Archive for the ‘#freespeech’ Tag

But He Didn’t Say That   Leave a comment

My first introduction to Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto clinical psychologist was when Brad asked me to watch an interview Peterson did with Camille Paglia. I didn’t care for the interview, mainly because Paglia likes to hear herself talk too much, but I did come away curious about Peterson, who up to that moment was a complete unknown to me.
Image result for image of jordan petersonI then caught his  interview with British journalist Cathy Newman a couple of weeks ago. Newman pressed Peterson to explain several of his controversial views, which is enlightening, but what struck me – more than his views — was the method Newman used in interviewing him. THIS is one of the main reasons I distrust the media today.First, a person says something. Then, another person restates what they purportedly said so as to make it seem their view is offensive, hostile, or absurd.

It’s not new or unique. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and various Fox News hosts all feature and reward this rhetorical technique. The Peterson interview showed so many successive examples that even our son, who couldn’t care less about politics or 90% of what Peterson and Newman were discussing, wondered why the interviewer kept inflating the nature of Peterson’s claims instead of addressing what he actually said.

I don’t dislike Cathy Newman. As British journalists go, she’s somewhat accurate and fair, although I don’t have extensive knowledge of her reporting. Restatement has a role in psychology and journalism, especially when trying to force a poor historian or an evasive subject to clarify their ideas. I suspect she has used that tactic to good effect elsewhere. It’s just that in this interview with Peterson, Newman relied on this technique to a remarkable degree, making it a useful illustration of a much broader pernicious trend. While Peterson was not evasive or unwilling to be clear about his meaning, Newman’s exaggerated restatements of his views mostly led viewers astray, not closer to the truth. She was telling people what she THOUGHT his words meant, rather than listening to what Peterson actually said.

Peterson began the interview by explaining why he tells young men to grow up and take responsibility for getting their lives together and becoming good partners. He noted he isn’t talking exclusively to men, and that he has lots of female fans.“What’s in it for the women, though?” Newman asked.

“Well, what sort of partner do you want?” Peterson said. “Do you want an overgrown child or do you want someone to contend with who is going to help you?”

“So you’re saying,” Newman retorted, “that women have some sort of duty to help fix the crisis of masculinity.”

Brad paused the interview at that point and asked me what I thought Peterson had said. I thought he posited a vested interest, not a duty.

“Women deeply want men who are competent and powerful,” Peterson asserted. “And I don’t mean power in that they can exert tyrannical control over others. That’s not power. That’s just corruption. Power is competence. And why in the world would you not want a competent partner? Well, I know why, actually, you can’t dominate a competent partner. So if you want domination—”

“So you’re saying women want to dominate, is that what you’re saying?” Newman interrupted.

The next section of the interview concerns the pay gap between men and women, and whether it is rooted in gender itself or other nondiscriminatory factors:

Newman: … that 9 percent pay gap,  that’s a gap between median hourly earnings between men and women. That exists.

Peterson: Yes. But there’s multiple reasons for that. One of them is gender, but that’s not the only reason. If you’re a social scientist worth your salt, you never do a uni-variate analysis. You say women in aggregate are paid less than men. Okay. Well then we break it down by age; we break it down by occupation; we break it down by interest; we break it down by personality.

Newman: But you’re saying, basically, it doesn’t matter if women aren’t getting to the top, because that’s what is skewing that gender pay gap, isn’t it? You’re saying that’s just a fact of life, women aren’t necessarily going to get to the top.

Peterson: No, I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, either. I’m saying there are multiple reasons for it.

Newman: Yeah, but why should women put up with those reasons?

Peterson: I’m not saying that they should put up with it! I’m saying that the claim that the wage gap between men and women is only due to sex is wrong. And it is wrong. There’s no doubt about that. The multi-variate analyses have been done. So let me give you an example––

The interviewer seemed eager to impute to Peterson a belief that a large, extant wage gap between men and women is a “fact of life” that women should just “put up with,” though all those assertions are contrary to his real positions on the matter.

Throughout this next section, the interviewer repeatedly tried to oversimplify Peterson’s view, as if he believes one factor he discusses is all-important. Then she seemed to assume that because Peterson believes that given factor helps to explain a pay gap between men and women, he doesn’t support any actions that would bring about a more equal outcome. 
 

Her surprised question near the end suggested earnest confusion:

Peterson: There’s a personality trait known as agreeableness. Agreeable people are compassionate and polite. And agreeable people get paid less than disagreeable people for the same job. Women are more agreeable than men.

Newman: Again, a vast generalization. Some women are not more agreeable than men.

Peterson: That’s true. And some women get paid more than men.

Newman: So you’re saying by and large women are too agreeable to get the pay raises that they deserve.

Peterson: No, I’m saying that is one component of a multi-variate equation that predicts salary. It accounts for maybe 5 percent of the variance. So you need another 18 factors, one of which is gender. And there is prejudice. There’s no doubt about that. But it accounts for a much smaller portion of the variance in the pay gap than the radical feminists claim.

Newman: Okay, so rather than denying that the pay gap exists, which is what you did at the beginning of this conversation, shouldn’t you say to women, rather than being agreeable and not asking for a pay raise, go ask for a pay raise. Make yourself disagreeable with your boss.

Peterson: But I didn’t deny it existed, I denied that it existed because of gender. See, because I’m very, very, very careful with my words.

Newman: So the pay gap exists. You accept that. I mean the pay gap between men and women exists—but you’re saying it’s not because of gender, it’s because women are too agreeable to ask for pay raises.

Peterson: That’s one of the reasons.

Newman: Okay, so why not get them to ask for a pay raise? Wouldn’t that be fairer?

Peterson: I’ve done that many, many, many times in my career. So one of the things you do as a clinical psychologist is assertiveness training. So you might say––often you treat people for anxiety, you treat them for depression, and maybe the next most common category after that would be assertiveness training. So I’ve had many, many women, extraordinarily competent women, in my clinical and consulting practice, and we’ve put together strategies for their career development that involved continual pushing, competing, for higher wages. And often tripled their wages within a five-year period.

Newman: And you celebrate that?

Peterson: Of course! Of course!

Note that she seemed disgusted with the idea that women would have to be assertive to get what they want in the workplace. Yeah, I couldn’t figure that one out either. Men have to be assertive to get what THEY want, so why shouldn’t women? Another passage on gender equality proceeded thusly:

Newman: Is gender equality a myth?

Peterson: I don’t know what you mean by the question. Men and women aren’t the same. And they won’t be the same. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be treated fairly.

Newman: Is gender equality desirable?

Peterson: If it means equality of outcome then it is almost certainly undesirable. That’s already been demonstrated in Scandinavia. Men and women won’t sort themselves into the same categories if you leave them to do it of their own accord. It’s 20 to 1 female nurses to male … something like that. And approximately the same male engineers to female engineers. That’s a consequence of the free choice of men and women in the societies that have gone farther than any other societies to make gender equality the purpose of the law. Those are ineradicable differences––you can eradicate them with tremendous social pressure, and tyranny, but if you leave men and women to make their own choices you will not get equal outcomes.

Newman: So you’re saying that anyone who believes in equality, whether you call them feminists or whatever you want to call them, should basically give up because it ain’t going to happen.

Peterson: Only if they’re aiming at equality of outcome.

Newman: So you’re saying give people equality of opportunity, that’s fine.

Peterson: It’s not only fine, it’s eminently desirable for everyone, for individuals as well as societies.

Newman: But still women aren’t going to make it. That’s what you’re really saying.

By this time Brad and I were both shaking our heads in wonderment and Keirnan was even saying “But that’s not what he was really saying!”

In this next passage Peterson shows more explicit frustration than at any other time in the program with being interviewed by someone who refuses to relay his actual beliefs:

Newman: So you don’t believe in equal pay.

Peterson: No, I’m not saying that at all.

Newman: Because a lot of people listening to you will say, are we going back to the dark ages?

Peterson: That’s because you’re not listening, you’re just projecting.

Newman: I’m listening very carefully, and I’m hearing you basically saying that women need to just accept that they’re never going to make it on equal terms—equal outcomes is how you defined it.

Peterson: No, I didn’t say that.

Newman: If I was a young woman watching that, I would go, well, I might as well go play with my Cindy dolls and give up trying to go school, because I’m not going to get the top job I want, because there’s someone sitting there saying, it’s not possible, it’s going to make you miserable.

Peterson: I said that equal outcomes aren’t desirable. That’s what I said. It’s a bad social goal. I didn’t say that women shouldn’t be striving for the top, or anything like that. Because I don’t believe that for a second.

Newman: Striving for the top, but you’re going to put all those hurdles in their way, as have been in their way for centuries. And that’s fine, you’re saying. That’s fine. The patriarchal system is just fine.

Peterson:  No! I really think that’s silly! I do, I think that’s silly.

Peterson never said “the patriarchal system is just fine” or that he planned to put lots of hurdles in the way of women. He never said women shouldn’t strive for the top or they might as well drop out of school, because achieving their goals or happiness is simply not going to be possible. Newman put all those words in his mouth by projecting her own bias’ upon him.

The conversation moved on to other topics, but the pattern continued. Peterson made a statement and the the interviewer interjected with “So you’re saying …” and filled in the rest with something that is less defensible, less carefully qualified, more extreme, or just totally unrelated to his point. I think my favorite example came when they began to talk about lobsters. Yeah, lobsters! Here’s the excerpt:

 

Peterson: There’s this idea that hierarchical structures are a sociological construct of the Western patriarchy. And that is so untrue that it’s almost unbelievable. I use the lobster as an example: We diverged from lobsters evolutionarily about 350 million years ago. And lobsters exist in hierarchies. They have a nervous system attuned to the hierarchy. And that nervous system runs on serotonin just like ours. The nervous system of the lobster and the human being is so similar that anti-depressants work on lobsters. And it’s part of my attempt to demonstrate that the idea of hierarchy has absolutely nothing to do with sociocultural construction, which it doesn’t.

Newman: Let me get this straight. You’re saying that we should organize our societies along the lines of the lobsters?

To this, Keirnan cracked “Yes, he proposed that we all live on the sea floor … except for those who want to live in the seafood tanks at restaurants.” We all got a good laugh out of that, but the kid has a point. It’s laughable. Absolutely ludicrous. Peterson, to his credit, tried to keep plodding along.

Peterson: I’m saying it is inevitable that there will be continuities in the way that animals and human beings organize their structures. It’s absolutely inevitable, and there is one-third of a billion years of evolutionary history behind that … It’s a long time. You have a mechanism in your brain that runs on serotonin that’s similar to the lobster mechanism that tracks your status—and the higher your status, the better your emotions are regulated. So as your serotonin levels increase you feel more positive emotion and less negative emotion.

Newman: So you’re saying like the lobsters, we’re hard-wired as men and women to do certain things, to sort of run along tram lines, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

She was actually tracking until she added the extreme “and there’s nothing we can do about it”? Peterson is a clinical psychologist who coaches people to change how they relate to institutions and to one another within the constraints of human biology. Of course he believes that there is something that can be done about it.

He brought up the lobsters only in an attempt to argue that “one thing we can’t do is say that hierarchical organization is a consequence of the capitalist patriarchy.”At this point, we’re near the end of the interview. And given all that preceded it, Newman’s response killed me. She took another accusatory tack with her guest:

Newman: Aren’t you just whipping people up into a state of anger?

Peterson: Not at all.

Newman: Divisions between men and women. You’re stirring things up.

Actually, one of the most important things this interview illustrates—one reason it is worth watching (find it on You-Tube) —is how Newman repeatedly posed as if she were holding a controversialist accountable, when in fact, for the duration of the interview, it was she who was “stirring things up” and “whipping people into a state of anger.”

At every turn, she took her subject’s words and made them seem more extreme, more hostile to women, or more shocking in their implications than Peterson’s remarks themselves support. Almost all of the most inflammatory views that were aired in the interview were ascribed by Newman to Peterson, who then disputed that she had accurately characterized his words.

There are moments when Newman seems earnestly confused, and perhaps was. But if it was merely confusion, why did she consistently misinterpret him in the more scandalous, less politically correct, more umbrage-stoking direction?

I hadn’t followed Peterson enough to know what I thought of him when I watched the interview, but I have since gone out and listened to several of his lectures and interviews and I find a lot of good meat in his arguments, though I don’t wholly agree with him because I think Jungians take their archetypes far too seriously.  I’m just pointing out that Newman’s interview techniques were unhelpful and unfair because they were untruthful. Those who credulously accept the interviewer’s characterizations will emerge with the impression that a prominent academic holds troubling views that, in fact, he does not actually believe or advocate. Distorted impressions of what figures like Peterson mean by the words that they speak can only exacerbate overall polarization between their followers and others, which will actually make it harder for their critics to push back against any wrong ideas.Lots of culture-war fights are unavoidable because they are rooted in earnest, deeply-felt disagreements over the best values or societal goods. The best we can do is have those fights with some civility rules to prevent duels at dawn. Disagreements are inevitable in a pluralistic democracy, but reducing needless division requires that we accurate characterize the views of folks with differing opinions, rather than distort their works so that existing divides become more intractable. That sort of exaggeration or hyperbolic misrepresentation is epidemic in the Western world today and we are long overdue for addressing it … for everyone’s sake.
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The Battle of Berkeley 4: Peace and Another Victory for the Deplorables   Leave a comment

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https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/05/jack-kerwick/peaceful-victory-deplorables/

Image result for battle of berkeley riotIn February, the terrorist wing of the Democrat Party, the so-called “anti-fa” (“antifascist”), rioted at University of California at Berkeley in order to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos from delivering a speech.  The anti-American leftist thugs randomly assaulted innocents, threw Molotov cocktails, clashed with police, and smashed windows.  By the time it was all said and done, they had caused well over $100,000 worth of property damage.

This is now being regarded as the first Battle for Berkeley.  And the left won.

In March, a pro-Trump rally was held once more at the home of the so-called “free speech movement.”  It was here that the world was introduced to Kyle Chapman, aka, “the Based Stickman.”  The latter, along with several other patriots who were disgusted at the sight of rabid leftists beating up innocents while the police did absolutely nothing, came prepared to do battle. In spite of being outnumbered, Chapman and his brothers-in-arms protected innocents and held their ground.

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Physically speaking, the second Battle for Berkeley was a draw of sorts.  However, the Stickman instantly became an internet sensation, a meme that went viral. Psychologically speaking, this battle was a victory for the right, for the Stickman symbolized for countless numbers that if only American patriots would dare to stand up to leftist thugs, they could and would prevail.

On April 15, the Patriots held one more rally at Berkeley.  The “anti-fa” arrived in large numbers. They were armed with every weapon short of a gun.  The police, under the order of a leftist mayor, again stood down.

Only this time, the Patriots descended upon Berkeley in numbers dwarfing those that had appeared in the past. Though they had been disarmed by police, they had their helmets and shields.

And they were pissed.

When the anti-Americans charged, the Patriots fought back.  They inflicted a humiliating—though richly deserved—beating upon the terrorists before chasing them from their home, the heart of Leftism.

Footage of the Battle of Berkeley 3 is all over the internet.  Even the anti-American leftists had no option but to acknowledge that they lost.  The right achieved a glorious victory, both physically and psychologically.

When Ann Coulter ultimately backed out of the speech that she swore she would deliver at Berkeley on Thursday, April 27, many of those Patriots who traveled from across the country to support her were, at the very least, disappointed.  Coulter gave conflicting reasons for her reversal: (1) The Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), which was supposed to sponsor her, tucked its tail between its legs and ran; and (2) She didn’t trust Berkeley administrators and police to protect her.

Neither of these excuses passes the smell test.

Coulter is a woman of means. She could have easily arranged to speak on her own dime—as did many others, folks with far fewer resources than Ann possesses, who came to Berkeley on the 27th to speak in her place. As far as protection goes, she knew in advance that legions of patriots had planned on being in Berkeley to safeguard her and the right of all Americans to self-expression.

Coulter hinted that she may still swing by Berkeley to say “hello” to her supporters.  She didn’t even do that much.  She should have.

By all accounts, thankfully, no one was harmed.  Remarkably, there was no violence.

The “anti-fa” was present.  So too, though, were the Patriots—the Proud Boys, Bikers for Trump, Civil Defense Action, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters. And the latter were ready to defend themselves and innocents if the police had planned on following what had become their standard operating procedure.

Yet—surprise, surprise!—the police were proactive this time around.  They were actually acting like cops!  I think I know why.

While I have no proof of this, it is my suspicion that the mayor of Berkeley, an alleged member of BAMN (“By Any Means Necessary”) and an “anti-fa” sympathizer, had arranged for the police to stand down as long as he was confident that his ideological ilk would run roughshod over his political opponents.  In other words, the left knows and has known that the key to defeating the rest of us—the key to “fundamentally transforming” the culture, to borrow a term that Barack Obama infamously used—is to drive themselves into its collective consciousness.

To put it more exactly, leftists have known that through threats and exhibitions of violence, it can instill fear in the psyches of those who they want to either “transform” or otherwise silence.  So, for example, if enough Trump supporters and/or conservative Americans see their compatriots having the snot beaten out of them, leftists think, then the Deplorables will grow demoralized.

Thus, it is good politics, with all of the psychological warfare that this entails, for the rest of the country to witness Berkeley in flames and folks with MAGA hats and American flags getting battered.

But what happens when those Deplorables fight back?  What happens when those Deplorables not only fight back, but turn the tables on their assailants?  The video of the MAGA-hat and American flag sporting men, dressed as warriors, beating and running the anti-American left out of Berkeley, of all places, is terrible political theater from the militant left’s perspective.

Worse, it is the Deplorables who reaped the psychic gains.

Things being what they are, it is my guess that the mayor and his fellow ideologues decided that they didn’t want to risk another humiliating defeat. After all, they knew that the Deplorables had every intention of fighting back with all of the tenacity that they displayed the last time around—and maybe even more.

The Battle of Berkeley 4, though a cold confrontation, was another victory for patriots.  The Deplorables entered the belly of the beast, said what they came to say, and left unscathed.

To repeat, this was another psychological win.

As most of us learned when we were but children, when bullies are made to swallow a dose of their own medicine, they are more likely to whistle a different tune.

Some of the punks in Berkeley may be learning the hard way.  The terrorist left in general, on the other hand, is far from having learned its lesson.  But they will, for as long as they insist upon attacking innocents, the ranks of right-wingers who are willing and able to fight back will continue to swell.

What the Founders Thought   1 comment

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Wisdom of Originalist Interpretation   Leave a comment

Generally, we learn what is wise by watching what is stupid. This is as true in viewing the Supreme Court’s decisions as in almost everything else. The Supreme Court hardly has a history of making profoundly wise decisions. We all remember Dred Scott v Sanford (1857) and Plessy v Ferguson (1896), but hardly anyone remembers the that Civil War and Reconstruction occurred between and yet different justices ruled very similarly in both cases because they were politically influenced. We now look back on these two decisions and shake our heads, wondering how our constitutional republic could have allowed the practices the Supreme Court said were okay. There are many other SCOTUS cases where the decision was stupidly influenced by politics (or fear of the president) and later had to be reversed.

Image result for image of shouting fire in a crowded theaterIn a case that would define the limits of the 1st Amendment’s protection of the right to free speech, the Supreme Court decided the early 20th-century case of Schenck v. United States.

Shortly after the United States entered World War I, Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917, meant to prohibit interference with military operations or recruitment, prevent insubordination in the military, and prevent the support of hostile enemies during wartime.

Charles Schenck was an important Philadelphia socialist, general secretary of the Socialist Party of America, and opposed to the United States’ entry into the war. As part of his efforts to counter the war effort, Schenck organized the distribution of 15,000 leaflets to prospective military draftees encouraging them to resist the draft.

The leaflet began with the heading, “Long Live The Constitution Of The United States; Wake Up America! Your Liberties Are in Danger!” It went on to quote Section 1 of the 13th Amendment, which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude (unless you’re a felon, in which case it doesn’t apply to you). Schenck’s leaflet asserted that the draft amounted to involuntary servitude because “a conscripted citizen is forced to surrender his right as a citizen and become a subject.” The leaflet told conscripts that, “if you do not support you rights, you are helping to ‘deny or disparage rights’ which it is the solemn duty of all citizens and residents of the United States to retain.”

Schenck was arrested, and, among other charges, was indicted for “conspir[ing] to violate the Espionage Act … by causing and attempting to cause insubordination … and to obstruct the recruiting and enlistment service of the United States.” Schenck and fellow socialist Elizabeth Baer were both convicted following a jury trial and sentenced to six months in prison. They appealed appealed their convictions to the Supreme Court where they argued that their convictions—and Section Three of the Espionage Act of 1917, under which they were convicted—violated the 1st Amendment. They claimed that the Act had the effect of dissuading and outlawing protected speech about the war effort, thereby abridging the 1st Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech.

In a unanimous decision written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Supreme Court upheld Schenck’s conviction and found that the Espionage Act did not violate Schenck’s 1st Amendment right to free speech. The Court determined that Schenck had, in fact, intended to undermine the draft, as the leaflets instructed recruits to resist the draft. Additionally, the Court found that attempts made by speech or writing could be punished just like other attempted crimes.

The Court found that context was the most important factor in alleged violation of the 1st Amendment. The Court said that, while “in many places and in ordinary times” the leaflet would have been protected, the circumstances of a nation at war allowed for greater restrictions on free speech.

Justice Holmes wrote, “When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in a time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.”

Holmes famously analogized the United States’ position in wartime to that of a crowded  theater:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic … The question in every case is whether the words are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

This quote, while famous for its analogy, also gave the Court a pragmatic standard to use when faced with free speech challenges. The “clear and present danger” standard encouraged the use of a balancing test to question the state’s limitations on free speech on a case-by-case basis. If the Court found that there was a “clear and present danger” that the speech would produce a harm that Congress had forbidden, then the state would be justified in limiting that speech.

Only a year later, Holmes attempted to redefine the standard in Abrams v. United States (1919). Justice Holmes reversed his position and dissented, questioning the government’s ability to limit free speech. He didn’t believe the Court was applying the “clear and present danger” standard appropriately in the Abrams case, so he changed its phrasing, writing that a stricter standard should apply, that the state can only restrict and punish “speech that produces or is intended to produce clear and imminent danger that it will bring about forthwith certain substantive evils that the United States constitutionally may seek to prevent.”

The “clear and present danger” standard would last for another 50 years, until the Court finally replaced it with the “imminent lawless action” test inn Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969). This new test stated that the state could only limit speech that incites imminent unlawful action. This standard is still applied by the Court today to free speech cases involving the advocacy of violence.

So what does this hundred year old case have to do with us in 2017? People are still being charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. Since the decision in Schenck v. United States, those who have been charged under the act include Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs, executed communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Most recently, both Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have also been charged under the Act.

My base point here is that when people insist that the Supreme Court must be free to interpret the Constitution in light of their personal feelings about it rather than the words written in the Constitution, I balk because I know history and I know the Supreme Court justices have been wrong in the past and will be wrong in the future. That’s why I value originalists like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. They assuage flavor-of-the-decade politics to rule based on what the Constitution says rather than what’s trending on Twitter this week. And, that is what the Supreme Court was supposed to do originally. James Madison, the principle framer of the Constitution, objected strongly to it being subverted to other purposes and we should bear that in mind.

There is an appropriate way to change the rules upon which our nation is based. It’s called “amendment.” It’s not an easy process. It requires agreement by two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of both legislative chambers in each state. This assures that there is broad consensus across the entire country that we feel it is time to make a change rather than that a tiny minority has decided to bludgeon everyone else in the direction the minority thinks they know is best.

Free Speech   1 comment

Image result for image of free speechThe true test of your commitment to free speech isn’t when you permit others to say things you agree with. The true test is when you permit others to say things with which you disagree.

Progressive Thinking Errors   Leave a comment

Have you noticed that Democrats … really progressives in both parties … are freaking out lately? In a way, it’s fun to see. The media was so focused on the alleged extremism of the “conservatives” in the Republican Party that the extremism of the progressive Left in the Democratic Party was mostly ignored. Watching them trash cars and smash windows would be entertaining if it weren’t for the fact that people own those cars and windows. The dramatic impact of Democratic extremism on our economy and culture continue. Now that they’re showing themselves as the emotional adolescents some of us suspected they were, hopefully we’ve stopped living in denial, but I doubt it. Denial is so seductive.

Image result for image of speech codesModern progressivism perplexes me, mainly because of adherents’ intolerance to alternative viewpoints. Consider campus speech codes. When I was a student on campus in a pretty conservative/libertarian state, we used to gather around and debate different positions in the student union. Nobody got really mad (well, the huffy ones usually just walked away in a huff), sometimes we learned something, and occasionally we strengthened our own arguments for the next time. There was an unwritten rule that everybody had a right to an opinion and to state it, but everybody also had a right to disagree and to state their case. This wasn’t just a group of my friends. The entire campus understood that University of Alaska Fairbanks was a good place to test your intellectural, moral and philosophical boundaries.

Today, it appears that my children’s generation has adopted the utopian vision of an offenseless society where politically correct speech codes ensure that hypersensitive young people will never be confronted with angst-inducing dissent. Both of my kids, raised in my home, say they were amazed at the uniformity of their friends’ philosophies until they realized that any of them who disagree with the unitary view simply had been driven into silence. Statistics bear out their observations.

By a margin of 51 to 36 percent, students favor their school having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty. 63 percent favor requiring professors to employ “trigger warnings” to alert students to material that might upset them.

According to the same Notable and Quotable piece in the Wall Street Journal, one-third of the students polled could not identify the First Amendment as the part of the Constitution that dealt with free speech. Thirty-five percent said the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech,” while 30 percent of self-identified liberal students say the First Amendment is outdated.

Does that scare you? It scares me.

Silly word games are now the object of intense study at many of our leading colleges and universities. As a parent who pays tuition, you pay for this pseudo-intellectualism. It’s time to remind our coddled children that a great big competitive and often nasty world awaits them. We need to expose the intolerance and stop indulging the idiocy. Time to make freedom cool again!

Now that the election is over and the US electorate has shown that the demographic tide theory of recent elections is not as strong as once supposed, there is no better time to start talking about liberty and principles again. Yeah, your kids need to hear you talk about it. Our son, like our daughter before him, doesn’t always agree with us, but he at least gets to hear that there’s more than one side to the discussion. He also gets to disagree and make his case, because that is a part of freedom. And maybe, some day, when he gets a little older, those discussions will bear fruit. The similar discussions I had with my parents eventually did.

Why Even Racists Need the Freedom to Speak | T.J. Brown   Leave a comment

TJ BrownTJ Brown

Found on FEE

Until recently, American political culture settled into a comfortable middle ground on matters of race. People knew what to say and how to say it, more or less. It was all very polite. Everyone obeyed the rules. This way you could stay out of trouble and avoid one of the most devastating accusations that could derail your career: the claim that you said something racist. If the claim sticks, there is no forgiveness; there is only a lifetime of suffering.

Last week, I decided to attend my first ever Black Lives Matter protest.Well, that polite truce was never a consensus; it was a coverup. And it is over. The proof is everywhere in evidence, not just among the Internet trolls who proclaim themselves champions of the white race

Source: Why Even Racists Need the Freedom to Speak | T.J. Brown

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