College campuses are right to establish free-speech zones and speech codes, to prohibit microaggressions, to require trigger warnings when speech might be offensive, to keep certain spaces free from offensive words, and to not permit offensive people to speak on campus.
These campuses would therefore have been right not to permit Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, Martin Luther, George McClellan, Abraham Lincoln, a certain heckler, and Mark Twain to speak on campus. Note their awful, offensive language:
–Thomas Paine said of George Washington, “as to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship . . . and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an imposter, whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any?”
–Alexander Hamilton said of Thomas Jefferson, “The moral character of Jefferson was repulsive. Continually puling about liberty, equality and the degrading curse of slavery, he brought his own children to the hammer, and made money of his debaucheries.”
–Martin Luther said that Henry VIII was “a pig, an ass, a dunghill, the spawn of an adder, a basilisk, a lying buffoon, a mad fool with a frothy mouth . . . a lubberly ass . . . a frantic madman.”
–General George McClellan said of Abraham Lincoln, “The President is nothing more than a well-meaning baboon . . . . I went to the White House directly after tea where I found ‘the original Gorilla’ about as intelligent as ever. What a specimen to be the head of our affairs now!”
–Abraham Lincoln said of Stephen Douglas, “His argument is as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death.”
–A heckler said to Theodore Roosevelt: “ I’m a Democrat!”
Roosevelt: “May I ask the gentleman why he is a Democrat?”
Heckler: “My grandfather was a Democrat; my father was a Democrat; and I am a Democrat.”
Roosevelt: “My friend, suppose your grandfather had been a jackass and your father was a jackass, what would you be?”
Heckler (instantly): “A Republican!”
–Mark Twain said, “In the first place God made idiots; this was for practice; then he made school boards.”
Does anyone even think to suggest that these vile speakers should be permitted to speak on campus?