Opinion

Milo Yiannopoulos is not the champion of free speech that he claims to be

Milo Yiannopoulos claims to be a champion of free speech. Ironically, he entirely misunderstands the purpose and meaning of free speech. His argument that the general public has violated his right to free speech is wrong, both historically and practically.

Free speech does not grant the right to say whatever you want whenever you want. You cannot yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater when there is no fire, or yell “bomb” in an airport when there is no bomb. This is an opinion held by the Supreme Court of the United States and anyone with a shred of common sense. Such actions do nothing but elicit panic and public distress.

Much of the rhetoric put out by Yiannopoulos is no different. It has little to no basis in fact, misinforming the public. For example, he once likened rape culture to Harry Potter, saying that they are “both fantasy.” Lies like this can potentially weaken the public initiatives taken in the past several years to fight rape culture. As a result, his lie may contribute to continued sexual violence. His extensive lies fan the flames of radical and inflammatory factions within our country, creating panic when there should be none.

The truly ironic element of Yiannopoulos’ argument is that free speech is about the relationship between the government and the people. The government has in no way infringed upon his right to free speech. The TV stations that have prevented him from going on their shows are private companies, not government entities. The universities that will not allow him to speak are academic institutions, once again not the government. No one is preventing Milo from speaking entirely but merely refusing to allow him to use a specific university or network as a platform. Universities and TV networks have every right to do this.

Furthermore, just as Yiannopoulos believes that he can say whatever he wants, people have the right to say whatever they want back to him. It is preposterous for him to promote such blatant lies and deceit and not expect to be called out for it. The right to free speech protects an individual from government censorship. It does not protect an individual from backlash and consequences for inflammatory remarks.

Ryan Steinberg is a freshman majoring in political science.

 

Featured image courtesy Flickr user Hindi Pro.

March 1, 2017

Reporters

Ryan Steinberg


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Here is some impressive news for the University of Miami football program: All but one of the remain ...

Lonnie Walker IV stood out on and off the court at the NBA Draft Combine, which ended on Sunday in C ...

University of Miami incoming prep star Will Mallory, the other half of the soon-to-be No. 1 freshman ...

View photos as Miami Hurricanes Coach Jim Morris ends 41-year career on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at M ...

The sullen, charcoal sky opened with a vengeance Saturday afternoon at Mark Light Field in Coral Gab ...

A snapshot guide to the start of summer in and around UM. ...

Former investment banker Charmel Maynard leads UM’s investments and treasury functions. ...

Over his more than two decades at the U, the dean of students from 1976-1989 always put students fir ...

The final Sea Secrets lecture at the Rosenstiel School examines the biofluorescence of marine organi ...

Maintenance mechanic Milton Davis has kept UM housing humming for decades. ...

Sinead Lohan and Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team earned ITA Southeast R ...

Sophomore righthander Evan McKendry and freshman Freddy Zamora were among those recognized by the At ...

Senior Jeb Bargfeldt was recognized as ACC Pitcher of the Week following a dominating performance ag ...

No. 7 seed Miami opens its run at the 2018 ACC Baseball Championship Tuesday, May 22 against No. 11 ...

Although 17th-year head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews has made Sweet 16 appearances commonplace the jour ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.