This century we have seen a major crackdown on free speech in America. The crackdown has shut off much free speech, including at colleges and social media websites where free speech had before seemed quite welcome.
This month, I have been working with a couple hotels affiliated with major hotel chains to make arrangements for Ron Paul Institute (RPI) conferences. Discussions between me and the agents of the hotels have addressed matters including rooms to be used for the conferences, food and beverages to be served, the schedules of the conferences, and, of course, charges from the hotels. A couple things, though, did not come up during the significant amount of back-and-forth in making arrangements — who would speak at the conferences and what would be spoken about at the conferences.
Refreshingly, the hotels’ agents see the names of the speakers, the content of their speeches, and the themes of the conferences as irrelevant. The hotels are interested in acting as venues for a third party’s event. That’s it. The hotels are taking on neither the role of advocate nor of speech police or “canceler.”
Such a hands-off attitude regarding who will speak and what will be said has been common previous times I have been in discussions with people at hotels regarding entering into agreements for RPI events. Never did it seem that any of the hotels with which I have had discussions would refuse involvement with one of the events because of who may speak or what may be said.
Respecting free speech is an easier and more profitable course for hotels than interrogating and barring potential customers in an effort to block events that include the “wrong” people or ideas. Hopefully, hotels will keep on the pro-free speech course, and many recent converts to the censorship course will return to providing greater respect for free speech.