One Cheer for Free Speech on Campus: A professor wants to protect speech, but also to keep students from being “harmed.”

George Leef:

Not so long ago, free speech on college campuses was not a matter of controversy. Of course, there were heated disputes over what people said, but everyone accepted that people were entitled to speak their minds—and then face criticism as those who disagreed spoke theirs. Sadly, that has changed dramatically.

The first prominent dissent as to the value of free speech came from Professor Herbert Marcuse, who argued in 1969 that campuses (and society) should not tolerate some speech. In particular, Marcuse, a Marxist, said that speech that supported existing socioeconomic arrangements should be suppressed so that dissident voices could be heard.

Today, we find many academics echoing Marcuse and calling for severe restrictions on “hate speech,” which could mean any communication they find disagreeable. And we still find many who advocate unrestricted freedom of speech, agreeing with Justice Louis Brandeis that the remedy for bad speech is more speech.