(TriceEdneyWire.com)—The shrill conservative Ann Coulter has made headlines because the University of California, Berkeley, wouldn’t let her speak at the end of April. Invited by college Republicans, her appearance threatened to incite violence, as activists on the left and on the right prepared to either protest or support her appearance. In the end, the University cancelled her appearance, saying it could not guarantee her safety, which has the effect of providing the notorious loudmouth an enlarged platform. National news programs have featured Coulter yammering about the anti-immigration speech she might have given. And credible, national newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post have both covered the issue on its news pages, but also printed opinion pieces about the disturbing trend of violent protests when conservative speakers—the Manhattan Institute’s Heather McDonald, and Bell Curve author and racist provocateur Charles Murray among them—are invited to campuses.
Who’s afraid of a shrill conservative? Liberals shouldn’t be. Sure, people like Ann Coulter deserve to be protested. But they also deserve to be heard. Protest can take many forms. Students who oppose the Coulter blather can peacefully gather outside a venue where she is speaking with picket signs highlighting their points. They can peacefully attend her lecture and attempt to ask questions after her lecture. They can take to community forums—from radio and television to campus newspapers, to articulate their opposition to her views. They can stage counter events—how about a pro-immigration speaker scheduled at exactly the same time as the Coulter lecture, where opposition attendance is exponentially larger than hers. Or, they can simply ignore her presence on campus.
Cancelling her appearance gives her more exposure than she deserves. It is also a form of censorship that cuts both ways. At Claremont McKenna College, police brutality defender Heather McDonald gave her talk via live stream because college administrators feared violence if there was a large audience. Protesters banged on the windows in the room where she gave her talk, making it difficult to hear her. How would those of us that support the Black Lives Matter movement respond if BLM leaders were treated the same way McDonald was? And aren’t BLM supporters capable of responding to McDonald’s nonsense?