical reason for that also. Humans being humans there will be a thought process that goes like this, “Well if they are not going to let me speak to express my views and be listened to, maybe they will listen when my like minded friends bring out our guns and storm the barricades”. I maintain that restricting or blocking free speech enhances the chance for violence. Remember many revolutions were successful even though the revolutionaries were a minority. They won with commitment and organization and major mistakes by the more powerful state. Even in the American colonies.
    History teaches well if you bother to study it. Luckily the founders did.

  8. Professor Turley,

    Banning the heckler’s veto is a form of speech control. You routinely criticize those who argue that controls over free speech can actually advance the cause of free speech, yet support silencing the speech of individuals in this contest to serve that very goal?

    How is this any different from banning social media posts (or at least labeling them), which spread patently false information on a mass scale to disrupt the free flow of ideas on such platforms?

    1. That’s a great point. Heckling IS a form of free speech. Turley agues that those who choose to heckle a speaker should be silenced or punished because it was rude. Just because it’s rude does not mean it is not also free speech. In a public square a speaker CAN be heckled to the point of giving up. The speaker does have the right to be louder or persist over the hecklers.

      Comedians are routinely heckled and many employ what Turley often promotes as the antidote. More speech, as in a great retort or turn the crowd against the heckler/s. There is a fine line between heckling and protesting in an event. Protesting at an event with the goal of drowning out the speaker can be dealt with by removing the protesters for being disruptive.

      What I see a lot with conservative speakers at colleges and universities is that they give up too easily when being heckled and protested. They should take notes from successful comedians on how to deal with hecklers or protesters instead of cowering behind the curtains or security personnel.

      Turley uses the term “heckler’s veto” way too loosely. The real meaning of a heckler’s veto is when law enforcement stops an even or speaker before protests or heckling even occurs and it’s used as a “pre-emotive measure”.

      Protesting a speaker to the point of shutting them down is not only rude and inconsiderate to those who wish to listen IS still an exercise of free speech. MODERATING the event as social media does with it’s platforms and what Turley calls “censorship” is exactly what what they are doing. Moderating. That is NOT censorship. Turley likes to blur the line between moderation and censorship in order to push his biased narrative.

      1. “Heckling IS a form of free speech.”


        There is no such thing as the “right” to violate another individual’s rights.

        1. The 1st amendment is a limitation on GOVERNMENT, not private individuals. One person CAN shout down another into silence. A private individual cannot violate your right when the right is a protection from GOVERNMENT infringement. Not infringement from another private individual.

          Heckling IS a form of free speech. You should see how the British parliament operates. Heckling of speakers is always there. It’s part of free speech.

          1. “Not infringement from another private individual.”


            So if a private person trespasses on my property, the government should not arrest him? And the government should not step in when there is a civil rights violation?

            The government’s only proper function is to protect individual rights, including the right to free speech. When your heckler-hooligans violate the speaker’s right to free speech, they should be hauled off the premises to the nearest police precinct.

            I know, I know. They’re you’re hooligans. So let them run wild.

            1. Sam, trespassing is NOT speech. Your example is completely irrelevant to the what he first amendment does and does not do for you.

              The 1st amendment is a right to be free from government stopping you from expressing your views because they are contrary, rude, offensive, or wrong. That’s it. It does NOT prohibit a private individual, or organization or anything else not of government from stopping you from expressing the same.

              You can say whatever you want and the 1st amendment guarantees you that the government cannot stop you from doing that. What it does NOT say is that PRIVATE individuals can’t stop you. Another person CAN shout you down or censor your voice if they have a means to. If I owned a blog and you were saying things i didn’t like I could simply censor you with impunity. You would not have any legal recourse at all. Now to be clear that is NOT what i would actually do, BUT I could if I wanted to because the 1st amendment does NOT prevent me from doing that. You understand?

              1. “Your example is completely irrelevant . . .”

                You’re right — to those who cannot think in principles.

              2. “What it does NOT say is that PRIVATE individuals can’t stop you.”

                I guess some people do not like this part of the American system of government:

                “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men . . .” (A partial list of which rights is in the BoR.)

        2. Sam: Many of the commenters here do not understand the content-neutral “time, place, manner” restrictions that are PERMITTED under the First Amendment.
          Speakers at college events are GUESTS who have been approved by the school as meeting time, place, manner requirements. The schools likewise are free to CONTROL the heckles/protests by “time, place, manner.”
          If hecklers/protesters disagree, they can take up their policy complaints with school administrators. If they do not agree with what the speaker says, they can quietly get up and leave, without interfering with the right(s) of other listeners.

          I might add a personal opinion here. Many students are looking for “likes” in the same way many commenters on this blog site do. They crave attention and validation, and shouting out/protesting often satisfies that need for attention.
          I am hoping that more schools protect the many rather than feed the few.

          1. “Many of the commenters here do not understand . . .”

            True. But with all due respect, you are giving them credit for a mistake of knowledge that they do not deserve. The Apologists are far more nefarious than that.

            They start with the irrational premise: Does this (barbarian) behavior satisfy a desire? If so, let me concot a rationalization to excuse it.

            1. “…you are giving them credit for a mistake of knowledge that they do not deserve. ”

              True. But with all due respect, I was trying to be polite. Your comments to them are often dead-on responsive on the merits.

              1. “I was trying to be polite.”

                I know. And I wish your explanation were the *only* one. This culture would be a lot more civilized.

          2. Lin,
            Great comment! Well said!

            IRT your personal opinion, I concur. I try to avoid those types and try to engage in interesting and thoughtful discussion with those worthy, like yourself, TiT, James, Young, CurrentSitGuy, Karen S, S. Meyer, GEB, John Say to name a few.

            1. The standards – viewpoint neutral restrictions on time, place, manner – ar the standards that the government must meet to censor.

              There is no prohibition against private censorship – nor should their be.

              But there are many reasons why censorship is RARELY wise and those apply to all domains in which people may censor.

              Svelaz has been wrong about the law, wrong about contracts, wrong in nearly every argument he makes save one regarding Social Media Censorship.

              He is Correct that private entities MAY censor for whatever reasons they wish.

              But may is not Should. And Should is not a legal argument it is a utilitarian one.

              I would strongly suggest everyone real JS Mill “On liberty”
              Heterodox accdemy has an excellent “modern translation”

              Mills is not argument the law. He is arguming why censorship is BAD – why the negative consequences of censorship are likely to outweigh the benefits.

              It is probably a good idea for a company to prohibit political discussions at work.

              But it is with near certainty a bad idea to prohibit discussions of business decisions.

              If a company holds a meeting to address a frequent failure on the assembly line,
              bringing in the designers, engineers etc. but omitting those working on the line.
              9 times out of 10 it will quickly find the right answer.
              But 1:10 it will not and may waste substantial effort discovering something important that the “experts” do not know

          3. I agree with you, Lin. As you said, schools are free to CONTROL heckles/protests…..

            In other words, a school that bans hecklers is using a form of speech control. That is precisely my point. It is not a normative argument. You must acknowledge, then, that control of certain speech is used to advance the cause of free speech?

          4. There are always going to be hecklers or protesters at such events. Despite them being disruptive or rude they are STILL forms of free speech. Turley is basically arguing for civility being the rule and I do agree on that principle. However he’s conflating one form of free speech (heckling, protesting) as censorship while claiming holding students accountable as a different but acceptable form of censorship.

            He should be talking about rules of civility instead of using that lack of civility to promote a false narrative of “mass censorship from the left”.

          5. “The schools likewise are free to CONTROL the heckles/protests by “time, place, manner.”

            That’s a good point and I agree. But it can also be true that schools are free NOT to control the heckles/protests too.

            Interestingly this form of “speech control” also applies to social media. No?

            Turley asserts that “speech control” in SM is censorship, BUT in academic settings it’s not? Speech control IS a form of censorship. How would that be acceptable for someone who asserts to be a “free speech absolutist”? Or what about following Turley’s “1st amendment model”? As a free speech absolutist Turely’s “1sr amendment model” would require that even the most offensive racist comments or anti-Semitic rhetoric be allowed. Turley constantly advocates for that model to be adopted by social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook, but glaringly obvious is the fact that his blog won’t allow such offensive language and rhetoric at all. That is the contradictory nature of Turley’s philosophy and the source of his hypocrisy that undermines his credibility by claiming to be a free speech absolutist. Even Elon musk is finding out that is not possible without seriously damaging the revenue streams he needs to sustain the platform he just bought.

          6. Lin, there is no question that speech is being interfered with. The only question is whether or not there is a legal avenue to permit such types of free speech. The legal entities involved would be the university and the city where the university is.

            (correct me if I am wrong.)

            The university has rules frequently enforced by its police and, if needed, the local police department. In many cases, the universities have not taken sufficient action against those trying to prevent others from speaking. Groups, individuals, or the university pay the costs involved. But, many universities receive some funding from the taxpayer through the government.

            Svelaz is wrong about most things, but accidentally he sometimes falls into the truth for the wrong reason and then destroys what he said with more stupidity. Protest is permissible as long as no violence is associated. However, despite taxpayers and government involvement, the university is passively taking sides and not protecting the free speech of conservatives.

            Those schools should stop receiving federal funds. They and social media are taking sides in preventing conservative speech at the government’s request. Government cannot use private entities as a proxy to deny freedom of speech.

    2. It appears Anonymous cannot discern the difference between listening respectively to a speech and then engaging in questioning and answering after and standing up and screeching and disrupting the entire speech in the first place. I would maintain that Anonymous suffers from a type of receptive aphasia. Maybe he should repeat Professor Turley’s column 100 times and it might start to sink in.

      1. This does not respond to the original comment. I am constantly surprised by how difficult it is for folks on this blog to recognize when a post is not a normative argument. The post calls out a discrepancy in Professor Turley’s normative arguments.

        Therefore, a response, questioning my ability to identify an extreme example of heckling is not particularly germane to this discussion.

        (Normatively, I agree hecklers should be silenced. But, I also believe that certain, limited forms of speech control are necessary to advance the cause of free speech. Free speech absolutism is unworkable in modern society.)

    3. An academic setting is not The Improv and silencing speech you don’t like isn’t free speech. Either engage in good faith dialog and exchange or deal with the fact you are going to be removed and expelled.

      1. No an academic setting is not an improve, BUT the situation is the same. What Turley is really arguing for is CIVILITY rather than free speech. You can make an argument for civility in those settings but calling heckling or protesting censorship is not. The point I was making is that it is well within the speaker’s power to control the situation by using the same techniques comedians use when dealing with such disruptions. It works most to the time and when it doesn’t THEN those disrupting the event are escorted out.
        Conservative speakers don’t employ that much and use the heckling and protesting to their advantage and play “victim” to “liberal censorship” and manufacture outrage over the “censorship”. It’s quite ironic because Jordan Peterson doesn’t make such a claim and rightly confronts hecklers and protesters with MORE speech as Turley often promotes as the solution to those kinds of problems.

        1. It’s pretty hard for a speaker to turn up the microphone to 11 when they are either hustled off the stage or their appearance is cancelled outright without even a chance to speak.

          It’s one thing to picket or take to the streets, it’s entirely a different thing to invade and take over an auditorium.

          I suspect taking over the guest gallery of the Senate or House when Congress is in session with a crowd armed with bullhorns would garner the same defense from you.

          1. A speaker can insist on confronting the hecklers, and they CAN engage the audience to their advantage too. To be “hustled” off the state and accept the meek “escape” from the heckling/protesting is the fault of the speaker.

            The speaker still has the advantage of being the one who is the center of attention. Not the hecklers/protesters. Again I point to Jordan Peterson as a great example.

            Other conservative speakers either give up and claim victimhood for censorship from the “left” or deliberately stop their speech to “prove” the left is out to censor conservatives. Comedians don’t cry “victim” when they face heckling/protesting. They face it head on and often use it to THEIR advantage because they understand it’s part of the job. Conservative speakers who do this for a living SHOULD know how to handle such issues.

    4. “Banning the heckler’s veto is a form of speech control.”

      No, it’s not — anymore than banning trespassers is a form of property control.

      1. How does a government (or a public university) ban a heckler’s veto? By limiting where, when and how the heckler may speak. Et voila. a CONTROL on speech.

        This is not a normative argument about the merits of this control. I don’t like hecklers either. It is simply a recognition that banning a heckler’s veto is speech control.

        The point here is that Turley acknowledges that certain speech controls are necessary to advance the cause of free speech in this context but not in others. This article runs contrary to his rejection of all speech controls (see his repeated attacks on Goldsmith, for example).

        In order to control a heckler’s veto, the government must place a value judgment on the quality of different forms of speech. While yelling and screaming during a university’s guest may seem like an easy call, what happens on the margins? What if a counter-protest is set up with various speakers outside and happens to be louder than the speech inside? Are those counterprotests “hecklers,” and if so, who makes the judgment call that the inside speaker is more important than the outside speakers?

        These are thorny questions, which require the government to intervene and place a value judgment based on society’s morals and values, and this is precisely the type of control Turley attacked Goldsmith for acknowledging as inevitable.

        By the way, this trespassing analogy doesn’t really apply here, but yes, when a government passes a law criminalizing trespassing, it is controlling access to property, whether that is public or private property. Obviously. Try to jump the White House fence and see what happens.

        1. They ban it by stating that it is banned and that anyone doing it will be removed from the venue.

        2. “How does a government (or a public university) ban a heckler’s veto? By limiting where, when and how the heckler may speak. Et voila. a CONTROL on speech.”
          That’s what someone else said about an hour before you did.

    5. Yes it is. Just like banning me from shooting the heckler is a form of gun control. Or banning people from yelling fire…

      I realize that maintaining the most base and vile instincts can cause concern for many democrats and progressives, but we have a society to manage and that doesn’t include submitting to your banal vanities and boorish behavior. Let me restate that for you, “stfu, and let the adults speak, sorry…not sorry.”

  9. “We have previously discussed the worrisome signs of a rising generation of censors in the country as leaders and writers embrace censorship and blacklisting.”

    Turley’s hypocrisy concerning censorship is as amusing as it is limitless, given his secret habit of banning people from commenting at this website, among other covert tactics to control the comment section.

    1. “Turley’s hypocrisy . . .”

      Which, of course, is not a counter-argument, but an ad hominem attack. Whether he is or isn’t a hypocrite has no bearing on the validity of his argument. It does show, though, that you are bereft of ideas.

      1. It is a valid argument because Turley has banned people for posting speech that is offensive, racist, or vulgar. All which are forms of protected free speech AND speech that Turley often “defends” as free speech, BUT he censors on his own blog with the convenient excuse that it’s the policy of WordPress rather than him. So yes Turley is a hypocrite.

        1. “It is a valid argument because . . .”

          So if a doctor gives you *facts* and *arguments* for not smoking, but then you see him smoking in the parking lot — his *arguments* against smoking are invalid?!

          I guess logic and fallacies are no longer taught in American schools.

          1. “So if a doctor gives you *facts* and *arguments* for not smoking, but then you see him smoking in the parking lot — his *arguments* against smoking are invalid?!”


            But he is a hypocrite.

            It’s Turley’s hypocrisy that’s being called out. You know that. Because it’s been pointed out multiple times.

          2. Sam, this is unrelated but also irrelevant because not every post is a normative “argument” with respect to the blog to which it is responsive. This is not a speech and debate class.

            I view Professor Turley’s free speech posts as snippets of his of his free speech beliefs that together comprise a whole. In this vein, pointing out an inconsistency in his beliefs, while it may be a “logical fallacy” in a hypothetical debate regarding a particular post, is relevant to understanding his worldview (and any critiques thereof).

            So, yes, pointing out hypocrisy may be tu quoque vis-a-vis TOPIC X, but the parameters you have set for debating TOPIC X and TOPIC X only are rather artificial, especially considering the slew of hyperlinks and references to previous articles, which generally accompany Turley blog post.

            The real purpose, it seems, is to detract from the subject of Svelaz’s post, which, ironically, is a form of ad hominem attack.

    2. Perhaps the professor and Darren are just exercising their “Hecklers veto” rights against you.

  10. it’s been written, somewhere but I don’t recall where, that had hecklers been dealt with as they should have been, years ago before we got to where we are now, none of this would be happening today. Dealt with as they should have been? More than a few have observed that a broken arm, a few broken ribs, or something along the lines of how ‘Rocky Balboa’ used physical violence to collect money for the loan sharks……..would have sent a strong message —-

        1. He might criticize the riots while cheering them under his breath. He likes the idea of violence, and perhaps even the deaths that occurred with the riots. All we have to do is look at his comments as a whole to see we are not dealing with a normal person.

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