Wall Street Journal “Potomac Watch” columnist Kim Strassel, author of The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech, presented to a group of students, faculty, staff and community members on January 25 in the Chapel.
Strassel, a self-defined “first amendment and equality fanatic” opened her lecture by discussing how “the discovery of money” 100 years ago as a weapon in political campaigns has affected the First Amendment.
Free speech, she said, has become closely tied to donors and “money has become a proxy for free speech.” Strassel said “In 2010, the Supreme Court “knocked it [McCain Feingold campaign finance law] down” and “opened the gates. The left freaked out at the right having the potential of spending.”
Strassel said the left is using “threat tactics” to silence free speech. As an example, she pointed to the IRS scandal that she said sought to target Republican candidates and donors in the 2010 midterm elections and the 2012 presidential election. Strassel credited this scandal as the cause of the “out-your-donors” movement, which has also been employed in several other instances, such in the debate surrounding California marriage laws.
Strassel then directed her message to the college community, seeking to expose the effect of promoting one school of thought over another. She emphasized the importance of intellectual diversity, arguing that political correctness and safe spaces could be damaging to colleges.
Strassel concluded by arguing for a reevaluation of disclosure laws and pushed the audience to fight for free speech, “one of the greatest rights you ever hold.”
Following the conclusion of her talk, Strassel took questions. Some challenged her research and asked her opinion on recent elections and voter fraud, while others sought her predictions on free speech in the new administration. Ultimately, Strassel’s visit provided a thought-provoking lecture.
The Hamilton College Republicans hosted the campus event with support from the Alexander Hamilton Institute (AHI) and The Manhattan Institute.