Fri. May 31st, 2024

Campus chaos vindicates the American system and the First Amendment

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May22,2024

Recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted a video showing Austin police and other law enforcement forcefully remove and arrest numerous students who had been illegally occupying the campus of the University of Texas-Austin. 

Unfortunately, many college campuses across the country have witnessed a surge in such antisemitic protests. In one incident, a young Jewish college student was stabbed in the eye with a flagpole. Meanwhile, one of the top leaders of the Columbia University occupation was expelled after releasing a TikTok proclaiming that his critics should be glad he wasn’t “going out and murdering zionists.”

I have long advocated the arrest of protesters who break the law. The First Amendment protects a lot of things, but illegal occupations, physical violence and threats are not among them. However, Abbott’s rationale for the arrests was deeply troubling. 

“Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled,” he posted on X. In other words, it was the hate and antisemitism that justified the arrests and removals, rather than criminal activity. 

As commentator Brad Polumbo put it, “If it’s OK to arrest and/or expel public college students for ‘antisemitism,’ it is OK to arrest and expel students for ‘transphobia,’ ‘sexism,’ and ‘racism.’ If you can’t see how this is a threat to free speech and open debate…I don’t know how to make you see it.”

The condemnation was swift and even came from conservatives. “Greg Abbott said he was having protesters arrested because ‘antisemitism won’t be tolerated in Texas,’” Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh chimed in. “I believe in arresting people who break the law. But there is no law against antisemitism, and there shouldn’t be.”

Protecting hate speech is crucial to a free society. Why? Because bans on hate speech grant excessive power to the government to target all dissenting voices under the pretext of combating hate speech.

It is bad enough that students are being arrested for their beliefs, but what’s worse is the arrest and assault of journalists who were merely covering the protests. One such example is a local Austin Fox 7 photojournalist who was slammed to the floor by police for merely doing his job. This was not an assault just against free speech but also against the free press. 

The criticism of Abbott and the entire altercation has been even more severe from the left, with some using satire to compare the government’s actions to those of China. Political satirist Bassem Youssef captioned video of the Texas crackdown on X, writing, “Things are looking so bad in China. The U.S. needs to condemn the crackdown of free speech in China. This is terrible.”

Everything about this UT Austin story is troubling. It should never be acceptable to arrest students and threaten them with expulsion for holding a set of beliefs, no matter how radical. Charges should be brought against people who commit actual crimes, not speech. In addition, reporters and members of the press should not be assaulted for merely covering a story. 

However, there is a glimmer of hope to all of this madness. 

Many Americans are rightly comparing this to the suppression of speech by authoritarian regimes. But when you look more closely, it also highlights the superiority of the American system over authoritarian systems abroad.

In Iran, such protesters would have been arrested and sentenced to death. In Russia, they would have disappeared and then “died of natural causes.” In China, these videos would never make it to social media, which is heavily censored, let alone the news.

But in America, these student protesters and the journalists who were assaulted and arrested will be exonerated. In fact, the local district attorney has already declined to prosecute the students involved. 

What’s better, they will have ample remedies against any government agency that helped violate their rights. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a First Amendment legal firm, is already investigating the situation and will likely represent protesters whose rights were violated. FIRE Represented my college organization in California in 2014, when a college was violating our rights.

There is no denying that free speech and the free press took a beating this week. But the American system is built to last. In the end, the First Amendment will come out on top. 

Gabriel Nadales is the national director of Our America.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Campus chaos vindicates the American system and the First Amendment”
  1. I have long advocated the arrest of protesters who break the law. The First Amendment protects a lot of things, but illegal occupations, physical violence and threats are not among them. However, Abbott’s rationale for the arrests was deeply troubling. “Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled,” he posted on X. In other words, it was the hate and antisemitism that justified the arrests and removals, rather than criminal activity. As commentator Brad Polumbo put it, “If it’s OK to arrest and/or expel public college students for ‘antisemitism,’ it is OK to arrest and expel students for ‘transphobia,’ ‘sexism,’ and ‘racism.’ If you can’t see how this is a threat to free speech and open debate…I don’t know how to make you see it.”

  2. I have long advocated the arrest of protesters who break the law. The First Amendment protects a lot of things, but illegal occupations, physical violence and threats are not among them. However, Abbott’s rationale for the arrests was deeply troubling.
    “Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled,” she posted on X. In other words, it was the hate and antisemitism that justified the arrests and removals, rather than criminal activity.
    As commentator Brad Polumbo put it, “If it’s OK to arrest and/or expel public college students for ‘antisemitism,’ it is OK to arrest and expel students for ‘transphobia,’ ‘sexism,’ and ‘racism.’ If you can’t see how this is a threat to free speech and open debate…I don’t know how to make you see it.”
    The condemnation was swift and even cam

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