Dear David (pseudonym):
Thanks so much for writing www.DrAdams.org for assistance with your free speech problem. Sadly, you were the fourth college student to write yesterday with a claim that your university is attempting to nullify your speech because it made someone feel “uncomfortable.”
As I understand it, on Friday, September 23, you were asked by the Office of Residential Life to remove a poster you made and later displayed facing the quad at your school in Illinois. At a very liberal school, I know that you constantly have to put up with liberal views and very rarely get to hear a conservative argument in any classroom setting. I am sure you put up the poster expressing your discouragement with the conservative-bashing that you often have to face.
Initially, let me say two things about the poster you printed off your computer, which said “If You Hate America or its Leaders, then Get the Hell Out.”: 1) I would never display such a poster because I think it contributes to inaccurate stereotypes about campus conservatives, and 2) Because I disagree with the content of your speech, I am even more inclined to defend it.
I am also ready to assist you because of the specific reason given by the person who approached you from the Office of Residential Life. I believe they told you someone was “offended” by the poster.
Even though you indicated you are often offended by some of the signs and messages of certain organizations on campus, I am glad you have never asserted a perceived constitutional right to be “un-offended.” That means you have the moral high ground in this case, especially since the representative from the Office of Residence Life informed you that you could be expelled from college if you left the sign up.
Although I am certain the person who complained is simply trying to suppress your views, I am willing to bet that they are, in part, making an issue out of your use of the word “hell.” Of course, I have taken the time to investigate your school and have noticed that “The Vagina Monologues” has been performed on your campus.
Furthermore, I found the following poem in a recent school-sponsored publication:
Sometimes silence is a dragon,
festering, flecked with
pox, manholes from which men,
tipping their hats, emerge, spouting
prophecies in one-word barks—
and with a smile smug they shrink
below, swallowed safely by
Earth’s bowels only to
surface, when, spying
another pair of nyloned legs, they
fling their s**t and she
has to soak her shoes again.
Dragons rise to be slain,
I think, so pass word
on to the village: we must
band and roar like the tempest.
Certainly, your school cannot promote a very bad poem using the v-word, the b-word, and the c-word and then with a straight face ban the use of the word “hell.” So, here’s what I want you to do, David. I want you to take your sign down and replace it with another one saying “If You Hate America or its Leaders, then Get the Heck Out.”
After you do this, your accuser will have to file a new complaint over the new sign. The new complaint will prove conclusively that he is really after the content of your speech, not its form. In other words, he does not care about the use of the word “hell.” After the second complaint is filed, I want you to comply again by taking down that second sign. Then, I want you to replace it with a third sign that reads as follows:
“If you are easily offended by free speech, get the hell out of the country.”
Having already established that “hell” is not offensive, we will then be able to see whether the complainant objects to the new idea reflected in the new poster.
If he does, he will be in the awkward position of making the following argument:
“I think that speech decrying censorship is offensive and should be censored.”
But if he does try to have this third sign removed, please comply once again.
Then, I would like for you to replace the third sign with a fourth and final sign that reads as follows:
“This college is a bastion of censorship” (or perhaps “This college is run by intolerant and childish censors”).
If they allow you to leave this fourth sign up, you will have won and the administration will wish they had never picked a fight with you. If they ask you to take it down, you should refuse to do so and go immediately to the press and to the alumni association. This is a win-win situation for you. It is also going to be (pardon the language) a hell of a lot of fun.
Oh, and one more thing, David. You wrote that the College Republicans at your school may be “interested in scheduling (me) for a lecture and would like more information on how to do that.” That is no problem. Just contact the Young America’s Foundation at www.yaf.org. In fact, I am already working on the speech. Here’s how the first line will read:
“If you are easily offended by free speech, get the hell out of college.”
If this controversy is not resolved immediately after this column is published, we will name names and, of course, print phone and fax numbers. This is America, David. We will defeat these tyrants. Whether we do it the easy way or the hard way remains to be seen.
To be continued…
Mike S. Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org) will speak at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio on October 5th. The speech will begin at 8 p.m. It will be held in the 1804 Lounge Room in the Baker Center.