Birthplace of Campus Free Speech Now a Hotbed of Free Speech Suprression

Birthplace of Campus Free Speech Now a Hotbed of Free Speech Suprression

—February 15, 2018

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has undergone constant legal challenges since it was enacted back in 1791, though U.S. courts have tended to consistently uphold its underlying principles. Among other things, the courts always seem to recognize that allowing people or entities to take control of the narrative provides them with too much power, and that such power can quickly be abused. As repugnant as it may seem to many Conservatives, even desecration of the flag was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. From my understanding of the high court’s rulings on the issue, flag burning and other desecration was considered a form of protest against the government, and its ban by the government represented a slippery slope from which it could then ban other forms of protest. As a long-time free speech/First Amendment absolutist, I personally support the Supreme Court’s decision-making in this regard.

The campus Free Speech Movement which arose at UC Berkeley in 1964 emerged because students realized that university administrators controlled the narrative by prohibiting political activity on campus and by impinging upon other First Amendment principles, such as freedom of association. Had the students taken the school to federal court, they undoubtedly would have won their case. As it was, they won anyway through school administration acquiescence, and their victory seeped onto university and college campuses across the country, giving American youth newfound freedoms that they used to help end the war in Viet Nam and give voice to other important causes.

Not that college administrators totally caved to the students, as free speech on American campuses has been a somewhat constant source of conflict between students and administrators ever since. In the 1980s and first half of the 1990s the establishment of free speech zones and other measures became especially popular as a means of cutting back on student free speech rights. These zones and other measures are adopted under U.S. court decisions that stipulate that the government can regulate the time, place and manner of expression, but not the actual content of forms of speech. Of course, administrators often overreach, and numerous court challenges have forced many to abandon or significantly expand the “zones” and related measures.

Cut to today, though, and the biggest threat to student free speech is not so much administrators but, instead, other students. And ironically, the birthplace of campus free speech—Berkeley—has proven to be one of the most student-driven opponents of campus free speech in the nation.

Of course, we’re not talking about any campus free speech, we’re talking about Conservative campus free speech, which has been under accelerating attack for at least the past eight years, that reached a crescendo with the election of Donald Trump for President. Liberal student activists across the country, and often with support from faculty and administrators, have become aggressive campus censors devoted to shutting down any “speech” supporting Conservative values, and any that is the least bit critical of Liberal progressive sacred cows, such as illegal immigration, Islam, LGBTQ (and whatever other letters they’ve added of late), feminism, climate change, Black Lives Matter, and any and all marginalized minorities who are under alleged oppression by the white male patriarchy.

I’ve probably missed a couple here, but you get my drift.

When I say “speech,” I mean any form thereof, and campus activists want all such tinged with anything Conservative to be obliterated from their campuses. Posters, flyers and other conservative outreach materials generally disappear quickly. Conservative speakers are usually confronted by enraged mobs. Woe be unto college newspaper editors who promote something Conservative or question one of the sacred cows. Well-reasoned scholars with conservative views—forget it! Even the name “Trump” chalked onto campus sidewalks has elicited fits of spontaneous protest from these paradigms of social justice virtue.

Anyhow, the irony of the UC Berkeley protests which shut down the free speech of Milo Yiannapoulas in the very  birthplace of campus free speech probably escapes the more than 1,500 protestors who showed up to shut down that speech “by any means necessary.” In fact, it appears that the ideals of free speech are meaningless to a rather large group of college-age students across America. These students feel that the importance of their causes trumps the free speech rights of anyone else, with some willing to spill blood for their believed right to shut down speech that they do not agree with.

Scary….           

How many? Well, hard to know, but a 2016 survey of American college students found that 24 percent of white students and 41 percent of black students supported campus policies that restricted expressions of political views that might be upsetting or offensive to certain groups.

I would guess that these students haven’t bothered to consider that this could shut down their own expression depending upon who arbitrates what constitutes “upsetting” or “offensive.” Nevertheless, the fact that some of these students may eventually be running things doesn’t bode well for free speech. And while they may not represent a majority of students, such a “vocal minority can have a chilling effect on what everyone else thinks and says.”

Though perhaps not at the University of Chicago and 30 or so other schools which have recently adopted policies in support of free speech. These policies make it clear that students will not be shielded from “ideas and opinions that they may find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

Some students at the University of Chicago and like minded schools may end up getting offended, but they will undoubtedly graduate with keen critical thinking skills borne in part by the university’s support of rigorous debate through free speech. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that critical thinking skills of UC Berkeley grads will be in short supply.

—Originally published in Discernible Truth on Feb. 12.

North American Campuses: Bastions of Batshit Crazy!

North American Campuses: Bastions of Batshit Crazy!

—October 27, 2016

Well, Kids, we’re more than halfway through the semester, so we’d better take stock of the level of Left-Wing battiness roiling North American university and college campuses to see if Loony-Left students, professors, and administrators are going even more bat-shit crazy than last year. All indications point to one big “yes,” which is hard to believe given the utter absurdity of many of their actions and pronouncements from last year. But then again, they’re probably feeling empowered as the mainstream Left seems to be adopting some of the inane belief systems and political correct ideals coming out of universities these days. Moreover, professors and administrators seem more emboldened and open about their Leftist tendencies and their influence on the behaviour and thoughts of their students.

To recap last year’s inanity, just recall the terms “Social Justice Warrior,” “cultural appropriation,” “self-identification,” “non-binary genders,” “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces,” “hate speech,” “micro-aggressions,” “patriarchal,” “white privilege,” and a host of other “privileges,” among other pertinent Leftist catch words. Or you can check out my blogs from the last school year such as “Free Speech Imperilled by Campus Political Correctness,” “Political Correct Absurdities of the Week,” “Better Put a Trigger Warning on This One,” “PC Potentates Declare Yoga ‘Culturally Insensitive,’” and “The Patients Have Taken Over the Asylum,” to name a few.

And without further ado, and in no particular order, here is a partial run-down of this school year’s campus follies to date:

freespeechzoneForget the campus establishment of “safe spaces,” as the new drive appears to be “free-speech zones.” This supports the ideal of making a campus one big safe space where speech that may be construed as harmful, inciting, triggering, or in any way controversial is prohibited except in specially designated free-speech zones.

You know, like that small parking lot behind the cafeteria next to the dumpsters.

A few universities have also experimented with “free speech walls” where students are free to post or write whatever they want without fear of retribution from the campus thought police. However, ever-so-tolerant members of the Left tend to destroy or erase comments they don’t agree with. These Lefties seem to take great umbrage at any mention of “Donald Trump,” and his slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Speaking of which, the “chalking” of Trumpisms continues to be reported and investigated as a hate speech crime in campuses across America.

While considering such as “hate speech” is ludicrous enough, I’ve got to ask, “when did college kids start playing with chalk?”

Conservative speakers on campus? Hah! I’ve lost count of the number of conservative speakers who have had their speaking engagements cancelled by administrators over the past few months. Another trick to keep such harmful thinking off their campuses is to insist upon outrageous fees for security purposes.

Conservative speaking in general is frowned upon on college campuses with numerous campus conservative groups reporting incidents in which their meetings get disrupted by angry Social Justice Warriors. Of course, administrators take no action against the agitators, as the disruption  represents the exercise of their First Amendment rights.    

Overall, when a majority of university students polled say that the ideals of freedom of speech are over-rated or that the First Amendment should be repealed, I’d say we have a serious problem.

Campus bias-incident tribunals—or whatever names these campus Thought-Police prototype groups go under—seem to have become even more powerful in just the few short months since the end of the 2016 Spring semester. Instead of just waiting for students and professors to anonymously report their peers for possible acts of bias and dissemination of hate speech, these shadowy groups—whether composed of administrators, students, professors or some mixture thereof—are actively seeking out thoughtcrime. For example, dozens of these bias-incident groups have warned students at their respective schools not to wear Halloween costumes that may be offensive, with most threatening administrative action against potential transgressors. Tufts University in Boston even went so far as to warn the student body that campus police will be actively looking for potential violators.

My response to this is beautifully summed up by Paul Joseph Watson in this video:  

 “Inclusive language” policies seem to be an even bigger hit with administrators this year, with dozens of campuses launching new Thought-Police-like campaigns to discourage students from using words and phrases that may perhaps offend someone. This year’s policies are going way beyond the old-school PC efforts to to replace potentially offensive words with sugar-coated euphemisms that rely on soft catchwords like “challenged.” No, these policies—most of which suggest punishment for non-compliance—are going after those really hatful terms and phrases such as “hey guys,”“man up,” “mankind,” “man-made,” “color-blind,” and just about any word that might suggest exclusivity to a particular gender, race, sexual orientation or “ability” (or lack thereof).

And remember what I said about the Mainstream Left adopting emerging campus ideals? Well, the Obama Administration recently dictated that all those kind folks doing time in federal prison shouldn’t be stigmatized by being called “prisoners,” “inmates,” “convicts,” or “criminals,” and must now be referred to as “Justice Involved Individuals.”

It appears that last year’s identifying and shaming of potential “cultural appropriation” was just a warm up. Consider that fraternity and sorority members at the University of California Merced have been “instructed” not to use the terms “Greek,” “rush,” or “pledge” because they “appropriate Greek culture” and are “non-inclusive.”

Guess we’re going to have to change the name of the “Olympics,” so as not to offend those delicate Greek sensibilities.

Canoes, yoga, a whole range of food items, and a massive expansion of “inappropriate” Halloween costumes are also increasingly under the campus cultural appropriation gun.

Canoes? Yeah, how dare we white privileged Mo-Fos enjoy paddling in the native people’s traditional conveyance. Tell you what, we’ll give up our canoes if SJWs quit appropriating our modern transportation and communications systems.

“Toxic Masculinity” appears to be a new academic buzzword on several campuses, and is being taught as the primary reason for many of North American society’s ills, including mass shootings and violence in general. Orientation for incoming Gettysburg College students “who identified as male” included movies, lectures and group discussions on the subject, with one student reporting that the effort seemed to be driven to teach students that “masculinity is an unacceptable human trait.” Professors at the previously mentioned U of C—Merced lectured students that an Islamic student’s knife attack that seriously wounded four other students was driven by toxic masculinity and not radical ideology, despite his ISIS flag and hand-written radical manifesto. Students at this school seem to be already fully indoctrinated as all indications—Facebook postings, memorials, “teach-ins”—point to the stabber (killed by police) receiving far more sympathy and accolades than his four victims. And last, for the purpose of this blog, a Dartmouth professor is reportedly teaching a course that relates the Orlando shooting to toxic masculinity.

Yeah, my son’s definitely not going to any of those schools.

In the “irony of ironies” department, the pro-life, Catholic DePaul University banned public display of a campus pro-life group’s “Unborn Lives Matter” poster because the message is rooted in “bigotry” by theoretically mocking the Black Lives Matter movement, and might “provoke” other students….

You know, provoke those pro-choice students who probably have no business going to a pro-life school to begin with.  

And while this incident happened last year, a Columbia University student this month provided a Kafkaesque account of his experiences with the “Gender-Based Misconduct Office” after being accused by an anonymous student of referring to himself as “handsome” in Chinese during his Chinese language class. The Gender Misconduct administrator apparently told the student that his actions were likely the result of “white male privilege,” but the student refused to admit any wrongdoing, and after an hour or so of apparent “re-education” efforts the administrator gave up.

Like the student, I’m not quite sure what the offence was, but this just goes to show that SJW, Loony-Left culture on campuses is poised to find just about everything offensive.

And I could go on and on and on, but getting into it so deep is making me howl-at-the-moon crazy. I’ll just close by relating the latest Loony-Left campus story to hit my news feed: The University of Denver hasFree Speech wall placed “content restrictions” on what can be placed or written on the university’s “free speech wall.” Because the university has a “zero tolerance policy for discrimination, harassment and gender-based violence,” any form of hate speech put on the wall will be considered a violation. Not only is the university’s definition of “hate speech” described with especially broad strokes, but a camera has been installed to monitor what people put on the wall.

Oh, and the language that instigated the restrictions included the following (and is construed by the university as prosecutable hate speech): “I’m Sorry for Something I Didn’t Do/Lynched Somebody, But I Didn’t Know Who” and “GUILTY OF BEING WHITE/GUILTY OF BEING RIGHT!”    

“ARH-WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Free Speech Imperilled by Campus Political Correctness

Free Speech Imperilled by Campus Political Correctness

—April 19, 2015

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment is my favorite part of the U.S. Constitution. Not the amendment’s opening part. I mean, I believe in the free exercise of religion, but kind of hope no more religions are “established” as the ones already established cause enough trouble in the world. And that part about petitioning the government is kind of worthless, cause you can petition about your grievances until the cows come home, but good luck receiving any redress.

It’s the “freedom of speech, or of the press,” part of this amendment that stirs my soul, and the one I have actively supported since my rabble-rousing youth. It is the reason I rail against political correctness, which is so often used to furtively stifle free speech and oppress critical thinking.

To this day I believe the U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing by defending flag burning as freedom of expression. While I personally disagree with burning Old Glory, the fact that it is allowed as a form of expression is part of what makes America great.

I also find various garbage proclaimed as “art,” such as works by Robert Maplethorpe and others of his ilk, to be offensive; however, its public display, no matter how loathsome, is worthy of first amendment protection, too.

In my rabble-rousing youth, university and college campuses were bastions of free speech. On just about any given day you were likely to find all points of view expressed on any number of issues, not to mention plenty of public “bad taste” antics and other questionable displays by fraternal organizations and other social groups. All without any real fuss or overt animosity between competing factions or diametrically opposed interest groups. Students tended to discuss divisive issues, but for the most part did not try to suppress ideas and speech they did not agree with.

So I’ve got to ask: What the fuck happened?

How is it that in the span of roughly one generation, the ideal of free speech has been cast aside by most institutions of higher learning, with the apparent full support of a majority of professors and students?

Students aren’t taught about “freedom of speech,” because they are now being taught “freedom from speech.” Universities, colleges and many of their students seem to be focused on limiting just about any speech that might possibly cause offence, and stifling ideas that may run contrary to specific students’ beliefs. And with the emphasis on trigger warnings, safe spaces, microaggressions, speech codes, privilege of various sorts, and other popular politically correct taglines, “debate” is obviously now a foreign concept on campuses. Instead, students are being taught how to engage in “goodthink.”

Consider in just the past 10 days:

DePaul University enacted a ban on students chalking political messages on campus sidewalksTrump-chalk because of the “offensive, hurtful, and divisive” nature of pro-Donald Trump chalking.

The State University of New York at New Paltz abruptly canceled a planned campus debate between a notable left-wing media critic and a notable right-wing media critic on “How the Media Can Sway Votes and Win Elections.” Certainly sounds like a well-balanced debate on an important issue. Unfortunately, one of the debaters had “extreme” right wing views, according to complaints lodged by at least one professor and several unidentified students. Can’t have that, now can we. . . even if balanced out by another speaker on the opposite end of the political spectrum. 

Campus police forced University of Delaware students to censor a giant inflatable “free speech beach ball,” because someone had drawn a picture of a penis on the ball, along with the word “penis.” The students, who were promoting free speech values, were advised that campus speech codes and sexual harassment policies overrode any rights to free expression. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Young Americans for Liberty both issued protests to university administrators advising them that the campus police were infringing upon the students’ First Amendment rights.

And how about this for complete irony:

About 700 professors and students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison signed letters complaining about racism from campus police and administrators, and demanding that a student arrested for spray-painting graffiti on scores of campus buildings be given clemency for his actions UW Madison Police Graffitiand be allowed to graduate on time this May. The letters allege that police engaged in racism by interrupting an Afro-American studies class when they arrested the student vandal, and that administrators are guilty of promoting racism because they were more interested in protecting campus buildings than students—such as the vandal—who are fighting for social change.

The student vandal’s fight for social change included graffiti on 11 different buildings with such messages as: “THE DEVIL IZ A WHITE MAN,” “DEATH TO PIGZ,” “WHITE SUPREMACY IZ A DISEASE,” AND “FUCK THE POLICE,” among others.

Unbelievably, both the chief of campus police and university chancellor have issued statements of apology over the incident, with both vowing to review police practices. I wouldn’t be surprised if the vandal ends up serving as the university’s valedictorian during the upcoming graduation ceremonies.

So, Hash It Out: Is the politically correct induced dissolution of the First Amendment on campuses turning American universities batshit crazy?

—Published April 19 in Hash It Out!

Time for Muslim Americans to “Show Us the Money!”

Time for Muslim Americans to “Show Us the Money!”

—December 7, 2015

So, Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan yesterday marched in protest against ISIS, proclaiming the terrorist organization to be anti-Islam, and insisting that Islam is a religion of peace, justice and tolerance. It’s been on the CNN Headline News feed all morning, along with reports on last night’s “nothing new here, folks” address to the nation by President Obama.

Not sure why the Dearborn protestors are getting so much air play, given that only about 100 Muslims participated in the demonstration and march. If CNN were to add context to the story, say by showing how thoroughly underwhelming this protest truly was, then it might make sense. But no, CNN apparently believes that 100 demonstrators prove that American Muslims are obviously united in their opposition to ISIS and love for their adopted American country.

But are they?

With the largest proportion of Arab Americans of any U.S. city, Dearborn is referred to as the Islamic capital of America, and roughly 50 percent of the population identifies as Muslim. So, out of about 45,000 Muslim residents, less than three-tenths of a percent came out to show their support for America and opposition to ISIS.

Now this lack of Muslim support for the demonstration does not mean that the Muslims of Dearborn actually support ISIS, nor am I going to repeat the hyperbole of the right-wing press which claims that Dearborn is under Sharia Law, among numerous other alleged Islamic transgressions.

But I do believe that this underwhelming demonstration indicates a major disconnect between American Muslims and the rest of the country.

With every terrorist attack or ISIS atrocity, American Imams proclaim to the press that American Muslims do not support ISIS or terrorism, and that Islam is the religion of peace, tolerance and all things wonderful.

Allahu Akbar, baby! 

Other than that, though, Muslim Americans just don’t seem to be all that demonstrative about either their love for America nor their opposition to terrorism and ISIS.

And now that ISIS seems to be ramping up its war against America, isn’t it time for Muslim Americans to demonstrate where their allegiance lies? I applaud the 90 or so Muslims who demonstrated in Dearborn yesterday, but where were the rest of Dearborn’s Muslims?

A few years ago they came out by the thousands to protest the movie dearborn_local_muslim_protest“Innocence of Muslims,” a protest in which they demanded enactment of blasphemy laws that would make it illegal to criticize Islam and the prophet Muhammad.

Guess Dearborn’s Muslims are far more interested in curtailing the First Amendment than in showing their opposition to terrorism and ISIS.

If Muslim Americans truly believe Islam to be the religion of peace, tolerance, etc., and truly love their adopted land, well then, as Jerry Maguire says, “Show me the money!”