I have previously written about how cities and universities are now cancelling conservative speakers in order to protect public safety. I recently discussed this rising rationale for barring speakers, a way for officials to claim that they are still being content neutral while achieving the same result of censoring speakers. The latest such example occurred in Canada at Ryerson University where the school canceled a free speech panel after some groups criticized the appearance of conservative speakers. The school gave them what they demanded in the name of protecting public safety.
I have been writing for years about the rising wave of intolerance for free speech that has swept over Europe and is now reaching our own shores in the United States. Attacks on free speech are increasing from the left which has cracked down on speech deemed offensive or intimidating to any group. Thus far, the United States has been a bulwark against this trend, but an editorial in the New York Times this week is a chilling example of how voices against free speech are now becoming mainstream. The editorial was written by K-Sue Park is a housing attorney and the Critical Race Studies fellow at the U.C.L.A. School of Law. Park criticizes the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for what she views as blind fealty to free speech and suggests that it is time to stop defending Nazis because sometimes standing on the wrong side of history in defense of a cause you think is right is still just standing on the wrong side of history. Of course, many of us believe that the wrong side of history is the side where free speech depends on what you want to say — and whether people like Park agree with it.