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.

“Can We All Just Get Along?”—Absent Debate Apparently Not!

“Can We All Just Get Along?”—Absent Debate Apparently Not!

—June 22, 2016

“Can we all just get along?” Great words from a man seeking calm in the midst of a tempest. This from a Black man who had received an unjustified severe beating from a gang of white cops. A man who likely had every right to harbor hatred and thoughts of revenge, but instead urged peace during the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

A man who, like all of us, was flawed. But, apologies, I digress. I just re-watched the video of the Rodney King beating and want to sidetrack into the minutia of his story—examine its nuances and fathom its meaning. But not now. No, let’s stick with:

“Can we all just get along?”

Given the current levels of animosity between all of the different competing factions—whether Democrat versus Republican, Left versus Right, Black versus White, Christian versus Muslim, Gay versus Straight, Pro-gun versus Anti-Gun, etc., etc., etc.—Probably not. Especially given that the extreme wings of each side are so intransigent and full of venomous abhorrence towards their respective opposition.

In fact, I don’t believe the level of anger between the various competing factions has ever been so high, as it seems to have reached “Defcon 1,” or the former Homeland Security “Code Red.” In short, too many of us, no matter from which faction, are one insult away from throwing that first punch. And, as seen in Orlando last week, the crazies among us might resort to bullets rather than a fist. 

But we should be able to get along…. 

So, it’s time to figure out how to get along.

Let’s start with a basic premise: We are all human, and thus deeply flawed.

Yeah, that’s a tough one. I mean, sure, I can see the flaws in everyone else’s positions, mindset, lifestyle, beliefs, etc. but I’m pretty much perfect…don’t ya know?

Wrong! I am human and deeply flawed. As are we all. It’s just very difficult to perceive one’s own limitations.

Try it right now. Can you pick yourself apart and honestly detail your deficiencies? And I’m not talking about what might make you mildly irritating, I’m talking about what might make you unsuitable for whatever heaven your chosen God lords over. 

Not easy is it? Keep trying, though, because unless you’re of the “Mother Theresa,” “Gandhi” or “Jesus” ilk, then you, too, are most likely deeply flawed.

So perhaps Step One in getting along while “arguing” with the competition, whoever they might be, would be to always keep in mind the fact that: “We are all human, and thus deeply flawed.”

5237fa14ca758cf188c479a15c3ad311Step Two might be to keep in mind that as “humans” we all have more similarities than differences. Consider your lifetime interactions with the “opposition,” whoever that might be. Do not the positive interactions outweigh the negative ones? Of all the competing groups I am most likely to have had a difference of opinion with, I have historically experienced more positive interactions than negative. Consider:

  • I am White, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with Black folks has been positive. Ditto with Hispanics, Asians, and people of all other races and ethnicities I’ve met over the years. 
  • I am Straight, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with LGBT folks has been positive.
  • I am Pro-Gun, and the majority of personal experiences I have had with Anti-Gun folks has been positive (and no, not because I was packing .357 caliber worth of heat).
  • I am Christian, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with people of other faiths has been positive (though would probably sing a different tune were I to visit Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria).
  • I am Male, and the majority of personal experiences I have had with Feminists has been positive (though I have yet to personally encounter any “ThirdWave” Feminists).
  • I lean to the Right, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with people on the Left has been positive, though I cannot state the same in relation to those on the far end of the spectrum.
  • When I leaned to the Left during my youth the majority of personal experiences I had with those on the Right was positive. Perhaps of note, interactions I had with the Far Left encouraged my movement to the Right.

Bottom line is that on a personal basis It seems that I can pretty much get along with most of these folks. Granted, this may not hold true for everyone else, but I trust—or perhaps, hope—that it holds true for most of us.    

Step Three would be to acknowledge that we all have grievances. Black folks have plenty of reasons to be pissed off. As do Native Americans. Muslims?—no doubt! Hispanics?—Yep! LGBT?—sure, they still have legitimate gripes. Feminists?—OK. And I could go on and on and on….

And as a Straight, White, Privileged, Conservative Male, I’m kind of pissed off that so many of you Far Left mo-fos spend so much energy blaming me and my cohorts for all the problems of the world instead of trying to address your own contribution to the problem(s). I am also fearful that proposed Far Left solutions for addressing their grievances lead to an Orwellian future.

At this juncture it would be easy to get into a pissing contest to see who has been most egregiously aggrieved, but I don’t think we want to go there as it would undoubtedly just exacerbate the animosity. 

We do, however, need to listen to and acknowledge each others grievances, as well as be willing to debate their significance and potential remedies. And yes, some grievances are petty and some ludicrous, but many are fully legitimate and worthy of being addressed.

Unfortunately, Step Three appears to be a zero-sum game with many of the issues that divide the Right from the Left. Pardon me while I turn completely partisan in order to explain:

Folks on the Far Left are unwilling to debate…period! As soon as anyone starts saying anything thatFree Speech conflicts with their creed regarding feminism, race, LGBT, multiculturalism, religion and other pet issues, they do everything in their power to shut it down immediately. They bully the opposition with cries of “Racist,” “Homophobe,” “Misogynist,” “Islamophobe,” “Hate Speech,” etc., and then shout louder and louder to drown out the words they find so threatening despite in many cases not even having heard what they might be. They refuse to listen to anyone who’s opinion might differ from their worldview and label most such opinions expressed as “Hate Speech.” Social Justice Warrior (SJW) Lefties are the most censorship-prone gang of political activists America has ever seen, far surpassing the 1980s/‘90s Moral Majority activists in their disdain for free speech and the First Amendment. This makes Step Three a non-starter because those on the Right are certainly not going to listen to the grievances from the Far Left absent some hint of quid pro quo. 

As for my friends on the Far Right, I suggest that they need to tone down the vitriol in their rhetoric, as some of it clearly does come out as hateful “Hate Speech.” While humor serves as a good foil of refutation within the context of debate, personal insults do not add validity to the points of view. There is no valid reason or excuse to use the “N” word, nor any need to disparage other marginalized groups with the many epithets used to insult them (yeah, I know, I’m sounding like a nagging old school marm).

For example, while I believe the transgender movement with its delusional beliefs about what comprises “gender” is full of goatshit, I will try to refrain from personal attacks on them as people, say by referring to them as “Its” or “Trannies.” I will even use whatever personal name a transgendered person might want to be called, though will continue to assert that because Kaitlyn Jenner still sports a Johnson and the Twins he remains very much a man. Also, there is absolutely no way I’m going to use one of those made-up pronouns like “Ze” or “Vre.” Thus, while I’ve toned down the vitriol, my argument remains intact and hopefully I have expressed it with a touch of humor.

Speaking of which, I am sorry dear Lefties but those of us on the Right are going to continue to make fun of you. And no, making you the butt of a joke does not constitute “Hate Speech.” Unlike you, many on the Right have a sense of humor, and Left-Wing antics, ludicrous demands and avoidance of legitimate debate opens you up to deserved ridicule. 

And for clarification, here’s a real-world example of the difference between “Hate Speech” and “Humor:” The current SJW poster child is Cora Segal, who was aptly named “Trigglypuff” after she tried to disrupt a Conservative panel—Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder and Christina H. Sommers— of speakers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who, ironically enough, were discussing censorship.

The numerous memes, videos, Tweets, and satirical write-ups making fun of “Trigglypuff” constitute humor, and Cora is 100 percent responsible for making herself the butt of the joke. The numerous Tweets, Facebook posts and other comments calling for Cora to “kill herself,” “die,” “get raped,” etc. constitute “Hate Speech.” The latter is not cool, not funny, and totally unnecessary.   

OK, So, there you have it, the nascent MJM code for how to get along. Perhaps not as succinct as Rodney King’s plea, but it’s a start. Unfortunately, that pesky Step Three appears to be a sticking point. I believe that those on the Right would be willing to acknowledge and listen to grievances coming from the Left; however, SJW Lefties are unwilling to debate or compromise and thus will continue their attacks on free speech. In turn, those of us on the Right will undoubtedly continue making fun of them.

The Patients Have Taken Over the Asylum!

The Patients Have Taken Over the Asylum!

—May 14, 2016

Well kids, the level of political correct lunacy appears to be reaching all-time highs this month, with the recent antics of the Loony Left leaving me gobsmacked and thinking that the world is truly going crazy.

I mean, President Obama has determined that children can “self-identify” whether they are male or female independent of any biological determinants or parental input. Crazy or what?

Pee AnywhereIf “self identification” is going to be the law of the land then I choose to self identify as a dog so that I can shit and piss wherever I please, bathrooms be damned. Of course, as self identification is a PC construct its use will undoubtedly be restricted to marginalized peoples and off-limits to straight, white, privileged folks such as myself. 

Anyhow, Obama’s PC-related gambit is just one small sample of this month’s lunacy. Social justice warriors (SJWs) across the land seem to be working overtime in pursuit of enacting their various PC-oriented agenda. It seems like a concerted effort, almost as if the SJWs have been triggered into mass activism.

Perhaps it’s because one of their activists was taken down a notch or two late last month after she tried to disrupt a panel discussion at the University of Massachusetts on whether political correctness has gone too far. The insightful and humorous panel discussion, featuring Christina Hoff Sommers, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Steven Crowder, can be seen here: The Triggering: Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?

If you have the time the video is well worth watching, as the panel totally rips into the nonsense and hypocrisy that is today’s political correctness.

Cora Segal, the social justice warrior who aggressively tried to disrupt the discussion, has become the new face of political correctness. While “Trigglypuff,” as Cora has been aptly renamed on social media, wasn’t the only SJW in attendance, her lunacy was perfectly captured by student journalist Kassy Dillon, who is helping chronicle and publicize the rise of censorship on North American campuses. Kassy’s video has made Trigglypuff (and the bemused attendee in front of her)  a You Tube sensation and you can watch a short clip of it below:

While I doubt the public downfall of SJW Trigglypuff, and subsequent publicity given to the common-sense panel discussion, is the actual trigger for some kind of mass effort by the PC holy warrior faithful, they sure have been especially active ever since. Consider the following:

Student activists at Seattle University’s Matteo Ricci College have taken over the dean’s office and threaten prolonged occupation unless a lengthy list of demands is met. The bloviated manifesto—MRC Student Coalition Demands—is so poorly written that I could have as much fun eviscerating it editorially as I could ripping apart its ludicrous demands.

Consider the second sentence: “We consider it an ethical matter to name the disturbing experiences we have lived while in this college,f_grade while also noting that we are not the first students in this college to express these concerns, as they reflect a long-standing history of oppression and resistance in cohorts long since graduated.”

I know, “huh?” And the writer(s) never do get around to specifically “naming” the “disturbing experiences,” so I guess we’ll just have to call them “Bill,” “Ted” and “Alice.”

Anyhow, from what I can construe from the bloviation, key among the dozens of “demands” are the firing of the dean, hiring of gay and minority professors, and a teaching of “non-Eurocentric” humanities courses that “decentralize whiteness” but focus on white oppression and aggression. As noted in the manifesto, the “current curriculum does not reflect the kind of education we expected nor want,” which begs the question as to why they applied to the college to begin with.

The demands also seek far more student power within the professor-student relationship and the silencing of voices and ideology that do not conform to the students’ own beliefs. The stifling of “microaggressions” and “triggers,” as well as creation of “safe spaces,” along with other means for latent censorship of voices and ideology the students don’t like, play a key role throughout the list of demands.

I sincerely hope that Seattle University does not put up with this nonsense for much longer. I mean, tear gas and billy clubs will certainly not be needed, as the delicate snowflakes will undoubtedly collapse in tears at the sight of handcuffs. 

And then we’ve got the Chicago Public School system, responsible for almost 400,000 children. It rolled out new rules last week that require students and teachers to address transgendered students and school employees by their preferred name and pronouns. According to the rules, transgendered students and employees can choose their preferred bathroom, locker room, name and pronouns, and everyone is required to conform to their new chosen identities.

Not sure what the penalties for non-compliance are, but the whole PC “gender identity” movement is filled with all kinds of confusing and constantly-evolving terminology. I mean, “Ze?” Really? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? And “gender-fluid” seems to be especially popular with the PC transgender movement. Students identifying as such will certainly have fun getting their classmates in trouble.

Student “Black Lives Matter” activists at Dartmouth College tore down a display honoring police officers who had fallen in the line of duty because the display was “offensive,” “white supremacist,” and allegedly “promoted violence against black people.” The activists replaced the display with dozens of flyers that stated: “YOU CANNOT CO-OPT THE MOVEMENT AGAINST STATE VIOLENCE TO MEMORIALIZE THE PERPETRATORS.”

My message to Black Lives Matter: “YES, BLACK LIVES MATTER; HOWEVER, THE BIGGEST KILLER OF BLACK LIVES IS OTHER BLACK FOLKS, NOT THE OCCASIONAL ROGUE COP—FOR EVERY ONE WRONGFUL MURDER COMMITTED BY A POLICE OFFICER (MANY OF WHOM ARE “BLACK”) THOUSANDS ARE COMMITTED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE.”

Over in Illinois, SJWs at Millikin University’s Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement (OISE) have warned fraternities that they will be punished if they use face paint during their annual frat pledge events. Yeah, OISE warned Tau Kappa Epsilon and other university fraternities that fraternities “are prohibited from wearing black and red paint wigs/and clothing items that mimic or depict an ethnicity or culture,” and threatened them with “student conduct sanctions” should they fail to abide by the warning.

Warrior Face PaintWell, as a direct descendent of ancient Gallic tribes, Nordic Vikings and—yes (not kidding)—even the Powhatan native American tribe, I am offended that OISE is preventing my cultures from being honored by the frat boys who want to paint their faces in ways reminiscent of my various ancestors’ preparations for battle.

I don’t know, do I have some kind of justification for a lawsuit here?

And, while not last among the recent “are-you-fucking-kidding-me” PC news, a teen advocacy organization has reportedly come up with a plan to encourage television animators to fatten up their cartoon characters to protect fat kids from body shaming. Apparently “Project Know” believes that the svelte teenage action hero cartoon characters are demoralizing role models for overweight pre-teens.

I’m sorry, even though there’s way more recent PC bullshit to report, I just can’t handle it anymore. I mean, can you say, “Bark at the moon?” ‘cause we’re getting to that level of crazy.