Even if we assume that the critics are right totally right, and that these are just a bunch of stupid brats who don't understand free speech, I gotta ask: why are these the stories that get our blood all angered up on this issue? Isn't this stuff exactly what we expect from college students? Experimentation with thought? Weird ideas? Isn't that a big part of what free speech is? Or are we mad because, as proud defenders of the Constitution, we won't tolerate any "threat" to free speech, ever, no matter how innocuous? "I may disagree with what you say," we type proudly, "but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Then we sit back from our computers and smile with satisfaction, content in the knowledge that our Facebook statuses have made the world a better place.
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"Your freedoms are protected, America."
Or maybe you're worried about the future, and you're quaking in your boots about what's going to happen once these kids grow up and start running the country. Well, if that's the case, then this next sentence should have you strapping on a bow and arrow and storming the Capitol: The same month that both the Mizzou protester stories went viral, a Missouri legislator tried to stop a University of Missouri grad student's research into abortion, saying that the school was breaking the law by allowing her to continue. This happened at literally the exact same school as the protests, and it's a way more cut-and-dry threat to free speech. The government is literally telling a grad student what they're allowed to study, which is precisely what the first amendment is meant to prevent.
Then there's the recent study which found that a quarter of American workers have had their boss ask them about their politics, and two-thirds of those people have been pressured to change their viewpoints to agree with the person giving them a paycheck. Again, these are huge stakes. A boss ransoming his employee's livelihood over political issues is at a Dickensian-villain level of evil. Sure, the study was just a single poll of a thousand people, but we know this stuff happens because of that time Murray Energy forced its Ohio workers to attend a Romney rally and hold signs which read "COAL STANDS WITH MITT."
These people were forced to be here, and they weren't paid.