There’s no crisis of free speech

It’s true that some faculty have called for classes to be cancelled, so that students and staff who want to stay away from the campus will not be penalised if they do so. But is this censorship, or opposition? There is a difference. At the moment, the two are being conflated by those who want to shift the spotlight from the resurgence of the far right to the left’s reaction. Bannon, Coulter and their cohorts face opposition wherever they go, because they advocate policies – such as deportation and discrimination based on religion – that do harm to hundreds of thousands of ordinary people, who have millions of friends prepared to shout about it.

It’s fine to take issue with some of the methods of opposition. Just don’t call this a “crisis of free speech”. None of these individuals have any difficulty at all getting their views across. Steve Bannon was the chief strategist of the most powerful leader in the world. Every Coulter book (In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!; ¡Adios, America!: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole) has been a bestseller. Yiannopoulos, despite recently inflicting on himself the kind of scandal that would have buried most careers, enjoys the continuing support of more than 2 million followers on Facebook.