College students shout down Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
Only on a college campus can a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, be booed off the stage. That is precisely what happened to famed economist Arthur Laffer on Monday at Binghamton University in New York. This incident shows the erosion of free speech on college campuses.
When President Trump gave Mr. Laffer the Medal of Freedom in June, he said, “Few people in history have revolutionized economic theory like Arthur Laffer.” Mr. Laffer was an innovative thinker whose supply-side ideas led to lower taxes that kept the economy booming.
You would think students would be grateful for a speaker like Mr. Laffer, even if they disagreed with him. Instead, he was shouted down by student protestors who called him racist. Beyond verbal harassment, protestors jeopardized Mr. Laffer’s safety by shining a light in his face, and police had to step in and protect him.
Mr. Laffer appeared on Fox News after the incident, and his thoughts were very poignant:
Laffer said that he didn’t think he had anything controversial to say, but that the students who disrupted his speech just didn’t like his sponsoring organization: Young America’s Foundation.
“But, they were out there in the crowd jumping on the tables and one of them put on a mask and sort of looked like the Antifa group. And then, the police pulled them out and made sure I got out of there. I would have stayed longer, but they wanted me to get out right away,” he explained.
“These students clearly just don’t want free speech,” he said.
Mr. Laffer is right, many students do not want free speech, but you would think the adults in the room would protect speakers like Mr. Laffer.
Instead, the Binghamton administration has punished the College Republicans, but will not take action against the disruptive students.
Defenders of free speech are used to this sham on college campuses. A respected conservative speaker is shouted down and physically harassed by liberal protestors who are unwilling or unable to engage constructively with speakers who disagree with them. Instead of punishing the protestors, the school either does nothing or attacks conservatives for being disruptive.