Rob Port claims in his May 24th opinion piece that his free speech is often encroached upon. In that same breath he derides others for exercising their right to free speech, too.
Port writes that he is frequently marginalized as a conservative in North Dakota, of all places. He recalls that, after being invited to Minot State University as a panel member, a university professor backs out as the moderator. He claims at various points that his free speech was trampled upon because he espouses conservative views.
Not once does Port provide evidence that he was discriminated against for his views. He states the professor had two concerns: their safety in a room with him, and the possibility of him becoming “enraged.” He provides no evidence that this professor had any qualms with his politics, but does provide evidence that it was due to his brash public persona, as mentioned.
No matter the professor’s reasons, wasn’t their refusal to participate a display of free speech, too? Port claims that academics and higher education are hypocritical regarding free speech, but he seems to be hypocritical, too.
Port explicitly and proudly claims victim status in his column. It is a marked contrast from his writings in the last number of years, in which self-proclaimed victims are to be mocked and “snowflake” was used with reckless abandon.
Overall, his article derides NDSU’s involvement with Planned Parenthood, which he deems inherently political. He states that he prefers nonpartisan research, but what he fails to recognize, however, is that most, if not all, research is political. Our state’s institutions heavily research coal and oil extraction, which many see as political. Shall we stop that, too?
Port needs to accept that if he is to truly champion free speech, he will have to claim it not just for himself and for his favored views, but for all people, including some opposing views, too.
Tobias Zikmund lives in Moorhead.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.