A Wall Street Journal article about Breitbart writer and speaker Milo Yiannopoulos and his impact on college campus views of free speech opened with a widespread misunderstanding.
The tour by Milo Yiannopoulos is sparking reaction from more groups than any recent speaker has on college campuses, heightening tensions between free speech and public safety.
There is no tension between free speech and public safety, though: there is no public safety without free speech. The relationship between free speech and public safety is not only—not even primarily—concerned with people whose feelings get hurt, or people legitimately insulted, and who then act out emotionally and dangerously. The relationship is centered on Government’s ability to control what will be spoken or done and the threat that those abilities represent to public safety.
It’s only necessary to look at the vociferous protests from the Left and from the Right against what each side saw in its time as Government overreach to see the relationship.
Again: there is no public safety without free speech. Full stop.