MD College Dem prez challenges 'regressive left' to embrace speech

The President of the College Democrats of Maryland is fed up with the “tantrums” liberals throw over “safe spaces” from “hate speech,” and says he wants Milo Yiannopoulos to visit his school.

“Milo is not an oppressor; he’s a messenger,” Matt Teitelbaum writes in an op-ed for The Huffington Post. “I don’t agree with every aspect of his message. However, I must admit, I agree with some of it. And that’s important. It’s important for people from different sides of the isle to listen to one another.”

The Towson University senior touts Milo as an example of “what public discourse between people who disagree is supposed to look like,” observing that “when faced with a respectful challenge to his ideas, he’s extremely polite and gives very well thought out answers to genuine questions from liberals.”

Teitelbaum, a political science and mass communications double major, identified those students wanting to censor speakers like Milo as part of the “regressive left,” but assured Campus Reform that “there is a silent majority of College Democrats with similar views to me, and I am trying to encourage them to speak out.”

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“I remember something about people needing safe spaces to go to in avoidance of a Christina Hoff Summers speech because ‘they thought she'd give them PTSD,’” he remarked, saying, “that stood out to me as classic regressive behavior.”

Patrick Mascio, the secretary of the College Democrats of Maryland, does not share Teitelbaum’s notion of tolerance, however, saying that he believes in the merit of open discourse, but only when it comes to "legitimate" ideas.

“I have to say that while I agree that we should debate our ideological differences, I am surprised that Matt would indulge somebody who espouses such ignorance,” he told Campus Reform. “No, I do not know of many other liberals who would legitimize ignorant ideologies.”

“The narrative that free speech is under attack on college campuses is utter bullshit,” he added, asserting that “the fact that Milo is even relevant is a testament to that.”

The Towson University student even publicly called out Teitelbaum’s editorial in a Facebook post, saying, “I do not and will never agree with the sentiments of this article” because “there is no debate on the merits of Nazism, racism, fascism, etc.”

Teitelbaum, though, maintained that Milo is not a Nazi in his response to the post, arguing that even repugnant ideas must be debated if they are to be discredited.

“I would not invite a Nazi onto our campus. And I don't want him here to give him a backrub,” he explained. “Would you keep me from inviting President Trump to campus because you think he's racist? No. You know Trump has an audience that needs to hear a real argument from someone who respects them enough to make one. That way, we can actually change minds.”

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“I just want to emphasize that I don't agree with the vast majority of what Milo says, but I will defend to the death his right to say it,” he reiterated to Campus Reform. “That is how free speech works. You get to defend the speech you like, and then take your lumps by defending the speech you don't like.”

The notion of tolerating those with different views was interesting enough to grab Milo’s attention, prompting the pundit to praise Teitelbaum in a Facebook post earlier this week.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ericabau2