Where did free speech go to die?


Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, for whom WCD has a certain admiration, said a really famous thing. It is pretty interesting. Also easy to understand. Also largely ignored in American colleges and universities these days -- not just in open areas or the streets or quads, but in classrooms, department meetings, administrative offices, and almost everywhere else where anything alive is moving about. (Well, maybe not squirrels, but maybe squirrels too. One would have to take the squirrel case to the Office of Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces.) Here, in person, is O.W. Holmes, Jr:


Here is what, poor deluded fellow, he said in a once-famous Supreme Court opinion:

If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.

And here is a poster recently held up by a student at a university rally protesting the appearance of an invited speaker with whom the poster-holder-upper and other students at the rally thought that, if they let him speak, they might disagree:

Many old students and friends in the U.S. and abroad have been kind enough to ask WCD over the last ten or twelve months how he is finding retirement. The answer is: blissful. And, given the increasing dominance in higher education of administrators, faculty members, and students like the one with the poster, just in the nick of time.

Oh. The title. The answer is: to every single institution of higher education in America. With the possible exception of the University of Chicago.