Monday, February 19, 2018

Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee

I've been busy. That's my excuse. Back in October of last year, Charles Murray, spoke - that is, he tried to speak - at the University of Michigan. I started to write about it sometime in December. Here is what I wrote:

Yes, I should have posted this a while ago, like when the Detroit Free Press first reported it. But I kept having to do other things, so it languished. Others reported on it though. And the more I read about it, the worse it got. After reading all four of the reports, it seems to me that the original report in the Detroit Free Press was intended to minimize the disruptions caused by the junior fascists at U of M. They didn't debate Charles Murray. They harassed him and disrupted his talk. The anti-intellectual nitwits tried to shout him down. They put themselves in charge as the thought police. I doubt that a single one of them have ever read a single word he's written. Yet, based on the words of others who also wouldn't face him in a debate, decided that nobody had the right to hear what he had to say.
We know, based on stories of conservative speakers being denied the same rights as speakers from the liberal/progressive echo chamber on university campuses, that this sort of thing has become common. There are different rules for those who bow to and agree with the campus power structure - a structure which includes students and faculty - and those who don't.

Conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro and Ann Coulter are labeled as "divisive." They are "provocateurs." They engage in "hate speech." This means that they are in disagreement with current campus orthodoxy. And that must NOT be allowed! So they and the student groups who sponsor them are subject to different, more onerous rules. University administrators are all for free speech, or so they tell us - but! There is always a "but" that only applies to people like Shapiro and Coulter and others who are divisive, provocateurs, and promote hate speech. Campus fascists have redefined certain words in order to excuse their own fascism and fear of contrary opinions. It also conveniently let the rioters and disrupters off the hook. It's not their fault. How can they possibly take responsibility for their actions when they were provoked by a provocateur? Curse those Coulters and Shapiros for making peaceful, human rights respecting young adults into masked thugs!

No one who deviates from the orthodoxy can be tolerated.
A speech at Portland State University by James Damore, author of the infamous Google memo, was interrupted on Saturday night when activists reportedly smashed the sound system.
The former Google engineer is currently suing the Silicon Valley giant for firing him over the controversial ten page memo about gender diversity and the difficulty conservatives face at the company.The event was organized by student and journalist Andy Ngo, and his student group the Freethinkers. In response, the university organized multiple events to counter their panel.Live tweeting the event, Ngo reported that activists had staged a walkout before “smashing” the sound system, causing the microphones to not work for approximately ten minutes.
It wasn't enough for the university to offer multiple counter events, they also allowed student fascists to disrupt Damore's talk. But at least the disrupters at Portland and at U of M weren't "divisive." And nobody who destroyed the sound system at Portland State University was engaging in hate speech. And surely there were no provocateurs amongst the disrupters at either event.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Government Shutdown

Yes, I know, we are supposed to panic because the government was forced to shut down because our Congress couldn't come to an agreement over DACA. Of course it's Trump's fault. This kind of thing never happened under any previous president. Well, almost never.

Truthfully, I'd be more upset if my local 7-11 or Taco Bell shut down. I'd be hysterical if my favorite books store were to close. I know we are supposed to worry about the thousands of government workers who will not be paid, and the government functions that will not be performed. There are necessary services that the government provides, but if a shut down can provoke hysteria, maybe the government has grown too big and has taken over too many functions.

Just a thought.

I bet congressional paychecks will continue to be delivered, showdown or not, and even during the apocalypse.