Libertarians Support Free Speech and Peaceful Protests
In response to the controversy surrounding Milo Yiannopoulos' upcoming event at Cal State Fullerton, the Libertarian Party of Orange County has issued the following press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 27, 2017
LIBERTARIANS SUPPORT FREE SPEECH AND PEACEFUL PROTESTS
ORANGE COUNTY, CA -- As part of his Troll Academy Tour, conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos is scheduled to speak at Cal State Fullerton on October 31st. The Libertarian Party platform declares support for full freedom of expression: "While we don't agree with most of what Mr. Yiannopoulos has to say, we believe he has a right to say it; and those opposed to his message have a right to peacefully express their disagreement," said David Naranjo, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.
Mr. Yiannopoulos is known for making controversial and provocative statements, resulting in protests that have on occasion turned violent. "Libertarians strongly condemn violence, and threats of violence, by those on any side of an issue," said Mr. Naranjo, "Despite claims to the contrary, speech is not violence -- and the only legitimate response to objectionable speech is more speech: open and honest debate."
Concerns over the event have resulted in the CSUF Associated Students, Inc. Board of Directors' Governance Committee passing a resolution that denounces the planned visit, the CSUF Academic Senate passing a resolution against "trolling," and calls by some CSUF students and faculty to shut down the event. In response to those calls, Mr. Naranjo said, "Yes, Mr. Yiannopoulos says outrageous and offensive things, but as Libertarians, we believe free speech must always be protected."
Mr. Naranjo continued, "Supporting individual liberty isn’t always easy -- and it's easy to claim support for free speech when you agree with what’s being said. Genuine commitment to individual liberty is demonstrated when speech is offensive or unpopular."
The Libertarian Party of Orange County commends the CSUF Administration's stated commitment to a "safe environment that upholds the right to freedom of expression." Despite the controversy surrounding the event, Jeffrey D. Cook, CSUF Chief Communications Officer, said in a statement, "...while many at the University and in the broader community may find Mr. Yiannopoulos' remarks distasteful, if not wholly objectionable, the law is clear: what some consider hateful speech is, in fact, protected speech."
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