Defining free speech

4Q Basket Case

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I’m finding several points that would be laughable, except they’re coming from leaders of the foremost academic institutions in the country.

I can’t remember which of the three institutions condemned use of the wrong pronouns as “violence and abuse,” but it really doesn’t matter. If you don’t phrase the entrance of a given individual as, “They came into the room,” you have committed abuse.

But if you support Hamas and wish death not just to Israel, but to Israelis as individual human beings, that’s contextual and we’ll stare at our navels for a while and ponder on it.

Can you imagine if a Presidential administration took the position that, “Islamic radicals pose a clear threat to the US. We need to vet every potential immigrant throughly before allowing permanent residency and/or a track to citizenship.” There’d be protests in every single “elite” college. More so if the administration were Republican.

And not one of the three in front of the Congressional Committee deviated from the shibboleth? Yeah, all three should be recognized for what they are — supporters of violence.
 

CrimsonJazz

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These jokers can't read a room worth a dang.
True, but to be fair, it’s kind of hard to when the Victim Olympics literally never ends. Making matters incredibly more difficult is when their own party is split down the middle between the Israel supporters and the anti-semites. These stupid nimrods have no idea what side they are “supposed” to be on.

Now having said all this, do I feel sorry for them? LOL, no.
 
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JDCrimson

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The problem is with people who get themselves in this trap try to merge history into one moment its entirely appropriate to call out the wrong in the moment. However, when you try to merge in past acts you end up equivocating your response.

It was a trap for people who have no courage, like these university presidents, and they fell into it.

True, but to be fair, it’s kind of hard to when the Victim Olympics literally never ends. Making matters incredibly more difficult is when their own party is split down the middle between the Israel supporters and the anti-semites. These stupid nimrods have no idea what side they are “supposed” to be on.

Now having said all this, do I feel sorry for them? LOL, no.
 

AWRTR

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True, but to be fair, it’s kind of hard to when the Victim Olympics literally never ends. Making matters incredibly more difficult is when their own party is split down the middle between the Israel supporters and the anti-semites. These stupid nimrods have no idea what side they are “supposed” to be on.

Now having said all this, do I feel sorry for them? LOL, no.
I think living in an absolute bubble inside of academia made them feel untouchable and always right as the authority figure. Guess they figured out that wasn't correct.
 
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CrimsonJazz

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It’s sad. Higher level education should welcome open discourse and contrary opinions. As long as you aren’t inciting violence, I believe all view points should be discussed in academia.
This is why good comedians won't go anywhere near a college campus. You can't even joke with these people without making them melt if you use a "triggering" word. Some of these campuses should have an electric fence built around it and rebranded as a mental hospital.
 
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Padreruf

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This is why good comedians won't go anywhere near a college campus. You can't even joke with these people without making them melt if you use a "triggering" word. Some of these campuses should have an electric fence built around it and rebranded as a mental hospital.
Identitarianism is the tag I have seen -- it will destroy us as a society.
 

4Q Basket Case

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Article in today’s WSJ on this very topic:


If you don’t have a subscription, it’ll be paywalled, so I’ll summarize:

The “free speech” policies of colleges are coming under a microscope of their own construction. The presidents of Harvard, Penn and MIT got pantsed (my word, not the WSJ’s) in front of the whole country, and didn’t even realize it until they got home and face pushback from all sorts of alumni….the most persuasive of whom are (or were) 7 and 8 figure donors.

Now, there’s a light being shone on inconsistent application of free speech standards wherein, if you’re espousing leftist ideas it’s free speech, but if you’re espousing more conservative ideas, especially those contending that no group should be preferred over any other, your job is in jeopardy.

Examples are many, and several are quoted in the article. One not mentioned is the incident where Stanford Law School students, egged on by an Assistant (Associate? I’m not sure.) Dean shouted down a sitting federal judge, including shouts that they hoped his daughters got raped.

Can you imagine the hue and cry if a group of college Republicans shouted down Angela Davis at a campus speaking engagement, including threats of rape? It would be on continuous loop at CNN, CNBC and PBS for weeks.

Without doubt, there are and should be curbs on speech. You can’t incite a riot. You can’t threaten the life of the President. You can’t yell ”Fire!” in a crowded theater when you know that there isn’t one. I’m sure there are others.

The common thread is that they prevent physical harm or the threat of physical harm to others. But getting one’s widdle feewings bruised or emotions “triggered” doesn’t qualify as physical harm.

So in what universe is it “contextual” that advocacy of death to the state of Israel and individual Israelis might or might not be acceptable? These presidents are so blinded in their ivory tower bubble of academia that they can’t see simple truth.

I don’t know if this will end up being a pivot point in true free speech on college campuses. I hope so. But the zeitgeist is so ingrained that it’ll be hard to ferret out and won’t happen overnight.

At least there is some movement in that direction.
 
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Go Bama

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if you’re espousing more conservative ideas, especially those contending that no group should be preferred over any other
In my mind, this is a liberal philosophy.

I'm not sure why the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn all responded the same way, but I can't make the leap some of you have made to assume it is like this on the majority of college campuses in the US.

I haven't been a college student for over 40 years now. Political thought at colleges has always been liberal and may always be, but assuming every college president is in agreement with the three aforementioned is a stretch.
 

CrimsonJazz

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In my mind, this is a liberal philosophy.

I'm not sure why the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn all responded the same way, but I can't make the leap some of you have made to assume it is like this on the majority of college campuses in the US.

I haven't been a college student for over 40 years now. Political thought at colleges has always been liberal and may always be, but assuming every college president is in agreement with the three aforementioned is a stretch.
You are absolutely correct that free speech and the open exchange of ideas are a liberal philosophy. Problem is, liberalism is dying all over the country and being replaced with illiberal ideas like stomping on free speech and doing away with meritocracy. Liberals are being bullied and silenced by the types of progressives who are taking over academia.

I think what frustrates me the most is the fact that liberals, conservatives and (small L) libertarians far outnumber these nutty moonbats and by a large margin, so why does it feel like we're losing?
 

4Q Basket Case

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You are absolutely correct that free speech and the open exchange of ideas are a liberal philosophy. Problem is, liberalism is dying all over the country and being replaced with illiberal ideas like stomping on free speech and doing away with meritocracy. Liberals are being bullied and silenced by the types of progressives who are taking over academia.

I think what frustrates me the most is the fact that liberals, conservatives and (small L) libertarians far outnumber these nutty moonbats and by a large margin, so why does it feel like we're losing?
You’re using the word “liberal” in the classic sense of free and open exchange of ideas, and may the best ones win out. By that definition, I’m actually liberal.

But it’s been co-opted in everyday conversation to be synonymous with political beliefs to the left of center. By that definition, I am not.
 

4Q Basket Case

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In my mind, this is a liberal philosophy.

I'm not sure why the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn all responded the same way, but I can't make the leap some of you have made to assume it is like this on the majority of college campuses in the US.

I haven't been a college student for over 40 years now. Political thought at colleges has always been liberal and may always be, but assuming every college president is in agreement with the three aforementioned is a stretch.
It would be unusual to find any belief, politically left or right, universal among any demographic group. But there is a clear bias on numerous campuses toward not questioning left views, and squelching right views, or even views that just want to discuss unpopular ideas.

The article I linked contains several specific citations of professors fired or pressured to resign. A Penn law professor, Amy Wax, doesn’t support race-based afffirmative action. Penn acknowledged her right to free speech, but nevertheless moved to have her dismissed. IOW, you can say that, but we’ll fire you if you do. It also cites other disruptions, cancellations or withdrawals of speaking invitations at Yale, Stanford and Vassar.

A professor of sociology and law at Northwestern, Laura Beth Nielsen, allowed as how calls for genocide in front of the intended targets would be “harmful, threatening and degrading.” Apparently, if you call for killing a group of people, none of whom happen to be present at the time, that’s fine.🤬

Google “rescinded speaking invitations,” and you’ll see a clear pattern. Google “campus self-censorship” and you’ll find more confirmation.

The fact that a given practice or belief isn’t universal doesn’t mean it’s not pervasive enough to be a problem.

BTW — I find it hilarious that if a Neo-Nazi advocates for killing Jews, that’s abhorrent. But if a left-wing activist does the same thing, that’s ”contextual.”
 

Go Bama

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It would be unusual to find any belief, politically left or right, universal among any demographic group. But there is a clear bias on numerous campuses toward not questioning left views, and squelching right views, or even views that just want to discuss unpopular ideas.

The article I linked contains several specific citations of professors fired or pressured to resign. A Penn law professor, Amy Wax, doesn’t support race-based afffirmative action. Penn acknowledged her right to free speech, but nevertheless moved to have her dismissed. IOW, you can say that, but we’ll fire you if you do. It also cites other disruptions, cancellations or withdrawals of speaking invitations at Yale, Stanford and Vassar.

A professor of sociology and law at Northwestern, Laura Beth Nielsen, allowed as how calls for genocide in front of the intended targets would be “harmful, threatening and degrading.” Apparently, if you call for killing a group of people, none of whom happen to be present at the time, that’s fine.🤬

Google “rescinded speaking invitations,” and you’ll see a clear pattern. Google “campus self-censorship” and you’ll find more confirmation.

The fact that a given practice or belief isn’t universal doesn’t mean it’s not pervasive enough to be a problem.

BTW — I find it hilarious that if a Neo-Nazi advocates for killing Jews, that’s abhorrent. But if a left-wing activist does the same thing, that’s ”contextual.”
So your position is that the presidents of Yale, Vasser, and Northwestern would all be in agreement with the three presidents who testified before Congress?

I think what happened is the second president parroted the first, and the third did the same. They all said it was "contextual." Now you're cherry picking from a Wall Street Journal article and grouping enough of these people together to say this is pervasive. Maybe it is, but I'm just not seeing that.

I Googled "rescinded speaking invitations" and got nothing political except 4,000 students signing a petition at UC Berkley to rescind and invitation to Bill Maher, complaining that Maher is racist against Muslims.

The results for "campus self-censorship" were a bit more relevant, but I doubt these were the same results you get when Googling because I am left of center. Therefore, we get different Google results.
 
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CrimsonJazz

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You’re using the word “liberal” in the classic sense of free and open exchange of ideas, and may the best ones win out. By that definition, I’m actually liberal.

But it’s been co-opted in everyday conversation to be synonymous with political beliefs to the left of center. By that definition, I am not.
Well said. And make no mistake, I do get my shorts in a twist when I hear conservatives and MAGA refer to progs as liberals. It's one of the most irritating things I see/hear on the internet. I don't know if that word was hijacked by the progs and is being misapplied by cons, but either way, I just hate it.
 

4Q Basket Case

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So your position is that the presidents of Yale, Vasser, and Northwestern would all be in agreement with the three presidents who testified before Congress?

I think what happened is the second president parroted the first, and the third did the same. They all said it was "contextual." Now you're cherry picking from a Wall Street Journal article and grouping enough of these people together to say this is pervasive. Maybe it is, but I'm just not seeing that.

I Googled "rescinded speaking invitations" and got nothing political except 4,000 students signing a petition at UC Berkley to rescind and invitation to Bill Maher, complaining that Maher is racist against Muslims.

The results for "campus self-censorship" were a bit more relevant, but I doubt these were the same results you get when Googling because I am left of center. Therefore, we get different Google results.
You've asked a question, and I'll answer. But I think we probably just need to agree to disagree as to how pervasive leftward bias is on college campuses.

You've asked whether I think the presidents of Yale, Vassar and Northwestern would be in agreement with the presidents of Harvard, MIT and Penn that advocacy of violence is contextual. I think if they had been in the same Congressional hearing with the others, they would have voiced agreement.

Today, knowing that there's been massive pushback on Harvard, MIT and Penn, and virtually no credible defenders, no I don't think they'd agree. They're not stupid enough to put themselves in that position after seeing what happened to the first three.

The real test, though, is not what they did or didn't, would or wouldn't, say. The real test will be whether they embrace dissent now or in the future. To quote Nick Saban, "What you do is so loud I can't hear what you say."

Also in the WSJ article was this quote from Nadine Strossen, professor of law emerita at the New York Law School: "The problem with all the deans and presidents who have not defended free speech is not that they're activists, it's that they're spineless."

Which would be consistent with your contention that the first one made a jaw-dropping statement and the others just followed.

Maya Angelou has been quoted several times on TF as saying, "When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time." Generally speaking, that quote is used when someone inadvertently admits they're racially biased against black people, Asians, Native Americans, etc.

Thing is, the idea works just as well when someone is telling you they don't like Jews enough to condemn advocacy of violence against them.
 
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