Texas Tales: Speech Police in Austin, Welfare Creep in Laredo
Outsiders tend to think of Texas as the bastion of red-state principles, and for the most part that's an accurate view. Outside the big cities, of which we have five or six depending on where you draw the line, libertarian-friendly economic attitudes and socially conservative beliefs mix, thrive, and drive the state. That kind of thinking is alive in the cities too, though not dominant. But though the Democrats here have taken beating after beating over the past decade or so and are at their point of greatest weakness in memory, pockets of liberal resistance to common sense remain. Occasionally, it's worth taking a look at those pockets just to see what they're up to and what they want for the rest of us.
In Austin, the blue dot in the midst of a red sea, the University of Texas is home to the storied Longhorns, serious research, an increasingly insane tuition bill for a "public" university that was created to be free of charge (wonder if the recently uncovered faculty bloat has anything to do with the tuition hikes), and -- like just about every other university in America -- attempts to impose speech codes on conservatives. To wit, the UT College Republicans recently hosted a speech by Michelle Malkin. The usual liberal tolerance for the ideas of others ensued, prompting a silly editorial in the campus paper, the Daily Texan, calling on the College Republicans to apologize for daring to host Malkin:
Despite the fact that the midterm elections were not kind to Democrats nationally, Austin voters continued to show their support for liberal candidates. More than 69,000 of Travis County voters punched a straight-ticket ballot for Democrats. Defeated gubernatorial candidate Bill White, who received less than 43 percent of the total vote, garnered more than 59 percent of the vote here in Travis County. And in 30 total elections that pitted a Democrat against a Republican, Travis County voters preferred the Democrat 27 times.
It’s safe to assume that, were the data available, we’d find the vote amongst Texas students even more one-sided. On campus, liberal opinion dominates the dialogue with separate protests waged in the past two weeks in the form of a hunger strike in support of the DREAM Act and a walkout to fight budget cuts to ethnic studies. Your peers, it appears, don’t agree with you. Which is exactly why, College Republicans at Texas, you shouldn’t have invited Michelle Malkin to speak on campus this past week.
In other words, you have to agree with us liberals before you're allowed to speak on campus. So much for dialogue. That's about the most ill-liberal attitude the youngster could have taken. That he sees no irony or danger to his own right of free speech in his position is a bit shocking: by his own logic, he should not be allowed to speak pretty much anywhere in Texas outside Austin, without winning some sort of popularity contest first.
Rather than pick on a college student myself, I'll let another UT student do it. Here's Austen Bailey, writing in the New Texas Forum, for the win:
The idea that a person should not be allowed to publicly share his beliefs because someone might disagree is un-American and utterly ridiculous. The very people who claim to promote equality and free speech demand censure for the presentation of an alternative opinion.
Indeed. It's called "freedom of expression," which was once a liberal value. It is not, and never has been, a "progressive" value.