Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez on the Kyle Duncan protest controversy. It’s good, and the main point is that heckling a speaker to drown them out is not free speech. There’s more to it, that a law school especially needs to be open to diverse viewpoints, even bad ones, because that’s part of preparing law students to engaging in a society where they exist. They certainly should have protested, that’s the American way. But trying to drown someone out with noise is mob censorship.

It disturbs me that Stanford law school students would not be aware that it is settled law that heckling is not free speech. And possibly unaware of the history of people insisting that it is free speech – as David French points out in an excellent column, that was the justification used to drown out Frederick Douglass when he spoke in the 1860s on the abolition of slavery.

It concerns me how both political sides behave. On the left, you really do have examples like this where the feeling is that certain points of view have no right to be entertained or expressed at all. On the right you have crazy book-banning (they banned Amanda Gorman’s poem for Biden’s inauguration – that’s insane), limiting what can be taught to an extreme degree. Each accusing the other of being snowflakes. On both sides, it does not feel like disagreement, it feels like the other side’s viewpoint should not be allowed to exist. And that disturbs me.

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