Free Speech Wins (Again) at the Supreme Court
David French writes:
… Given existing First Amendment jurisprudence, there would have been a constitutional earthquake if SCOTUS hadn’t ruled for Tam. The Court has long held that the Constitution protects all but the narrowest categories of speech. Yet time and again, governments (including colleges) have tried to regulate “offensive” speech. Time and again, SCOTUS has defended free expression. Today was no exception. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Alito noted that the Patent and Trademark Office was essentially arguing that “the Government has an interest in preventing speech expressing ideas that offend.” His response was decisive:
[A]s we have explained, that idea strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”
Quick, someone alert the snowflakes shouting down speeches on campus or rushing stages in New York. There is no constitutional exception for so-called “hate speech.”
Indeed, governments are under an obligation to protect controversial expression. Every justice agrees. The ruling is worth celebrating, but when law and culture diverge, culture tends to win. The law protects free speech as strongly as it ever has. The culture, however … (read more)
Source: National Review
In two First Amendment rulings released this week, the justices argue they’re saving would-be censors from themselves.
Matt Ford reports: The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two notable victories for free-speech advocates on Monday as it nears the end of its current term. The two First Amendment cases came to the Court from starkly different circumstances, but the justices emphasized a similar theme in both rulings: Beware what the free-speech restrictions of today could be used to justify tomorrow.
In the first case, Matal v. Tam, the Court sided with an Asian-American rock band in Oregon named The Slants in a dispute with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The PTO had denied band member Simon Tam’s application to register the group’s name as a trademark, citing a provision in federal law that prohibits the office from recognizing those that “disparage” or “bring … into contempt or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead.” Read the rest of this entry »
Ulrich Baer, the author and a New York University professor, writes Monday in favor of students who protest talks on campuses from more conservative voices like political scientist Charles Murray and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. These students, unlike “liberal free-speech advocates,” understand that a more complex definition of free speech is needed, Baer argues.
“Universities invited speakers not chiefly to present otherwise unavailable discoveries but to present to the public views they have presented elsewhere. When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good,” Baer writes. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Barone writes: Something like that is happening now — but the violence is coming from leftists, not Trumpists. Take the University of California, Berkeley, [long pause] please. That’s where a speech to the Young Republicans by rightist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was shut down by a screaming mob on February 1, as this eyewitness account from Power Line’s Steven Hayward records. Not only was the speech shut down, but gangs of ski-masked and bandana-wearing protesters roamed the streets just off campus with sledgehammers, smashing ATM machines. In one instance, Hayward reports, a 62-year-old Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton held up a sign reading “1st Amendment Protects All Speech” and, on the obverse side, “Even Milo’s” was punched in the nose and dropped to the ground.
Where were the police? Not in a position to help—by design. In this “lethal, horror situation,” said University of California Berkeley campus police chief Margo Bennett, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We have to do exactly what we did last night: to show tremendous restraint.”
They made just one arrest. As for City of Berkeley police, according to the San Francisco Chronicle they came equipped with riot gear, but “as the violence escalated, officers pulled back.” Police on a balcony ordered rioters to disperse, but made no move to stop them, supposedly to prevent injury to “innocent protesters and bystanders.” City police made no arrests. “Our primary objective with the resources we had was the protection of life.” Read the rest of this entry »
‘The enemy of my enemy is my ally’
Human monkey behavior is often an under-explored element in articles about group dynamics in politics. That’s why we’re pleased to find National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg liberally including quotations from evolutionary psychologist John Tooby. This is from Jonah’s weekly column in the LATimes:
Jonah Goldberg writes:
…From the outset, many on the right who do not consider themselves part of the Cult of Milo opposed his invitation. The disturbing thing is that, absent these videos, we would have lost the fight.
“John Tooby, the evolutionary psychologist, recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public it would be the ‘coalitional instinct.’ In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If ‘you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership … This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird’.”
Even now, Schlapp defends the initial decision to invite Yiannopoulis. On Monday’s ”Morning Joe,” he insisted: “The fact is, he’s got a voice that a lot of young people listen to.” A lot of young conservative people, he should have added, precisely because he enrages so many young liberals.
“If ‘you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership,’ Tooby wrote on Edge.org. ‘This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.’”
John Tooby, the evolutionary psychologist, recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public it would be the “coalitional instinct.” In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If “you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership,” Tooby wrote on Edge.org. “This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.”
We overlook the hypocrisies and shortcomings within our coalition out of a desire to protect ourselves from our enemies.
Today, the right sees the left as enemies — and, I should say, vice versa. Read the rest of this entry »
Simon & Schuster’s Adam Rothberg announced that the company and its Threshold Editions division would be canceling its publication of Yiannopoulos’ book, ‘Dangerous.’ It was due for release on June 13.
The decision comes amid a controversy involving a video from January 2016, in which Yiannopoulos appears to defend pedophilia. It resurfaced after it was recently shared on a conservative blog, and has gained traction and backlash over the past week.
— (((Adam Rothberg))) (@AdamRothberg) February 20, 2017
“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” American Conservative Union Chairman Matt said in a statement. “It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
In the video, a 2016 episode of podcast “The Drunken Peasants,” Yiannopoulos discussed his own experience with sexual assault as a teenager. Read the rest of this entry »
BERKELEY, CA—A protest at UC Berkeley turned violent Wednesday night into Thursday morning as hundreds of rioters set fires, assaulted people, damaged vehicles, and smashed storefronts. But in the midst of all the chaos: an inspirational moment. After beating a man unconscious for disagreeing with him, a masked protester pulled out a black marker and […] Read the rest of this entry »
“I wrote a book called ‘Liberal Fascism’ about a decade ago, and even then the best working definition of a Fascist in America is ‘a conservative who’s winning an argument’. The way the Left operates, they just try to shout down anyone who disagrees with them, these campuses are little, sort of soft-Totalitarian states where disagreements is actually a heresy.”
“By all means, Milo has a right to speak, he has free speech rights, they should have let him speak, the far smarter strategy would be to ignore these things, but the clampdown on free speech that’s more troubling is when they block people like Condoleeza Rice from being able to give a speech. The whole point to protecting outrageous speech is that it keeps the zone of speech for reasonable important speech safer, the way they do this kind of stuff is so counterproductive, it feeds into the worse impulses on both the right and the left, and Berkeley, and the administration of Berkeley should be ashamed of itself.”
[NEW – Berkeley’s Shame – NR Editors]
[More – Populism Is Not Fascism]
MSNBC reporter Hallie Jackson ironically referred to Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos as a “flame-thrower” on Thursday while scenes played out of people at California-Berkeley literally setting fires the night before in protest of him speaking on their campus.
“Jackson’s use of the term ‘flame-thrower’ was humorous given that Yiannopoulos was not the one who actually caused parts of campus to go up in flames.”
“This protest developed overnight out at Berkeley because Milo Yiannopoulos, sort-of noted troll, sort-of flame thrower if you will, was set to speak,” Jackson said, as images showed of the chaos. Read the rest of this entry »
Rioters break windows, set fire to force cancellation of Breitbart editor’s UC-Berkeley talk
A planned talk at the University of California-Berkeley by polarizing Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled Wednesday evening after protesters threw smoke bombs and flares at the student union building where he was scheduled to speak.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 2, 2017
“Violent left-wing protesters stormed the building and forced me to be evacuated by police and by my security detail,” Yiannopoulos told Fox News‘ Tucker Carlson in a phone interview from an undisclosed location.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries or arrests.
Yiannopoulos, 32, is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.
The decision to cancel was made two hours before the start of the event because a crowd of more than 1,500 people had gathered outside the venue, the university said in a statement.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display, and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives,” the statement read, in part.
Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators carrying signs that read “Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech” had been protesting for hours before the event.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 2, 2017
In the evening, a small group dressed in black broke windows, threw smoke bombs and flares, and set a large bonfire outside the building. Some members of that group were wearing hooded sweatshirts.
The demonstrators were met by tight security in the form of law enforcement armed in riot gear. Some rioters broke windows and lit fireworks, while others pulled away the metal barricades in front of the building.
A shelter in place order was in effect and the Cal campus was placed on lockdown. Read the rest of this entry »
What looks like a traditional statue of Buddha dating back to the 11th or 12th century was recently revealed to be quite a bit more. A CT scan and endoscopy carried out by the Netherlands-based Drents Museum at the…(read more)
Strings of code were released to the Internet by a group calling themselves ‘the Shadow Brokers’. They claim the code is a tool that can be used to hack into any computer.
The cache mysteriously surfaced over the weekend and appears to be legitimate.
Ellen Nakashima reports: Some of the most powerful espionage tools created by the National Security Agency’s elite group of hackers have been revealed in recent days, a development that could pose severe consequences for the spy agency’s operations and the security of government and corporate computers.
“Faking this information would be monumentally difficult, there is just such a sheer volume of meaningful stuff. Much of this code should never leave the NSA.”
— Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California at Berkeley
A cache of hacking tools with code names such as Epicbanana, Buzzdirection and Egregiousblunder appeared mysteriously online over the weekend, setting the security world abuzz with speculation over whether the material was legitimate.
The file appeared to be real, according to former NSA personnel who worked in the agency’s hacking division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO).
“Without a doubt, they’re the keys to the kingdom,” said one former TAO employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal operations. “The stuff you’re talking about would undermine the security of a lot of major government and corporate networks both here and abroad.”
Said a second former TAO hacker who saw the file: “From what I saw, there was no doubt in my mind that it was legitimate.”
“Without a doubt, they’re the keys to the kingdom. The stuff you’re talking about would undermine the security of a lot of major government and corporate networks both here and abroad.”
Strings of code were released to the Internet by a group calling themselves “the Shadow Brokers”. They claim the code is a tool that can be used to hack into any computer.
The file contained 300 megabytes of information, including several “exploits,” or tools for taking control of firewalls in order to control a network, and a number of implants that might, for instance, exfiltrate or modify information.
The exploits are not run-of-the-mill tools to target everyday individuals. They are expensive software used to take over firewalls, such as Cisco and Fortinet, that are used “in the largest and most critical commercial, educational and government agencies around the world,” said Blake Darche, another former TAO operator and now head of security research at Area 1 Security.
The software apparently dates back to 2013 and appears to have been taken then, experts said, citing file creation dates, among other things.
“The tools were posted by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers using file-sharing sites such as BitTorrent and DropBox.”
“What’s clear is that these are highly sophisticated and authentic hacking tools,” said Oren Falkowitz, chief executive of Area 1 Security and another former TAO employee.
Several of the exploits were pieces of computer code that took advantage of “zero-day” or previously unknown flaws or vulnerabilities in firewalls, which appear to be unfixed to this day, said one of the former hackers.
The disclosure of the file means that at least one other party — possibly another country’s spy agency — has had access to the same hacking tools used by the NSA and could deploy them against organizations that are using vulnerable routers and firewalls. It might also see what the NSA is targeting and spying on. And now that the tools are public, as long as the flaws remain unpatched, other hackers can take advantage of them, too.
“The disclosure of the file means that at least one other party — possibly another country’s spy agency — has had access to the same hacking tools used by the NSA and could deploy them against organizations that are using vulnerable routers and firewalls. It might also see what the NSA is targeting and spying on. And now that the tools are public, as long as the flaws remain unpatched, other hackers can take advantage of them, too.”
The NSA did not respond to requests for comment.
“Faking this information would be monumentally difficult, there is just such a sheer volume of meaningful stuff,” Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, said in an interview. “Much of this code should never leave the NSA.”
The tools were posted by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers using file-sharing sites such as BitTorrent and DropBox. Read the rest of this entry »
Contrary to popular myth, the environment over the past 200 years has become less polluted and toxic for humans.
In July 1924, Calvin Coolidge Jr., the Presdient’s 16-year-old son, died of an infection from a toe blister he got playing tennis on the White House lawn. The bacteria that took young Calvin’s life is staphylococcus aureus, known as “staph.” …
Were health-care products such as antibiotics, antibacterial ointments, and inexpensive clean and disposable bandages available 92 years ago, Calvin Coolidge Jr., would have escaped the bacterial pollution that killed him. Factories and vehicles used to produce and distribute these items use energy, and dispense waste. But capitalist production and consumption are not destroying a pristine Eden. Instead, capitalist production and consumption are replacing more immediate and more lethal forms of environmental pollution for less immediate and less lethal forms.
We denizens of modern market economies are today largely free not only of the filth of lethal staph infections, but also of other up-close and dangerous pollutants that our ancestors routinely endured, or died of. We sleep, in sturdy buildings, on beds that rest on hard floors beneath hard roofs. Our pre-industrial ancestors did not. Save for the tiny fraction of people in the nobility and clergy, nearly everyone slept in flimsy huts on dirt floors beneath thatched roofs. (Sometimes these dirt floors would be strewn with hay, thresh, to make them less unpleasant.)
Not only were thresh-strewn dirt floors obvious sources of regular up-close pollution of a sort that is unknown to a typical first-world person today, thatched roof themselves were ferments of filth. They kept out rain and cold less effectively than our modern dwellings. Worse, they were home to rats, mice, birds, spiders, hornets, and other animals, which would drop their own wastes onto the huts’ inhabitants. They were also highly flammable.
Of course these pre-industrial huts contained no running water or indoor plumbing. Daily bathing and other routines of personal hygiene that we moderns take for granted were largely unknown to most before the industrial revolution.
For heat in the winter families would bring farm animals into the huts, especially at night. To shield themselves from the droppings of these farm animals, each of these families would cut a trench in the floor across the width their hut. They’d sleep on the side of the trench opposite where the animals slept. Unfortunately, the trench did little to protect the family from whatever insects the animals brought into the huts with them. Read the rest of this entry »
A majority of Californians are opposed to ‘sanctuary city’ policies in which local jurisdictions ignore federal immigration detainer requests, according to a new poll from the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Caroline May reports: The poll, released Friday, reveals that opposition to local officials ignoring federal immigration requests runs high in The Golden State and cuts across ideological and ethnic lines.
“We found very broad-based opposition to the idea of sanctuary cities. Californians want their local officials to abide by the requests of federal authorities.”
— IGS Director Jack Citrin, a political science professor at UC-Berkeley, in a statement
According to the online survey of 1,098 California residents, 74 percent said “local authorities should not be able to ignore these federal requests,” and just 26 percent said authorities should be able to ignore such requests.
“As for individual ethnic groups, 65 percent of Latinos said they opposed sanctuary policies. Seventy-five percent of Asians, 75 percent of African Americans and 80 percent of whites agreed.”
Republicans were the most opposed to sanctuary policies with 82 percent saying local officials should not be allowed to ignore detainers. A majority of Democrats and independents were also opposed — 73 percent and 71 percent, respectively. Read the rest of this entry »
Alexis Stigmore had to endure 40 harrowing minutes of class in a distressed state, forced to look at the world through the eyes of a set of people she disagreed with. Now there is a safe space dedicated in her honor.
LYNNFIELD, MA—In an effort to provide sanctuary for Lynnfield College students exposed to perspectives different from their own, a new campus safe space was dedicated Wednesday in honor of Alexis Stigmore, a 2009 graduate who felt kind of weird in class one time.
“When our Alexis felt weird after hearing someone discuss an idea that did not conform to her personally held beliefs, she had no place to turn.”
Addressing students at the dedication ceremony, parents Arnold and Cassie Stigmore noted that while the college had adequate facilities to assist victims of discrimination, abuse, and post-traumatic stress, it had until now offered no comparable safe space for students, like their beloved daughter, who encounter an academic viewpoint that gives them an uncomfortable feeling.
“If unfamiliar thoughts are ever provoked in your mind, or in the mind of someone you know, you can come to this place and feel safe again.”
“When our Alexis felt weird after hearing someone discuss an idea that did not conform to her personally held beliefs, she had no place to turn,” said Arnold Stigmore, standing outside the $2 million space that reportedly features soothing music, neutral-colored walls, oversized floor cushions, fun board games, and a variety of snacks. “God forbid any of you, in your years at this institution, are ever confronted with an opinion you do not share. But if you are, you will have a refuge on this campus.”
“As a parent, I’ll always wish I could have been there for her in that lecture hall, protecting her from those unwelcome concepts.”
“If unfamiliar thoughts are ever provoked in your mind, or in the mind of someone you know, you can come to this place and feel safe again,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »
Are Conservatives a Little Paranoid? The Obama Administration has ‘Richly Earned Citizens’ Distrust’, says David FrenchPosted: May 11, 2015
No, the Obama administration isn’t going to invade Texas
David French writes:
…Let’s not forget that more than half of Democrat voters thought it was “very” or “somewhat” likely that the Bush administration either “assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East.” Let that sink in: For all the elite’s disdain of allegedly gullible conservatives, a majority of the Left believed that an American president was complicit in mass murder.
But extreme paranoia wasn’t limited to the Democratic rank and file. As National Review’s own Rich Lowry pointed out, Naomi Wolf (former campaign consultant to Bill Clinton and Al Gore) actually wrote a book explaining how the Bush administration was mirroring the early actions of dictatorships like those in Germany, Russia, and China. Harper’s Magazine published breathless stories about a barely averted Bush administration “coup” or “military dictatorship.” Even as recently as 2013, the National Journal published an article claiming that military officers were considering “staging a coup” against President Obama — the basis for the claim was a series of statements by a retired general who specifically declared that no coup was being contemplated.
In this atmosphere of earned distrust, it is appropriate for elected officials to ask questions about even benign and well-meaning military exercises. No, the Obama administration isn’t going to invade Texas or Utah. Yes, there are some bottom-dwelling, opportunistic conspiracy-mongers who’ve done their best to whip up public concern. Read the rest of this entry »
In the final segment of Friday’s edition of HBO’s Real Time, host Bill Maher took aim at those who oppose free speech, especially taking liberals to task for the “Islamophobia kills” campaign and being against “bullying” when it’s convenient.
“Yeah, liberals hate bullying alright but they’re not opposed to using it when they causally throw out words like bigot and racist.”
“It does cower people into avoiding this debate. And if you’re doing that, you don’t get to wear the “Je suis Charlie” button; the button you wear is ‘Je suis party of the problem.’ And that goes for everybody,” he added.
[BONUS: The pro-censorship website crooksandliars.com disapproves of Maher’s defense of free speech with this thumb-sucking, pouting, infantile headline: Maher’s New Rule: Limbaugh Can Say Whatever He Wants, You Little People Can Just STFU]
Maher criticized Catholic League president Bill Donahue for blaming the publisher of Charlie Hebo for not understanding “the role he played in his tragic death. Maher says that’s essentially blaming a woman for rape because she was wearing clothes that were too provocative.
“Free speech only works if there are no waivers. No waivers. Including for religion.”
— Bill Maher
Next, Maher slammed frequent guest of the show Glenn Greenwald for saying anti-Muslim speech is a “vital driver” for the occupation of Muslim countries and killing the innocent.
“Really? Newspaper cartoons did all that? Wait until they get to the horoscopes and the crossword.”
“It reminds me of one of those protest signs that I saw up in Berkeley last month; it said: ‘Islamophobia kills.’ Does it? The phobia kills? Or maybe it’s more the AK-47s, and the beheadings, and the planes into buildings,” Maher responded.
— Pamela Geller (@PamelaGeller) January 17, 2015
“…Ironically you’re not even a proper liberal because you don’t get free speech. You’re just a baby who can’t stand to live in a world where you hear things that upset you. Oh, you’re not alone.”
Liberals and even some conservatives embrace the ‘heckler’s veto’ threat to the First Amendment
Barry A. Fisher writes: An essential freedom-of-speech paradigm was established in 1949 by the Supreme Court in Terminiello v. Chicago. In that case a vitriolic, racist speaker spoke to an auditorium packed with supporters. Outside the auditorium was what was described as “ ‘a surging, howling mob hurling epithets’ at those who would enter and ‘tried to tear their clothes off.’ ” The police blamed the mob’s action on the speaker, Arthur Terminiello, a Catholic priest under suspension by his bishop. He was convicted of disturbing the peace and fined.
“University of Chicago law professor Harry Kalven Jr. would later coin the term “heckler’s veto” to describe what would have happened had the court decided otherwise. First Amendment rights could be “vetoed” by others who create a public disturbance that forces the silencing of the speaker.”
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, reversed the conviction and ruled that Terminiello’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. The court said that the police, instead of taking action against the speaker, should have protected him and controlled the crowd, including making arrests if necessary. University of Chicago law professor Harry Kalven Jr. would later coin the term “heckler’s veto” to describe what would have happened had the court decided otherwise. First Amendment rights could be “vetoed” by others who create a public disturbance that forces the silencing of the speaker.
Sony ’s recent crisis over the film “The Interview”—along with the domestic political correctness and anti-hate speech movements, various international agreements and globalization itself—is leading the country precisely toward a heckler’s veto.
There is growing support, including among academics and racial and religious advocacy groups, that what they define as hate speech…Law professors have concocted influential concepts like ‘outsider jurisprudence,’ ‘critical race theory,’ ‘critical feminist theory’, and ‘storytelling’ theory to define some kinds of politically incorrect speech as not speech at all, but ‘mechanisms of subordination.'”
Protesters have silenced speakers on several occasions this year, sometimes with the law’s support. In February a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California high school’s decision to prohibit students from wearing American-flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo “to avert violence.” In August a panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ejection of an anti-Islam Christian group from an Arab festival in Dearborn, Mich., on the theory that the group’s speech would incite festivalgoers to violence. (In October the full court agreed to reconsider the decision.)
In December protesters against the non-indictment of a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., stormed into an auditorium at the University of California, Berkeley, and shut down a speech by Internet entrepreneur Peter Thiel . And during the past academic year, protesters caused the cancellation of commencement addresses by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Rutgers University, and International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde at Smith College. Read the rest of this entry »
Heather Mac Donald writes: In November 2013, two dozen graduate students at the University of California at Los Angeles marched into an education class and announced a protest against its “hostile and unsafe climate for Scholars of Color.” The students had been victimized, they claimed, by racial “microaggression”—the hottest concept on campuses today, used to call out racism otherwise invisible to the naked eye. UCLA’s response to the sit-in was a travesty of justice. The education school sacrificed the reputation of a beloved and respected professor in order to placate a group of ignorant students making a specious charge of racism.
“The silence on the repeated assailment of our work by white female colleagues, our professor’s failure to acknowledge and assuage the escalating hostility directed at the only Male of Color in this cohort, as well as his own repeated questioning of this male’s intellectual and professional decisions all support a complacency in this hostile and unsafe climate for Scholars of Color.”
The pattern would repeat itself twice more at UCLA that fall: students would allege that they were victimized by racism, and the administration, rather than correcting the students’ misapprehension, penitently acceded to it. Colleges across the country behave no differently. As student claims of racial and gender mistreatment grow ever more unmoored from reality, campus grown-ups have abdicated their responsibility to cultivate an adult sense of perspective and common sense in their students. Instead, they are creating what tort law calls “eggshell plaintiffs”—preternaturally fragile individuals injured by the slightest collisions with life. The consequences will affect us for years to come.
[Heather Mac Donald is the author of “The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society“, available at Amazon]
UCLA education professor emeritus Val Rust was involved in multiculturalism long before the concept even existed. A pioneer in the field of comparative education, which studies different countries’ educational systems, Rust has spent over four decades mentoring students from around the world and assisting in international development efforts. He has received virtually every honor awarded by the Society of Comparative and International Education. His former students are unanimous in their praise for his compassion and integrity. “He’s been an amazing mentor to me,” says Cathryn Dhanatya, an assistant dean for research at the USC Rossiter School of Education. “I’ve never experienced anything remotely malicious or negative in terms of how he views students and how he wants them to succeed.” Rosalind Raby, director of the California Colleges for International Education, says that Rust pushes you to “reexamine your own thought processes. There is no one more sensitive to the issue of cross-cultural understanding.” A spring 2013 newsletter from UCLA’s ed school celebrated Rust’s career and featured numerous testimonials about his warmth and support for students.
It was therefore ironic that Rust’s graduate-level class in dissertation preparation was the target of student protest just a few months later—ironic, but in the fevered context of the UCLA education school, not surprising. The school, which trumpets its “social-justice” mission at every opportunity, is a cauldron of simmering racial tensions. Students specializing in “critical race theory”—an intellectually vacuous import from law schools—play the race card incessantly against their fellow students and their professors, leading to an atmosphere of nervous self-censorship. Foreign students are particularly shell-shocked by the school’s climate. “The Asians are just terrified,” says a recent graduate. “They walk into this hyper-racialized environment and have no idea what’s going on. Their attitude in class is: ‘I don’t want to talk. Please don’t make me talk!’ ”
The long, ugly journey from the Free Speech Movement to professors assaulting protesters
For Reason, Matt Welch writes: On March 4, in a designated “free-speech zone” at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), associate professor of feminist studies Mireille Miller-Young walked over to a 16-year-old anti-abortion protester named Thrin Short and demanded that Short take down a graphic sign showing pictures of aborted fetuses. When Short refused, Miller-Young forcibly snatched the sign out of the smaller girl’s hands, then handed it to her students and walked away triumphantly. The rattled teen accurately accused Miller-Young of being a “thief,” to which the professor implausibly retorted: “I may be a thief, but you’re a terrorist!” Adding injury to insult, Miller-Young then shoved the protester and barred her from entering a campus elevator. Moments later, the professor and her students cut the stolen poster to shreds.
The story gets worse. According to the ensuing police report, Miller-Young maintained that she had set a good example for her students by acting like a “conscientious objector” to offensive hate speech that had “triggered” her emotions and violated her “personal right to go to work and not be in harm.” Many students, too, remained defiant about the assault long after tempers cooled.
“We, as students of UCSB, are in solidarity with Professor Miller-Young and urge our student body, staff, faculty, and community members to provide as much support as possible,” reads a petition submitted by “UCSB Microaggressions” that as of press time had received more than 2,000 signatures, dwarfing a rival petition asking for the professor’s ouster. “We do not condone the hate speech and media attention she has been actively receiving.” Read the rest of this entry »
This week the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, awarded two large contracts to Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, to create electrical brain implants capable of treating seven psychiatric conditions, including addiction, depression, and borderline personality disorder.
The project builds on expanding knowledge about how the brain works; the development of microlectronic systems that can fit in the body; and substantial evidence that thoughts and actions can be altered with well-placed electrical impulses to the brain.
“Imagine if I have an addiction to alcohol and I have a craving,” says Carmena, who is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and involved in the UCSF-led project. “We could detect that feeling and then stimulate inside the brain to stop it from happening.” Read the rest of this entry »
Heather Mac Donald: Don’t listen to today’s narcissistic academics—the West’s cultural inheritance is indispensablePosted: January 18, 2014
The Humanities and Us
Heather Mac Donald writes: In 2011, the University of California at Los Angeles decimated its English major. Such a development may seem insignificant, compared with, say, the federal takeover of health care. It is not. What happened at UCLA is part of a momentous shift in our culture that bears on our relationship to the past—and to civilization itself.
Until 2011, students majoring in English at UCLA had to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton—the cornerstones of English literature. Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was announced that Shakespeare was part of the “Empire,” UCLA junked these individual author requirements and replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing. In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent as to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton, or Shakespeare, but was determined to expose students, according to the course catalog, to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.”
“To contend that the obligation imposed on the president to see the laws faithfully executed implies a power to forbid their execution is a novel construction of the Constitution, and is entirely inadmissible.”
George Will writes: Congressional Republicans’ long-simmering dismay about Barack Obama’s offenses against the separation of powers became acute when events compelled him to agree with them that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could not be implemented as written. But even before he decreed alterations of key ACA provisions — delaying enforcement of certain requirements for health insurance and enforcement of employers’ coverage obligations — he had effectively altered congressionally mandated policy by altering work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform; and compliance requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law; and some enforcement concerning marijuana possession; and the prosecution of drug crimes entailing mandatory minimum sentences; and the enforcement of immigration laws pertaining to some young people.
Republicans tend to regard Obama’s aggressive assertion of enforcement discretion as idiosyncratic — an anti-constitutional impatience arising from his vanity. This interpretation is encouraged by his many assertions that he “can’t wait” for our system of separated powers to ratify his policy preferences. Still, to understand not only the extravagance of Obama’s exercises of executive discretion but also how such discretion necessarily grows as government does, read Zachary S. Price’s “Enforcement Discretion and Executive Duty” forthcoming in the Vanderbilt Law Review. Price, a visiting professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, demonstrates that the Constitution’s “text, history, and normative underpinnings” do not justify the permissive reading Obama gives to its take care clause, which says the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
It is, says Price, part of America’s “deeply rooted constitutional tradition” that “presidents, unlike English kings, lack authority to suspend statutes” or make them inapplicable to certain individuals or groups. Indeed, the take care clause may have been intended to codify the Framers’ repudiation of royal suspending prerogatives. Hence the absence of an anti-suspension provision in the Bill of Rights.