Campus unrest, viewpoint diversity, and freedom of speech

by Judith Curry

Campus unrest, viewpoint diversity, and freedom of speech are issues that have been of increasing concern to me.

heterodox is playing an important role in highlighting these issues and attempting to address them.

I’ve been collecting materials for a post on this topic, but am too swamped (for the next month) to write anything original on this topic.  Fortunately Michael Shermer has written a superb article on this, What went wrong?  Campus unrest, viewpoint diversity, and freedom of speech.  Read the whole thing, here are some excerpts:

[F]or a talk I was invited to give at my alma mater California State University, Fullerton on the topic: “Is freedom of speech harmful for college students?” The short answer is an unflinching and unequivocal “No.”

Why is this question even being asked? When I was in college free speech was the sine qua non of the academy. It is what tenure was designed to protect!

Between the 1960s and the 2010s, what went wrong?

The Problem

Trigger warnings are supposed to be issued to students before readings, classroom lectures, film screenings, or public speeches on such topics as sex, addiction, bullying, suicide, eating disorders, and the like, involving such supposed prejudices as ableism, homophobia, sizeism, slut shaming, transphobia, victim-blaming, and who-knows-what-else, thereby infantilizing students instead of preparing them for the real world where they most assuredly will not be so shielded.

This is not your parents’ protest against Victorian sexual mores, and the list of demands by Oberlin students would be unrecognizable to even the most radical 60’s hippies.

As often happens in moral movements, a reasonable idea with some evidentiary backing gets carried to extremes by engaged moralists eager for attention, sympathy, and the social standing that being a victim or victim sympathizer can bring.

Safe space, according to the organization Advocates for Youth, is “A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or challenged on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability.

In addition to infantilizing adults, this practice often means protecting students from opinions that they don’t happen to agree with, or shielding them from ideas that challenge their beliefs, which has always been one of the most valuable benefits of a college education.

Microaggressions are comments or questions that slight, snub, or insult someone, intentionally or unintentionally, in anything from casual conversation to formal discourse.

Yes, language matters, and some comments that people make are cringe worthy. But do we really need a list of DOs and DON’Ts handed out to students and reviewed like they were five-year olds being taught how to play nice with the other kids in the sandbox? Can’t adults work out these issues themselves without administrators stepping in as surrogate parents? And who determines what constitutes “hate,” “racist” or “sexist” speech? Who it happens to bother or offend? Students? Faculty? Administration? And as with the problem of trigger words, the list of microaggressions grows, turning normal conversation into a cauldron of potential violations that further restricts speech, encourages divisiveness rather than inclusiveness, and forces people to censor themselves, dissemble, withhold opinion, or outright lie about what they believe.

Speaker disinvitations—cancellations of invited speakers—have been accelerating over the past decade.

What may have started out as well intentioned actions at curbing prejudices and attenuating bigotry with the goal of making people more tolerant, has now metamorphosed into thought police attempting to impose totalitarian measures that result in silencing dissent of any kind. The result is the very opposite of what free speech and a college education is all about.

Proximate Causes

1. Moral Progress. As I document in The Moral Arc, we have made so much moral progress since the Enlightenment—particularly since the civil rights and women’s rights movements that launched the modern campus protest movement in the first place—that our standards of what is tolerable have been ratcheted ever upward to the point where students are hypersensitive to things that, by comparison, didn’t even appear on the cultural radar half a century ago. In other words, most of the big moral movements have been fought and won, leaving today’s students with comparatively smaller causes to promote and evils to protest, but with moral emotions just as powerful as those of previous generations, so their outrage seems disproportionate.

2. Transition from a Culture of Honor to a Culture of Victimhood.
In a culture of honor one settles minor disputes oneself and leaves the big crimes to the criminal justice system. Over the past two decades this has been eroded and is being replaced by a culture of victimhood in which one turns to parent-like authorities (faculty and college administrators, but not the law) to settle minor disputes over insults and slights. The culture of honor leads to autonomy, independence, self-reliance, and self-esteem, whereas the culture of victimhood leads to dependence and puerile reliance on parental figures to solve ones’ problems.

3. From Anti-Fragile to Fragile Children. One response to the 1970s and 1980s crime wave was a shift toward “helicopter parenting” in which children were no longer allowed to be, well, children. The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains why through the concept of anti-fragility: “Bone is anti-fragile. If you treat it gently, it will get brittle and break. Bone actually needs to get banged around to toughen up. And so do children. Anxiety, fragility and psychological weakness have skyrocketed in the last 15–20 years.” Those kids are today’s college students, and as a consequence they have brittle bones and thin skins.

4. Puritanical Purging. Social movements tend to turn on themselves in puritanical purging of anyone who falls short of moral perfection, leading to preemptive denunciations of others before one is so denounced. The 20th century witnessed Marxist and feminist groups undergoing similar purges as members competed for who was the purist and defenestrated those who fell below the unrealizable standard. Such purification purges are among the worst things that can happen to a social movement.

5. Virtue Signaling. Related to puritanical purging is virtue signaling, in which members of a movement compete to signal who is the most righteous by (A) recounting all the moral acts one has performed and (B) identifying all the immoral acts others have committed. This leads to an arms-race to signal moral outrage over increasingly diminishing transgressions.

An Ultimate Cause.  A deeper reason behind the campus problem is a lack of diversity. Not ethnic, race, or gender diversity, but viewpoint diversity, specifically, political viewpoint. What goes around comes around. Today’s liberal college professors were radical college students in the 1960s and 1970s, protesting “the man” and bucking authority. One reason faculty and administrators are failing to stand up to student demands today is that they once wore those shoes. Raising children and students to be dismissive of law and order and mores and manners leads to a crisis in consciousness and the rejection of the very freedoms so hard won by their parents and teachers. A generation in rebellion gave birth to a generation in crisis. Thus it is that the revolution devours its children.


There is no magic bullet solution to the problems the academy faces today, but as liberals have known for some time it takes decades—even generations—to right the wrongs of the past, so solutions are likely to be incremental and gradual, which is almost always a good thing when it comes to social change, as it leads to less violent and more peaceful actions on the part of both activists and their opponents.

In the meantime, viewpoint diversity can be increased almost overnight by inviting speakers from a wide range of perspectives—political, economic, and ideological—even if (or especially) if they are offensive to faculty and students. And no more disinvitations! If you invite someone to speak, honor your word, own your decision, and stand up to the cry bullies (as they’re called in this neologism). The assignment of books and papers for students to read—especially for courses in history, English literature, the humanities, and the social sciences—can and should include authors whose positions are at odds with those of most academicians and student bodies.

Viewpoint diversity, however, is subservient to the deeper principle of free speech, which should be applied indiscriminately across the academy, as it should across society and, ideally, the world.

The freedom of speech has been one of the driving forces behind moral progress because it enables the search for truth. How? There are at least five reasons:

  1. We might be completely right but still learn something new.
  2. We might be partially wrong and by listening to other viewpoints we might stand corrected and refine and improve our beliefs. No one is omniscient.
  3. We might be completely wrong, so hearing criticism or counterpoint gives us the opportunity to change our minds and improve our thinking.
  4. Whether right or wrong, by listening to the opinions of others we have the opportunity to develop stronger arguments and build better facts for our positions.
  5. My freedom to speak and dissent is inextricably tied to your freedom to speak and dissent.

JC reflections

I’ve spent my entire adult life in universities.  The appeal of universities to me was a sense of freedom — t0 explore ideas and to engage with a broad spectrum of intelligent and interesting people.  I now find the blogosphere and the private sector as more conducive than universities to exploring ideas and engaging with a broad spectrum of intelligent and interesting people.

With regards to the current problems at universities, which seem to have emerged mostly in the last decade, I find Michael Shermer’s essay to be very insightful.

Here are a few thoughts based on my own experiences.

My own institution, Georgia Tech, has changed dramatically over the past decade, in my opinion these changes have not been for the better.  I have blamed this change on a new administration (President, Provost), but it seems these changes have been consistent with larger trends in universities.

That said, Georgia Tech remains a place that is relatively diverse in terms of political perspectives (that said, the upper administration does not seem to appreciate the viewpoint diversity that I bring to the climate change issue).  Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs addresses topics in global international affairs that does not even mention the word ‘environment’ or ‘climate change’, and there are many military types on the faculty.

In engineering, which dominates at GT, I don’t see any particularly political bias.  The School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences shares a building with the School of Chemical Engineering.  In the main atrium, each school has a little TV screen, highlighting the respective Schools.  Occasionally, our TV screen tunes to the Weather Channel.  The Chemical Engineering TV frequently tuned to Fox News.  I recall an incident when one of my faculty members made a snarky comment in the hallway to the Chair of Chemical Engineering regarding the irresponsibility of showing Fox News.  Can anyone cite an example of Fox News being streamed at another university?  This has to be pretty unique.

That said, Georgia Tech has a number of problematic policies, that have made it into the news:

I am having enormous cognitive dissidence regarding the ‘safe space’ issue in context of the recent vote by Georgia Legislature to allow guns on campus [link]. The governor has not yet signed this.  The juxtaposition of heightened sensitivity to microagressions, combined with guns on campus, is causing many heads to explode.

Beyond Georgia Tech, I have visited many campuses over the past several years, and I was invited to talk in most instances to present an alternative perspective on climate change.  One of the universities was Oberlin, which featured prominently in Shermer’s article.  There is a club of young republicans and libertarians, which receives contributions from a donor to invite speakers on a range of topics to add diversity.  Apparently I was sufficiently tame or insufficiently known to have instigated much of a backlash.

Apart from the social issues that are of primary concern in Shermer’s article, I am particularly concerned about all this promoting groupthink in terms of actual research in the social and natural sciences.  I don’t see a near term solution, but I think that heterodox and the blogosphere are making a difference.


511 responses to “Campus unrest, viewpoint diversity, and freedom of speech

  1. Speech has never been more free, in some places –e.g., Knut Gingrich said Obama was the first anti-American president. Giuliani said Hillary Clinton, ‘could be considered a founding member of ISIS.’ Ted Cruz called Trump a “sniveling coward.” My thought is John Kerry is the second anti-American Secretary of State. Meanwhile, Belgium has been labeled as a country that has lost control of its national identity. We may be getting closer to the time when people are free to say that socialists have been at war with America long before ISIS.

    • Socialism is more American than apple pie, you half-wit. Who do you think was here before the Pilgrims showed up with apples? Who do you think taught ’em to plant corn and smoke tobacco? The answer is Native Americans, who practiced socialism. But I guess it never occurred to a moron like you that savages are people too. I doubt you are good for anything other than taking up space. If slavery were still legal no one would buy you.

      Isn’t freedom of speech great !

      • Sure, freedom of speech is great!

        Donald Trump is taking a lot of heat but not for what he says. Trump’s big sin is giving us a choice. Votes for Trump are essentially a public referendum about if it will continue to be acceptable for the Left to use political correctness as a tool for the high tech lynching of opponents of their ideology.

      • catweazle666

        “The answer is Native Americans, who practiced socialism.”

        AFAIK, some of your beloved Native Americans were amongst the most aggressive and predatory tribes ever seen on Earth, why do you think some of the most potent battlefield weapons like the Apache gunship were named after them?

        And they were by no means the only ones.

        As for half-wits…look in a mirror.


      • For example, it was with deception in his heart that Tenskwatawa used secret knowledge that he gained from “Panther across the sky,” who was his famous older brother Tecumseh. The secret knowledge was used to fool their fellow Shawnee people. It is true that Tecumseh was very intelligent. He learned English and had some conversations with those who were schooled in a few things about natural events that indigenous American natives were understandably totally ignorant of and never even dreamed about. Much like the Al Gore of his day Tenskwatawa laid claim to being a Shawnee Prophet. He used what was easily accessible knowledge from another culture to ‘predict’ an eclipse. Armed with false credentials so it came to pass that Tenskwatawa doomed the Shawnee to death but not from their ignorance of a simple natural event that was about to take place whether or not the Shawnee understood how or why or when. Rather, it was the Shawnee’s belief that Tenskwatawa was a Prophet. It was Tenskwatawa the liar that led them to their death.

      • Hello, dummies. If you two were patriotic enough to have learned American history you would know the WAMPANOAGS helped the Pilgrams, not the Apaches or Tecumseh’s Shawnees. Your ignorance of our country’s heritage reflects poorly on your citizenship.

      • Who are the Pilgrams, maxie okie? And what dummy, other than you, said anything about the Apache or the Shawnee helping the Pilgrams? Are you trying to be funny, again?

      • Some Wampanoag villages were surrounded by walls for protection… from those of their own culture. Those savages.

      • White man, red man. We are all part of a savage species. Frontiersmen is an entertaining book. Gives a good flavor for the times.

      • Don, the Pilgrims were Brownist who wanted to leave England for religious reasons, and after considering Holland as a destination, decided the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts would be more suitable. A local tribe, the Wampanoags, were friendly and helpful to the Pilgrims initially, but eventually the relationship soured.

        I didn’t bring up the Shawnee and Apache tribes, but they were mentioned by two nitwits here in response to my comments about Native Americans assisting the Pilgrims so I thought I should make it clear these tribes never even met these newcomers.

        The Shawnee lived in Ohio, too far from Massachusetts, to be helpful to the Pilgrims, but it’s doubtful they would have been hospitable anyway. The Apache lived in Arizona and New Mexico, much too far away to be helpful, but luckily for the Pilgrims also too far away to be unhelpful.

        Sorry to go on about it, but Native American History is one of my many interests. I presume it’s not one of yours.

      • Your presumptions are foolish, maxie okie. What you know about the Pilgrams and the Wampamhogs, you just got from wikipedia. Nobody said that the Apache or the Shawnee had anything to do with the Pilgrams. You do know that the Apache and the Shawnee are considered to be Native Americans, don’t you dummy? You do recall that you were talking about Native Americans, don’t you dummy? You never said you were talking about only the Wampamhogs, you dummy.

        If you had any class, you would admit your stoopid presumption was erroneous. You be the dummy.

      • Don, instead of mindlessly dissing everyone, how about being a little more constructive and saying how you think things could be better?

        Otherwise it’s hard to tell the difference between you tearing down everyone else and ISIS tearing down thousands of years of ancient culture for no obvious reason other than out of sheer spite, or compensation for letting Western civilization streak ahead of Arabia, or some such thing.

      • max10k I have relatives that are full and part blood Cree and your comment is both patronizing and displaying of great ignorance. Don’t you know that the “Noble Savage” is a construct that has nothing to do with the reality of First Nations? You either know nothing about socialism, nothing about First Nation’s culture or both.

      • My comment is in moderation, pratt. So I’m tearing down what? On a freaking climate blog filled for the most part with jokers and non-entities. I used to think you had some sense. Do you remember that I told you that your reputation earned through a distinguished career as a world-class educator (in my humble estimation) was at risk from your participation on rough and tumble climate blogs? You are stooping to foolishness, doc. I hope you regain your senses.

      • tumbleweed writes

        “You either know nothing about socialism, nothing about First Nation’s culture or both.”

        Well, tumbleweed, I know a lot about both, having grown up in Oklahoma where I socialized with many Native Americans. I had many friends who were part Choctaw and part Cherokee, whose ancestors had walked the Trail of Tears from Georgia and the Carolinas to Oklahoma which at that time was called Indian Territory. I also knew a few members of Plains Tribes. One of my drinking buddies was Kiowa and I once dated a Comanche girl.

        Unlike you I do not have Native American relatives. I am 100% White and have the results of DNA testing to prove it. I do, however, have some fourth cousins who are part African-American.

      • Witless calling someone else a half wit.

        Didn’t know you specialized in Native history Max. In fact I still don’t know that, based on your natives practicing socialism comment.

      • I recommend you read Springer’s comment max. Perhaps you might learn the difference between communal and socialist.

        I’m betting max has one of those dream catcher thingies dangling from his rear view mirror. And dreams of the day one of his Indian drinking buddies calls him Chief.

      • catweazle666

        “Hello, dummies. If you two were patriotic enough to have learned American history”

        First off, I’m not American, you sad little twerp.

        Second, as you have descended to personal abuse I assume you concede you have lost the debate.

        Just as a matter of interest, how old are you? You come across as no more than adolescent, and retarded adolescent at that.

      • timg56, you ignorant old fart, you don’t know sh*t about Native Americans or much of anything else, so do yourself a favor and apply for a brain transplant to replace that useless ball of crap that currently occupies the space between your big goofy looking ears. Even a brain from some lower life form, such as a newt or a slug, would be a big improvement over what you are using now.

        Sorry, timg56, I was just doing my Don Montfort impression. But yes, Native Americans held land in common, which is a socialist practice. In the late 1800’s the Dawes Act and the Curtiss Act intended to change that practice as well as rip off some tribal land for whites to own. This legislation was aimed primarily at tribal lands in Indian Territory which later became Oklahoma. The results of the acts were very damaging to tribal unity and culture.

      • Hello timg56

        This is a sanitized version of my reply to you in case my original never makes it out of moderation.

        Native Americans held land in common, which is a socialist practice. In the late 1800’s the Dawes Act and the Curtiss Act intended to change that practice as well as rip off some tribal land for whites to own. This legislation was aimed primarily at tribal lands in Indian Territory which later became Oklahoma. The results of the acts were very damaging to tribal unity and culture.

        I will add a little something not in my original response.

        Native American cultures also did a lot of sharing (e.g., the Mandans lived in communal housing), another socialist or certainly socialist-like practice, as is A “Indian Giving”

      • “Just as a matter of interest, how old are you? You come across as no more than adolescent, and retarded adolescent at that.”

        I’d guess a 3rd grade level based on the ad homs and tu quoque thinking and maybe Catholic school based on the assorted sanitized versions…

      • From the article:

        The pilgrims (who did not even call themselves pilgrims) did not come here seeking religious freedom; they already had that in Holland. They came here as part of a commercial venture. One of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod — before they even made it to Plymouth — was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry. (Suppressed 1970 Speech of Wamsutta (Frank B.) James, Wampanoag.) To the native people who had observed these actions, it was a serious desecration and insult to their dead. The angry Wampanoags attacked with a small group, but were frightened off with gunfire. When the Pilgrims had settled in and were working in the fields, they saw a group of Native people approaching. Running away to get their guns, the Pilgrims left their tools behind and the Native people took them. Not long after, in February of 1621, Samoset, a leader of the Wabnaki peoples, walked into the village saying “Welcome,” in English. Samoset was from Maine, where he had met English fishing boats and according to some accounts was taken prisoner to England, finally managing to return to the Plymouth area, six months before the Pilgrims arrived. Samoset told the Pilgrims about all the Native nations in the area and about the Wampanoag people and their leader. Massasoit. He also told of the experience of the Pawtuxet and Nauset people with Europeans. Samoset spoke about a friend of his called Tisquantum (Squanto), who also spoke English. Samoset left, promising the Pilgrims he would arrange for a return of their tools.

      • Hello Waggie,
        You will be glad to knowI finally got my mac to stop calling you laggy. Fooling that computer is a lot harder than fooling you.

      • jim2 writes

        “One of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod — before they even made it to Plymouth — was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.”

        jim2, I doubt the Wampanoags stored winter provisions in graves. Do you think they believed corpses eat?

      • Maybe you can find a good course in reading comprehension.

      • Socialism as American as apple pie? Socialism by definition is where government controls the means of production, if you believe the US does that you’re delusional.

        The US has always had democratic social programs, the question is can we continue to afford more, or even what we have now. No we can’t. If you confiscated every dollar from all the billionaires it would come to about $6 trillion, enough to pay about 1/3 of our debt off. It would do nothing for the deficit though, the $6 trillion would get added back to the debt within the terms of the next president if nothing was done to curb spending. The left believes nothing detrimental can happen is the private sector is sucked dry. Sometimes I wished I believed in unicorns too, aka, ignorance is bliss.

      • jim2, I read better than most people write.
        I don’t know if you are someone else wrote that ambiguous sentence, but I have edited the sentence to make it mean what you think it means.

        First, the original version:

        ”One of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod — before they even made it to Plymouth — was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.”

        Now, my edit:

        Two of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod — before they even made it to Plymouth — was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.

        See, jim2, all I had to do was replace the word “one” with the word “two” to make the sentence mean what you thought it meant.

      • Max,

        I make no claims regarding knowledge of Native American history. Most of what I do know is from US history.

        What I did say was that your not understanding the difference between communal and socialist pretty much makes you someone to ignore. Now that might be a shame, if you are truly knowledgeable on the subject, but that is what happens when you regularly act like an immature jacka$$.

      • timg56, apparently you don’t think land is a means of production. Well, I would like to see you produce much without land.

        You seem feeble minded. Were you ever deprived of oxygen while serving in submarines?

      • Max: “you don’t think land is a means of production”


        What’s that got to do with how socialism is defined? You might as well say the sun is a means of production; just more obtuse ignorant leftist drivel

      • The US has always had democratic social programs,

        No that is simply wrong. Why would you make that statement?

        Please give an example of a Federal social program that existed in 1800.

      • 1. That is old history kind of like the MWP or the LIA. If it existed before the internet it’s not worth much.

        2. Who cares about what some old white men did back in the day. They had values that are out of date and are not capable of understanding the new vision for the future.

        Now surrender and give me my all encompassing safety net. Better yet, give me that priveleged money you made from your colonialism morality. And don’t make any noise on the way out.

        Welcome to the new style of bullying.

      • Hello jungletrunks

        The following definition of socialism is easily understood because it’s a definition for children:

        I will try to relate to you and Willis at your levels by quoting a definition of socialism for children.

        “any of various social systems based on shared or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods”


        Note “shared” and “means of production.”

        Native Americans shared in the ownership of land.

        Land is a means of production. You can’t produce food without land.


      • PA March 27, 2016 at 12:39 am

        Please give an example of a Federal social program that existed in 1800.

        After the Revolutionary War one of my ancestors who fought for our country received a large acreage of land in Tennessee for his military service. It may have actually belonged to some Native Americans, but I guess they were chased off.

      • David Springer

        max1ok | March 26, 2016 at 2:50 pm |

        “But yes, Native Americans held land in common, which is a socialist practice.”

        Modern Americans hold land in common. National Forests for instance.

        That doesn’t make modern America socialist.

        Try again.

      • max1ok,

        You edited a jim2 comment to read –

        “Two of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod — before they even made it to Plymouth — was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.”

        I have to side with jim2 on this one.

        Possibly if you had changed “was” to “were”, to agree with “Two”, you might have made a reasonable start to putting words in jim2’s mouth. This might have required a comma after “Hill”, to express the concept of two separate actions, rather than disparate elements together comprising one complete action.

        But why change jim2’s words at all? Did you not understand his intent? It seemed clear enough to to me. It must be difficult to live in Warm World. The environment constantly changing, words changing their meanings from moment to moment.

        I salute you! I couldn’t cope with such complexity.


      • The military? I’m happy to be proven wrong. Also, when I state the US I’m not referring specifically to the federal government, but hollistically being inclusive of states rights. The states were always considered the proving grounds to ideas.

      • Max, there are no real Native American’s, these are only people that got here first.

        US government ownership of land is not how pure socialism is defined.

      • PA, my next to last comment was a reply to you.

      • The Eighteenth-Century Records of the Boston Overseers of the Poor constitutes the collection of the earliest and most complete set of records pertaining to poor relief in early America. In a substantial introduction, the editor Eric Nellis describes the process by which the Overseers of the Poor, a board made up of generally wealthy merchants elected by the town meeting, attempted to distinguish between the “deserving” poor, eligible for “outdoor” relief in their homes, and the “undeserving” poor, who were remanded to the rigors of the workhouse. Because each Overseer knew personally the recipients of public charity, researchers will find here a wealth of detail about the nature of poverty and welfare in eighteenth-century America. This selection of records includes admissions records from 1758 to 1800, births and deaths from 1756 to 1771, a census and inventory of the almshouse, as well as fragmentary financial records from the period. …

      • The words in are not mine. I just got lazy and didn’t point out they were “from the article.” At any rate, the meaning was clear to me. We need less of these id-diotic arguments.

      • Max,

        There’s historical precedence to leftist intolerance we see on college campuses and to the extremes socialist ideals go when push comes to shove.

        It’s perverse really, how the left espouses human rights as long as those rights mean one must think like a leftist to be acceptable, otherwise nothing is off the table; historically for socialists this included genocide.

        As the late Cambridge scholar George Watson described: In Marx’s view, races that would have to be exterminated. That is a view he published in January-February 1849 in an article by Engels called “The Hungarian Struggle” in Marx’s journal the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, and the point was recalled by socialists down to the rise of Hitler. … The Marxist theory of history required and demanded genocide for reasons implicit in its claim that feudalism was already giving place to capitalism, which must in its turn be superseded by socialism. Entire races would be left behind after a workers’ revolution, feudal remnants in a socialist age; and since they could not advance two steps at a time, they would have to be killed. They were racial trash, as Engels called them, and fit only for the dung-heap of history.

      • 94,000,000 Unworkers here in the US, have their own problems with the Modern Workers Paradice. Some sadly must be lactose intolerant, No cheese for you.

      • You have the teacher Pol Pot in mind?

      • The truth. Watson lied. One either repeats the lie or embraces truth and rejects the lie.

      • The Khmer Rouge, in their attempt to socially engineer a classless peasant society, took particular aim at intellectuals, city residents, ethnic Vietnamese, civil servants and religious leaders. …

        Cities are full of liberals. Look at red state, blue state. Civil servants tend to be liberal. Intellectuals tend to be liberal. Rural folks tend to vote.. conservative red.

        So was Pol Pot after you Arch, or me?

      • The creator of year Zero was taught by smart people all about Marx. What difference does it make? Ask those that suffered loss at that time, Politics don’t care who, when you run in the right circles.

      • JCH, the link you provide is from who? Who are they, what’s their intellectual pedigree? They state “For what I found”. Who cares what they found. They uses as sources “Politics and Literature in Modern Britain” and The Magyar Struggle. So this person uses googling scholarship.

        Watson uses Marx’s own journal the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, where he also publishes Engels work. No mention of that in your propaganda piece, they assume all of Watson’s sources. Watson is a highly honored and awarded scholar out of Cambridge; a historian, linguist, translator and writer. He was actually a progressive, one obviously that did not let ideology get in the way of his scholarship. And you call him a liar based on a blog post. How nice.

        The article you post is anonymous. It’s written by a sycophant as fodder for another sycophant. That’s what passes as scholarship for the left which is why most have google for brains and are nothing more than walking gaggles of monolithic group think.

      • Latvian political scientist and cultural commentator Ivars Ījabs:

        “To present Karl Marx as the “progenitor of modern genocide is simply to lie”

      • Pegged the Irony / Denier meter.

      • JHC, He demonstrates no intellectual provenance on the subject in his article, describing what he “found” as a source of scholarship, nor is his judgement backed by scholarship. He ignores Watson’s source material, Marx’s own work. Let’s not forget too that Engles and Marx were collaborators which makes his parsing of argument in attempt to separate Engles words from Marx particularly ludicrous. He is obviously one of those leftist with a degree who attempts revisionist history, this lack of integrity is rampant in academics and is fundamentally at the root of argument relative to discourse in higher institutions. That’s because the students views are shared by many leaders in our institutions. It’s appalling.

      • The pilgrims tried socialism for the first year, and it was a GIANT failure. Some people refused to work.

        To avoid starving, they divided up the land to individuals, and food production increased six-fold.

        Today’s savages (other than gangs and college tin-pot dictators) are still found in places like Ecuador. The Waodani practiced radical autonomy and radical egalitarianism, and had a life expectancy barely more than two decades because they were always killing each other off. That’s what socialism is…an idolatry of government and a denial of the depravity of humanity. It leads to death, and its victims were more than 100 million dead in the previous century.

        Today, a vote for socialism is a vote for gulags, abortion, euthanasia, poverty, disease and death. And useful idiots like max10k are still cheering it on.

      • catweazle666

        deanfromohio: “And useful idiots like max10k are still cheering it on.”

        He’s still a child, and a gobby one with a totally unjustifiably high opinion of himself. Not to mention a troll who tries to drive sensible debate off the blog by spamming it with prolix pseudo-twaddle, smears and personal insults.

        As Sir Winston (is alleged to have) observed, “If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.”

        I know which category Maxie is likely to end up being.

      • JC, as a fellow alum (BAE ’80, MSAE ’80) – what’s the good word? But to point, the most obvious Proximate Cause of them all:

        6. Climate Change. Delicate snowflakes are appearing on college campuses all over the North American land mass.

        Damn. I forgot the trigger warning, didn’t I?

    • Sanitized version of comment awaiting moderation:

      Socialism is more American than apple pie. Who do you think was here before the Pilgrims showed up with apples? Who do you think taught ’em to plant corn and smoke tobacco? The answer is Native Americans, who practiced socialism. Do you count Native Americans as human?

      • David Springer

        I was born and raised on a Seneca indian reservation in western NY so I know a bit about them. Socialism strives to eliminate a class system. Seneca, and most other native indian cultures, are communal but not socialist. They have a caste system which is anathema to socialism.

        They are also matriarchal speaking of which I hear your momma calling you Max. You better go see what she wants pronto else you’ll get a good whipping.

        All you clowns (you know who you are) need to shape up and get right or I’m going to start taking scalps, staking people out on ant hills, and that’s just for starters. If that doesn’t work then I go central American indian on your dumb asses with mass human sacrifices carried out atop pyramids ripping out beating hearts and showing them to the owners before they die and are rolled off the side in a river of blood.

        Thanks for your attention. That is all.

      • @DS: I was born and raised on a Seneca indian reservation in western NY so I know a bit about them.

        Sure, and Ed Trice has a daughter even smarter than you (impossible).

      • David Springer

        I’d love to take your money, Pratt.

        How much do you want to bet that I wasn’t born and raised on a Seneca Indian reservation?

      • Oh, I am going to get Pratt’s money too.

      • David Springer,

        Call me a gullible fool, but . . .

        If Vaughan Pratt is prepared to put his money where his mouth is, I’m prepared to stump up a minuscule amount.

        I have a feeling that Vaughan Pratt has placed his faith in financial experts in the past, with less than spectacularly successful results. Maybe he places his faith in climatologists, or his own poor judgement, these days,

        I’d be prepared to bet his judgement is just as poor in this case.

        I’d need to see the specifications of the wager first, of course. Unlikely, as it seems that Vaughan Pratt is of the Warmist persuasion. I live in hope.


    • Knut Gingrich? Hilarious.

      • Not really a nut after all…

        Hillary Clinton, who last night after the Brussels bombing said, we shouldn’t really be afraid,. I mean, is she just out of touch? I know she’s had Secret Service since 1992, but the fact is the rest of us don’t have Secret Service, and we have every reason to be afraid. ~Newton Gingrich

      • No, he a Knut alright!

        Or he is a “Newt” in the sense of the line from Monty Python:

        “She changed me into a newt.”

    • David L. Hagen

      Free Speech Standard: “Give me Liberty or Give me Death”
      Schermer ignores the foundational cause – coercion following rejecting God. I highly recommend reviewing the standard laid out by Founder Patrick Henry in Give me Liberty or Give me Death.

      But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings. . . .
      I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us! . . .
      Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. . . .
      Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

      I highly recommend studying Patrick Henry’s entire speech

    • + hundreds Wag. I see someone below projecting their own prejudices onto people long dead which is risible and stinks of desperation. I too am enjoying the freedom and choice available today, it has been a long time coming.

  2. Sigh, we all really know why this is happening. Totalitarians of any stripe cannot and have never brooked dissent or alternative views as to the One True Way, and must be silenced, crushed, etc. We have seen this movie many times in the world.

    • +1,000,000 Pete Bonk.

      There is no mystery here to unravel.
      Political Correctness is “Tyranny with Manners.”
      I fight it with every fiber of my being.

    • Well said. Thanks!

      [Liberals] Stated Willingness to Discriminate Against Conservatives
      Paper review 34.2
      Grant review 36.9
      Symposium invite 29.6
      Hiring decision 44.1

      It is pretty simple. About 35% of liberals are intolerant close-minded bigots. That is about 10% of the population. The general population is 40% conservative, 30% liberal, and 30% confused/haven’t-made-their-mind-up-yet.

      Conservatives have been driven from academia by this group of small-minded bigots. Except in engineering. Liberals shy away from any field where there is real world pass/fail feedback to invalidate their wishful thinking.

      A liberal engineer would get sued or possibly imprisoned when good intentions and liberal ideology failed to support his building. Or he would be fired when he designed a building 15x stronger than it had to be on the “precautionary principle”.

      These win-at-any-cost types believe you win debates by gagging your opponent or disinviting him. It is time to take their ball gags away from them. It is a threat to society to allow them to willfully suppress honest debate..

      The solution is easy. Conservatives are treated by bigoted liberals like pre-1960 black people. Which gives some guidance on how to solve the problem.

      Require all colleges with less than 40% conservatives to have a conservative affirmative action plan and to demonstrate progress, with a 10 year deadline, as a condition of funding. By law make it illegal to discriminate against conservatives in academic institutions receiving federal funds, exposing the bigoted liberals to civil suits and termination.

      With real diversity on campus (40% conservative, 30% liberal, 30% confused) the bigoted liberals – that intolerant 10% – will have their sensitive feelings toughened up and will learn to get along with their fellow man.

      • PA writes

        “The solution is easy. Conservatives are treated by bigoted liberals like pre-1960 black people. Which gives some guidance on how to solve the problem.”

        PA, if you mean sick dogs on ’em and hose ’em with water, I’m all for it. Conservatives are a sorry lot, and a drag on the rest of society.


        Progressive professor proposes death penalty for skeptics (who are mostly conservative). Yup – just like pre-1960s black people.

        Which buttresses the point that a lack of diversity in colleges is unhealthy.

      • Require all colleges with less than 40% conservatives to have a conservative affirmative action plan and to demonstrate progress, with a 10 year deadline, as a condition of funding

        Lol. Can’t achieve an outcome on merit, so let’s dictate it.

      • History not much mentioned. During the 1840’s and
        1850’s the Democrats suffered internal strains over the
        issue of extending slavery into the western territories.
        The issue split the party and gave birth to a new
        Republican Party led by Abraham Lincoln.

        The Democrats subsequently opposed the 13th
        Amendment banning slavery, the 14th Amendment
        granting due process and equal protection to former
        slaves, and the 15th, giving black Americans equal
        rights to vote.

      • PA, what do you find progressive about an eccentric antisemitic Morman-hating Austrian music teacher who wants to execute global warming deniers?

        I’m progressive, love Jews and Mormons, and would never approve of executing global warming deniers. I think tar and feathering them would be sufficient. Maybe water boarding would be ok too.

      • @PA: Require all colleges with less than 40% conservatives to have a conservative affirmative action plan and to demonstrate progress, with a 10 year deadline, as a condition of funding. By law make it illegal to discriminate against conservatives in academic institutions receiving federal funds, exposing the bigoted liberals to civil suits and termination.

        I wrote a couple of hours ago here that scientists should be apolitical except when under political attack. The liberal-conservative divide has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics. PA’s insistence that funding be based on political grounds instead of scientific competence, in particular whether conservative politics is being given a role in judging science, is a perfect example of what I’m complaining about.

        Liberals and conservatives should stick to politics and stay out of science, about which they know nothing.

      • Vaughan Pratt said:

        Liberals and conservatives should stick to politics and stay out of science, about which they know nothing.

        As if the line demarcating science from politics is so brightly drawn, or even humanly possible.

      • I see your point but I will disagree on one aspect of what you wrote. The 30% who are not “conservative” or “liberal” are not necessarily confused nor does it mean they haven’t made their minds up yet. Both terms, especially as used in U.S. politics are quite ridiculous. They cover a grab bag of thoughts and ideas with little philosophical consistency. “Liberals” in the U.S. are often very non-liberal when it comes to a number of issues and the term “liberal” as used in the U.S. is different from both its original meaning and the way it is often used in Europe. For example, a liberal party in Germany would be a strong proponent of free markets. And many liberals on college campuses (I prefer to call them progressives or possibly leftists) are actually against free speech and diversity of viewpoints, as this article has pointed out. And “conservative” is even worser-er. In theory, it covers those who are strongly religious and those who are hawkish on defense and those who strongly favor free markets and those who are simply against change in general. But many people who might be considered conservative don’t actually agree with a lot of these ideas. So, we have two stupid parties filled with stupid people, which is why we keep getting screwed when it comes to electing politicians. :)

      • Lol. Can’t achieve an outcome on merit, so let’s dictate it.

        1/3 of liberals are unfit to be involved in the education process.

        They believe discrimination against conservatives is fair and just for whatever disturbed unbalanced reasons they have.

        This is professorial misconduct. AACP guidelines do not say discrimination is wrong except when conservatives are involved.

        1/3 of the liberal professors should fired for misconduct.

        But again it is an easy problem to fix. The campus rape policies are instructive. Amend the federal funding guidelines to require that professors accused of discrimination against conservatives are “presumed guilty” and require them to prove their innocence. Make civil lawsuits for discrimination with punitive damages and mandatory remediation remedies more accessible to conservatives perhaps even getting the DOJ involved. When 37.5% of liberal professors admit on surveys to practicing discrimination against conservatives in hiring, suits against liberal professors are like shooting fish in a barrel.

        And require that faculty meet the 40% conservative guideline in 10 years.

        It is what it is. If you don’t have self discipline you will be disciplined by someone else. The academic community has failed to discipline itself. The academic community should have tossed these rotten liberal apples a long time ago. We should provide the garbage bag and stand over them until the job is done.
        The 30% who are not “conservative” or “liberal” are not necessarily confused

        I was just funning with you. You can call them independents or whatever label you like. Just don’t call them liberals or conservatives because those labels are already taken. NonLibCons is probably the best label.

        The liberal-conservative divide has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics.

        This is an outright lie.

        You get the science you solicit. The “Climate Change” grant RFPs at NSF and EPA are just a riot to read through. We should require by law that 1/2 the global warming research funds go to proving the benefits of more CO2 and monetizing the value of those benefits using the same exaggerated speculative reasoning applied to global warming harm. The current RFPs are what you would get with Greenpeace in charge of the grant process.

  3. Like anything else follow the money. At minimum cut off all government funding to those institutions where the faculty either promotes bad behavior or turns the other cheek to bad behavior; who don’t take proactive steps to punish those that lead efforts to cut off free speech and alternative viewpoints.

    Reward schools that do take proactive measures and show demonstrable growth in fostering alternative viewpoints.

    It’s amazing how fast things can change when money is at stake.

  4. Sounds like Shermer got some things right but I absolutely disagree with his business about the morality.

    “As I document in The Moral Arc, we have made so much moral progress since the Enlightenment—particularly since the civil rights and women’s rights movements that launched the modern campus protest movement in the first place—”


    The Enlightenment was the fracturing of the old Medieval Christendom and the dawn of atheism.
    Hegel (furthering the work of Kant) represents the first step. He attempts to bring together the big fracture, that between Newton and the Church. His concept was that God intended man to ‘progress’ until the intellect and the spiritual melded into one, and society thus became a utopian wonderment of pure social freedom, a paradise on earth.

    Sounds great. Except that it essentially is just ditching religion and embracing secular humanism.

    Soon after philosophers such as Strauss, Baeur and Feuerbach took the logical next step, which was ‘all morals and all customs are, in fact, oppressive constructs and prejudices that must be done away with to reach true freedom. Notions of God are simply anthropological manifestations of psychological desires. Christianity exists only to prop up the Prussian state and oppress the people.’

    Marx was soon on the scene, pronouncing that all is matter, an that all spirituality and idealism was rubbish, all that there exists is the stomach and a roll of toilet paper. That all religion and thinking in general is only to prop up those in power and the only reality is the proletariat, who will rise and lead to a new (harking back to Hegel) state of evolved sensibility and, again, a paradise on earth.

    Religion began to wane, but not completely.

    Gustave Le Bon writes something to the effect ‘Liberalism only exists in that point in time where the old beliefs have waned and before the new ones take hold.’ Such an era began.

    A golden age of Liberal thinking ruled for a time. Christianity still underpinned most of society (except Russia who lost it and gave in to Marxism: 30 million murdered), and yet the secular coexisted and the world of thoughts was wide open.

    But then something went terribly wrong. The goal of the old atheists became to come to fruition. Christianity declined. The very fabric of Western society began to unravel, as the brilliance of Nietzsche became apparent, that, in fact, morality really is a thing in evolution, and that Western society really was pinned in its every thought, its intellectual entirety by the morals of Christianity. The absence of Christianity would bring a fundamentally different society. But not the wonderful one Nietzsche imagined.

    The Frankfurt school, the Institute for Social research moved to America and begin to use Critical Theory as a moral weaponry against Christianity. Various studies departments arose in the University, Women’s Studies, Critical Race Theory, African American Studies, which all hearkened back to the work of this institute. The goal of all these programs was to perform moral warfare on Christianity and the underpinnings of Western morality and institutions. To destroy them and bring about, again, a paradise on earth.

    It worked. That which was divine become perverse. That which was perverse become divine. Gay marriage became the height of civilization. Christians became reviled. Masculinity became toxic. Women became masculine, men effeminate.

    A new, inverted form of secular piety began to take the void of the receding Christianity. Lacking a God, this new morality required outward displays of conformance and strict scolding of heretics, as only the enforcement could keep it on course. As the puritans of old, witch hunts became frequent and virtue signalling by acts of outward morality (such as supporting civil rights, gays, feminism) became important.

    This new religion was known as political correctness. As this paradigm took hold the old era of Liberalism began to fade.

    But not for long. Political correctness contains a fatal flaw: feminism. It leads society away from the family, away from children. The birth rate of educated Americans and Europeans plummets. Mass immigration is undertaken to replace the vanishing workforce. The immigrants bring new cultures, completely alien to Western thinking and western morality.

    Present day.

    Sherman is part of the problem.

    • Advancing reason reduces the realm of faith. That is surely a good thing.

      • Pure reason has never built or maintained a society.
        Even the most hardcore atheist cannot but fail to see that if they peruse history. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Le Bon, all great intellects recognize this.
        The simplest reconciliation of this historical fact is to grant faith and the world beyond reason higher esteem, not lower.

      • The biggest “safe space” is the one carved out to protect religious believers from the truth.

      • ‘Safe spaces’ are specifically designed to protect students from any intrusion of the morality and thinking that created this entire society we live in.
        People have no idea the totalitarian nature of pure ‘reason’.

      • “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” –Einstein

      • Not necessarily. While it is possible to point to excesses of faith, it is also possible in modern times to point to even more egregious atrocities generated by reason devoid of faith based morality. 10s of millions of voices were silenced forever in the former Soviet Union, Communist China etc. The rabid attempts to reduce “the realm of faith” in these contexts produced anti-human and even anti-civilization (Cambodia) abomination.

      • Ironic that the presidential candidate whose policies are closest to the teachings of Jesus is the atheist Sanders.

      • “teachings of Jesus”

        One always has to be careful when Chiliasm rears its head.
        Von Mises writes a lot about the millennialistic variants of Christianity and how they lead people dangerously close to or full into socialism. He criticizes Tolstoy’s obsession with the Gospels and his antagonism towards society for the same reasons.

        The early church stamped the Chiliastic branch heretical.

        But you have an excellent point.

        The Frankfurt school Jewish scholars were heavily influenced by the Sabbatians, a form of Judaist millennialism.

        Hegel’s notion of ‘progress’ owed the Chiliastic notions greatly.

        Basically any time someone aims for a ‘paradise of earth’ lots of people die.

      • Ironic that the presidential candidate whose policies are closest to the teachings of Jesus is the atheist Sanders.

        Indeed. I’m reminded in particular of where He entreated the Roman Centurion to secure alms from the disciples and redistribute them to the poor… thus securing their votes for Caesar for the next hundred years.

    • The immigrants bring new cultures, completely alien to Western thinking and western morality.

      Can’t tell if you talking about the Irish or the Italians.

      • What’s funny about that is how concerned the nation was about whether Irish and Germans could or ever would integrate.
        Now our dunce leaders think, ah yes, radical Islam, that will easily integrate. La Raza will surely help latins integrate.
        Pure insanity.

      • The Truth About The Irish

        “The famed American anthropologist Daniel Garrison Brinton, for example, described the Celts in 1890 as having conspicuous mental traits: “turbulent, boastful, alert, courageous, but deficient in caution, persistence and self-control, they never have succeeded in forming an independent state, and are a dangerous element in the body politic of a free country. In religion they are fanatic and bigoted, ready to swear in the words of their master rather than to exercise independent judgment.”

    • I seldom find myself in such a degree of agreement with any number of syllables of the length you offer here. But for an emphasis or two and the fact that this much history needs a good bit more detail, it’s an excellent post.

    • “But not for long. Political correctness contains a fatal flaw: feminism….. The immigrants bring new cultures, completely alien to Western thinking and western morality”

      Other cultures see their own cultures collapsing before their eyes. In almost every country within the lifetimes of elderly people their traditional cultures have declined and been replaced by more western ones.

      A lot of traditional systems, like marriage and India’s caste system, which are irrational institutions, will over time degrade. This is simply a consequence of people living their lives within a system of capitalism which promotes pragmatic efficiency by incentivising greed. It means people aren’t going to necessarily stand for rules and institutions that don’t follow from reason.

      Saying that gays cannot marry is an example of such an arbitrary rule that is going to end up being challenged.

      Traditional moralities and religion will become ever more irrelevant this century, with each generation caring less and resisting more. Youngsters want netflix, they want wifi. Global chains replace local stores. Automation replaces workers. There will be kicking and screaming, but that’ll only slow it down.

      • Every civilization to date has seen its Ideal age and its institutions decay and the society dissolve. The patterns are usually similar to the current ones.
        So we shouldn’t be too surprised, although the rapidity and experience of watching it happen is pretty crazy.

      • nebakhet,

        It must be great to live in a world where everything is so black and white.

        Nevertheless, here are a couple of incisive essays that take a hard look at where your progessivism collides head on with buen vivir.

        Do you believe, as many progressives in Mexico and India do, that those who stand in the way of progressivism should either be made to accept it forcefully or be liquidated?

        There are, and have always been, essentially two Latin American lefts, not one. One is composed of those persons and movements that wish to overcome the lower standards of living in the countries of the South by using state power to “modernize” the economy and thereby “catch up” with the countries of the North.

        The second, quite different, is composed of those underclasses who fear that such “modernization” will make things not better but worse for them, increasing the internal gaps between the better-off and the poorest strata of the country.

        In Latin America, this latter group includes the indigenista populations, that is, those whose presence dates from before the time that various European powers sent their troops and settlers into the Western Hemisphere. It also includes the afrodescendentes, that is, those who were brought in from Africa by the Europeans as slaves.

        These groups began to speak of promoting a civilizational change based on buen vivir – a translation from Incan languages meaning “living well.” They argued for a maintenance of traditional modes of living under the control of local populations.


        A few weeks ago the Indian government announced its plans to raise 26,000 paramilitary troops to mount a military operation against Maoist ‘terrorists’ in the dense, mineral rich forests of Central India….

        The Operation — which incidentally, is what wars are called these days — is scheduled to begin in October, when the monsoon rains come to an end and the rivers are less angry and the terrain more accessible.

        The people who live in these forests, including the Maoists who see themselves as waging war against the Indian state, are tribal people, the poorest people in the country. They have lived on these lands for centuries with no schools, no hospitals, no roads, no running water.

        Their crime is an old one —they live on the land that is rich with
        iron-ore, bauxite, uranium and tin, all of it desperately desired by major mining corporations, among them Tata, Vedanta, Essar and Sterlite.

        The Prime Minister has declared that his government is duty bound to exploit India’s mineral wealth to fuel India’s economic boom. He has called the Maoists the ‘single largest internal security threat to India.’ In the corporate press words like ‘stamp-out’ and ‘exterminate’ are commonly used in discussions about what ought to be done to them. When the security forces enter the forests, nobody knows how they
        are going to distinguish between Maoists, Maoist symapthizers and ordinary people….

        Today, words like ‘Progress’ and ‘Development’ have become interchangeable with economic ‘Reforms’, Deregulation and Privatization….

        This theft of language, this technique of usurping words and deploying them like weapons, of using them to mask intent and to mean exactly the opposite of what they have traditionally meant, has been one of the most brilliant strategic victories of the new dispensation. It has allowed them to
        marginalize their detractors, deprive them of a language in which to voice their critique and dismiss them as being ‘anti-progress’, ‘anti-development’, ‘anti-reform’ and of course ‘antinational’ — negativists
        of the worst sort.

      • “It must be great to live in a world where everything is so black and white.”

        It’s fairly obvious at this point that maoists and luddites are movements that will go nowhere. The idea that is spreading globally and taking over is capitalism.

        I don’t even know what you mean by progessivism. The future is an Earth covered in starbucks, mcdonalds and facebook with people too wrapped up in money, wifi, and netflix to even have time to care about religion and traditions. All cultures on earth will successively disappear into one big corporate culture.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        You quote this from a paper _
        “Their crime is an old one —they live on the land that is rich with
        iron-ore, bauxite, uranium and tin, all of it desperately desired by major mining corporations, among them Tata, Vedanta, Essar and Sterlite.”
        Those like me who have been deeply involved in the discovery and supply of basic resources to people lacking them are quite sensitive to suggestions that such activity is loaded with guilt and by inference, should be opposed.
        When you really get to know the subject, you see case after case where the provision of basic resources from mines, forests, fields is a natural part of the human progression to what we globally call modern civilisation. These resources are almost as basic as drawing breath or eating food.
        There is no guilt attached to providing the resource. Corporations do not ‘desire’ – that is an emotion of the individual. People should be encouraged to encourage mining, for example, whether it is bauxite or uranium ore, as altruistic towards the people involved.
        There is a lot of negativism based on lack of knowledge. In the absence of guidelines, one usually assumes an activity to be good until shown bad. Much the same applies to meeting people for the first time.

    • A couple of excellent rebuttals to the New Atheists:

      Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer has gotten onto the same “science can determine moral values” bandwagon as other scientistically-minded writers such as Sam Harris….

      But no, I don’t think that the scientific worldview has much to do with it….

      As for the Enlightenment, Richard Dawkins once declared himself a son of the movement. So did I, when I was 18. Then I grew up and I started seeing things in a bit more nuanced way. After all, the Enlightenment was followed by the French Revolution, which bred the Reign of Terror, which led to Napoleon. Not exactly a stellar record for the champions of reason.


      What Sam Harris wishes to do in his new book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, is to mount a science-based challenge to Hume’s famous separation of facts from values. For Harris, values are facts, and as such they are amenable to scientific inquiry. I think he is spectacularly wrong….

      Moreover, Harris entirely evades philosophical criticism of his positions, on the simple ground that he finds metaethics “boring.”

      But he is a self-professed consequentialist — a philosophical stance close to utilitarianism — who simply ducks any discussion of the implicatons of that a priori choice, which informs his entire view of what counts for morality, happiness, well-being and so forth.

      He seems unaware of (or doesn’t care about) the serious philosophical objections that have been raised against consequentialism, and even less so of the various counter-moves in logical space (some more convincing than others) that consequentialists have made to defend their position.

      This ignorance is not bliss, and it is the high price the reader pays for the crucial evasive maneuvers that Harris sneaks into the footnotes I mentioned at the beginning.

      Science and the Is/Ought Problem


      Here’s a video where Shermer debates Pigliucci:

      • Thanks for those references.

        They both are Hegelians it seems to me.

        The destructive notion of Hegel is the notion that reality (and hence morality, reason, etc…) is a function of the current social state. He viewed society as progressing from thesis to antithesis, reality always improving to synthesis at each step.

        This basically turns things into a complete free for all.
        Marx took it one direction, Protestants another, but the result is always the same. Total dissolution and subjugation of reality to influence of the powerful or convincing.

        The alternate view is the there is a real natural order to the world that exists outside of the human psychology and time.

        That notion, the notion of Idealism is fundamental to Western thinking, and the very thing that the notion of progressivism destroys.

        My favorite statement of this is by Philo. Though religious in nature, I would argue that all which is good in Western society is a result of this fundamental distinction between the raw material/human universe and the ideals of good, beauty and truth:

        “We must mention as much as we can of the matters contained in his account [Genesis], since to enumerate them all is impossible; for he embraces that beautiful world which is perceptible only by the intellect, as the account of the first day will show: (16) for God, as apprehending beforehand, as a God must do, that there could not exist a good imitation without a good model, and that of the things perceptible to the external senses nothing could be faultless which wax not fashioned with reference to some archetypal idea conceived by the intellect, when he had determined to create this visible world, previously formed that one which is perceptible only by the intellect, in order that so using an incorporeal model formed as far as possible on the image of God, he might then make this corporeal world, a younger likeness of the elder creation, which should embrace as many different genera perceptible to the external senses, as the other world contains of those which are visible only to the intellect.”

        Philo, On Creation

      • Glenn, I got a little further along with the video I can’t quite tell now where Pigliucci is coming from. He seems a bit more nuanced than I thought at first.

        Also, these guys are a product of the British Enlightenment it seems, and I’m not sure how that connects with the German thinkers exactly…

        James Kalb is the author in this area, I believe, tho I haven’t gotten to him yet. The ‘satisfy everyone’ is his topic, as it is of Dostoevsky, who’s character Shigalov famously proclaims that starting from pure freedom he reasons there must be utter despotism.

        But this notion that reality, morality and truth are a function of reason and empiricism rather than divine reflection (or reasoning about the divine natural order) is the crux of how our society is transforming (badly it seems).

        And, as superstitious or annoying as ‘divine natural order’ idea may sound to one raised in the Pragmatist American educational system, the residual of the the quest for divine inspiration is the thing that makes the Western unique and wonderful, and as it dies we get, well, basically modern art.

        Another thing I am working towards is understanding the Hellenistic vs. Jewish influences of that notion.

      • And Pigliucci’s point that moral reasoning and values involve not only the empirical but the philosophical, hence any scientific approach will be massively under determined is a great one!

      • nickels,

        I certainly am not in Shermer’s camp, as there exists no doubt or skepticism there.

        I’m probably not in Pigliucci’s either, though I find his philosophy much more appealing than Shermer’s.

        I’m probably closest to being in Einstein’s camp, though my declared position is “I don’t know.”

        For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capabIe, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere.

        Yet it is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the clearest and most complete knowledge of what is, and yet not be able to deduct from that what should be the goal of our human aspirations.

        Objective knowledge provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source. And it is hardly necessary to argue for the view that our existence and our activity acquire meaning only by the setting up of such a goal and of corresponding values.

        The knowledge of truth as such is wonderful, but it is so little capable of acting as a guide that it cannot prove even the justification and the value of the aspiration toward that very knowledge of truth. Here we face, therefore, the limits of the purely rational conception of our existence.

        — ALBERT EINSTEIN, address at Princeton Theological Seminary, May 19, 1939

      • Glenn,
        That’s a nice Einstein quote, he obviously appreciated the world beyond simple calculation.
        I think I’m heading towards the notion of the Logos, which was sort of the early inspiration for the West.
        But, being a Fox, instead of a Hedgehog, hard to say.
        Definitely the opposite direction of the modern campus.

      • nickels,

        Last night I went back and reread David LIttle’s essay, “Religion and Civil Virtue in America.”

        After reading it once again, I can see that Michael Shermer, for a couple of reasons, is ill suited to act as any sort of disinterested referee when it comes to questions of morality. And this is true whether it be on or off the campus.

        1) First, Shermer has a dog in this fight.

        We see this in his book, The Moral Arc, where he argues “we have made so much moral progress since the Enlightenment.” We also see it in the video I linked above, in which he so matter-of-factly dismisses religion.

        If only things were so simple.

        In Jefferson’s day Shermer’s naturalistic theory of a universal morality, based on scientific objectivism and utilitarianism, was already afloat. As Little explains:

        There is, then, much in Jefferson’s writings in favor of a “common sense religion” that is closely connected with the basic moral sense commonly available, as he thought, to human beings in general.

        Influenced as he was by the Scottish Common Sense School, Jefferson believed that the essentials of morality and religion are directly perceivable by a kind of sixth sense, closer in character to the normal sense than to the operations of reason… [T]he “sense of right and wrong…is as much a part of [human] nature as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling…[and] as much part of man as his leg or arm….”

        The dominant moral theory of Jefferson’s day, however, was that morality was the product of religion.

        And this theory is still very much with us today. As LIttle explains, we see it in the speeches and writings of such prominent persons as Ronald Reagan, former Secretary of Education William Bennett and Richard John Neuhaus.

        So there are still large swaths of the population who believe that religion serves as the basis of morality. These people cannot just be dismissed as cavalierly and out-of-hand as what Shermer does.

        2) Second, Shermer seems to come from the “can’t we all just get along school.”

        It’s as if Shermer isn’t even aware of what’s at stake. Here’s how the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains it in The Happiness Hypothesis:

        Demographic diversity is about socio-demographic categories such as race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, age, and handicapped status….

        Moral diversity, on the other hand, is essentially what Durkheim described as anomie; a lack of consensus on moral norms and values.

        Once you make this distinction, you see that nobody can coherently even want moral diversity.

        If you are pro-choice on the issue of abortion, would you prefer that there be a wide variety of opinions and no dominant one? Or would you prefer that everyone agree with you and the laws of the land reflect that agreement?

        If you prefer diversity on an issue, the issue is not a moral issue for you; it is a matter of personal taste.

      • Glenn

        Yes, I share the distaste for Shermer. He wants to run moral ‘experiments’, which sounds like a nightmare.

        As you note with the founders, all these musings are only undertaken from the comforts of a society that is fully underpinned by religion, even if the intellectual surface stirrings have become atheist.

        As the toll on the Christian underpinnings of the west decay we start to see how totally it underlied everything; gender becomes fluid, objectivity is questioned, social forms are flipped, etc etc.

        Too bad Liberalism is inherently unstable.

    • “The immigrants bring new cultures, completely alien to Western thinking and western morality.”
      So we need a safe space same as the college students. Where Western thinking and morality will not be questioned inside our safe space. The Mexicans aren’t that different, they are already here from California to Texas. We were the aliens when we took parts of the South West from Mexico. How can they be the aliens now? We were also the aliens when we took the Native Americans lands. Quite different from the Native Americans thinking and morality.

      • Welcome to the wise immigration policy of America through its entire history until 1960.
        The Balkinazation of America is leading straight to totalitarian government. That’s how is works, that’s how it has always worked. Diversity has never meant freedom for the Americans of European descent. It has always meant more laws and more restrictions.
        I’m fine with immigration of any peoples who are Christian and don’t vote socialist. It is my political right to believe so and my first amendment constitutional right to express that opinion.
        [To express that opinion] For a little while at least…. since our country is losing its European heritage and absorbing the totalitarian heritage of the peoples that foolish changes to immigration law have swamped America with freedom of speech and freedom in general will not last long.
        Its nothing personal. Its just the logic that every other nation on the face of the earth has followed throughout history until the critical theorists hacked Western Christianity and turned it into a suicidal religion of ‘sensitivity’.

      • True story

        As an adolescent, I tried to be friends with a group that weren’t very nice to me. I’d come home pretty roughed up from time to time. My mom asked me what was up. In tears I explained I just wanted to make some new friends. Her answer ?

        If you insist on being friends with people who aren’t nice to you, you need to continue to have your ass kicked until you learn the difference between a friend and foe.

  5. It’s where,if anywhere, to draw the line.
    Puff, Paki, Nigger, Queer, Spaz.
    Ginger, God-botherer, Denier.
    A bit of a hoo-hah going on about a player in the recent 6-Nations rugby calling another “Gypsy Boy” has got many in a bit of a lather.
    I wonder if the blog software will kick in with any of the words above?

    • I wonder if the blog software will kick in with any of the words above?

      Unfortunately not.

      • Is poor opluso made uncomfortable by mean words?

      • I cannot know for sure what is truly in a person’s heart or mind. But, based on this conversation, I’ve got a pretty good guess about a few of you.

      • Opluso,

        I’m another whose parents taught us the lessen of sticks, stones and words.

        Am reminded of an event involving the mayor of DC. He was walking down the hall having a conversation with a women (can’t remember if she was on the city council or a member of the school board) and he used the word niggardly. He was referring to budget issues. Of course this woman goes ballistic. Not at the moment, but later. Calls the press conference and complains and talks about how offended she was.

        People getting worked up and offended by what other people say is a sure sign of them being in the nonproductive portion of society.

      • Same thing happened here when someone went ballistic on the use of the word “denizens”.

    • Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
      Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

      Those two represent the essence of free speech, and why “safe spaces”, “micro-aggressions” and such are destroying the very things they seek to protect. How can I be free to express my opinion if I am not allowed to offend anyone? Ridiculous! I am as free to be offensive to you as you are to be offensive to me, and I am as free to be offended by your speech as you are to be offended by mine. Grow a spine and don’t just realise that we are different – revel in it, encourage it, own it. Because that is what makes a democracy not just great, but even possible.

      • kneel63 said:

        Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

        Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

        Though both Jefferson and Madison toyed with various theories of universal morality, when it came to their writings which have, explicitly and intentionally, a legislative, or civil institutional, objective, these are the policies they eventually settled upon.

        These precepts form the basis for both Jefferson’s “The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom” as well as Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religous Assessments.”

        The intent was to avoid imposing some predetermined theory of universal morality, and allow the flourishing of a diversity of moral theories:

        [T]he basis for “the vital Principles of republican Government,” the principles of “Justice and Virtue,” derive not from a common religion, but from the common respect of all citizens and the common design of all public institutions for protecting the free exercise of diverse religions and even nonreligous and irreligious expression.

        — DAVID LITTLE, Religion and Civil Virtue in America

        For both Jefferson and Madison, government interference into the “internal forum,” or conscience, only “contributes to the moral and civil corruption of civil society.”

        “It predictably produces ‘hypocrisy, injustice, intemperence, immoderation, tyranny, and intolerance’ — hardly the sort of civic behavior necesary for preserving and efifying a free society.”

        Therefore Madison and Jefferson set the bar for state interference into the affairs of men rather high:

        Jefferson clearly had this distinction in mind when he wrote in the statute: “[I]t is time enough for the rightful purposes of civill government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order”; or when he stated in his ‘Notes on Virginia’: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket or breaks my leg.”

        As Little goes on to explain:

        In employing this doctrine, Jefferson and Madison presupposed a crucial distinction of longstanding significance in the Western Christian tradition between what was called the “internal forum,” or conscience, and the “external forum,” or civil government.

        Accordingly, human beings were believed to be subject to “two laws” and “two governments” — one an inner law of the spirit, enforced by reason and reflection of the mind and heart; and the other, an outer law, enforced, finally, by the magistrate’s sword….

        [T]hese thoughts were not original with Jefferson. Moreover,they did not originate with the Enlightenment, as has often mistakenly been claimed, or with John Locke, who employed them, to be sure, or even with Locke’s major sources, the independent and left-wing Puritans of the seventeenth century.

        The Christian tradition had long differentiated between the two tables of the Decalogue.

      • Glenn Stehle,

        Jefferson was indeed a clever chap.

        “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket or breaks my leg.”

        Advocating rape, murder, revolution, lynching, or compulsory circumcision neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg.

        I support penalties for pocket picking, leg breaking, making inappropriate loud noises, murder, and suchlike. Being a member of the Communist Party, or supporting National Socialism, Zionism, or Tibetan Buddhism? Governments are terrified of thought, let alone the written or spoken expression of such thought!

        The US imprisons a greater percentage of its population than any other country in the world. Leading the world – setting the standard! And yet, people continue to support their own tribe members, to the exclusion of others. Demands to surrender their humanity on pain of imprisonment, or other more subtle forms of punishment, don’t seem to be able stop people acting in a perfectly logical and rational manner – as they have for thousands of years!

        Put them all in jail for life! Using the finest climatological averaging methods, specify the average American. Anyone who is not average, is obviously suspect – put ’em in a cell, and throw away the key!

        What stupidity! Advocating pocket picking or leg breaking picks no pockets and breaks no legs. Are we so scared of our ability to think for ourselves that we mindlessly accept that the Government is best qualified to direct what we may say, when we might say it, and who we must grovel to, because of their inherited wealth, power, position, or ethnic group?

        Pathetic, gutless sheeple. Shouldering others aside in our demented desire to be at the head of the queue to be slaughtered!

        Pardon me if I step to one side, and generously allow a more deserving person to mindlessly join the stampede to self destruction.


  6. The immediacy of the Sun’s powerful pulsar core to the daily affairs of all mankind may restore society to sanity if Nature has the courage to publish the paper on “Solar energy” (submitted March 15, 2016, tracking number NCLIM­16030433):

  7. One of the horrid side effects of “safe space” et al is that it strives to remove things that make one uncomfortable. It’s very difficult to grow, mature and yea verily understand the uncomfortable parts of life unless you practice same from an early age.

    When in a ring (fighting of any type) the best first lesson is how take a hit and/or a fall. Once you do that, you can stand in. If you don’t practice it, like anything else, you don’t do well. And you will likely be shocked at how much punishment you can take and still stay in the game.

  8. jimeichstedt

    Eventually, people will recognize that instead of challenging tired, conventional wisdom, universities are becoming adjuncts to an inquisition aimed at homogenizing western thought. When I was a college student in the ‘sixties, students of like-minds railed against conformity. Duh.

  9. Willis Eschenbach

    Dr. Judith, thanks as always, your blog is an unending source of reason and logic.

  10. Campus PC is staple food for thought item at

    Some blame the political orientation of most faculty, but from what I see, it’s more a matter of administrations desperate to make enrollment numbers ( and maintain state funding ) don’t want to offend students with truths or alternative observations lest they attend elsewhere.

    But I am wondering if it’s a micro-agression to shame Climate-Sluts.

    Climate-Slut: nounindividual that demonstrates an undiscriminating or unselective production of peer reviewed papers in academic journals or indiscriminate or casual press releases to excite prurient responses of excitable partners. Sometimes the producers of Climate-Porn.

    South Park has PC Principal being intolerant, but I’m guessing young people don’t watch or understand South Park anymore.
    You hear that? That’s the sound of 2016 pulling you over.

  11. Let’s unite and stop the foolishness. Draft Sam Nunn to be the next POTUS. Along with now deceased Sen. Daniel Inouye, the only two Democrats in the last half century qualified to be Commander in Chief.

  12. The Trump2016 kerfuffle at Emory is truly shocking. The University head seeking to discipline whoever chalked the pro Trump messages, because a few whiners felt ‘threatened’ and ‘fearful’! Did they not realize Trump carried the Georgia primary by a substantial margin, he is the leading Republican candidate, and it is an election year? I don’t like Trump either. But his supporters have every right to express their support.
    To create ‘safe spaces’ from presidential politics in an election year is a gross violation of the first amendment. It shows how perverse the whole PC thing has become.

  13. I advocate absolute freedom of speech. Seriously. I believe that if freedom of speech was allowed, it would not take long before people realised they are not compelled to take offence if they do not wish to.

    Two instances are often quoted as instances where free speech needs to be curtailed –

    1. Shouting “Fire” in a crowded theatre.

    In the case of fire, the patrons are supposed to proceed in an orderly manner to the designated assembly area and so on. If a member of the audience notices an initial small fire, what should they do? Slink out, telling nobody? Let a conflagration ensue, whilst finding the relevant authorities and telling them there is a fire in the theatre? Preparing a written report, perhaps? Or let those in danger know they are in danger, at the earliest opportunity, to maximise their chances of survival? If people decide to panic, it is up to them. If people die, so be it. Sometimes crowds panic, for no particular reason. That’s life.

    2. Shouting “There’s a bomb!” on an aeroplane in flight.

    So what? Once again, people can choose to panic, or not. If the report of a bomb is true, people at least have the chance of doing something about it. If not, there was nothing to panic about. An appropriate response might be to shout back “Where?” The situation will resolve itself one way or the other. If the initial shouter keeps shouting for no particular reason, he or she may be a nutter. Bad luck. Kids cry, people shout, fart, and kick the back of your seat. That’s life.

    However, more free speech issues seem to be about people taking offence. There are words that seem to be proscribed in the US if uttered by certain classes of people. For example, a word describing a generally African-American person, starting with the letter “n” and rhyming with “bigger”. Not to be uttered by people who are not of the ethnic group referred to. Not politically correct at all!

    Odd that. It’s just a word! The justification for the effective banning of many words seems to be that people may take offence, or feel slighted. Tough. If you’re fat, short, ugly, and smelly, should we be forced to say that you are really slender, tall, handsome, and nicely perfumed? Nonsense!

    You might say that someone of sensitive disposition may run off and commit suicide if subjected to bullying on social media or suchlike. Tough. People trying to bend others to their will by playing the precious pansy are unworthy of serious consideration. Try telling a terrorist not to detonate his bomb next to you because you find his behaviour unacceptable and offensive. It may work, or maybe not.

    I believe that Secret Service bodyguards are trained to shout “Gun!” very loudly if they perceive a threat of that nature. Sometimes the supposed gun is something else – does it really matter? Where split seconds may be important, do we really have time to worry about the individual offence taking proclivities of everybody within earshot? I think not.

    Many Governments espouse free speech, but have laws punishing things such as sedition, radicalisation, promotion of abortion or suicide, advocating violence . . . , the list goes on.

    Aren’t we supposed to be adults? Just because somebody demands that I must believe in the GHE, do I not have the right to say “Bugger off and leave me alone, you demented lunatic! You’re fat, ugly, thoroughly unpleasant, and your mother was the town trollop.” Oh dear! Not allowed to “upset” people, are we? Who cares if an accusation is true or not? Does it make a difference to any facts? You’re offended? Others might think less of you? Dear oh dear! Try sulking or pouting.

    Don’t worry, if everyone was allowed to speak their mind, people might have to start thinking about facts as opposed to fantasy. The last thing any Government wants is a thinking poulation free to express their views. Sedition anyone? Advocating the overthrow of the Government by force?

    Not much chance of free speech in the US in my lifetime, I surmise.


    • The actual history of crowded theaters and the suppression of shouting fire, otherwise known as “alarmism”, is 1000s of charred bodies and barely a handful of trampled innocents.

      It got so bad that fire marshals had to replace people like you with robots that can think.

    • MF, a gentle correction to your first example. And the same holds true for your second, which is just a different instance of the same principle. Shouting fire in a crowded theater is perfectly permissible if there actually is a fire. A fair warning, even if panic ensues. It is only impermissible if there is not a fire. I won’t go into the ‘reasonable belief’ relief valve weeds in a blog comment. The simple, clear constitutional reasoning is that discouraging the potential real harm of a false alarm is much greater than the trivially minor restriction on otherwise ‘perfectly free’ speech.
      The underlying legal support is found in the Preamble to the Constitution : “We the people of the United States, in order to…establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, …promote the general welfare…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” It is the ‘purpose/intent’ litmus test for all else in constitutional law. The wisdom of the Constitutional Convention still sends chills down my spine 42 years after having studied it under the tutelage of Prof. Larry Tribe.
      The gold SCOTUS cufflinks given me in thanks for service to the appelate/State Supremes section of the American Bar Association by Justice Clarence Thomas at a banquet in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court are my proudest possession. So maybe this is even a knowledgeable comment.

      • ristvan,

        I take your point, and I took it into consideration. I didn’t expand on it, as my comment was outrageously long anyway.

        You wrote –

        “The simple, clear constitutional reasoning is that discouraging the potential real harm of a false alarm is much greater than the trivially minor restriction on otherwise ‘perfectly free’ speech.”

        In a sensible society, with clearly posted signs, and a population properly instructed in emergency procedures, there should be little to no real harm ensuing from a false alarm, should there? What are fire and other drills anyway? Purposeful false alarms!

        A law, in itself, will not prevent, and may not even deter criminal behaviour. A law to punish people for wasting my time by shouting “Fire!” or “Bomb!” may be appropriate. However, attempting to shift the blame for people’s refusal to prepare themselves for an unusual hazardous situation onto a silly person given to shouting untruths for no particular reason, doesn’t seem particularly logical.

        In the theatre example used, a person disturbing the equilibrium of the other theatregoers for no good reason, is likely to suffer the consequence of his actions. Just as, I believe, protesters restrained themselves from protesting too much at a recent political rally where they had to travel back from the venue in buses with their opposition. No law needed, just commonsense appreciation of the possible consequences of their actions. Freedom of speech, not freedom from consequences, apart from legal ones!

        I have no problem with “purpose/intent” as I understand it. However, if people refuse to take offense or become annoyed by words, whatever their nature, then people trying to whip up mindless hatred will be wasting their time. Mindful or reasoned hatred may be useful. If you are in a war, you might want to whip up a bit of support by galloping around, making a lot of noise and shouting “The British are coming!” Others might then think it prudent to prepare appropriately. The British might consider you to be speaking seditiously, but you would not give a fig for British law, would you?

        I will choose to believe that unfettered free speech would have net benefits to society. I am unlikely to ever be proven wrong, as unfettered free speech is unlikely to ever occur. I don’t believe any Government is ever likely to ask for my advice. They have my number, but I don’t spend any time waiting for the phone to ring!

        Sorry for another long comment.


    • John Carpenter

      Pathetic comment

  14. What students do on campuses is neither here or there really. It’s like the subject of whether modern music will corrupt our youth. The whole trigger warning thing is really just some people having fun making up some rules and roleplaying “being important”. Most of the stuff students do is entertainment even joining in those all important protests.

  15. As I document in The Moral Arc, we have made so much moral progress since the Enlightenment—particularly since the civil rights and women’s rights movements that launched the modern campus protest movement in the first place…

    Indeed. And each step of the way, entrenched social elites complained about the shift in power and representation.

    The overall trajectory is an important consideration. This is a continuation of a pre-existing trajectory that has resulted in much greater voice and empowerment for many classes and categories of people who were previously delegated to being disenfranchised and marginalized.

    So that is the context in which to view recent developments.

    Not to reflexively defend all of the recent developments, we need to understand that there is a matter of signal and noise. If some institutional or individual reactions to offensive speech are over-reach, where will they fall out over a period of years or decades within the overall trajectory of huge progress?

    Not to exclude some recent developments from criticism or analysis, but the place the complaints about the horrors of safe spaces and complaints about concern over “micro-aggressions” into their proper place, also, within that larger trajectory.

  16. Faculty and adminstrators can become targets of the PC inquisition too.

    Last fall this incident caught my eye:

    LOUISVILLE, Ky., (Oct 29 (Reuters) – The University of Louisville issued an apology on Thursday, after a community outcry over a photograph showing school staff, including school President James Ramsey, donning sombreros and other items associated with Hispanic culture during a party.

    In a statement directed to the Hispanic and Latino faculty, staff and students, Ramsey’ office said the school will initiate diversity training immediately.

    “This event shows we have much more to learn about our community,” Ramsey’s chief of staff Kathleen Smith said in the statement.

    According to the newspaper, the items were distributed by Ramsey’s wife during a Halloween-themed lunch party for his staff.

    The image sparked outrage on social media. Sarah Nuñez, director of of the university‘s Office of Hispanic and Latino Initiatives, told the Courier-Journal the party’s theme was insensitive. “We’re human beings, we’re not costumes,” she said. (Editing by Victoria Cavaliere)

    I asked a number of my friends here in Mexico if they saw anything objectionable about what the administrators had done. Not a single one saw anything untoward or distasteful.

    Only in a place like the United States with its post-scarcity economy could so much ado be made about nothing.

    • The solution is simple. Ban all holidays which are not American in origin.

      Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday. (meaning any Hispanic not Mexican in origin can be told to stick it where the sun don’t shine if they claim to be offended). Don’t celebrate it and us poor, dumb, insensitive white people can’t offend anyone.

  17. Thank you for providing an eloquent piece that expresses what I have clumsily tried to say on several occasions. As related on another post, the student activities at Emory typify the absurdity of this trend. Students are protesting the Administration for not doing enough when ‘Trump for president” signs in chalk showed up on their sidewalks. They say they have been “traumatized” and are demanding emergency counseling.

    How will they survive?

    • Imagine their state if Trump wins!

      • rud

        whilst I dislike the guy I can understand his appeal and a small part of me wants him to win, if only to see the meltdown that the liberals would experience


      • Tonyb, you might see me melting down too! And nobody EVER confused me with a liberal. Trump lacks presidential demeanor. Authoritarian leaning demagog with bully tendencies. Proven over and over again in this primary process. But this reply is OT for this thread. CE is now on presidential thread 4. I have made just one comment, and it was about Hillary, not Donald, in thread 2. Just reported ‘facts’.

    • Re: Emory students and Trump:
      Trumped up?

      • Agree that the media had a field day about a non-event. Whenever the MSM gets to write or report on something that I know a lot about, they usually get it wrong.

  18. ==> The culture of honor leads to autonomy, independence, self-reliance, and self-esteem, whereas the culture of victimhood leads to dependence and puerile reliance on parental figures to solve ones’ problems.

    Funny that so much has been written to explain Donald Trump’s popularity when, as described in that quote above, the causal mechanism is so obvious.

    • Not to mention the “war on Christmas” and the constant whinging from “skeptics” about the term “denier.”

    • “…the culture of victimhood leads to dependence and puerile reliance on parental figures to solve ones’ problems.”
      This being victimized by immigrants approach calls for someone great like Trump where the Democrats and Republicans have failed. He’s addressing offenses against us. A libertarian would be biased towards solving their own problems and away from having government being overly protective. That someone will work for less wages is something to be dealt with by adults as individuals and not by legislation and saying, it’s unfair.

  19. The largest misconception around this phenomenon is that is emanates from a place of frailty and sensitivity. No, this is a power move used to shut down debate and enact a set of favored policies, which carve out privileges for Democratic special interest groups, and increase demand for the administrative roles of such programs. An African Studies department, and an Office of Diversity and Inclusion is never an equilibrium; only the launching point for further recrimination as study after study emerges with the same conclusion: “It’s worse than we thought.”

    The explicit narrative used by activist is of psychological torment. By using this frame, any opponent must be at best mean spirited, and more likely a bully. However you ma come tol realize that most of these activist are the most mentally hardened students among their peer group – having been raised in the world of anonymous web gossip with the goal to ostracize or be ostracized. This world is an especially potent training ground as the truth is irrelevant to the outcome; the game can only be won by creating an issue, any issue, and triangulating your opponent from the herd. This is the rules of the game being played, and if you view it through the lens of the scientific method, you are going to be endlessly confused.

    Last week’s ruling at Emory – that support for Trump will possibly qualify as hate speech – is a perfect example of how political power is the endgame for this movement and academia could become not only de facto but de jure one-party institution.


    • ==> No, this is a power move used to shut down debate and enact a set of favored policies,

      Indeed – this is about power. It is (in a general frame if not always specifically) a claim for more power from those who have, historically, been disenfranchised and an attempt to hold on to power from those who have, historically, been privileged.

      Again, not to say that over-reach can’t happen, but to ignore both sides of the shifting power dynamic is short-sighted.

      Consider the Emory situation in the context of what has happened recently with respect to opinions on flying the Confederate flag.

      • “Indeed – this is about power. It is (in a general frame if not always specifically) a claim for more power from those who have, historically, been disenfranchised and an attempt to hold on to power from those who have, historically, been privileged.”

        Do you even understand the perverse derivation of your little poem here?
        This is pure Marxist drivel. 100 million deaths in the name of this ideology and we still have people pushing this garbage.
        It’ll be different this time.

    • ==> …having been raised in the world of anonymous web gossip with the goal to ostracize or be ostracized.

      A rather ironic comment, given the context in which it was written.

  20. Kansas Tries To Catch Up With Oklahoma

    “The Republican-dominated Kansas Legislature on Wednesday approved the bill allowing college religious groups to restrict membership, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled nearly six years ago that universities can require membership in such groups to be open to all.

    If conservative Gov. Sam Brownback signs the measure into law as expected, Kansas would be the second state after Oklahoma to have such a religious objections law. And moving forward with the law could put Kansas on a collision course with civil liberties groups.”

    This seems like a freedom of something issue, but I’m not sure what.

    • Kansas and Oklahoma are well with in their rights to allow religious groups to exclude nonmembers of the group if the group so choses. 1st Amendment religion and assembly, bolstered by 9 (feds having been granted certain powers/rights does not ‘diminish or disparage’ any others) and 10 ( all powers not expressly granted the feds are retained by states or people).
      Same logic as a university can, if it chooses, require such religious groups be open to anyone. You don’t have to associate with a university having such a policy. If you do, you play by their rules. And a properly passed state law in accordance with that states constitution trumps any mere university policy within that state.
      Thinking like a lawyer takes practice. This one is not even grey, unlike the Texas ‘no undue burden’ abortion restrictions case before SCOTUS now.

      • ristvan: Same logic as a university can, if it chooses, require such religious groups be open to anyone.

        There must be some clause in there about “official University recognition” or something. How about the distinction between a private university and a land-grant college?

      • I’ll bet that would be offensive to Jesus.

      • MM, your distinction between public and private universities is interesting but ultimately not apt. The former obviously must hew to state policies. But the latter are not exempt from the valid laws of the states in which they reside. Even if they are not ‘legal persons’ (like corporations).

        As a fun trivia bonus, Harvard is the oldest corporation (a legal person not actually a real person) in North America. Yale is a mere non-person something-or-other established by some silly act of the Connecticut legislature out of envy some 150 years later. And whose 12 founding ministers all graduated from Harvard. But not its law school (which did not exist at the time–both universities were founded to train ministers).

      • This one is not even grey…

        But it can be. Depends on the precise circumstances.

        Does the state agency favor one religion over another (Satan worshippers, anyone?). Are benefits (e.g., campus housing) or student fees distributed to some, but not others? Is purported religious affiliation a facade for a different, improper discrimination?

        When confronted with the requirement to play fair with all groups, some states have run in the opposite direction and dropped private clubs on campus, etc.

      • Rud,

        For max and josh thinking period takes practice.

        And they obviously take after Allan Iverson with regard to practicing.

    • The problem is really that those who feel disadvantaged (and the left generally) seem to believe that laws and rules should provide equality of outcomes, when the entire purpose and intent is equality of opportunity.

      Not everyone can or wants to be, say, a doctor. Everyone should have the chance to try and show that they can, and everyone that can show they can, should be allowed to be one. That is the ideal of course, and like so many things its unlikely we’ll ever have this in its entirety, but such is (or, IMO, should be) the goal of equality and anti-discrimintion laws.

      The entire idea of quotas for certain groups (women, blacks, etc) is the antithesis of equality, yet somehow is touted as an equality measure – and those who oppose such quotas are labelled as bigots etc. Un-freaking-believable. When the backlash comes – and the longer it takes, the worse it will be – I worry that the result will undo more than it should. Fortunately, I also believe we will continue to asymptotically approach the ideal, despite several overshoots in both directions.

  21. As someone who became radicalised and joined the left, as a communist, in the late 1960s, I too find the current developments perplexing and worrying. My comrades and I expected the right to freely express our views and we actually helped organise ‘Teach-Ins’ on campus to allow for informed debate between opposing sides. We also, of course, had our own ‘soap boxes’ and leaflets – again, we expected ‘free speech’ and demanded and fought for it, when it was denied by the state and campus authorities. The current ‘guardians’ are a product of the decline of the rebellious spirit of 1968 and leftists such as myself who remain loyal to it regard them as reactionary regardless of how they might self-identify. That university authorities have been so quick to go along with the new nonsense proves my point. Back in the 1960s, we ended up in lots of trouble for ensuring that there were no ‘safe spaces’.

  22. In order to take away our freedom and even our life, first they must take away our guns. Our founding fathers knew this and that is why they amended the constitution.

    The people who are properly licensed to carry guns into classrooms are the ones who will protect free speech.

    When I attended VPI, now Virginia Tech, in the 1960’s, we were allowed to keep guns on campus. We did register them with the school. As far as I know, no one carried to class. We did go off campus to shoot. If a shooter started shooting in a dorm in those days, that shooter would not have had a good chance to move to another building on campus. A shooter is a crazy person. People who qualify for concealed carry licenses are people who have passed background checks. More crimes are prevented by people who carry. In one college incident, a shooter was stopped by two other students who went to their cars and came back with guns. That shooter surrendered to them. That story did not appear in main stream media.

    Policies against concealed carry only keep the honest people who intend no harm from carrying guns. If you do not have airport level security and screening, you never keep out the shooters, you just keep out any possible protection.

    • surely it cant be right to allow any guns on a campus whether concealed or openly?

      • If you don’t have airport level security to keep guns out, you don’t keep out people who want to shoot someone or anyone, posting signs to keep out guns make places less safe from shooters. Texas has more legal guns and Chicago has more shootings.

      • Tony, you have no idea how wacky American gun nuts are. I’m for the right to self-defense, but we have people here who believe America would be a better place if everyone was armed at all times. I know it sounds crazy but it’s true.

      • What would you say would be a reasonable number of hours in a day for a person to be armed and able to protect themselves, little maxie? Should we restrict the right of self-protection to special ‘gun-carrying’ zones? Which areas would you designate as ‘gun-carrying’ zones, little maxie?

      • Don, I don’t live in an area or frequent areas where I need to be armed. If I did, I would move or change my habits. If for some reason that wasn’t possible, I would rely first on a security system and a dog or dogs at home, then place appropriate firearms in secure places where theses weapons would be handy. Away from home I would carry a handgun, and perhaps a grenade or two.

      • Open Carry at the Republican Convention: Yes Please

        I will stand as one with the nearly four thousand patriotic Americans who have signed their name to this public petition to “Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July.”

        As the petition rightly points out, “Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.”

        The Republican candidates claim to support gun rights. But do they?

        They don’t even want to allow a boisterous crowd of Donald Trump supporters to arm themselves with firearms while attending the convention at which party leaders will try to steal the nomination from Donald Trump. That’s not just anti-American; it’s anti-fun..

      • Max, bad news. The 2nd amendment right to carry firearms does NOT extend to civilian hand grenades (or to full auto military weapons). It does (now) to stun guns. Same basic constitutional reasoning as my Kansas/Oklahoma reply to you above. The Constitutional Preamble logic again, as in above reply to MF.

      • I am not interested in what a clown like you would do, maxie okie. All questions that I might ask you are for entertainment purposes only.

      • climatereason,

        Although I don’t own a firearm of any sort, I support firearm ownership generally. There are studies showing that crime increases with increased gun ownership, and studies showing crime decreases with increased gun ownership. This is a climate blog, so I’ll average things by saying criminals exist regardless. Guns may make no overall difference.

        Anyway, I thought you might be interested in one example that I vaguely remembered –

        “In 1982, the Kennesaw City Council unanimously passed a law requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition.

        The ordinance states the gun law is needed to “protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.”

        Then-councilman J.O. Stephenson said after the ordinance was passed, everyone “went crazy.”

        “People all over the country said there would be shootings in the street and violence in homes,” he said. “Of course, that wasn’t the case.”

        In fact, according to Stephenson, it caused the crime rate in the city to plunge.

        Kennesaw Historical Society president Robert Jones said following the law’s passage, the crime rate dropped 89 percent in the city, compared to the modest 10 percent drop statewide.”

        And so on. I remember other similar reports, which don’t seem to be widely promulgated. Restricting gun ownership doesn’t seem to stop criminals obtaining guns. Those pesky criminals refuse to obey the law when it suits them!


      • Mike, the Kennesaw gun law requirement was not mandatory. It was a law a citizen could choose to obey or not obey. IMO, we need more laws like that.

        I doubt the law had any effect on the crime rate.

      • The gun argument is really framed so poorly. Nobody in their right mind would give up their ability to defend themselves against an aggressor. Your tool for how to do that should be as free as many other choices.

      • ristvan cautions max1ok

        “Max, bad news. The 2nd amendment right to carry firearms does NOT extend to civilian hand grenades (or to full auto weapons)”

        Damn ! You mean not even for fishing?

      • You could legally own a full auto weapon in Okie maxie. If you get the proper approvals and pay the tax stamp and spend a lot of money for a pre-1986 registered M60, or whatever you like. BAR is fun. Mr. Browning was a genius.

      • Also, check with your local sheriff about the hand grenades. I think they are class III and probably obtainable in Okie, which is still a cowboy state last I heard.

      • Danny Thomas

        A bit of info. regarding ‘open carry’ at a Texas University vs. prior.

        and a different view of public vs. private:

        It’s an interesting dichotomy.

      • Tony not?

        Most people are responsible. Would you rather have people armed, knowing the vast majority are responsible, or no one armed except for the one person who intends to do people harm?

        That equation is pretty easy for me to answer.

        Here’s another one. Would you get into a heated debate with a person who was armed? I sure wouldn’t. The cliche”An armed society is a polite society” has a foundation of truth.

      • Ok, every now and then max drops a gem on us.

        The “fishing” comment being one of them.

        It’s a pleasant change from the usual turds he normally deposits.

      • Don you just became the person here I want to meet the most. A BAR is at the top of my wish list.


        Are you familiar with the story behind why select fire weapons are highly regulated?

        Has a lot to do with a federal agency about to lose significant manpower and funding. Here’s a hint. Post prohibition.

      • Armed and angry. What could go wrong?

      • I lived in a town that had open carry. Hard to say… probably around one in ten actually did it… holsters on the hip. They had another law that made people laugh… it was against the law to carry an unloaded gun. The Mayor said unloaded guns invited foolish gun play.

  23. Gun Free Zones are what shooters look for. It is their invitation.

    • don’t you think the ownership of guns need to be properly controlled if it is considered acceptable to bring them into a place of learning?

      • Hi Tony

        Texas has a new law effective August 1 allowing concealed weapons on their campuses. Medical centers are preparing for the law near those schools.

        Many of my relatives have many guns, generally for hunting. For whatever reason, my parents gave me a shotgun at age 12 and I hunted until 20. I would never let one of my grandkids to have one under 16 or so.

      • Tony, this is cowboy country. There are over 300 million guns in the U.S. How would you suggest we properly control 300 million guns? We have gun laws galore. The places with the most strict gun laws, are the most dangerous. Criminals do not obey gun laws.

      • This wordpress screen is ridiculous:

        Tony, this is cowboy country. There are over 300 million guns in the U.S. How would you suggest we properly control 300 million guns? We have gun laws galore. The places with the most strict gun laws, are the most dangerous. [Those miscreants who do not obey the laws] do not obey gun laws.

        Too bad wordpress doesn’t screen out Springer’s stoopid threats and bizarre extortion attempts. We have to rely on Judith’s sharp eye for that.

      • Cisco,

        I had my first 22 rifle when I was age 10. Before that I had air rifles. I would shoot any small animal or bird that moved. I was a menace.

        I’m a crack shot, and enjoy target practice, but don’t care for hunting anymore. However, I don’t disapprove of hunting.

      • Don

        This is an interesting list of gun ownership per capita per country

        America seems to be way ahead of anyone else with some 115 guns per 100 households. We have 6 , hence my astonishment at this campus business.I have never seen a real gun let alone fired one.

        I suppose the question first of all needs to be asked whether the 300 million or so guns could or should be drastically reduced and also whether the ownership of semi automatic weapons could be more severely restricted.


      • climatereason: don’t you think the ownership of guns need to be properly controlled if it is considered acceptable to bring them into a place of learning?

        the problem we have had with that is that the people who want to murder do not adhere to the regulations and restrictions that get put in place. Campus rules about guns would be as useless as campus rules about marijuana.

      • Tony, pass a law requiring folks to turn in their semi-auto weapons and only law abiding people will turn them in. And a lot of normally law abiding people will become lawbreakers, because they don’t want to be the only guy around with a little freaking revolver or bolt action rifle, knowing that the bad guys will not turn in their auto and semi-auto cannons, with foot long magazines. I was carrying a street bought no serial number semi-auto .45, when I was 13. Wouldn’t have been caught dead with an old-timey revolver. That’s real life in large parts of the U.S.A., Tony.

      • climatereason: I suppose the question first of all needs to be asked whether the 300 million or so guns could or should be drastically reduced and also whether the ownership of semi automatic weapons could be more severely restricted.

        Why add restrictions on the rights of 100 million people who never kill anyone when you (we, actually) clearly can not prevent mass routine murder in places like Chicago and D.C. that already have gun control laws?

        No changes occurred after the Sandy Hook shooting because every law that was proposed would not have prevented it. And would not have prevented the routine murders that happen in the urban areas where most murders in America are committed.

      • Don says,

        I was carrying a street bought no serial number semi-auto .45, when I was 13.

        I didn’t know there was cap pistol replica of
        a “semi-auto .45.”

      • You are a sad and very unimaginative little person of no character, maxie okie. You remind me of Springer.

      • When I was in grade school I figured out how to reload shells with a soft material. I used my rifle to shoot Hollywood cowboys and indians on the TV screen. The screen was black and white; my shells were red, so it was easy to see when I hit the target with my little red dot.

      • Don Montfort’s 45

      • That’s very clever, little maxie okie. Can you show us an amusing video of your comical little .22? And you were only 10. Crack shot. No a little smarmy crackpot, who is only here to annoy real people.

      • One important consideration is that a lot of gun violence is not committed by “criminals” or planned.

        Here are some statistics:

        What are the statistics on gun deaths?

        With gun violence, 5% of deaths are unintentional. About two thirds of remaining deaths are suicide. One third are homicide.

        Children living in the five states with the highest levels of gun ownership were more likely to die from guns– 16 times more likely to die from unintentional injury, 7 times more likely to die from suicide, and 3 times more likely to die from homicide.

        Having a gun in the home makes a person three times more likely to die from homicide as people who don’t. As Arthur Kellerman showed in his 1993 paper “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide”, 70% of homicide victims are killed by people they know, after an argument. Having a loaded gun within reach makes people much more likely to kill each other in the heat of the moment.

        Much gun death is impulsive death.


      • We’re Hollywood cowboys. Meaning, cowboys who never existed. The United States is becoming a border-to-border amusement park. Nothing is real.

      • Don Montfort and friends at target practice

      • I forgot to mention that Don is the one wearing the cowboy hat. There are serval videos, so it may take a while to see Don shooting himself.

      • No a little smarmy crackpot, who is only here to annoy real people.

        You should know a lot about annoying people and cursing them, Don. And with the guns makes me think of this guy:

      • Somebody please give clever little maxie okie and clever little yoey one jellybean each for finding that interesting crap. Pink ones, if you got em.

      • catweazle666

        “I didn’t know there was cap pistol replica of
        a “semi-auto .45.”

        Grow up you pathetic little tr0ll.

      • Properly controlled doesn’t need to extend past a criminal background check. Though I would probably support a requirement for a gun handling and safety course. That could be the Small Arms trainer in me.

      • Re turning in semi autos. Check out Australia.

    • Quite. Gun Free Zones are where dumb college kids go to get shot.


  24. Tony, you see what you have here, with Bad Andrew and Pope.

    • Max

      This time last week I was attending my sons graduation ceremony at Cambridge university. It still takes place in Latin.

      The idea that fellow students, lecturers or other parents might have a gun on them I would find horrifying.


      • I don’t like seeing the proliferation of firearms. The more weapons in circulation, the more gun shot victims. In an ideal world, I would be the only one with a gun or just me and people I trust.

      • Tony writes

        “The idea that fellow students, lecturers or other parents might have a gun on them I would find horrifying.”

        That’s because you are civilized.

      • A few months in the wild west-south side of Chiraq, for example-would straighten Tony out. You too.

      • Tony, congrats on your son’s graduation. We know about Cambridge here. The boy done good.

      • “the wild west-south side of Chiraq”

        Where Don goes when he’s not spending 18 hours a day here.

      • Tony, congrats on your son. Cambridge University. You should be proud.
        Harvard graduation still has one (and only one) commencement address in Latin, delivered by an undergrad. Although Harvard may soon run out of undergrads speaking Latin. Not PC. How could a safe zone know what was actually said?

      • You exaggerate as usual, but I have been spending too much time here wading through the dreck pumped out by smarmy little clowns, like yourself. I don’t think I would have to take off more than one shoe to count up the people here who are intelligent, honest and interesting. They know who they are.

      • tonyb
        here in the US we have the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives BATFE
        a curious combination
        I call the it “the Bureau of stuff that people really want” :)
        It rose out of Prohibition
        IMHO prohibitions warp everything
        Heroin is banned, now we have more than ever and a violent black market to provide it
        and a growing police state to counter the black market
        the impulse to prohibit speech will, and is, causing the same warping
        people also want security
        our famous rebel Ben Franklin said “those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither”
        so here we are

      • Hi Tony
        Congratulation to your son and the rest of the family. I attended couple of those, on the last one I nearly burst into gaudeamus igitur but wife intervened.
        Cambridge is among the finest, but my household is all for the dark blues; the light blues need to improve on their last 20 years record tomorrow. Good luck to your boy’s friends but the latest Putney weather forecast isn’t ideal, hopefully the Cambridge lads will cope better with the rough river this time. The old rivalries die hard.

      • Vuk

        Thanks for that. The Boat race will be lucky to avoid the wind or the rain this weekend. There could be a capsize or at least a swamping. We shall see.


      • met office : “scattered showers developing for Easter Sunday. These locally heavy and squally with hail and thunder possible. Feeling chilly in strong, gusty southwesterly winds.”

        We are about a mile from the boat houses, possibly reason why both of my offspring are into rowing (started while at school), the younger one got as far as one of the oxford’s girls’ reserve crew, the older one is still at it, rowing for a Surrey club down in Guildford.

      • Tony,

        Attendees at the Republican Convention may get to carry arms if the gun nuts get their way. The justification is gun nuts don’t trust other gun nuts. Hopefully, if guns are allowed, the Trump forces won’t shoot it out with the Cruz forces.

      • Max,

        I doubt you see the hypocrisy in your comment. Sure, guns are good for you and maybe those you trust.

        Do some research into the concept of “monopoly of force”.

    • timg56, I will try to be clearer. The way I see is a group of gun nuts who aren’t totally crazy fear some other gun nuts who are totally crazy will start shooting up the place, and the first group wants to be able to shoot back. Now, if that isn’t it, what is?

      BTW, just because I enjoy shooting doesn’t mean I’m a gun nut.

      • Max,

        I would never view you as a gun nut.

        A jacka$$, immature, ignorant (which is correctable btw), and annoying (which I know you shoot for), but the only sort of nut I would call you is a numbnut.

        For the adults in the conversation, I have had interesting discussions with my son in law about firearm regulations. He has a carry permit and I believe he carries a good percentage of the time. He thinks citizens do not need access to semi auto rifles such as an AR15. I own close to 50 firearms and have never felt the need to carry. Personal choice. However I also understand why our founders included the second amendment. Concept of monopoly of force. Were we able to bring a Jefferson, Washington or any of the other founding fathers back for a visit, they would tell us that a semiauto military style rifle would be exactly what every citizen should have access to.

      • timg56, I’m on the side of your son-in-law, and I think it’s a shame the price of marrying your daughter was having to put up with you. Hopefully, the mother-in-law is more tolerable.

        Apparently, you want to live according to your interpretation of rules made by far- from-perfect men over two centuries ago, and you believe everyone else should do the same. I say screw that.

      • Max,

        You show what a clown you are with every comment.

        My interpretation of rules made by far from perfect men two centuries ago? As in the Constitution?

        What a sorry sadsack you are.

  25. All these people advocating Safe Spaces and the like should read ‘Antifragility’ by Nicholas Taleb. By attempting to shield themselves from being offended they are unwittingly making themselves more Fragile to what is the normal world around them. It doesn’t take long before just about anything upsets them to tears where they need emergency counseling for seeing “Trump 2016” written in chalk on a sidewalk. I’m sure that kind of emotional and mental fragility has some kind of medical term, if not, I’m sure we can come up with something that will absolutely devastate those too timid to come out of their safe space.

    When I was growing up one of the most common phrases I heard and used was “Sticks and Stones will Break my Bones, but Words will Never Hurt me.” While I didn’t know it then, my classmates and I were reducing our Fragility and becoming more Robust, aka GROWING UP.

    This same phenomenon can be seen in the Climate Change sector. Climate Scientists feel that Skepticism, something that all other Sciences embrace and expect, is some personal attack and they go to great lengths to protect themselves from it. It is not hard to see the results. Today, questioning anyone who believes in AGW results in angry tirades, ad hominem, and a cold shoulder. You certainly will not find any Climate Scientists saying “Here are methods, go test it for yourself.”

    • This same phenomenon can be seen in the Climate Change sector.


    • Where I grew up, we were sometimes forced to defend ourselves with ‘sticks and stones’. Really. Had to chokehold an AHAD/Bully into unconsciousness in 3rd grade to stop him from whipping elementary school children with the buckle of his unloosed belt during recess. He got to several causing real harm before he tried that on me. My father (now resting in Arlington National Cemetery with the other neck order) taught me to NEVER start a fight, but ALWAYS finish one on TOP. Bully’s parents complained to courts and school district. Upshot, he got institutionalized and I got to 4th grade.
      Never imagined that words could have similar effects as belt buckle whips. Still don’t. Although now know that words can provoke belt buckle whips.

  26. To add another example of stupid, hypersensitive university people, I am providing a link to what happened at the University of Pittsburgh. People so thin skinned have no business being at universities. Because universities are such biased and incompetent institutions, I would hit them where it hurts and start withdrawing funding to universities that encourage such behavior. I would also open up professional licensing pre-requisites to other institutions. For instance, it wouldn’t be that difficult to transfer a person’s eligibility to sit for the bar [attorney] exam to other groups or institutions. In the past, for example, people wishing to sit for the bar could do so by working for attorneys.

    Long term society needs to have the goal of reducing the influence and importance of universities as they currently operate. Many influential people within the university system are stupid beyond belief, and there is not nearly enough effort to rid the universities of this stupidity as well as intolerance.


    • You have a great point. Funding ought be contingent on teaching values inherent in the Constitution (you know, like the first amendment and 10th amendment), in the great edifice of the scientific process, and in the general morals inherent in all the worlds great religions.

  27. I’m a 1959 engineering graduate — U. Michigan — a fairly old guy. It was a very quiet time to be on campus. After the 1960s, universities added things like black studies, women’s studies and many other minority group “studies.” I’m under the impression the courses in these “studies” include an unhealthy dose of community organizing based upon perceived victimization of the members of the minority group being “studied.”

    Students are taught they’re victims and are rewarded when they act like victims. That’s where we are today.

    • A true story, from a famous Ivy League university my daughter attended (graduating with a double major magna cum laude). She took a single course junior year in ‘black studies’ from (in)famous professor Cornell West. (Since fired by Pres. Larry Summers before the faculty got Summers, West now at Princeton.) She was acing all the exams and papers. She was told by the teaching associate she would never get better than a B- in the course no matter what, because she was not black.
      Now guess how much that famous University gets of my annual alumni contribution dollars. Hint. Until they fire Naomi Oreskes, ZERO. All three schools I attended. ZERO. Enough is enough, and some of us vote with their feet.

      • I suggest you send the annual donation appeal letter back with a short note of explanation to remove all doubt as to why a check is not included or why the university is not listed in your will. I do that when I am solicited on the phone by the schools I attended. I take no joy in this, but there is no reason to fund ideas that are anathema to one’s own worldview.

  28. Thanks Dr J

    An excellent topic and some genuine observations from you concerning your experience within acedemia. I also liked the author’s attempt to unravel the parts of the issue at hand. As usual many fun and articulate blog posts.

    The Victim Industry is here to stay because there is money to be made from its effective execution. The industry is serving a need expressed by the populace. The first question I asked myself is where did this desire/need come from … why is it growing ?

  29. I now find the blogosphere and the private sector as more conducive than universities to exploring ideas and engaging with a broad spectrum of intelligent and interesting people.

    You would prefer the typical private workplace where there is usually little to no freedom of speech or much freedom in general to the academic environment?. I think I would prefer the academy over the private sector if individual freedom was my most important concern.

    • “You would prefer the typical private workplace where there is usually little to no freedom of speech or much freedom in general to the academic environment?”

      It must be a long time since you have encountered both sides – large organisations tend to create all the rules saying what you can and can’t do or say, while small ones tend to be free-er. Doesn’t matter if its private or public, its the size that matters. Bigger = more politics. More politics = more politicians. More politicians = more focus in perception and less focus on reality. Less focus on reality = mission failure. Mission failure for a small org is deadly, but for a large org is just a setback. The ultimate large org is the federal govt – it can never “fail” (cease to exist), and so thrives on perceptions and only acknowleges reality when forced to (by, eg, wars). EU is a classic example.

    • Joseph,

      Not sure who you work for but my employer does not inhibit speech.

      • I guess your job doesn’t involve dealing with the public.

      • Not every day, but on a fair amount of the time. And my experience has taught me that honest, straightforward communication is what the public appreciates the most.

      • Bravo … what you know, don’t know and what you are doing about it if you hold some accountability to them.

      • You can say controversial things there and freely speak your mind on work issues? Complain as much as you want? A job is about following a set of rules. It has nothing to do with individual freedom except for the fact that you choose to do it.

      • Joseph,

        This past week I was at a lunchtime Toastmasters meeting that our CEO spoke at. I was encouraged to attend, as she was going to talk about the direction of the company. 15 minutes into it and nothing about direction. So I raised my hand, told why I was there and asked if she was going to talk about it. I could do that because I work for a company that really does value people and doesn’t get caught up in PC bullsh*t.

      • You didn’t answer my questions, Tim. Free speech means free speech so no speech should be disallowed in the workplace, right? Can you say almost anything? Something racist? Sexist?


  30. Thank you, Dr Curry, for raising this issue. You may be interested in this ongoing survey of free speech in British universities:

  31. Re : guns

    Everyone has a responsibility to rely on themselves first during any type of attack. The cold hard truth is that there is a varying percent of the population who want to hurt you. Whatever your choice of defense I hope it works for you.

  32. Too many junk subjects and junk courses. Just look at the silly push-polls we often discuss on this site, giving them the respectful title of academic surveys.

    Most people should not go to tertiary level in education, and there is a big question mark over secondary. (Not to mention secondary-secondary, which consists of those “remedial” courses for the very thing secondary education is meant to be doing all the time.)

    Universities should be for very bright people with something needful and difficult to do in those places. Gabble, speculation and opinion (like I’m indulging in right now) are for free time and the pub or home.

    Using academic institutions as vast holding paddocks for youth is ultimately damaging to those institutions and to the communities they are meant to serve.

    Education in the main should be like going to the toilet. Get in, do your necessary business there, then get out. If you have no necessary business there, don’t even go in.

  33. “Microaggressions are comments or questions that slight, snub, or insult someone, intentionally or unintentionally, in anything from casual conversation to formal discourse.”

    On campus free speech suppression is a microcosm of the internet experience.

    Try writing on Andy Revin’s NYT blog. Everything is muzzled except as it agrees with Andy. His blog, his opinions, just don’t view it as having value.

    Try writing on NPR’s blog and there is deletion of comments. Ask the Ombudsman why and the answer is ALWAYS too many comment to respond to.

    Try writing on the Washington Post and one gets edited out before any comment can get posted.

    Try writing on the Los Angeles Times and comments just disappear.

    Whom ever is wielding the editorial knife is attuned to non-consensus, non-politically correct speech.

    The policy of stifling speech is within the academic purview of a selective viewpoint which feels compelled to delete any and all content that does not support expression of contrary views, opinions, statements, perspectives.

    The very worse suppressors of speech are the leading media outlets.

    Andy Revkin himself is the quintessential representative of group think, intolerance, and an instrument of oppression. Given his background, one would have thought he knew better. His cloak with which he covers himself comes from an era we all would have liked to forget.

    On campus, strident voices carry the day. Reason and logic do not enter the equation of campus thought. Students are not ALLOWED to hear dissent.

    The answer of course is the internet. Surreptitious ideas floating in the ether, to be latched onto by curious students not currently engaged in video games.
    My hope and belief in students resides in their inquiry into the far reaches of the internet. Kinda exploring the unknown. Some minds will go there and thrive.

  34. Thankfully, the university where I teach is not experiencing these types of free-speech issues. However, I’ve been questioned closely on how I teach climate change (hint: tell them that you will teach the consensus but neglect to tell them what you think the consensus is). I have noticed other more subtle changes though. At least at my school, you have to treat the students as though they are made of glass–the student is always right and the sooner I knuckle under, the better. I have yet to have the department chair or dean back me up. If you go on websites like rate-my-professor, you will see that we are being rated for “easiness”…the easier the better. I guess the goal is to learn as little as possible.

    So it’s clear to me that there has been a profound shift in the character of universities, but there is an aspect of it that doesn’t get much attention. These students did not just appear like this–these characteristics were developed throughout their K-12 years. And what has changed there? Well, there has been a huge breakdown in discipline. Back in the 70’s, people started equating corporal punishment with child abuse and the inmates took over the asylum. Anybody who has ever volunteered to be a chaperon or a teacher’s aid knows this all too well. And to make matters worse, we are starting to see a generation of students whose parents never saw traditional school discipline. That adds yet another layer of chaos which makes it seem unlikely that this situation will improve in the near future..

    • Agree that universities in general have been churning out too many mediocre graduates and have not been encouraging students to question the status quo or to challenge current paradigms.

    • superchill

      Every educator I know with extensive experience has related the same kind of observations and concerns as you have. Unsettling kinds of trends.

    • Yes, state prison systems have been busily erecting entire new cell blocks for the new thugs… the poor lost generation of children who were never spanked. The wardens say these are the most maniacal sociopaths with whom they have ever dealt. Stunned guards who had grown used to beating prisoners into submission are left with only one disciplinary tool that works… a timeout, and that’s no way to run a asylum.

      • Leave it to JCH to miss the larger point and to be completely irrelevant to an intellectual discussion. Keep up the good work with sophomoric contributions.

      • cerescokid,

        It’s OK. I believe JCH is a Warmist. They live in some sort of strange and bizarre fantasy world. History shows that this sort of cult eventually withers and dies.

        Other countries are trying harder as far as education goes. Australia, for example –

        “The ten-year plan, to be launched by the federal education minister on Thursday, recommends mid-level maths – which includes a calculus component – be introduced as a prerequisite for STEM courses across all Australian universities.”

        Pretty revolutionary, eh? Basic mathematics needed for a Science degree! Even Engineers will need to be able to do long division, fractions, and decimals!

        Pretty soon, the US will see the benefits, and follow, I’m sure. They might even be able to work out metric nuts and bolts. It’s actually pretty easy. So are kilograms, meters and Celsius degrees. Even the Chinese, Indians, and the Indonesians manage! Imagine that!


      • The larger point is stupid… and false.

      • And what has changed there? Well, there has been a huge breakdown in discipline. Back in the 70’s, people started equating corporal punishment with child abuse and the inmates took over the asylum.

        Yeah, gonna have to side with JCH on this one.

      • I spent 26 child years inside inner-city public schools. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the single greatest problem with kids is the widespread use of corporal punishment by parents… and by sick deviants in some school systems 9they get off on paddling.) These kids are often astoundingly dysfunctional.. their futures stolen by abject stupidity… often justified by ignorant religion. The prisons are overflowing with kids who got the spoiling rod… unsparingly.

      • At least JCH can do sarcasm competently.

        But you are correct, he misses the point.

      • JCH,

        I’ve spent about the same amount of time in public school classrooms and one thing it has taught me is that the single most important factor in a student’s performance is having involved parents.

      • I disagree with the premise that criminality is caused by abuse of corporal punishment. Most criminals have anger management issues and are lacking in a moral compass, which more usually result from over indulgence by parents and the educational institutions that they attended when young.

      • Yes Tim I agree. And a slight addition. Parents fully involved who are caring, responsible and always on point.

  35. Liberals, now known as progressives, only believe in freedom of speech for other liberals. This has been manifesting itself for decades but has really taken off in the last ten years. Obviously social media and the filter bubbles in which people now reside have accelerated this process and the polarization of society, and I fear that there is no turning back.

    When social engineering, as a major goal, took over the school systems, the die was cast for the takeover of academia, and government, we are now seeing today.

    Academic personnel, except in the hard sciences, probably exceeds 90% progressives. And this includes administrators.

    Then of course there is this:

    The URL says it all.

    This has also bled into Democrats/progressive taking control of The Federal government. In the US many agencies, if not most, such as the IRS, are composed overwhelmingly of Democrats, probably over 90%.

    There are so many facets to this that I’m not remotely going to list it all, but it represents a shift in power from the people to the state and its employees.

    If one were really to try and fix this there are many necessary steps, such as:

    1. The elimination of all public employee unions. These have created a conflict of interest vis a vis the ability to influence policy and elections to reward themselves. PE unions also shield government workers from accountability and have certainly aided and abetted the collapse of education.

    2. The elimination of all “hate crime laws”. Murder is murder, vandalism is vandalism, battery is battery. It is not the job of the State to evaluate the political reason for the crime.

    3. Shout over and over again there is no such thing as hate speech, it is a ridiculous concept. There is no constitutional right to not be offended.

    4. Eliminate civil forfeiture, which is simply a tool for law enforcement to oppress people without due process.

    5. Eliminate prosecutorial protections. If a DA lies or commits fraud to win a case, that DA needs to go to jail. The overriding theme here is that government and government employees should never be above the law for everyone.

    6. Eliminate special penalties for crimes against law enforcement. If a criminal murders your 2 year old daughter, why should they get a stronger penalty than someone who kills a cop. This is truly insane and a violation of the 14th amendment.

    7. Eliminate lifetime salaries for elected officials.

    I really have no idea how to fix the education system so that the damage done can be reversed. 2/3’s of US adults can’t name the three branches of the Federal government, so of course they have no concept of rule of law, of separation of powers and checks and balances, or how badly our current POTUS routinely breaks the law. 90% plus of my Facebook friends are progressive liberals, and the parade of vile, vapid, context free factoids that fills my daily newsfeed is endless, (so no, I do not live in an opposition free bubble).

    • Thanks for the thought provoking list. Much of the list is small potatoes, but I enjoyed reading them. The system works until it doesn’t anymore and right now the system doesn’t require the ability to think for oneself.
      We’ve managed to elevate our ability to exist without those skills.

      Maybe people become bored with that and want to give a try at excellence.

    • I hear that the MS experimental tweeter bot (computer impersonating human) has been banned only after one day, for using hate speech and racist language.

      • Yes, it is a lesson of what happens if you do all your “learning” on the internet, as many people do.

  36. A couple of points. First, whether on a campus or in a workplace certain kinds of speech and behavior that intimidate, denigrate, belittle or denounce other groups are not welcome, so campus rules against this type of thing prepare a student for a normal professional working environment. Nothing wrong with that. It is not treating them like kids, but telling them how adults behave in a professional environment. Second, when speakers are prevented from giving incendiary speeches, it is not their free speech that is being prevented, but it is in anticipation of protests, another form of free speech, that may get out of hand. Campuses don’t like to deal with large angry crowds, and the less speakers that draw them, the better for campus peace. If someone wants to give an incendiary speech, they need to find somewhere else off campus. You can’t force universities to have to deal with protesters and counter-protests, when they would rather not. They have that right to decide. It is a situation where denying both sides free speech is better than giving it to both sides when that can lead to pitched battles. It is about who you would invite into your house, given the mood of some of your family. Common sense prevails when you choose to avoid conflict. It doesn’t stop them from going somewhere else to give their speech.

    • What a crock. Thanks, yimmy.

    • A third idea is that students now are more activist, and far from them being soft, they are now more willing to protest against views that appear prejudiced or bigoted against their peers. Some people dismiss leftists speaking out as just being PC, but it is really an expression of values. Universities, rather than facing this activism would cancel non-PC speakers.

      • Curious George

        Yes, students just know. Their values must be considered before anybody else’s values. Easy to do if you can prevent everybody else’s values to be known. What a free speech!

      • Sometimes the person’s reputation precedes them, so yes they do know.

    • We get it, yimmy. Leftists get to decide what is approved speech. If they decide it ain’t OK, they gen up a sizable angry crowd and shut it down. See how you could have said all that crap succinctly, yimpster?

      • Contrary to the concept of the main post that the students went soft. They actually became more committed to activism, which led to some of the shutting down of inviting people who make them angry, and stupid right-wing views make them angry. Student activism isn’t a new thing, and it is not them that the universities are protecting.

      • Be an equal opportunity vigilante concerning stoopid while maintaining the decorum needed to listen. It’s a sign of critical thinking.

      • The point is, yimmy, that students have gone soft and are not defending free speech from the assaults of the slimy activist fools who are shutting it down. But you like the slimy activist fools shutting down speech you find disagreeable. Now that we got that cleared up…

      • So the mob rules…right Jim? No need for the long winded justification. You could have just said the mob rules. Democracy

      • When universities let protested speeches go ahead, they just see a lot of campus protests and heckling (students being students), and no one benefits. They weigh it up, and say let’s not bother in some cases, or let it go and just have the heckling in others. Perhaps bad heckling/protesting experiences lead them towards disinvites in the future. We don’t know how often they come down on each side of this decision, but we do hear about the disinvites. It is up to the university, and not as clear a choice as you may imagine.

      • The current state of progressive movement summed up in 20 seconds.

      • Telling comment from Jim D.

        “stupid right wing views”

        Jim, neither left nor right has cornered the market on stupid. That you only see one side is an indication that perhaps one side is making a move to do so.

    • Jim D.

      I find your views offensive. It goes against my culture as a freedom loving American, by attacking one of the strongest pillars of our country: free speech. You make me feel like a second class citizen, by saying my right to free speech is secondary to others feelings, especially at Universities where people are meant to explore ideas, and with others.

      Perhaps you should go back to school to learn to stop uttering such offensive, anti-American language.

      Oh, wait. It isn’t the American culture Universities want to be sensitive too, . . .

      Never mind, carry on, I’ll sort out the inherent contradictions in your views and the views of the students in the usual way.


      An American

      • You make me feel like a second class citizen, by saying my right to free speech is secondary to others feelings, especially at Universities where people are meant to explore ideas…

        Yes, students need to be free to explore ideas and express their feelings. Especially white students who think lynchings are another grand American tradition to uphold.

        A former University of Mississippi student pleaded guilty Thursday to placing a noose on the school’s statue of its first black student.

      • That’s where you got it wrong. American university students have a right to protest when someone invites a speaker they disagree with. It is also free speech, even if the protest is loud. Universities who cancel the speech in fear of protests, make a decision that they don’t want this stuff on their campus. It is separate from free speech, and affects both sides in terms of limiting their expression. Conflating university security decisions with free speech issues does no one any good. If they want to speak, do it off campus. No one is stopping them. In some cases, universities don’t want to associate themselves with a message by allowing it to be given on campus, because that is seen as implicit approval. The universities spend a lot of effort cultivating an image, part of which is who they invite to speak. It is completely up to them what image they want to cultivate.

      • Jim D.

        Second, when speakers are prevented from giving incendiary speeches, it is not their free speech that is being prevented, but it is in anticipation of protests

        Do the speakers get to speak? No. Is there speech prevented? Yes. Who prevented it? From your viewpoint, the protesters, and presumably the University administration.

        It is amazing to me you could hold a position like that. It’s very dangerous. Frankly, it is similar to the suppression of speech of the former Soviet Union, the intolerance of some Muslims, and the intolerance during the Spanish inquisition.

        Read Mark Steyn’s reporting on the news, which you won’t get most places because news reporting is being stifled (the evil twin of suppressing speech like you want to): Happy Easter from the Religion of Peace.

        Meanwhile, you may approve of the speech being prevented today. However, as the worm turns, you may not.

      • And if it was a bunch of “conservative” students shutting down a speech by some Alinskyite commie agitator, they would be called brownshirts, rounded up and expelled with great haste condemnation and fanfare. Guess which smarmy little insidious dishonest huffpo drone would love that.

      • The University gets to decide. A heckled speech with campus protests, or peace and quiet with perhaps a few protesters in the other direction. It’s a tough choice. They regularly have to make these choices. The speech can be done somewhere else, and the internet will have past speeches by the same person. If you want to hear what someone has to say, you can just download it these days. Live speeches are not critical to getting a message across in the modern age.

      • Don, on the other side, do Christian universities invite speakers to talk about marriage equality? Would these invite protests? Would you support the university or the protesters. I always would support the university’s choice, whichever side it goes to. It’s their choice. Nothing to do with my views.

      • Yes, students need to be free to explore ideas and express their feelings. Especially white students who think lynchings are another grand American tradition to uphold

        Ugly, perhaps. Maybe the white person was actually sympathizing with blacks and wanted to draw attention to the evil nature of white people. Faking racism for that purpose is not new. For instance, Man identified as Black, after posting threat to kill black people

        You can check out the many instances of people trying to draw pity from the sympathy people like you have for minorities (how racist): Fake Crimes

        Meanwhile, the appropriate response is to fine the guy for littering, then expose him and make him a pariah.

        Meanwhile, I do not appreciate your aggression against whites. You too need to go back to school to learn to not attack people based on their skin color. Oh, Wait, that’s only when your skin color is not white.

      • Live speeches are not critical to getting a message across in the modern age.

        I used to travel a lot. The time zone changes, the airport hassles, the time lost sitting on the plane.

        Guess what, people endure these inconveniences for a reason. It is more effective communications when you are there.

        Yes, it is critical. You want to shut down speech.

        The problem is the intolerance of speech, not speech.

        Meanwhile, Europeans tried to shut down some speech, namely the speech that during New Years that Muslim immigrants were groping and sexually assaulting women in Cologne. Europe is now trying to prevent the discussion of Muslim immigration.

        Anyway, I’m tired of you people following in Europe’s footsteps with all this political correctness and multi-culturalism. Europe is done. In two or three generations, the borders may be there, but it will no longer be a Western country.

        Do you like the NYT’s? Read this:

      • Ed is telling it like it is. I am also appalled and hurt by the un-American and offensive little huffpo drone condoning and advocating attacks on free speech by brownshirt Alinskyite-Obamanation commie “students” and presumably the little huffpo drone has no problem with the same kind of Soviet goon attack crap that is routine in the streets of America.

        I say we get really mad and form a loud posse to run this little offensive un-American anti-free speech rascal right out of town. Judith will see how agitated and hurt we are and for the sake of peace, will axe the little clown. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Right, yimmy?

      • Hahaha “appalled and hurt”. Nice counterpunch. Are you sure your not helping the trump campaign with their tweets ?

      • I am not against free speech. The right have anti-minority, anti-choice or anti-regulation groups and they get to go out and protest. The left have pro-choice, pro-regulation and pro-minority groups and they can give speeches too and protest against anti-choice, anti-regulation and anti-minority groups. It’s all good. Be aware it happens in both directions.

      • The story goes first a state…

        then things get real complicated, twin trouble.

      • edbarbar

        Its deeply ironic that Western Governments consistently proclaim that they won’t let Musl*m terro*rism affect the western way of life, but that is exactly what they are doing by severe curtailments of free speech, in particular the legitimate protests at those who are the root cause of the terroris*

        I have said here before that I really dislike Donald Trum* as an individual, but I exactly get his appeal and in some ways I hope he wins, or at least gets to shake the pillars of complacency that afflict virtually all western governments.

        Free speech will have disappeared within a generation as many, but by no means all, at Universities seem to dislike debating things on which they have already made up their minds. To know everything by the age of 20, whilst living in their secluded ivory towers and not having travelled widely and experienced other cultures, is a fantastic achievement but one that only exists in their own minds.

        The Universities need to tell these kids to grow up, but they seem reluctant to do so. In the meantime we need to find some way to get our govts to listen to us on such things as immigration, as their views and policy does not conform to that of the majority

      • Blah..blah..blah. I won’t even read your crap any more, yimmy “dee” for dim and dishonest. Same old kneejerk defense of any and all manifestations of intolerant dogmatic left-wing soviet style bull –snip–.

        You don’t see the stoopidity and contradiction in claiming that instilling left-wing soviet political correctness in uni students is preparing them for the workplace. Do you think they can pull this shutting down of speakers who hurt their feelings crap in the corporate world? Do you expect them all to work at Greenpeace, you little goon?

        I won’t ever again dignify this clowns insidious comments with a reply.

      • Don

        One of the rising shutdowns I’m hearing is the following … “you don’t possess the value system necessary to understand OUR vision for the future”.

        I look for it more and more in the expanded rants of the true believers.

      • I am not against free speech. The right have anti-minority, anti-choice or anti-regulation groups and they get to go out and protest

        You think it is appropriate to shut down speech in order to appease demonstrators. So, maybe “against” free speech is the wrong word. You err on the side of those who would prevent speech.

        You simply don’t value it as much as you value the right of the thugs to shut it down.

      • It’s more like university rights. They have a right to make their choices, and people can judge them by their choices. If they disinvite someone, let’s see the reasons and judge it case by case, not generalize. There are universities on the left and right, and not treating them equally is just hypocrisy.

      • Ah, good segue. In a free market education system that would work itself out more easily. Schools that teach crap would wither on the vine. Why do you think most “controllers” are so eager to keep government funding at the core of education. It’s a rigged game. A travesty to otherwise bright and curious minds.

      • … the sympathy people like you have for minorities…

        Meanwhile, I do not appreciate your aggression against whites. You too need to go back to school to learn to not attack people based on their skin color. Oh, Wait, that’s only when your skin color is not white.

        I think your satire is too subtle for the audience. It could easily be mistaken for ignor*nt bigotry.

      • You don’t see the stoopidity and contradiction in claiming that instilling left-wing soviet political correctness in uni students is preparing them for the workplace.

        I wrote this earlier but you don’t usually have freedom of speech in the workplace or very little freedom at all for that matter. And It think most private companies are pretty politically correct. They don’t tolerate racism, sexism, offensive speech, etc. So yeah I think having some standards is a good things for people to learn.

      • Jim D. Sez:

        It’s more like university rights.

        What do they call it when you wrap an argument with, on the surface, good sounding arguments to conceal the actual, evil reasons? They should have a word for that. It’s a wolf’s argument in sheep’s clothing.

        I reject it is a reasonable argument that Universities have a right to decide to shut down free speech because they are concerned the thugs will cause problems. It’s not reasonable to shut down speech because of the threat of violence. That’s exactly what they are doing in Europe, writing laws to prevent “hate” speech to not upset the subset of Muslims that are violent in their midst.

        And, it should not be legal for public universities, including those that get public funds.

        Shutting down speech because you don’t like it, because it is offensive, etc., is wrong. Government sponsored entities shutting down free speech is wrong. And yes, I think that includes in the workplace.

      • Opluso,

        You are doing a good job of lowering your relevance here. I usually spend the time to read your comments.

        Putting a noose on a statue is not an act of violence against a person. Were it someone I knew I’d tell them they were an idi0t and that they had just managed to toss a good portion of respect I may have held them in.

      • Jim D,

        You don’t get the use of “anti” and “pro” adjectives?

        One example: Pro choice. Fine. I have no objection. It accurately describes how proponents of the position see themselves. Then there is Pro life. Again, another accurate description of how proponents view themselves.

        Your use of anti is a good sign that you are bigoted and closed minded on the issue. Only one side is to be raised up and the other demonized.

        Good job Jim.

      • I have always found pro-life a bit imprecise, because those same people are often also pro-death (as in the penalty) or not vegetarian.

      • Putting a noose on a statue is not an act of violence against a person.

        No one said it was. It was, however, potentially a terroristic threat. Given the history of Ole Miss, they were right to investigate it as such.

        Rather than see it as a free speech issue, this one’s more of an IQ test. Someone that stupid really isn’t university material.

        When it comes to protests against the speech of others, I would defend your right to do so. If you physically prevent a speech, I’m going to defend the speaker. Unfortunately, that black and white description doesn’t cover all of the grey areas.

        What about verbal intimidation? How do you draw the line between free speech and threat? Context matters. It’s difficult to establish precise boundaries in advance, particularly since one point of protest is to push perceived boundaries.

        That’s not to say I endorse Jim D’s position. Or yours.

        People of good faith can disagree on specific examples and outcomes. People of bad faith are just disagreeable.

      • Of course you “always” find the term in precise Jim. Because it doesn’t fit into your view point.

        And where did the data come from that shows most pro-life proponents are also pro-death penalty? Oh yeah, you just happen to think that, so no need to confirm it. Just state it as fact.

        As for the last part, what does being vegetarian have to do with pro-life? On second thought, don’t bother explaining. I recognize when I’m talking to a stalk of broccoli.

      • In the US there is a very strong correlation between pro-life and pro-death-penalty. When the Pope was here talking to Congress, he started one phrase with something like, we must cherish all life, which got great cheers from Republicans thinking he was going to talk about abortion, but actually he went on to chastise for the death penalty which is a more liberal position, and the response was rather muted.

    • Jim D

      Tell me exactly how the following speakers intimidate, denigrate, belittle or denounce other groups or how they give incendiary speeches. They were all disinvited from a speech at a campus.

      Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Chief
      Michael Bloomberg
      Condoleezza Rice
      Tim Scott SC Senator Republican
      Paul Ryan now Speaker of the House
      Ray Kelly NYC Police Commissioner
      Christine LaGarde International Monetary Fund
      Charles Murray Harvard Professor
      Geraldo Rivera Fox
      Peter King NY Representative
      Fareed Zakaria CNN
      Ben Carson at the time a Neurosurgeon
      Pat Boone (What, they didn’t like his rendition of “April Love”?)
      Mitt Romney
      Carlos Slim (one of the richest men in the world- that will getcha every time)
      John Boehner (former Speaker of the House)
      John McCain
      Meg Whitman Hewlett Packard CEO
      Suzanne Venker (feminist critic)

      Jim, tell me again how these speakers fit your criteria you listed above for a disinvite from a campus. This is why many think the Left is Killing Free Speech.

      • You want to go case by case. Give me the reason for the disinvite. Why did they have to do the speech on a campus rather than elsewhere in town? Did they back out rather then be disinvited because of protests? Why can’t the university choose their speakers based on public perceptions having those speakers give them? It is their campus, and their students, so this gives the universities the right of refusal. Why don’t they just give the speech in town? I’ll tell you why. Giving it on campus implies a university endorsement of their message which is a lot more powerful.

      • Start at the top. Napolitano, not disinvited but heckled at Laney College. Heckling has been going on since time immemorial. Why the sudden sensitivity now?

      • What’s particularly amusing is the notion that if someone like John McCain, Mitt Romney, Geraldo Rivera, etc., iis “disinvited” to give a commencement speech, their free speech rights have been significantly circumscribed, or that college students are being “infantilized” and “coddled” in ways that will seriously diminish their development because they will have been deprived of the opportunity to hear their commencement speech.

        Because, you know, McCain, Romney, Rivera et al. never have other opportunities to speak in public, and students never have other opportunities to hear them.

        Gotta say, the “alarmism” on this issue is maybe just a tad over the top.

        Just a tad, doncha know.

      • Make enough comments on something and sure enough the dishonest putz shows up to chime in.

    • catweazle666

      Jim D: “so campus rules against this type of thing prepare a student for a normal professional working environment. “

      Oh dear, if you seriously believe that, you’ve never actually worked in a normal professional working environment, Jimbo!

      Ever been on an oil rig, for example?

      Clearly not.

      • You don’t need a degree to work on an oil-rig.

      • catweazle666

        Jim D: “You don’t need a degree to work on an oil-rig.”

        You specifically stated “professional working environment” Jimbo.

        Which explicitly means professionally qualified individuals such as engineers.

        So you lose.


      • We are also talking about campuses, and oil-rigs are not recruiting campus types for the majority of their workers.

      • After you get rid of Department of Education Federal money the new curriculum should include manual labor. Build character creates perspective and helps you recognize reality.

      • If they did, maybe the environment would be more civil.

      • Actually, some roughnecks and roust-a-bouts do have some college.

      • catweazle666

        Jim D: “We are also talking about campuses”

        No Jimbo, you specifically stated “professional working environment”.

        A campus is not a “professional working environment”, it is an educational environment, a completely different matter altogether.

        In any case, when I was at University I had a number of what Bill Gates referred to as “high bandwidth discussions” (funny that, I reckon HE was a professional, and he had/has no problem with such communication), on at least one occasion involving the laying on of hands.

        So as usual, you’re blowing smoke out of your posterior orifice.

      • catty, you can refer to your own quote of what I said for the word ‘campuses’. That was the context that you conveniently forgot. My take on what this was about is whether universities should promote PC behavior. PC is often considered to be just lefty values, because it promotes tolerance of almost everything except intolerant attitudes, and that is where limiting certain types of divisive speeches comes in.

      • catweazle666

        Jim D: “PC is often considered to be just lefty values, because it promotes tolerance of almost everything except intolerant attitudes”

        You’re kidding, right?

        The campus PeeCee nutters with their “safe spaces”, “no-platforming” and “microaggressions” are the biggest load of Fascistic, repressive, intolerant bullies of the lot, it appears to have escaped your attention that that is the entire thrust of Judith’s blog post.

        These loonies just no-platformed Peter Tatchell and Germaine Greer a couple of weeks ago, pure Loony “Liberal” Lefty insanity.

        And how about “Queers for Palestine”, do they have any idea whatsoever about the level of tolerance for Gays in that part of the World? Strange how they not only tolerate it, but positively support it.

        Ah, but I almost forgot – you’re the archetypical “Liberal”, with your “you can say and think anything you like so long as I agree with it” sanctimonious, hypocritical intolerance, aren’t you?

      • So now you are naming groups that you think I should support, and I could name nationalist, religious zealot or racist groups for you if you want to play that game. This isn’t a reasoned argument at all. If you have something against tolerating certain values and peoples that the left support, that is where you differ, and you don’t have to name them for me. I would rather not know.

  37. In the video above when Shermer refers to “the arc of the moral universe after gagging momentarily I would remind him of this poem:

    A Man Said to the Universe

    A man said to the universe:
    “Sir, I exist!”
    “However,” replied the universe,
    “The fact has not created in me
    A sense of obligation.”……..By Stephen Crane

    President is very fond of that MLK concept and uses it as an excuse for his inaction.

    • What Shermer does is to give what he believes to be good, right and true a scientific gloss.

      “The morality of others is mere philosophical or religous speculation” goes the refrain, “but my morality is based on science.”

      I don’t know if he does this intentionally, being aware of what he is doing, or if he does it out of ignorance, being so in the dark about the history of Western thought that he is oblivious of the many assumptions which he makes.

      Nevertheless, when Shermer makes statements like, “As I document in The Moral Arc, we have made so much moral progress since the Enlightenment,” he puts his ignorance and/or disengenuousness on display for everyone to see. There is more than enough prima facie evidence to demonstrate his claim to be false. As Michael Allen Gillespie explains in The Theological Origins of Modernity:

      While the earlier separation of a scientific and an aesthetic/moral realm governmed by different standards and laws clearly called into question the initial global claims of modernity, it was really Kant’s codification of this separation in his antinomy doctrine that cut the ground out from under the modern project as a whole.

      He demonstrated that nature and freedom as modernity had conceived them could not coexist, that their relationship was necessarily antinomious.

      The original modern vision of a unified theory that could explain the motions of God, man, and the natural world thus in his view had to be abandoned.

      The French Revolution, with its extravagant claims for the rule of reason and its abysmal realization of these claim s in the Terror, only made these limitations of the modern project publicly apparent.

  38. khal spencer

    Viewpoint homogeneity and group-think have have been growing for some time in the academy. I exchanged emails with Michael Shermer today (thanks, Judy, for the Twitter post on Micheal’s essay) regarding a major incident a score of years ago at my own former home, the University of Hawaii, where a religion professor (and dear friend of mine) was nearly purged off the faculty after teaching a class on Religion and Politics, which, as one can imagine, brings all sorts of flammable objects together in one place along with oxygen and an ignition source. I ended up joining the National Association of Scholars as one of their token liberals since as a liberal, I think a free exchange of ideas is a good thing. If one Googles John Furedy, you can find a wealth of scholarly writing on academic freedom and Velvet Totalitarianism on American campuses that will fill in any blanks in Michael’s or Judith’s posts.

    The relevance to climate discussions is probably obvious. There is a lot we don’t know, quite a bit we do know, a lot of modelling uncertainty, and a huge amount of political pressure to act now to prevent calamity, however calamity is defined. My personal view is that prudence applies whenever one is changing a critical system. As it happens, a laboratory in my old school blew up a week ago, nearly killing a post-doc, after a critical gas-mixing system got somehow upside-down. Perhaps mistakes were made…

    Whether, as I asked Judith today in a Twitter post, we know enough to actually advise the political system, is a good question, and needs to be aired out without being shut down. Micro-aggression not allowed here.

    • The big black book that is all about Jesus, tells everyone that as time goes by the magi will keep telling the kings of the world, all about ‘it’ and we all know what kings are want to do. A relationship is not a religion, which is the whole point of this exercise. The lights blink, uplink.

      • Curious George

        Please read the big black book. Only the second half is about Jesus. The first half is about folks who were The Chosen Ones of an intolerant God. To be a Chosen One you had to be born as such. An exclusive club. No need to convert other people; no way to convert other people.

      • The Old Testament is Christ, concealed. The New Testament is Christ, revealed. The entire book is all about Him.

    • Whether, as I asked Judith today in a Twitter post, we know enough to actually advise the political system, is a good question, and needs to be aired out without being shut down.

      Climate Science doesn’t know enough to advise the political system.

      And they really don’t understand climate all that well either.

  39. The dog and pony show that is touring the universities, with its safe spaces and trigger warnings and social justice pretensions, is only just a symptom. The problem is what is being taught. The human brain, apparently, functions much like a computer in that what ever garbage is entered into it will surely produce garbage coming out of it, and the garbage being funneled into people is astonishingly corrosive and toxic.

    When indoctrination is passed off as education then how the hell are we supposed to distinguish between propaganda and truth?

    “Textbooks often foster commitment to government and the status quo. Those used in elementary grades emphasize compliance with authority and the need to be a ‘good’ citizen. Even textbooks in advanced grades present idealized versions of the way government works and exaggerate the role of citizens in holding public officials accountable and in shaping public policy. Textbooks are less likely, however, to emphasize the need for citizens to uphold democratic values such as participating in politics and tolerating others views. Nor do they help students understand that conflicts and differences of opinion are inevitable in a large and diverse society and that the role of politics is to address and resolve those disagreements.”

    ~Understanding American Government: the essentials…- Welch, Gruel, Comer and Rigdon~

    “The question is whether teaching has been betrayed by being turned into indoctrination.

    The same question can be asked in other areas and at all too many other institutions. The Harvard Students’ Confidential Guide describes lectures in a course called “Women and the Law” as containing a “shallow, one-sided description of the facts of the cases, the lawyers’ arguments, the feminist perspective, and little else.” The course provides “little opportunity for debate or original thinking.” Propaganda courses often give easy grades to attract a following, and this course seems to fit the pattern: “It’s virtually impossible to do badly when exam time comes around,” according to The Confidential Guide, and the term paper “can be about any topic you can think of that is even remotely related to the course’s topic.” Similarly, at Dartmouth, a music class that features the professor’s rambling political commentary, expressed in abusive obscenities, is also considered “a notable gut.” At American University in Washington, D.C., a professor was let go after it became known that he allowed students to grade themselves in his ideologically-oriented course.”

    ~Thomas Sowell~

    “If being critical consisted simply in the application of a skill then it could in principle be taught by teachers who never engaged in it except as a game or defensive device, somewhat as a crack rifle shot who happened to be a pacifist might nevertheless be able to teach rifle-shooting to soldiers. But in fact being critical can be taught only by men who can themselves freely partake in critical discussion.”

    ~John Passmore~

    If our teachers are not critical thinkers then parents are going to have to be if anyone is going to show their children the path to critical thinking. We have created academic institutions that have become impediments to learning, and people who lack critical thinking characteristics are only people who have failed to learn how to learn. Our reliance on academia as the monopoly on learning made us – and them – lazy. We cannot possibly hope to find the right answers if we don’t even know what the real questions are.

    • Your post zeros in on education failing to teach critical thinking skills. Perhaps there’s more to the trend. Is it possible that the demand for those skills wasn’t present ?

      Perhaps it’s become so easy to get along in society without those skills. You could do all the things you needed to do to fulfill basic human living without them. No need, no demand.

      I sometimes wonder what set of circumstances need to exist in the society we live in for a resurgence of the need for critical thinking.

      • Case study in edu-cha-shun-craz-iness from Oz…

        Masters at capturing the citadel via under-the-radar
        -infiltration by Neo-Marxist education campaigns.
        not critical thinking skills but sexual liberation
        attitudes. Neo-values rule in scools, heh, no argument!

      • I am not so sure that critical thinking is a necessary tool to survive society or even outside of society. Surviving, however, is hardly living in my opinion. Critical thought must be a choice each individual makes and then a genuine commitment made towards that end. Critical thinking is hard, emotional reactions are easy.

        The trend, I would suggest, begins with ethics. If Aritstotle is right and the good is that which all things aim, then very clearly many people have really bad aim. That aim can be modified so that it is true, but this requires critical thinking. Ethics, tragically, have become a luxury for people. The evidence of that luxury can be found all around college campuses. Five hundred page business textbooks that use only three of those pages to pay lip service to ethics. Colleges creating a priest class known as “ethicist” only confounds the problem.

        Ethics should not be taught as a novelty item to marvel at periodically then placed to collect dust on a shelf, and teachers, from pre-school through the elementary grades and high school to the universities should be weaving lessons of ethics throughout everyone of their daily classes…and, of course, parents should be using each day they have with their children teaching them about ethics. A strong foundation in ethics helps ease the tedium and hard work that comes with critical thought.

      • Curious George

        Jean, I agree – merely surviving is not the same as living. My first 40 years in Czechoslovakia I was surviving. I don’t want to be reduced to that again. However, should it happen, the motto will be I DRINK THEREFORE I AM.

    • If the Fed supplies a lot of money to public schools, it will eventually dictate what is taught. That’s another good reason why the Department of Education be abolished and control returned to local jurisdictions.

      • The Federal Government wants kids to be smart, Anti-government ideologues don’t. It’s as simple as that.

      • Ah yes, further example of centralization having reached its pendulum apex. Time for the swing to head back towards choice and decentralization.

      • Max,

        Another comprehension fail.

        There is nothing any government can do to make people smart. You are or you aren’t. It’s called genetics.

        What a society can do is try to make sure everyone is educated. The results will never be equal among the students you are trying to educate.

      • timg56, are you tipsy? I ask because I don’t see how your comment has to do with what I said.

      • Of course you don’t max.

        Because you are a – snipping – maroon.

        Sorry Don, I had to borrow the technique.

  40. Very interesting topic. I spent a year at “GT” back in 1980-81, yes, way back in the stone ages, as many folks seem to believe judging from all the recent comments.

    I was working (yes really working, you know studying and reading and taking tests and stuff) on a Master’s in Electrical Engineering.

    “GT” did eventually decide I earned a Master’s in electrical engineering. I was quite proud and glad that private enterprise would pay me “lots of loot” to apply the knowledge I learned at “GT” to solve real problems.

    ‘I honestly do not remember “codes of conduct”, or what TV station was on display in the “quad” while I made my way to the next class. I was just trying to consume knowledge and trying not to offend other students.

    Sure, I had some political beliefs, and I shared them on occasion, and I’m sure I offended one or two people.

    And “back in the day” people would just exercise some level of “common courtesy” and inform you that a “topic” was not welcome for discussion at the current time.

    So we just “dropped that topic” and moved on to what the weather was going to be tomorrow, or in a century as predicted by climate science “sages”…

    It’s really simple folks, if you sense someone is uncomfortable about a topic you bring up just change the subject…. Successful people have learned this skill many decades ago…..

    Oh, by the way when I was at “GT” back in 1980-81 I was a die hard Jimmy Carter Fan, I was sure that if Ronald Regan was elected the world would come to a violent end via “nuckular war”…. Well I guess I learned a thing or too along the way.

    • That was back in the day. today, broaching certain topics, or even using the wrong words can cause extreme umbrage. Here is one typical micro:

      The actual purpose is to have you monitor your thoughts and second guess everything you say. It is not easy to know what innocuous statement will offend someone, so you have to be extra careful, and make your mind subservient to the micro-aggression police.

  41. Prospectus for the University of Atrophy.

    We offer a safe place for young minds
    to be nurtured in consensus attitudes.
    Our Institution is committed to equality
    in everything – extending to equality
    of thinking and equality of outcomes,
    a qualification designed to take you far,
    social – compliance – wise.

    Dr M Y MEME. Philosopher King,
    at University of Atrophy.

  42. Nothing signals virtue like… the Pope. He certainly has injected himself in modern politics, mostly from behind a 39-foot-tall wall dating back to 852.

  43. Willis Eschenbach

    max1ok | March 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm |

    Socialism is more American than apple pie, you half-wit. Who do you think was here before the Pilgrims showed up with apples? Who do you think taught ’em to plant corn and smoke tobacco? The answer is Native Americans, who practiced socialism.

    Mmmm … actually, socialism is specifically defined as government ownership or common ownership of the means of the production of wealth.

    Now, for the Early Asian Immigrants to the Americas under discussion, the means of production were bows, arrows, atlatls, snares, digging sticks, fishing lines, harvesting and sifting baskets, mortars and pestles, horses, flaking tools for obsidian, knives and awls and needles for skinning and cutting and sewing hides, and the like. They are the means by which the wealth of the tribe was increased.

    I know of no Early Asian Immigrant society where those things were owned in common, so unless I’m missing something (always possible), I do not agree that they were socialists in more than the most limited, family-oriented ways.



    PS—While there are a number of mammalian species native to the Americas, there are no native human species, nor (as far as we know) were there ever any native great ape species (gorillas, chimps, bonobos, etc.) in the Americas. Another odd fact is that New World monkeys have prehensile tails, and Old World monkeys don’t … nature is a prankster of the highest order.

    • It is times like this that the concept of man crush pops into my consciousness Willis. It quickly discard it, but not the appreciation for how you deal with our resident ret@rd from OK in a manner that is well above his own capacity to respond to.

      Good job.

  44. Hi Willis,
    Land was owned in common until the Dawes Act of 1887 and the Curtiss Act of 1898, which were to break up tribal holdings and assign ownership of plots or acreages to individual members of tribes. This didn’t turn out to be such a good thing for tribal unity and preservation. The government later tried to restore what had been lost, but much of the damage was irreversible because whites had already bought much of the land. My experience is limited to Oklahoma, and I don’t know how Dawes and Curtiss played out elsewhere.

    I don’t know enough to generalize about community ownership of property other than land. My guess is it depended on the particular tribe’s customs.
    The one example that comes to mind is the Mandan Tribe’s mud lodges, which were common property because each lodge was the residence of multiple families.

    A related topic that may interest you is “Indian Giving.” When I was growing up kids use to say so an so is an Indian Giver, meaning he would give you something but later want it back. I later learned the term originated from the practice among some tribes of exchanging gifts on a temporary basis were either party could request a reversal of the exchange.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      max1ok | March 26, 2016 at 2:35 am

      Hi Willis,
      Land was owned in common until the Dawes Act of 1887 and the Curtiss Act of 1898, which were to break up tribal holdings and assign ownership of plots or acreages to individual members of tribes. This didn’t turn out to be such a good thing for tribal unity and preservation. The government later tried to restore what had been lost, but much of the damage was irreversible because whites had already bought much of the land. My experience is limited to Oklahoma, and I don’t know how Dawes and Curtiss played out elsewhere.

      I don’t know enough to generalize about community ownership of property other than land. My guess is it depended on the particular tribe’s customs.
      The one example that comes to mind is the Mandan Tribe’s mud lodges, which were common property because each lodge was the residence of multiple families.

      Thanks, max. There is a common misconception out there that if anything in a society is owned in common, presto, it’s a socialist economy. This is not the case. A socialist economy is where the means and control of production and distribution are owned in common, which is a very different ball game.

      A mud lodge is not a means of production, nor is raw land. For example, villages in England had “commons”, commonly-owned land where anyone could graze their privately owned sheep … but that didn’t make it a socialist sheep-growing system.

      So yes, the tribe might all own the forest in common … but if you want to extract something of value out of the forest, you need a bow and arrow, or a basket for the mushrooms, but the point is, they were your bow and arrow or your basket, and when you got the mushrooms they went to you and your family, and not to the other moiety or family.

      Now, in many hunter-gatherer cultures, families often share food according to some predetermined method, where the hunter who killed the deer gets some, the head of the family gets some, and so on down the line.

      But again, that doesn’t make it a socialist system. A socialist system is where the government (or all the people as a group) decides who should get the bows and arrows and where and how they should hunt … and I don’t know of hunter-gatherer cultures doing that.

      But hey, the world is a big place, and there are likely some hunter-gatherer cultures out there that are more like socialism … if so, I just don’t know about them.


    • Max,

      Please, for your own sake, listen to what people are trying to tell you. Communal is not the same as Socialist. That there may be some shared traits is not the same as the two being equivalent.

      • Excuse me, timg56, but you and the “others” do not know what you are talking about. By “others,” I think you mean Willis.

        I will try to relate to you and Willis at your levels by quoting a definition of socialism for children.

        “any of various social systems based on shared or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods”


        I call your attention to the word “shared.” I presume I don’t need to explain what “shared” means.

        Now, Willis allows that Native Americans shared land but he doesn’t see land as a means of production. Apparently, he has this silly notion they lived entirely at sea and only ate fish.

        Wills also believes Native Americans may have shared housing, but he speculates they drew the line when it came to sharing arrows, bows, tomahawks, spouses, and other means of production. Willis has presented no evidence to support his speculation, other than if he were an Indian he wouldn’t want another Indian to use his stuff.

        timg56, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Native American cultures were 100% socialists. What society has been? I’m saying they were as close to pure socialism as we are likely to ever see in that area of North America known as the United States.

      • max10k

        I stumble when confronted by other’s definition of any political system including “socialism”. Ascribing socialism to American Indians, at least to those Indians prior to the incursion of white colonists more than 100 years after the Spanish invaded what is now Mexico is to have scant knowledge of the Woodlands Indians, the Plains Indians let alone those of the Pacific Northwest and the Southwestern groups.

        Indian societies were primarily pedestrian except for the ice free times along North American Great Lakes and waterways when birchbark canoes carried raiding parties. Horses came only with the Conquistadors whose few runaway horses eventually made their way North from Mexico as well as the few that came from explorers seeking a Northwest Passage along what is now the St Lawrence Seaway.

        The North American Indians were in small tribal groups, usually descendent from a founder leader and limited in numbers by the land area that would support 25 or so people. Raiding parties fought for more foraging land when the forest could no longer provide as the group traveled to new grounds as well as procuring women. Women, and the very survival of the tribe had a high childbirth death rate and infant mortality was also high jeopardizing tribal repopulation season by season.

        Seasonal migration was the norm. Woodland Indian hunting reduced deer populations such that today there are more deer in the Eastern Atlantic region, with all its megacity size than prior to the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth Mass. in 1622.

        Basic survival drove the Indian society and there was not time for an intellectual assessment of a better, let alone socialist society. There were no large Indian gatherings until much later around the French/Indian Wars from 1688 to 1763 whereby the waring European countries could supply sufficient food to facilitate larger tribal gatherings; hence, larger war parties. Food first, women second were the social rules for the Indian society and their very survival.

        People need time and safe surroundings to consider their circumstances and governance. When the wolves are at the hut’s door, talk around the campfire more likely than not did not drift off to forming a cohesive, sharing society.

      • :::: sorry, couldn’t resist ::::

        But off in the distance into the great forest at the foot of the rumbling mountain there was a cave. This cave was purported to be the first safe space among the Indian culture where all who ventured found freedom from micro aggressions and dissenting opinions.

      • Hello RiHo08

        There are elements of truth in your comment just as there are some solids in steaming pile of poop.

        I suspect you have been trying to imagine yourself as a Native American in the 17th Century. It’s fun to do, but it’s fiction.

      • max10k

        “I suspect you have been trying to imagine yourself as a Native American in the 17th Century. It’s fun to do, but it’s fiction.”

        Imagination is indeed fun, just as the imagined success of a socialist society.

      • max1ok,

        You wrote –

        “I suspect you have been trying to imagine yourself as a Native American in the 17th Century. It’s fun to do, but it’s fiction.”

        What leads you to believe that anyone gives a rodent’s rectum about your suspicions!

        I might suspect that you have a great desire to have sex with goats. Have you? If so you, do you prefer male or female goats? Young or old? How much are you prepared to pay for underage girls (or boys) to watch you engaging in these activities?

        Suspicions or assertions carry no weight, unless supported by evidence – in the civilised world, at least. Maybe not so much in the US. Rather like the mad unsupported assertions of Warmists. Heating power of CO2, anyone? Climate change as a result of climate change?

        I suspect you believe you have a clue. It’s fun to do, but it’s fiction. Warmists, of course, have extreme difficulty in distinguishing between fact and fiction. I rest my case.


    • Sorry Max –

      But Willis is definitely correct.

      I once saw an exhibit in a museum of American Indian artifacts, and sure enough they had little name plates sewn in on the inside of their mushroom-gathering baskets.

      I suppose the might have lent them out on occasion, but surely that wasn’t the norm, as Willis surely knows from his vast research on the subject of Native American mushroom-gathering basketry.

  45. Danny Thomas

    “I now find the blogosphere and the private sector as more conducive than universities to exploring ideas and engaging with a broad spectrum of intelligent and interesting people.”
    Too many years removed from time spent on campus. But find that those with whom I disagree make me work the hardest.

  46. These non climate-related threads are a fascinating window into what comprises climate “skepticism.”

    • Josh*a

      So what insight into sceptics do you think you have learnt?


      • tony –

        ==> So what insight into sceptics do you think you have learnt?

        Not “skeptics” in general, but those who participate at this site, and likely other “skeptic” websites as well.

        It isn’t so much that I “learned” something (which would imply something that I didn’t already know), but that these threads provide a window into seeing the rather striking uniformity in ideological orientation of “skeptics” – an ideological orientation that spreads across topics such as presidential politics and current events related to free speech on campus.

      • Joshua

        you said….’an ideological orientation that spreads across topics such as presidential politics and current events related to free speech on campus.’

        I am for free speech on campuses. Most sceptics seem to agree. What is your view?

        Are my ‘presidential politics’ the same as all the other sceptics here? I think not.


      • tonyb –

        ==> I am for free speech on campuses. Most sceptics seem to agree. What is your view?

        Who do you think ins not “for free speech on campuses,” Try reading again to see why your simplistic differentiation bears little connection to what I wrote.

        Is Max against free speech on campus, Jim D, JCH, myself?

        ==> Are my ‘presidential politics’ the same as all the other sceptics here? I think not.

        Once again, there’s a mismatch here. If you read what I wrote again that don’t see the mismatch between “striking uniformity” and total uniformity, then there’s nothing further for us to discuss.

      • From Josh,

        “Is max against free speech on campus? JimD, JCH, myself.”

        In order:

        Max- who knows. Flippant is the nice description one can apply to his comments.

        Jim D – clearly yes.

        JCH – I don’t know.

        You – I don’t care.

      • Geez Tony,

        Show some mercy to the rest of us.

    • Perhaps the argument by authority practiced by many in the AGW camp triggers a response in some people. I know it did in me. That’s why I have been reading about this stuff for the last 10+ years.

      And, oddly, I’m more convinced than ever no one has a clue what climate will do in the next 50 years. The climate system is incredibly complicated, and each year more complexity arises.

      Also, I’m not sure if this is my imagination, or only what gets publicized, but it seems mostly when there are new understandings, it almost invariably is “Oh, it’s even worse than we thought.”

      • strike “arises” and replace with “unveiled”

      • “Perhaps the argument by authority practiced by many in the AGW camp triggers a response in some people. I know it did in me.”

        Bingo and thus the style is very interrelated.

      • And the dishonesty, data manipulation, and censoring of skeptical comments on warmunista blogs. I don’t recall which blog I happened upon where the blog rules forbid commenters from linking to skeptical websites. There are many ecamples of warmunista sites censoring comments and in the case osf sks, rewriting threads after the fact. And, as was pointed out in another comment, the msm (NYT, WP, LAT, etc.) censors non-consensus views seemingly as a matter of policy. While those who run blogs can enforce whatever rules they want, it is clear that the mindset of the left is to shut down views that do not comport with theirs.

        Maybe there are skeptical sites that do the same. If so, will one of the warmunistas here enlighten me?

  47. An excellent comment at the originating website:



    un says:
    March 23, 2016 at 5:56 am
    Not really sure what this has to do with skepticism, but in any case, one should apply skepticism to a lot of what Michael Shermer says here.

    First of all, a lot of the anecdotal episodes he recounts are based on tabloid retelling. One can see a much more equilibrated article on these issues, of all places, on a humor site:
    I cite from the article:
    Here, I’ll do one for you: You know how college students these days keep kicking speakers off their campus if they don’t agree with them? Even Obama thinks that’s a bad idea! Turns out that if you go and read what the students actually say, in a lot of cases they aren’t trying to kick the speakers out — they’re just protesting (challenging an idea directly — the exact thing we want them to do) and the speakers are choosing to leave (refusing to engage with people who disagree with them, the exact thing we’re criticizing the students for doing). So wait — is the point of this controversy to tell college students they can’t voice their disagreements and that they have to keep their opinions to themselves? Sorry — who’s the enemy of free speech, again?
    (A much more “academic” argument, but with basically the same points, can be found here
    : )
    Secondly, censoriousness is a lot stronger on the political right, and it has always been. Ayaan Hirsi Ali was facing student protests.
    Steven Salaita was FIRED because some pro-Israel students found his tweets offensive. And he doesen’t even get mentioned in articles like this, perhaps because the authors agree a lot more with Hirsi Ali then Salaita.

    Same story for Helen Thomas, who was again repeatedly disinvited and also denied career awards (after a career much more illustrious than Hirsi Ali), because she said something un-PC. Going back in time, no one mentioned freedom of expression during the “roosting chickens” crusade against Ward Churchill (yes, at the end they found some misconduct. Does anyone believe he would have been investigated if he wasn’t saying offensive things?).
    Or, a few years earlies, for the Smithsonian’s closure of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s exhibition because concentrating on the victims was “offensive” to average Americans?
    If students from marginalized groups today can occasionally be censorious its because they, once they get an ounce of power, are copying the aggressive censoriousness the American establishment used on them for decades.

    In reality, most of what Shermer protests here are _exercises_ in free speech which an intolerant national press and academic administrators want to curtail.
    Its his right to write it of course, but please dont insult our intelligence by saying this has anything to do with skepticisim and reason.


    • To some extent this is bull. There is some truth to it.

      I’m fine with protest. They can schedule the protest outside the hours the speaker is on campus..

      Anyone with an ounce of brains knows scheduling a protest when the speaker is on campus, particularly at the site of speech, is creating a gantlet they have to walk through. This is deliberately creating a hostile environment for the speaker. The speaker and the people who want to listen to speaker have rights too including the right not to be harassed. A boisterous protest tends to overflow into the auditorium.

      And your point isn’t supported by the facts:
      The treatment of Rick Perry was merely vulgar and rude.

      Speech disruptions are by and large Alinsky liberal tactics (particularly rules #5 and #9).

      Treating speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos, Jennifer Gratz,and Ray Kelly were treated is contemptible. Disciplinary actions up to and including immediate expulsion (from college) should have been administered. That speakers were treated badly in the past makes announcements of protest an actual threat.

      Given that these tactics are by and large used by the 1/3 of liberals who have no ethics, morals or manners to suppress viewpoints they disagree with, there is no reason to tolerate them. They aren’t making a point, they aren’t practicing free speech, they are deliberately stomping on the free speech rights of others.

    • PA –

      ==> Given that these tactics are by and large used by the 1/3 of liberals who have no ethics, morals or manners to suppress viewpoints they disagree with, there is no reason to tolerate them.

      This is why I love you guys.

      Tonyb asked me what I see revealed from threads like these, and you provide a nice example. Someone, who from what I can tell, is capable of sophisticated technical analysis, who has no compunction about revealing such a paucity of skepticism, and such a willingness to bend his/her reasoning to confirm with ideological bias and to be so incredibly blind to the unintentional irony of his/her rhetoric.

      It’s really such a fascinating phenomenon, that no matter how much I see it, it still impresses me so.

      • I suppose, given the broader topic, I should clarify that by compunction in the sense of misgivings or hesitation – not in the sense of guilt. I see no reason why you should feel guilty for expressing your views even when they are as inane as the one I quoted.

    • In regards to all apologies for the chilling of speech – which no doubt happens on all sides of the political spectrum – dis-invitations of speakers because of their ideological viewpoint has noticeably risen in the past few decades.

      ” Definitions:

      The term “disinvitation incident” is used to describe the controversies on campus that arise throughout the year whenever segments of the campus community demand that an invited speaker not be allowed to speak (as opposed to merely expressing disagreement with, or even protesting, an invited speaker’s views or positions). We make a distinction between an attempt to censor a speaker and the actual end result of a speaker not speaking. “Disinvitation incidents” is the broadest category, including “unsuccessful disinvitation attempts” and “successful disinvitations.”

      Not only are unsuccessful disinvitation attempts increasing, but so too are successful disinvitations, which fall into three categories:

      Formal disinvitation from the speaking engagement, such as Brandeis University’s recent decision to rescind its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

      Withdrawal by the speaker in the face of protest, as recently demonstrated by Condoleezza Rice at Rutgers University.

      “Heckler’s vetoes,” in which students or faculty persistently disrupt or entirely prevent the speakers’ ability to speak, illustrated by the case of Ray Kelly at Brown University.”

      Do the censorship apologists think professors who complain about this problem are just making it up?

      I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me
      by Edward Schlosser on June 3, 2015

      “I’m a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. I am not a world-class teacher by any means, but I am conscientious; I attempt to put teaching ahead of research, and I take a healthy emotional stake in the well-being and growth of my students.

      Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones.”

      The Trouble with Teaching Rape Law

      “But my experience at Harvard over the past couple of years tells me that the environment for teaching rape law and other subjects involving gender and violence is changing. Students seem more anxious about classroom discussion, and about approaching the law of sexual violence in particular, than they have ever been in my eight years as a law professor. Student organizations representing women’s interests now routinely advise students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence, and which might therefore be traumatic. These organizations also ask criminal-law teachers to warn their classes that the rape-law unit might “trigger” traumatic memories. Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well. One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word “violate” in class—as in “Does this conduct violate the law?”—because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress.”

      And please consider the inquisition of Laura Kipnis:

      “In late February, Kipnis prompted a heated debate with an essay she penned for The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe.” The article addressed student-professor relationships, issues of consent, the language with which we talk about sexual assault, purported emotional “triggers,” and the messy lawsuits that arise out of alleged sexual encounters with little evidence and hearings with few procedural safeguards, among other topics. In response, Northwestern students protested the piece and asked the university to officially condemn it.

      Of course, students are free to criticize the essay. Student responses could have led to an open discussion on the topic. Instead, Kipnis was hit with Title IX complaints filed by two students over the essay and a subsequent tweet she had posted from her personal account. She hadn’t named any students in her essay or tweet; she had remarked only on nationally reported cases. Yet she was being charged under the same provision that normally protects students from discrimination and targeted harassment.”

      The problem of chilling speech and academic censorship is real not imagined. Don’t let your karma run over your dogma, man.

      • That was a powerful post. It succinctly demonstrates that this problem of intolerance and the abuse of the harassment intent is about to substantially increase as these young folk enter into a working world.

        A big clash is coming unless circumstances change the trend.

      • JPZ,

        Nice comment. Much food for thought for thinkers. Not so much for university administrations, obviously.


      • ==> Do the censorship apologists…


        ==> Formal disinvitation from the speaking engagement, such as Brandeis University’s recent decision to rescind its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

        What makes this all that much more interesting is that (at least as far as I can tell) Hirsi Ali was not “disinivited” to speak. From what I’ve read what happened was that a decision to award her an honorary degree was revoked, and in fact, along with that revocation, she was invited to the University to speak (at a later time). An invitation which she declined Lol.

        Rather reminds me of when “skeptics” complain about “censorship” because they’ve been disinvited to post comments on someone’s blog.

        Hirsi Ali has plenty of opportunities to voice her opinions (personally, I find what she has to say quite interesting even if I disagree with much of it. In fact, I have gone to hear her speak). Her freedom of speech is not materially circumscribed because of a decision not to give her an honorary degree – nor is it even remotely difficult for college students to hear about her opinions if they have an interest in doing so.

        Not that I agree with the University’s decision, but the fear-mongering, hand-wringing,slippery-sloping, pearl-clutching alarmism of conflating this issue with one of meaningful infringement of free speech makes a mutually beneficial discussion of the issues at hand all that much more difficult to have. All this drama-queening just gets in the way.


        The interview in which Ms Hirsi Ali called for a “war” on Islam came in 2007, just a year after she had left the Netherlands. In deciding to rescind its offer of an honorary degree to her, Brandeis was in part drawing a line between the kind of discourse on religion that is acceptable in mainstream American intellectual life, and the kind that has arisen over the past decade and a half in the Netherlands. The university was not silencing Ms Hirsi Ali; it still invited her to come to the university to “engage in a dialogue”. As Isaac Chotiner puts it, the “controversy isn’t about shunning someone from polite society. It is about giving a person an honorary degree.” Asking Ms Hirsi Ali to speak to students at Brandeis is a great idea; giving her an honorary degree as part of graduation ceremonies suggests that Brandeis thinks calling for a war on Islam is an acceptable statement within the bounds of normal political and social discourse. The fact that such statements are not welcomed in American public discourse is one reason why the American model of integration and tolerance works better than the Dutch model, and why the Netherlands continues to be wracked by tensions over Islam and integration—years after those tensions forced Ms Hirsi Ali herself to leave.

      • “==> Do the censorship apologists…


        ==> Formal disinvitation from the speaking engagement, such as Brandeis University’s recent decision to rescind its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.”

        Joshua, you have conflated something I said with a quote from the FIRE report on disinvitations.

        “What makes this all that much more interesting is that (at least as far as I can tell) Hirsi Ali was not “disinivited” to speak. From what I’ve read what happened was that a decision to award her an honorary degree was revoked, and in fact, along with that revocation, she was invited to the University to speak (at a later time). An invitation which she declined Lol.”

        You are deflecting, and perhaps you do not understand that people who are given honorary degrees often give acceptance speeches:

        “Honorary degrees are usually awarded at regular graduation ceremonies, at which the recipients are often invited to make a speech of acceptance before the assembled faculty and graduates – an event which often forms the highlight of the ceremony.”

        By revoking Hirsi’s honorary degree she was effectively disinivited to speak at the graduation ceremonies.

        Your deflections compel me to offer some descriptions of Hirsi by journalists:

        “You can’t do five minutes of research on Ayaan Hirsi Ali without noticing a few basic facts: that she is a feminist who had her own genitals mutilated in Somalia when she was a child; that she has, as an adult, become an outspoken and at times furious critic of Islamist fundamentalism’s repression of women in particular and human rights generally; that she had worked closely with Dutch director Theo van Gogh, who was murdered by an Islamic radical in retaliation for his political views; and that her condemnations of the religion have been broad and aroused significant controversy.”

        “The Buckley Program, an undergraduate group on campus, recently invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to give a lecture this week. An accomplished and courageous woman, Hirsi Ali has an amazing story. She suffered genital mutilation as a child and later fled to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage. These are beyond mere “unfortunate circumstances,” as some organizations have called it. Once in the Netherlands, she worked at a refugee center, became a politician, fought for human dignity and women’s rights and ultimately abandoned her Muslim faith. In her works since then, she has voiced strong opinions against Islam, opinions which have provoked constant threats on her life ever since.”

        And this is what Rich Lizardo had to say about all the left wing suggestions regarding Hirsi’s speech:

        “The idea that free speech extends to only those with whom one agrees is close-minded. The idea that inviting an additional speaker is necessary in order to supposedly advance free speech, but really just to correct our own lecturer’s views, is ridiculous. The idea that a fellow undergraduate organization can dictate to another how to run its own event is shameless. And the idea that only so-called “experts” merit invitations is absurd. (After all, I don’t remember anyone fretting over Al Sharpton’s invitation to speak on the death penalty last week despite his lack of a criminal-law degree.)”

        Regardless of how you recall the disinvitation of Hirsi, your apologies for Brandies University fall flat.

      • Here is the link to the Wikipedia page I quoted but forgot to leave the link:

      • Jean Paul –

        ==> You are deflecting, and perhaps you do not understand that people who are given honorary degrees often give acceptance speeches:

        Lol! Jean Paul, are you “deflecting and perhaps you do not understand” that people who are given honorary degrees often are not give time to deliver acceptance speeches?

        Hirsi Ali said she was invited to speak – perhaps you have some evidence that she was, but there was definitely a different commencement speaker scheduled and regardless….

        (1) she was invited to speak at a later time, an offer which she declined and,(2), she was not “censored.”

        ==> By revoking Hirsi’s honorary degree she was effectively disinivited to speak at the graduation ceremonies.

        Even looking past your rhetorical device of “effectively,” I love it when “skeptics” draw conclusions for which they have insufficient evidence in support.

        ==> Your deflections compel me to offer some descriptions of Hirsi by journalists:

        Lol. So I made you do it? I love that one, too. What ever happened with “conservatives” and “personal responsibiity/’

        ==> Regardless of how you recall the disinvitation of Hirsi, your apologies for Brandies University fall flat….

        I’m not “apologizing” for Brandeis. As I suggest above, I don’t know that I even agree with their decision. Here’s what I do believe.

        In reaction to faculty and student objections to someone who has talked about a war on Islam, and defeating Islam, I can understand why the University revoked the honorary degree. A University has an obligation to take into account the reactions of its community. On the other hand, i respect many of Hirsi Ali’s accomplishments. Should she have been offered an honorary degree? Should the offer have been revoked in light of the criticism by members of the University community? I don’t know, but I think that reasonable people can disagree on the topic – and I think that interesting discussions can take place (perhaps if Hirsi Ali had accepted the offer to speak at a later time such a discussion would have taken place).

        For me, the larger problem is when people with a political agenda exploit such incidents, where reasonable people might disagree, by leveraging important issues such as freedom of expression and “censorship.”

        As such, it is rather like when “skeptics” wail about “censorship” when their comments are deleted on blogs, or who cry “Lysenko” when their arguments about climate change are attacked, or who exploit the important issue of holocaust denial by drama-queening about being called “deniers.” This is all partisan, indentity-protective posturing that only perpetuates the polarization that is an obstacle in the way of reasonable stakeholder dialogue.

        Hirsi Ali’s freedom of expression was not materially impacted. She was not “censored.” Her ability to voice her opinions, and for students and others to hear what she has to say, has not been significantly diminished. The decision to offer her an honorary degree, as was the decision to revoke that offer, were largely symbolic and ceremonial, and the real-world implications should be viewed within the larger context.

        Perhaps if more people put down their royal tiaras there could be productive discussions about such events as that which took place at Brandeis?

      • And so it goes ..

        The unheard want to be heard. Fair enough. There are better ways to do this than others.

        Once heard, then what ? Then you have to separate real from imaginary problems. Prioritize them. Then evaluate resources that are available. Then suggest measureable solutions based on those resources.

        It can be rather fun to fix stuff.

  48. Could it be that students are being taught that socialism or communism is better than capitalism? That the US is an aggressor nation and the other nations victims? It could be that, I think. From the article:

    Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa is receiving criticism for one class assignment on the Cold War. Based on a worksheet handed out in a social studies class last week, many are questioning whether the lesson is promoting communism over capitalism and calling it “ communist indoctrination.”

    The assignment’s first page features an editorial cartoon: One side depicts capitalism, with two poorly dressed factory workers with balls and chains on their ankles and a well dressed businessman smoking a cigar, reaping the profits. The other side depicts communism, with two decently dressed, smiling factory workers and the profits from work returning to them.

  49. Wayne Booth, a dean a U Chicago, in the late 70s book Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent mentioned that each side reproduces the boilerplate of the other side without comment as support for their side.

    I think he also said that a dean’s job was donations and riot control.

  50. Socialism/Fascism:

    One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.
    Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg’s great book “Liberal Fascism” cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.
    Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.
    It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the left distanced themselves from fascism and its Nazi offshoot — and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.

  51. From the article:

    Since 2013, new pressure from the federal government has reinforced this trend. Federal antidiscrimination statutes regulate on-campus harassment and unequal treatment based on sex, race, religion, and national origin. Until recently, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights acknowledged that speech must be “objectively offensive” before it could be deemed actionable as sexual harassment—it would have to pass the “reasonable person” test. To be prohibited, the office wrote in 2003, allegedly harassing speech would have to go “beyond the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds offensive.”

    But in 2013, the Departments of Justice and Education greatly broadened the definition of sexual harassment to include verbal conduct that is simply “unwelcome.” Out of fear of federal investigations, universities are now applying that standard—defining unwelcome speech as harassment—not just to sex, but to race, religion, and veteran status as well. Everyone is supposed to rely upon his or her own subjective feelings to decide whether a comment by a professor or a fellow student is unwelcome, and therefore grounds for a harassment claim. Emotional reasoning is now accepted as evidence.

    • Nice link.

      Notice the increasing trend in conflict avoidance. Can you envision where this trend goes in the next 5 years ?

      Do you think the conflict goes away ?
      What happens to it ?
      Is it expressed in another fashion ?

      Btw, part of the populism rise of Trump is because a significant part of the population are tired of conflict avoidance. He is the unintended consequence of that trend.

      • One more good reason to get rid of the Department of Education and consolidate the law enforcement departments back to two: the FBI and CIA.

    • Gramsci 101 instructions to Marxists, ‘the route to
      power is best taken via a long march through the
      institutions.’ – Done.. Saul Alinsky 9th Rule for
      Radicals, ‘avoid debate by systematic silencing,
      marginalizing and ridiculing people of opposing
      views.’ – Done. Values changed, free speech
      conditional on who is the speaker.

  52. jim2 | March 26, 2016 at 11:24 am in moderation (It’s by Thomas Sowell who used the “H” it , ler word.

  53. Shermer wrote : “fear of being made to feel”

    Lesson one for any college student: Your feelings exist. How you deal with them and how you choose to live your life is up to you. Developing this awareness is an important part of the college experience. Grow up, for God’s sake, or get out of the way and let the grown ups run the world while you waste your life contemplating all of your hurt feelings.

  54. During my time on campus I was heavily involved in student government over a number of years. One thing no one is talking about is the enormous amount of money and people being poured into “student activism” on behalf of radical Islamism. I’m not talking about regular mainstream Muslims going about their business. I’m talking about the well organized and well paid proPalestinian activists in Muslim Brotherhood associated groups who have so many professional activists who take one or two rink dink courses a semester, just enough to maintain their student status, and then spend the rest of their time actively lobbying for getting rid of anything Jewish or Israeli on campus. I don;t think it is a coincidence that the whole Global Warming ideology essentially discredit science and allows no variance from the party line. These same Islamist activists also show up time and again in organized thuggery like the rioting at Ferguson, led by an Islamists associated group. Palestinian flags have been seen prominently displayed at the violent antiTrump protests in Chicago. I personally see this as a well organized and well funded drive to slowly make campuses over into places where dissent is not tolerated, and violent oppression and aggression of dissenters is normalized. This is a set up for a revolution from within. And the socialist who want their own kind of revolution go right along with it, apparently either ignoring or ignorant of the fact that socialists helped put the Mullahs in power in Iran and the first thing Khomeini did was order the execution of all the socialists. Is it just a great conspiracy of Islamists? Of course not, but they sure have a whole lot of money and energy and time to devote to this project.

    • ==> who take one or two rink dink courses a semester, just enough to maintain their student status,

      Really? And there I thought that maintaining a student visa required more than that. Good thing that we have “skeptics” around to check up on such things before they advocate.

      • Snark retracted. You said student status, not student visa status.

      • I am speaking from own experience in student government and last time I checked maintaining your student VISA is easy. Sign up for enough courses and then drop them. When they come after you, sign up for more, then drop them. You really think the government spends a lot of time checking up on student VISA requirements? Plus there are a lot of hard working Islamists student in faculties like engineering, like the one who was working full-time on his degree but still found time to round up every single person he knew was Muslim for prayers and sermons from a local Wahabist preacher. This guy was insistent and pernicious in his insistence and students complained to me about how he did this but no one would stand up to him and say “No I am too busy to do prayers now. I will catch up later.” The fear of being called a bad Muslim was too great. It’s there. You can check it for yourself. Now ask yourself why you react the way you do. Who is afraid of Islamist backlash?

      • tumble – see retraction above.

        Beyond that:

        ==> You really think the government spends a lot of time checking up on student VISA requirements?

        I have some first-hand experience with this, and actually in my experience the checks are pretty extensive. I suppose it varies to some degree by institution, but at the institutions where I worked, compliance was taken quite seriously.

        For example:

        ==> Sign up for enough courses and then drop them.

        From what I’ve seen, that doesn’t work – course load, attendance and completion of courses was monitored…and that it’s a completely different scenario than the one you described…kind of tough to have a convo if you keep moving the goalpost.

        That doesn’t mean that a fair number of students don’t game the system of stay in country even when their visa is no longer valid.

        ==> but no one would stand up to him and say “No I am too busy to do prayers now. I will catch up later.

        I’ve worked with a fair number of devout Muslim students, who prioritized prayer…but who in no way do I consider to be anything other than excellent students. It was quite impressive, actually, how they managed to accommodate their religious practice while meeting their academic requirements (often at a very high level).

        ==> Now ask yourself why you react the way you do. Who is afraid of Islamist backlash?

        Huh? I don’t know. Who is “afraid of an Islamist backlash? What does that even mean?

        Am I concerned about further driving a wedge between Western society and many of the 1.5 billion Muslims who are not terrorists? Sure. Am I concerned about marginalizing the many American Muslims who are productive members of our society? Sure.

        Can you elaborate more on your point?

      • 1) Moving the goal post. My experience. Stuff I have seen in Canada. May or may not apply at your institution. Certainly did at mine. 2) All the nice Muslims in the world. I have been very careful and very explicit to make absolutely certain I always differentiate between ordinary Muslims and radical fundamentalist Islamists which are two very different things. In fact the radical Islamists, who want to bring Sharia law to the USA and force all their fellow Muslims around them to conform to their standard of the region or risk being labeled an apostate, absolutely LOVE to hide among the majority of Muslims who would never consider blowing people up and chopping heads off and taking sex slaves. They absolutely love it and encourage it when nice decent people (like you) refuse to allow any criticism of them and their actions on the basis of hurting and marginalizing all the nice normal Muslims that do not do such things they hide among. The engineering student I am talking about was not religious in a way worthy of anyone’s respect. He was a fundamentalist zealot promoting a hate filled supremacist ideology and going around and gathering up all the Muslims he could, whether or not they wanted to go, and forcing them to attend including by threatening to make sure their family back home learned how they were not going to prayers. He also harassed female students who he knew were Muslim and were not wearing a hijab or who were talking to males who were not relatives. When you refuse to take note of the difference, you assist the radicals in their agenda. And you assist radical Islam in the oppression and misery of the “of the 1.5 billion Muslims who are not terrorists and who are marginalizing the many American Muslims who are productive members of our society.” I don’t know why you want to do that. If you really want to protect the many good Muslims I would suggest you learn the difference. And that is my elaboration of my point.

      • ==> When you refuse to take note of the difference, you assist the radicals in their agenda. And you assist radical Islam in the oppression and misery of the “of the 1.5 billion Muslims who are not terrorists and who are marginalizing the many American Muslims who are productive members of our society.”

        I agree – and it’s not only confusing that you’d apparently think that I don’t, but it also suggests a notable lack of skepticism on your part.

    • I appreciate reading your experience in student government. Now imagine the same techniques used by small groups in disenfranchised communities. It’s a powerful tool because we have allowed the dissenting minority to rule the greater good.

      It is a brilliant strategy used to turn well intentioned freedoms on their head. How does it stop ?

      Over the decades I’ve become annoyed at the backlash style of governance. As Ive aged I’ve grown to appreciate the fact that such backlash is possible. It’s a sign of health that such a phenomenon can exist at all.

      The current phase is the transition component of that backlash cycle. Lots of fighting and knashing of teeth during that phase.

      The greatest threat is typically the one you never see coming. You’re unprepared. Almost like magic it shows itself to an unsuspecting populace. It’s a thrilling moment because us humans think we can figure out and be prepared for anything.

      Our hubris creates urgency and the urgency creates growth because there is no time to consider all opinions as equal.

  55. An example of fair speech at a university.

    Note, I defend the guy’s right to say what he said, but the guy is an idiot.

    Amazing where the path is leading. You think it’s bad now? Check out what this hypersensitivity and political correctness did to over 1400 girls in Rotherham, England.

    That’s what happens when you adopt the axiomatically inconsistent Multi-Culturalism/Political Correctness that originated in Europe after WW II (why do we feel compelled to get rid of our freedoms because Europe is? Europe is dying).

    • Thanks Ed.

      I had never heard about the Rotterdam story. Its a seminal example of ignoring evil because you fear upsetting evil. If that doesn’t stop and make one think then I’m not sure what does.

      I take that back. If it happens to you or yours that is almost gauranteed to shock folks out of the cognitive dissonance.

      • catweazle666

        “I had never heard about the Rotterdam story”

        That would be Rotherham, a highly multiculturally enriched town in South Yorkshire, England.

        In fact, it is now known that it constitutes the tip of a very big iceberg, there are hundreds of alleged child molesters now being tried and coming up for trial in many other towns and cities in Great Britain, and has been ongoing for well over a decade.

        In every case the the grooming, child prostitution and gang rape was turned a blind eye to by police, local council officials and social workers because it was feared that any interference with it might damage “social cohesion”. There is also some suspicion that some of the authorities participated in the activities and that brown envelopes changed hands.

        There is one documented case where a father attempted to intervene and rescue his daughter, the police became involved, and it was he who ended up in court.

        For a little historical background, this is very revealing, in particular the involvement the National Council for Civil Liberties and of senior members of the British Labour Party.

        It is also informative to research the morality of the EU and German Green parties, in particular with respect to the activities of a certain Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

      • Thanks for the spelledit and followup links. I’ll do my part to raise awareness of this story thru my network.

        Btw, I’m using dragons speak software and I kind of like it. Apologies ahead of time for sloppy script. I’m working on it.

      • knutesea,

        The phrase “You can’t make this up” comes to mind. The actions of the Rotherham city council is so bizarre and horrifying as to be unimaginable. We are talking about 1400 girls in a city in a country that helped develop the basic structure of Western law.

      • catweazle666

        An anecdote from the above tale of the 1,400 children groomed and gang raped by a certain group.

        The head of childrens’ services on Rotherham council during this period was a certain Joyce Thacker. She had no problem whatsoever turning a blind eye to this frightening catalogue of abuse in order to foster “community cohesion”, yet removed three children from perfectly adequate foster parents because they were members of the United Kingdom Independence Party.

        And knutesea, the town in question was not Rotterdam which is in Holland but Rotherham, which is in England.

      • Yes weezie. Autocorrect noted multiple times. For the record, I tie my shoes with laces.

        Excellent footnote. Thanks. Tolerance of the wrong things creating horrible consequences. If you haven’t caught the latest news interview by Stephen Miller in the US … advisor to Trump .. please do so.

        Also might want to read recent US Attorney declaration that minorities and the poor should not be held accountable to the law as others … disparate impact … blah blah

        The alternative universe is accelerating. I can’t remember it being this upside down … it’s a tad eerie.

  56. In the present environment who in academia is going to call the global warming establishment on its glorification of pseudoscience –e.g., Students’ unions are not just a pc-gone-mad sideshow but a prism through which you can see Western civilisation doing away with itself (see, The suppression of free speech on university campuses is reaching epidemic levels). Raw data has even been manipulated to show warming where there was none with no record of any science whatsoever that would justify such adjustments.

    • I suspect that the overwhelming number of scientists put their head down and focus on the integrity of the little piece of science that they do … the data that they collect.

      I would almost guarantee that they feel fulfilled that they have achieved a noble pursuit to gather that information and then hand it over to the folks who decide what it means.

      The conflict avoidance is a nice warm blanket on a cold night.

  57. JUDITH, you dumb clown, you better put a muzzle on this little fool or you are going to find yourself in the middle of some –snip–.

  58. Classic case example of the limits on speech. On that last presidential primary thread little David Springer made a series of comments harrassing, demanding I tell him where he can find me making implied threats and even an attempt to extort $1000 out of me. I warned the little maroon, I repeated alerted Judith, and Judith turned a blind eye to his pathological foolishness. Now the little clown has committed open and shut prima facie slam dunk libel per se. Pity the fool.

    You better wake up JUDY!

  59. If a climatologist and a politician were both drowning, and you could only save one of them, would you go to lunch or read the paper?

  60. Another good reason to deep six the Dept. of Education. From the article:

    Recent violent attacks against teachers in the St. Paul, Minnesota public schools are being linked to the adoption of the Obama administration’s “equity” policies that have grown into an ideology in which certain racial and ethnic groups have become “untouchable” when it comes to school disciplinary action.

    • Obama continues to divide the US by race. He is the biggest racist of all.

      • 20 to 30 years from now, books will be published juxtaposing his unity speech with his actions taken. I don’t think history will treat this kindly.

      • jim2 is disappointed in Obama failing to live up to his Uncle Tom expectations by putting Blacks in their place and sucking up to white bigots.

  61. The problem with modern Western academia is that useless science weakens the good science, students don’t know the difference between the useless and the good and the schoolteachers make a living keeping it that way. Truth is just one of many victims of public education.

  62. Judith: Did you or any of your peers have difficulties with a workplace that was “hostile to women” during you first years out of college working in a profession that had been exclusively male in the past? The law now requires a workplace that is non-hostile to a “reasonable person”. Now the definition of a reasonable person is being stretched to cover people who may be unreasonably sensitive in the eyes of many. How do you draw a line?

    • Yes, it was a good idea to root out the low hanging fruit of abuse in the workplace. Now, the concept is being turned on its head to BE abusive.

      But we, the people, we do this all the time with a good idea. I guess the best we can do is ride the ridiculousness wave until it becomes so bad it changes and then we come up with a new new solution.

    • I have ‘hostile’ stories that would make your hair stand on end. I will eventually write my memoirs . . .

  63. It’s dismaying to see Shirmer opine that the 1960s and 1970s represented “moral progress.” On the contrary, the student protests and drug-dazed hippie movement represented a step backward toward total dis-enculturation. The gob-smacking ironies that pass for social thinking on today’s campuses are the product of allowing the least experienced and world-wise to discard out of hand the highly multi-faceted, critical heritage of human civilization, all in favor of absolutist puerile constructs. It’s become Lord of the Flies in spades.

  64. “The appeal of universities to me was a sense of freedom — to explore ideas and to engage with a broad spectrum of intelligent and interesting people.”-JC

    But there were also plenty of political nutters around too, Judith, even when I became an undergraduate (later than you). No one in the science and engineering departments payed much attention to them because they went to university to learn something useful, not cut their political teeth.

    I think nothing much has changed except that the nutters are now accepted into the science departments in greater numbers because number of students is more important than the subject.

  65. Jim D,

    A little while ago, you wrote –

    “A couple of points. First, whether on a campus or in a workplace certain kinds of speech and behavior that intimidate, denigrate, belittle or denounce other groups are not welcome, so campus rules against this type of thing prepare a student for a normal professional working environment.”

    And the student grows up, becomes a neurosurgeon, and addresses a group of students on a university campus. Some students then proceed to attempt to ” intimidate, denigrate, belittle or denounce” him, presumably in an attempt to shut him up, rather than listen in respectful silence to someone who was once in the same position as they.

    It seems that advocates of “free speech” use a Warmist definition, which changes depending on the feelings de jour of the “free speech” advocate.

    This is the reason I support unfettered free speech. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. There is many a goose who could benefit from a good gander at himself, scrutinising carefully for signs of hypocrisy or double standards.

    Do you support the right of demonstrators to try to shout down a speaker with whom they disagree? Why are they so terrified of words? As Jefferson pointed out, words will neither pick your pocket, nor break your leg.

    Here is your opportunity to introduce an irrelevant and pointless analogy – referring to tobacco, doctors, or babies and bath water. Over to you.


    • If the united States government sent protestors to interrupt the neurosurgeon’s speech, it would be a violation of his constitutional right to free speech. If a private citizen(s) heckles him… local governments/universities can regulate aspects, but if they push it too far, the heckler’s rights to free speech would be the problem.

      Protestors outside of abortion clinics get to be very close because ordinances that required them to be far away were deemed a violation by the government of the protestors’ right to free speech.

    • “As Jefferson pointed out, words will neither pick your pocket, nor break your leg.”

      Damn Mike. Wiggle worm and cool Jefferson quote all in one year. Keep em comin.

    • Mike, to your surprise, I do oppose heckling, and I think the university, having allowed a speech to take place should make sure that there is also some civility at it. They can do this by giving a warning about penalties for disruption and using cameras to identify the hecklers while restricting entry to students with ID only. There are ways to do this. Again, it is the university’s choice who they want speaking. Would having that person damage their reputation by making it look like an endorsement of their opinions? That is a consideration. Would they incite divisions on campus? Etc.

      • Jim D,

        I am not surprised. Warmists wiggle and jiggle, while managing to avoid actually providing a clear and unequivocal answer to the question asked.

        The rest of your comment is nothing more or less than the usual Warmist evasion and misdirection. For example, you state that a university “should make sure that there is also some civility at it.”

        Should? Some civility? Also? In addition to what, pray tell?

        You seem to be proposing penalties for free speech – by some, but not by others. As I have said before, I support unfettered free speech. You might be concerned about inciting divisions on campus, I’m not. You might wish to impose uniformity of thinking and speaking, according to your rules, backed up by penalties – presumably the same sorts of penalties proposed by some Warmists for anyone expressing an opposing view – but I don’t.

        I support unfettered free speech. You don’t. You and your ilk will win, but that’s how things go.


      • Penalties for disruptive behavior in public covers heckling. Don’t you agree? Or now you come out in favor of heckling because I am against. Funny how that switched. Maybe I should be in favor then. Confused now? I’ll leave it at that.

      • Jim D,

        I’ve said more than once “I support unfettered free speech. ”

        What part of that do you not understand?

        Here it is again – I support unfettered free speech. I’ve repeated myself, as you seem to unable to grasp the concept that “I support unfettered free speech.”

        To Warmist, an absolute statement such as “I support unfettered free speech.”, is obviously completely confusing. No evasion, no wriggling, no weasel words. “I support unfettered free speech.”

        Maybe you don’t – it certainly doesn’t appear that you do! Or, as a Warmist, do you say you do, then look for justifications to say you really don’t, but it’s not really your fault, the other guy did it first!

        If you don’t understand that “I support unfettered free speech.”, please let me know the part you don’t understand, and I’ll rephrase it in Nepali. At least you might have an excuse for your lack of comprehension.

        Of course, I’m assuming you know neither the Devenagari alphabet, or the Nepali language. Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’ll try to pick another language that I know, but you confess you don’t!


      • Your unfettered free speech includes demonstrators shouting down a speech then? Or is this fettered in some way? What do you mean “unfettered” in the context of demonstrators at speeches? Is there a line there? Perhaps they can hold signs or shout one or two words, but not a sentence, or you can’t have 5 people doing it at once? At what stage do you feel you have to fetter it?

      • Jim D,

        I repeat, what part of “I support unfettered free speech.” do you not understand?

        You appear to have problems comprehending. Have I used poor grammar, or have I used words incorrectly? Please let me know. I’ll try to help, if I can. Do you suffer from a learning disability? You should let me know if so. I’ll stop trying to confuse you with sentences containing five words.


      • You contradicted yourself, so I was trying to understand, but you didn’t answer any questions I had about it, so that’s that.

      • Jim D,

        I see you are accusing me of not answering your questions. I apologise. Often Warmists make an unsubstantiated silly assertion, put a question mark at the end, and claim it as a question.

        Maybe you referred to –

        “What do you mean “unfettered” in the context of demonstrators at speeches? Is there a line there?”

        When I say “unfettered”, I mean “unfettered”. You may have a Wobbly Whacko Warmist definition which constantly varies as you look at it, and depends on your surroundings.

        To non Warmists, definitions don’t generally change all that much.

        Now to your second question “Is there a line there?”, I would answer no, in accordance with my first answer. Maybe it’s a trick question.

        Please feel free to ask more questions. I can usually provide answers.


      • It’s just that going back and reading your 9:09pm comment that started this thread it looked like you were against people shouting down your hypothetical neurosurgeon. As the thread progressed, your position seemed to change, as I identified at the time, so I was trying to get clear what that actually was. Maybe it is now OK to you for unfettered hecklers to shout down your neurosurgeon, which you should have said in the first place.

    • I oppose heckling as well, Unfortunately, we are dealing with young adults who are prone to inappropriate behavior. Being freed from home may give some a sense of power and rebellion and some get wrapped in political movements to effect change, But I think tactics like heckling do more harm than good.

      • Joseph,

        So you oppose unfettered free speech as well? In general, or only for young adults? What about old adults? What sorts of inappropriate behaviour need to be evinced before the right to free speech is curtailed?

        Will you issue certificates allowing people to say certain things, based on your assessment of their behaviour?

        I have some Irish forebears. So I suppose I would be allowed to make jokes portraying the Irish as stupid, ignorant, boorish, and so on, on the basis of self deprecating humour. Could I tell Polish jokes, or blonde jokes, if I’m not blonde or Polish?

        Would I be allowed to support Zionism if I can’t prove I’m officially Jewish? What about supporting Buddhism or Communism? Both are legal In the US, even though there have been repeated attempts to outlaw the Communist Party.

        How about calling for a boycott of Israel? Or maybe Iran? Allowable on campus, or only outside?

        I wonder if unfettered free speech would remove the necessities for considerations such as these. You win. Throw people in jail for saying the wrong thing. Try waterboarding them, or beatings combined with sleep deprivation. Let me know how it all works out.


      • Nothing that getting kicked out of college wouldn’t fix. It’s a waste of tax dollars to coddle new age with zero appreciation for the experience and rights of those who pay the bills.

      • Mike Flynn reveals he has Irish ancestors.

        “I have some Irish forebears. So I suppose I would be allowed to make jokes portraying the Irish as stupid, ignorant, boorish, and so on, on the basis of self deprecating humor.”

        That’s inaccurate as well as offensive. The Irish are known being volatile, impulsive, aggressive, promiscuous, and fond of potatoes and strong drink.

      • Max1ok,

        You nearly got me there!

        I forgot to mention that I’m a congenital intermittent liar. You never know whether I’m telling the truth or not. Am I being truthful? Do you care?

        You’re a Warmist. Should be easy for you to figure out. Let me know.


      • Mike, calm down, I am not proposing any laws (rules), Just giving my opinion about heckling.

      • Joseph,

        I understand. Unfortunately, you went on to say unfortunately, and then provided additional comment which did not seem to support your initial opinion. I assumed you provided the middle two sentences for a reason, but I may have made an incorrect assumption.

        Am I correct in assuming you oppose heckling (otherwise known as exercising the right to speak freely), and view this desire to speak freely and openly as an unfortunate occurrence – being inappropriate behaviour by young adults?

        You state your opinion that heckling (exercising the right to free speech) does more harm than good. What sort of harm? To whom? Are we talking about the fragile flowers doing the heckling, or the hecklee?

        Be forthright, man! Don’t hold back! What the heck are you trying to say?


      • The constitution protects free speech, which is not at all the same thing as unfettered speech. Speech can be fettered in a whole hosts of ways, both by the government and by private entities and private citizens.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Now that you opened the door, it used to be tradition on St Patrick’s Day in Australia to tell many Irish jokes over radio in particular. What follows is a true, funny story, but there are deeper implications.

        The talk-back Jock: Hello, do you have an Irish joke today?
        Caller, a young Colleen lass with a soft voice and definite accent: I do not think it is very good of Aussie men like you to tell jokes to make the Irish sound stupid.
        Jock.: Well, that is what we are doing today.
        Colleen: Then I can ask you a question?
        Jock: Sure, what do you want to know?
        Colleen: I want you to tell me how to make an Irish lass pregnant.
        Jock: That’s caught me out. Haven’t heard this one before. So you tell me, how do you make an Irish lass pregnant?
        Colleen: Aye, and you think the Irish are stupid.
        (Click, end of call).

        If we have lost the ability to tell stories like this, then the thought police have won. Scary if they have.

      • Geoff Sherrington @ March 27, 2016 at 5:16 am

        Very good.

        + many.

      • David Springer

        Mike Flynn | March 26, 2016 at 11:31 pm |

        “I forgot to mention that I’m a congenital intermittent 1iar.”

        Not a problem. It goes without saying.

      • Geoff Sherrington,

        Most excellent. Mine is not nearly as good –

        Did you hear about the Irish tap dancer? Broke his ankle when he slipped and fell into the sink!

        I’m not game to venture into jokes about other ethnic groups. Our moderator lives in the US, after all.

        Thanks for the joke.


    • my favorite form of free speech is barrage jamming.
      otherwise known as Flynn’s comments.

      • Steven Mosher,

        Many thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment. I appreciate your support.


  66. Brian G Valentine

    Unless they make a career out of computer games in Mom’s basement, it appears that some young people may face adjustment difficulties in the working world.

    I would imagine that some employers are currently making accommodations for the trend.

    • Accommodations are already being made. No longer is it necessary to know how to do the job. There is a major push to use the bazillion data points to streamline decision making among the professional trades.

      My crystal ball doesn’t go out that far but it’s a necessary transitional step in order to direct westworld (great grade B flick) like robots.

  67. Brian G Valentine

    One positive and overlooked aspect of Trump U was that faculty were not confronted with outbursts reflecting hypersensitivity.

  68. May Easter 2016 resurrect the scientific revolution and renew faith in the inalienable rights granted humans by the Creator & Sustainer of every atom, life, and planet – as indelibly recorded in precise rest masses of 3,000 types atoms that compromise everything !

    Nature may expedite the transformation with a fair review and speedy publication of measurements over the past seventy years that refute the Standard Solar Model (tracking number NCLIM­16030433) and the climate models that assume the validity of the SSM:

  69. From the New York Times (worth a read, in my opinion) –

    “University of california adopts statement condemning anti-semitism”

    Gee. Will they be so quick to condemn “anti-anti-semtism”, I wonder.

    No free speech to be seen here. Really, who cares who condemns what? Are we all presumed to be sheeple, incapable of thought, blindly following the edicts from the latest condemnator?



  70. But wait, there’s more –

    “MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)—In an indication of shifting global attitudes toward the United States, the nation has become the laughingstock of the world for something other than its gun laws, a new survey of foreigners indicates.

    According to the survey, which was conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, America’s gun laws, which used to inspire the most derision toward the country from people around the world, now place a distant second.

    In another startling result, the U.S. Congress’s position on climate change, which in the past had been a leading candidate for making the U.S. the world’s favorite punch line, also finished far out of the money.

    In all the years we’ve done this survey, we have never had ninety-four per cent of respondents give an identical answer,” he said.

    When asked to explain why they chose the answer they did, a wide majority of those surveyed were unable to stop laughing long enough to give a coherent response, Logsdon said.”

    Nothing to do with freedom of speech, but obviously humour’s not dead in the US just yet. Give it time.


  71. Professor Curry,

    My excuse is that the other fella did it first. Sorry.

    As always,

  72. Brian G Valentine

    I wonder what measures President Chump will take to fix the current college campus dilemma.

    • He’s believes in pushing educational choice down to the local level and dismantling the centralized effect of DoE.

      Like with many of these social engineering agencies, the current POTUS has deeply embedded his administration’s stamp in policy and regulations. It will become a maze to unravel.

      Switching from one administration to another appears to take on the pattern of the first year is identifying what’s in the cubbard followed by the next few years of replacing theirs with yours and then trying to get reelected to implement them and push to the goal line to establish your pee line on the hydrant.

      • Brian G Valentine

        Raygun took the same approach, only to learn what is actually involved in dismantling a Federal Department.

  73. I just saw this, and am thinking it may be on point with this subject and general concerns expressed here from time to time.

    Let me make disclaimers first. More than anything else, except our modern electric system, I think that vaccinations provide far more good than harm. I think the evidence of such is as compelling as most anything of that sort we might know. I believe Andrew Wakefield is a charlatan and a disgrace. Asa private entity perhaps the Tribeca Film Festival has a right to do whatever they want for any reason. I’m not talking about free speech but a mindset. I don’t want to argue vaccines.

    But I am troubled by the manner in which he film was pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival. Co-founder of the festival Robert Deniro said, “But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca film festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for”.

    Most documentaries are skewed, have some dubious facts and evidence. But the statement is not about either. It seems it is censored because it does not “contribute” to a “hoped for” discussion. Are we headed towards where information is not judged as to whether it is true or false but rather helpful or unhelpful (truth and falsity) be damned?

      • There is a claim that the CDC is hiding evidence that would affirm Wakefield’s research. That is highly likely to be false.

    • The TFF is private and AFAIK the film wasn’t banned by the government. What about this action do you find disturbing?

    • PE –

      Pulling a film from the list of films you intend to show at your festival, for whatever reason you night cost, is not censorship. The film maker wad not prevented from mankind the film, Wakefield’s views have plenty of publicity.

      • For you and Jim2. If as part of a major well covered film festival someone pulled a film and the organizers gave as the rationale that it did not foster a “traditional” view of the family, that it “failed to foster conventional american values”, that it “reflected the views of radical elements, or that it failed to support the business that made america great. And you then reported that you were troubled by a growing tendency of private corporations to argue against rights for minorities, the disenfranchised,or some such … Wouldn’t you be annoyed by someone pointing out that private companies can do what they want, that others can show the film and talking like you were not aware of how the second amendment works?

      • Docuprops (documentary/propaganda) are produced often. I’m not sure where the rub is. Many are brought to completion and shelved. This happens for lots of reasons such as the timing is off, the impact is not what was expected by the financiers, it sucks, promoters position changes … blah blah

        Not sure what all the hoo haa is about.

    • I thought I was clear up front this is not about censorship. They can do what they want. They could say they are basing their decisions on astrology, that would be their right as we’ll, but it would be troubling to me if such a position became respected in society. (Chinese business bases things on lucky numbers. Private businesses here could do the same. The trend would troubleMe as well. ).

      I have a right to be troubled by private actions. You have a right not to like it. But it seems a poor move to one to charge me with understanding censorship. Which I figured would happen so I went out of my way to stop.

      I’m troubled that their rationale is offered publicly and likely accepted by many. They said, We consulted with scientists and think this does not contribute to the Dialouge. I would say asked scientists if it’s good or bad science, ask scientists if it’s true or false, but don’t ask scientists to help you control the diaolouge. If you disagree with me there, make your case, but don’t tell me I’m wrong about speech when up front I say that’s not the issue.

      • “The Festival doesn’t seek to avoid or shy away from controversy. However, we have concerns with certain things in this film that we feel prevent us from presenting it in the Festival program. We have decided to remove it from our schedule.”

      • JCH I don’t know if you are agreeing with me or not. I suspect for the Festival there are “acceptable” and “unacceptable” controversies. Those that say they like diversity often define diversity in only trivial ways. I do worry about calls made over vague concerns on certain things.

        I don’t think I could be more pro-vaccination or anti-Wakefield. But, unlike others, I don’t have the view that whatever works for my “team” or whatever hurts the other is implicitly good. While I am probably squarely in the same camp as the J’s on the topic of vaccination – I would give them a chance to make their case. I would not go to a site where the anti-vaxers are trying to sort out their position and offer a lot of “noise”. I would not characterize the arguments of those I disagree with for the sake of expediency. I am a strong believer, but no holds barred “true believers” scare me. I’d say let them develop and articulate their best position and then let the real evidence combat it.

        I would have never approved that film to begin but once accepted, I am worried about “controversy police” pulling it out (again not for state flaws but for how it would impact a dialogue). It was approved by the festival. The stated dismissal is that it did not contribute to the “hoped for” discussion. Many things of value end up doing something very different that contributing to the hoped for discussion. Inconvenient truths often (but not always) in fact have a way of doing that. But we should not dismiss them for that reason.

  74. Why is there space at all times for student gatherings? Why is that a given?

    Why cling to the rolling fields and dreaming spires? Those who can afford to fund, run, maintain or attend a traditional campus with all its glamour should feel free to do so as long as they face the real costs and pay the real costs. But none of it is needful.

    Lots of old buildings in average suburbs could be used as places of study. Lots of average suburbs would welcome the business. Don’t need prime real estate with rivers and parks just to read stuff, take notes etc. Courses requiring special space and equipment can have all that or locate themselves where such is already available.

    Why the society within society, the clubs, special accommodation, and a “student life” disconnected from everyone else’s life? Why have invited speakers to functions not connected with the business you are at university to transact? Just because it’s always been like that? Who’s the conservative now?

    By all means study and practice what really needs to be studied and practised (ie because it’s hard). Bring a sandwich and thermos for sustenance, or go out and buy something from a shop on a normal busy street full of normal busy people. Find a public park where old guys feed pigeons. No echo chamber out there!

    Everyone has the right to protest, but why should educational institutions provide acreage for protest and mass gatherings? How many other people can form a mob to shriek or demand stuff in the middle of the working week?

    To hell with the campus, and everything that comes with it. If you have an interest in dentistry or Icelandic, find a place to learn it and knuckle down. The absence of a campus and its herd mentality will concentrate the mind wonderfully; and if you do go to the pub or play a bit of sport your companions won’t be just like you.

    And there’s no education quite like mixing constantly with people who aren’t like you.

  75. From the article:

    Thomas DiMassimo, the unhinged radical leftist who was caught on camera trying to rush Donald Trump at a recent rally, pleaded not guilty in court this weekend.

  76. catweazle666

    tomthegreekguy: “Actually, Joshua, these non climate-related threads are a fascinating window into how much of a fascist you actually are.”

    Yes, a typical twenty-first century “Liberal”, in other words, Fascist through and through.

    Not a very pleasant character at all.

  77. William McClenney

    I’ve been amused to watch this “progression” for some time now. It occurs to me that this may be the result of what I now term Arrested Puberty Syndrome (APS). The problem or benefit bestowed by APS is the ability to remain in adolescence for life. In other words those affected by APS never graduate to adulthood. I offer Dr. Michael Mann as the “poster child” here.

    There are two cures for APS: grow up, or at a minimum, grow a skin. IMHO an adult may come to realize that no one, no one at all, ever, can actually offend them. The only thing that CAN happen is for an individual to relinquish their right to be offended to someone else.

    I take it as proof that when I point this out, the APS affiliate’s voice goes up a few octaves, their speech comes faster, they become emotionally upset. They often resort to slurs of various types, and are almost always observed to be defensive (stiffening up etc.) in terms of their body language. If you have ever cornered a child or adolescent over something, you will recognize these behaviors instantly.

    The problem on campuses, as I see it, is that the university’s are now being placed in the role of finishing up the job of parenting. Rather difficult if this job has been left unattended for some time by their real parents (whom may also suffer from APS).

    Just my 2c worth.

  78. “Dozens of text messages that a teenage girl sent to her boyfriend encouraging him to kill himself were just words and do not constitute a crime, her lawyer told the state’s highest court Thursday. But a prosecutor argued that Michelle Carter from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, pressured Conrad Roy III for weeks to end his life. They also say she engaged in ’emotional manipulation’ of a vulnerable teen who had struggled with depression and previously attempted suicide. The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments in Carter’s appeal of a juvenile court judge’s refusal to dismiss the manslaughter charge stemming from Roy’s 2014 death.”