Free speech is essential, even when it is self-serving

 

Private donors at the University of North Texas had every right to recruit Donald Trump Jr. to deliver a speech this week to raise money for university scholarships. They had every right to pay the president’s son $100,000 for his time, even though that probably is a lot more than most students will realize from any scholarship.

The audience also had every right to listen to the confused rhetoric that Trump Jr. dumped on them. If they believed him, which many apparently did, that’s a shame. But free speech carries with it the right to be underinformed, misinformed and noninformed, and Trump Jr. carried on the family tradition.

Here are some excerpts as reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram story linked below.

Trump Jr. accused some universities of becoming “captive to political hatreds” and said they had turned “traditional values” into “hate speech.” In the view of some campus leaders, he said: “Hate speech is anything that says America is a good country and our founders were great people, that we need borders. Hate speech is anything faithful to the moral teaching of the Bible.”

He said not a word – if so, it wasn’t reported – about the real hate speech spewed by white supremacists and neo-Nazis at the deadly white supremacy march in Charlottesville, Va., or his father’s attempt to equate their hatred with the actions of peaceful civil rights counter-demonstrators. He said not a word about how white supremacists have been emboldened by his father’s rise to the White House.

And he said not a word about the juvenile-style of hate-mongering that his father regularly tweets at the slightest provocation or perceived insult to the thin presidential skin.

Trump Jr. described himself and his father as “nationalists,” while claiming that many people are confused at the meaning of American nationalism. Discrimination on the basis of race, gender or class, he said, is “contrary to the ideas of nationalism.”

He apparently said nothing though about discrimination on the basis of religion, which, in Trump’s “nationalistic” view, must justify the ban on immigrants from many Muslim-majority countries.

Trump Jr. said when all countries are governed by nationalist principles, “they’ll act in the best interest of their people. That means they are less likely to engage in foreign wars.”

I guess he forgot about the nationalist extremists who started World Wars I and II. Like it or not, we live in a world of international relationships that can’t be oversimplified by nationalistic rhetoric.

This, incidentally, is the same Trump son who eagerly attended a meeting during the presidential campaign with a Russian lawyer who promised “dirt” on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, he didn’t address the pending investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. election.

Trump Jr. scolds universities during UNT speech, a fundraiser for scholarships

 

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