Michigan State University has decided to ban whiteboards at the school but Tucker Carlson asked why stop there.
“Why not ban pens, keyboards, and other instruments of divergent opinions and just kind of suppress speech, and everyone will be happy?” he asked MSU student Aaron Stephens on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Thursday.
MSU administrators have called for a ban of whiteboards at the school’s dormitories amid accusations of bullying by students who leave offensive messages on them.
Stephens is in favor of the pending ban which the Lansing, Mich. branch of the NAACP praised as a victory for the black community at the school.
But, the “whiteboards kind of distract from the bigger issue at hand,” Stephens said, noting one problem he has with the ban.
“It puts the blame on the method of messaging rather than addressing the message itself,” he told Carlson, who countered by arguing that the First Amendment guarantees not only free thought but also free speech.
Stephens did not appear to see Carlson’s point and said that people should be “attacking issues” rather than people and open dialogue needs to remain respectful.
“The most important thin we can do is talk to people we disagree with, understand their viewpoints,” he said.
If dialogue is so important, Carlson asked the student, then why take out one form of expression even though the whiteboard is not “ideal” as a form of communication.
“Maybe we live in such an Orwellian world where people are punished for what they believe and say that maybe they feel like the only outlet is on a whiteboard,” Carlson said.
Stephens repeated his argument that the ban distracts from the bigger issue and said he is “one hundred percent willing to have those conversations” which he sees as important.
This drew a laugh from Carlson who interrupted.
“Let me stop you. What does that mean?” Carlson asked. “I mean you’re either for people being allowed to write what they think on a whiteboard or you’re not.”
But Stephens contended that the university has “a responsibility to keep their students safe” and intimidating others with your speech is not protected by the First Amendment, even though he admitted it was what this nation was founded upon.
“You need to be allowed to say what you think and what you think does not have to be popular or constructive or polite for you to be allowed to say it,” an exasperated Carlson shot back. “You have an absolute right to express your views. Period.”
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