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What free speech protects 

In Daniel Pfau's opinion piece ("Trigger warning," April 19), he seems to confuse actions with speech. Paraphrasing comments attributed to Voltaire: I find what you say deplorable, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.

Does Mr. Pfau believe that the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution is only to protect the speech with which we agree? No, it is to protect the people from government overreach, which censors speech that is contrary to what the government deems appropriate. He is asking the president of Cal Poly University (an agency of the government) to censor speech with which Mr. Pfau disagrees.

We can find such government censorship in Germany in the 1930s, in Russia and China from the 1950s until today, in North Korea, and many Middle Eastern countries and others as well.

I believe that Mr. Pfau may feel his position is fine as long as those in power do not attempt to deem his speech offensive. Should that change, Mr. Pfau may be demanding that he be free to speak his mind, without censorship as he did in the commentary.

Does Mr. Pfau believe he is the ultimate authority on what others may wish to hear in order to be open to other points of view (deplorable or not)? In this instance, the students at Cal Poly should be free to decide whether to hear someone speak. It is difficult to learn and grow when one is subject to limited points of view as is happening in many universities and colleges today.

Ron Smith

Paso Robles

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