Make no mistake: We are big fans of free speech here at Paste, both because the capacity to express any idea without fear of harm or imprisonment is crucial to a functioning democracy, and because it’s so closely related to a free press—hell, they share the same amendment!
That being said, you know that whole adage about “not agreeing with what you say, but defending to your death the right to say it”? We’re only so-so on that whole deal. I mean, sure, free speech belongs to everybody, but can we agree that it’s way cooler as a concept when it isn’t being applied to a human troll like Ann Coulter?
Yes, Ann Coulter. We’re talking about her again—the racist, xenophobic hatemonger who said all this shit, and whose record is so entrenched in the genre of “evil conservative instigators without a shred of integrity” that we can hopefully skip a more comprehensive review.
Anyway, she was slated to speak at Berkeley at the invitation of conservative groups—presumably to enlighten the next generation about how Latinos are child rapists, or whatever—but that school has been deluged by violence from clashing fringe groups around the Bay Area to such a degree that they couldn’t guarantee her safety, and thus canceled the event. The school emphasized the safety angle in every public statement, trying to hammer home the idea that this was actually not a free speech issue, but a security one.
Still, conservatives like Coulter love to believe they’re bold prophets being victimized by censorship, and so she has seized on the free speech narrative. In an appearance on Fox News last night with fellow troll-person Tucker Max, she even had the audacity to compare herself to—wait for it—Martin Luther King Jr.:
“By the way, I am giving the speech,” she said Wednesday on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “What are they going to do, arrest me? They can put me in the Birmingham jail.”
“I agreed to all of their demands and then wake up this morning and they send out a letter saying how much they love the First Amendment and freedom of speech and they’re so committed to it but we’re just cancelling her anyway.”
She also said she wanted Jeff Sessions to investigate (I can’t remember, but did MLK Jr. ever go running to the Attorney General when things got tough?) and said the ban was “unconstitutional,” which it is not. And then, in what she surely imagines as a truly heroic move, she mad her big vow:
In summary, free speech rules, but it’s way cooler when it’s not being used incorrectly in defense of humanity’s dregs. Now, to set things right, we suggest you watch two minutes of Ann Coulter being burned to pieces at Comedy Central’s Rob Lowe roast.