Speaking at Rice University’s Baker Institute on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a stinging rebuke to students who protested his appearance and a harsh dose of reality to students who have become enamored with the concept of socialism. The Houston Chronicle reported:
More than 100 students protested Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Rice University Friday with words and images portraying Pence as bigoted. Many students came with rainbow flags showing their support for the LGBT community and posters bearing words such as "VICE BIGOT," "No to Pence. Yes to Peace," and "Go Away Satan!"
Pence commenced his response to the protests by saying:
And as we gather here at Rice University – one of the great institutions of higher learning in America – the truth is, we do so at a time of growing support for socialism and a growing intolerance for diverse viewpoints on many college campuses around America… speech codes, safe zones, and intolerance against people whose faith or economic philosophy are no longer considered fashionable by the new American Left.
Then Pence launched his direct attack on socialism:
And so as we reflect on the cause of freedom in this hemisphere, let me close with a word to this rising generation: Those of you who feel drawn to the siren song of socialism, be careful what you wish for.
Socialism is not the road to freedom. Socialism is the road to government control. And it grows in the soil of censorship.
Pence returned to the attempts by leftists to silence other points of view:
Now let me be very clear: The American people have every right to engage in peaceful protest, but once you say that some people should not be heard – once you say some should not be able to think or speak or believe a certain way in the public square… you have left the road to freedom and you’re on the road to serfdom.
The people of this country know it doesn’t take courage to silence free speech; it takes courage to defend it.
As my late father, a combat veteran, used to express this American ideal well: I may disagree with everything you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it. The essence of freedom, enshrined in our founding documents and in the heart of the American people, is the freedom to disagree… the freedom to air one’s opinions without fear or intimidation… that every man and woman shall sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree and none shall make them afraid.
And as President Trump said in his State of the Union address, “America was founded on liberty and independence, and not government coercion, domination, and control.”
And so I say to this rising generation, the moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment that America ceases to be America. And so for the sake of our freedom, as the President said in his State of the Union address, so we must say with one voice, “America will never be a socialist country.”