This news agency story is relevant even to Americans, because the American left-wing establishment is very much in favor of adopting domestically progressive policies observed in other countries. So far, speech that “offends, insults, humiliates, or (supposedly) intimidates” is commonly outlawed on university campuses, but it is by no means beyond the ambitions of American progressives to try to enact such curbs on expression here.
A popular right-wing commentator was found guilty Wednesday of breaking Australian discrimination law by implying that fair-skinned Aborigines chose to identify as indigenous for profit and career advancement.
Federal Court Justice Mordy Bromberg ruled that fair-skinned Aborigines were likely to have been “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations” included in columnist Andrew Bolt’s two articles published by the Herald Sun newspaper in Melbourne in 2009.
Bromberg ruled out Bolt and his publisher’s defense under a clause of the Racial Discrimination Act that exempts “fair comment.” Bromberg said he will prohibit reproduction of the offending articles and will consider ordering the newspaper to publish a correction if it doesn’t print an apology.
Bolt, who writes opinion pieces for newspapers around Australia and hosts a nationally broadcast weekly public affairs television program, described the ruling as a defeat for freedom of speech.
“This is a terrible day for free speech in this country,” he told reporters outside court.
German fraternity students led the revolution against autocracy in 1848.
The DKE fraternity chant affair has concluded with utterly contemptible behavior by the university, embodying cowardice and extraordinary and astonishingly unbecoming stupidity and violating the university’s own official commitment to freedom of expression.
Yale’s commitment to freedom of expression means that when you agree to matriculate, you join a community where “the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox” must be tolerated. When you encounter people who think differently than you do, you will be expected to honor their free expression, even when what they have to say seems wrong or offensive to you.
No one is entitled to any “atmosphere” free of speech or expression he (or she) does not like. The erection by the political left of a variety of groups claiming, on the basis of historical grievances and ressentiment, special privileges and status is a moral and intellectual abomination.
In this case, a tiny minority of Yale’s most obnoxious and neurotic females, members of a gender comprising a slight majority of humanity, already empowered by Nature with staggering powers of influence and control over members of the opposite gender, particularly during a period of life when the reproductive impulse and any young lady’s powers of personal attraction are at their height, have been persuaded by ideological influences hosted and specially cultivated by Yale to see themselves on the basis of myths, stereotypes, and crude historical misunderstandings as victims, and then encouraged to exploit that status for personal and group power and rewarded for doing exactly that with attention and applause.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is an ancient article of life wisdom imparted by parents to very young children over many generations. Modern liberal society has retreated in maturity to an intellectual state on the other side of childhood, to a state of infantilism, in which name-calling is inflated into a national issue superseding First Amendment rights and the tradition of free speech in Academia, and is viewed as demanding federal intervention and a coercive university response.
The tradition of academic freedom is based upon a general recognition that the period of the education of young people at university is a special period in which a completely open and unprejudiced approach to inquiry is appropriate and in which students traditionally enjoy special immunities from responsibility and conformity.
College students traditionally mock society’s sacred cows and college students are traditionally expected to let off steam and express high spirits through a variety of outrageous pranks. Only fools and outrageously presumptuous tyrants would ever take expressions made by fraternity pledges undergoing a ritual ordeal as statements accurately representative of real positions or as in any way meaningful at all. The fact that two incidents of fraternity ritual farce have been treated as matters of literal heretical expression and as gravely important transgressions by federal and university officials demonstrates only that both Yale and today’s United States are prey to ideological impulses capable of causing them to lapse readily into totalitarian regimes governed by nincompoops.
Yale’s 1975 Woodward Committee Report on Free Speech.
Indignant female surgeons force President of the American College of Surgeons to resign over Valentine’s Day editorial. New York Times:
Dr. [Lazar] Greenfield, 78, was the editor in chief of Surgery News when the editorial was published but resigned that position in the wake of the controversy; the entire issue of the newspaper was withdrawn. He is an emeritus professor of surgery at the University of Michigan School of Medicine.
The editorial cited research that found that female college students who had had unprotected sex were less depressed than those whose partners used condoms. It speculated that compounds in semen have antidepressant effects.
“So there’s a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there’s a better gift for that day than chocolates,” it concluded.
The editorial outraged many women in the field, some of whom said that it reflected a macho culture in surgery that needed to change.
Then burns her own copy of the Koran, page by page, using bacon for bookmarks. She is a bit too fond of coarse language. She gets a little too moralistic for my personal taste. And these videos are way too long, but she is hard-core and decidedly cute. She gets extra testosterone points, too, for supplying her Colorado address for the convenience of any offended Muslims. (Gosh, do you suppose she might possibly own a gun?)
She ought to move to South Carolina and run against that pansy for the Senate.
Wendy Kaminer comments on the Department of Education’s witch hunt in search of hostile atmosphere creators at Yale.
What accounts for such feminine timidity, this instinctive unwillingness or inability to talk or taunt back, without seeking the protection of university or government bureaucrats? Talking is apparently beside the point. “I just want to be able to walk back to my dorm at night without hearing all this crazy stuff from these guys,” one student complains. I sympathize (I was a young woman once, too), but “hearing crazy stuff” from people in public is part of life in a free society, a society in which you enjoy equal rights to say crazy stuff.
Putatively progressive feminists might agree, if only they regarded women as equal to the task of talking back, if only they distinguished between men who “say stuff” about women and men who “do stuff” to women. In the feminist view reflected in the Yale draft complaint, the misogynist rants of some undergraduate men (perhaps a relatively small percentage of them) is not speech. It’s a series of “dangerous,” “sex-discriminatory threats” that “intimidate” and “terrorize” women, constituting a hostile environment (or “rape culture”) that causes sexual violence.
That simplistic, practically hysterical anti-libertarian approach to offensive speech appears to be shared by the Obama administration. OCR [Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights] has initiated an investigation of alleged civil-rights violations at Yale, and, coincidentally, on April 4th, it issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools, colleges, and universities nationwide, clarifying their obligations to prevent and address sexual harassment. OCR’s letter conflates harassment and rape. It defines sexual harassment as “including” sexual violence and ignores the conflicts between sexual harassment regulations and free speech, or, in public schools, the constitutional limits on regulating “offensive” speech. Given OCR’s expansive and potentially repressive approach to punishing and preventing “bullying,” it’s not surprising but still distressing to find no concern for speech in its letter on harassment.
The only nod to civil liberty in OCR’s letter is a reminder that students accused of sexual harassment (including sexual violence) should be accorded due process. Indeed, “(p)ublic and state-supported schools must provide due process to the alleged perpetrator”—but not too much due process, it seems: “However, schools should ensure that steps taken to accord due process rights to the alleged perpetrator do not restrict or unnecessarily delay the Title IX protections for the complainant.” This suggests, oddly and ominously, that the statutory rights of the accuser trump the constitutional due-process rights of the accused.
Generally, the OCR letter displays much more concern for the sensitivities of accusers over the rights of the accused. Schools should, for example, separate complainants and alleged perpetrators while investigations are pending, and in doing so, they should “minimize the burden on the complainant.” Why not also minimize the burden on the alleged perpetrator? The Obama administration, like the administrations of so many colleges and universities, implicitly approaches sexual harassment and sexual violence cases with a presumption of guilt.
Campus investigations and hearings involving harassment or rape charges are notoriously devoid of concern for the rights of students accused; “kangaroo courts” are common, and OCR ’s letter seems unlikely to remedy them. Students accused of harassment should not be allowed to confront (or directly question) their accusers, according to OCR, because cross-examination of a complainant “may be traumatic or intimidating.” (Again, elevating the feelings of a complainant over the rights of an alleged perpetrator, who may have been falsely accused, reflects a presumption of guilt.) Students may be represented by counsel in disciplinary proceedings, at the discretion of the school, but counsel is not required, even when students risk being found guilty of sexual assaults (felonies pursuant to state penal laws) under permissive standards of proof used in civil cases, standards mandated by OCR.
I don’t know the ages of Obama’s OCR appointees, but they seem to be operating under the influence of the repressive disregard for civil liberty that began taking over American campuses nearly 20 years ago. As FIRE President Greg Lukianoff remarks, students have been “unlearning liberty.” Concern about social equality and the unexamined belief that it requires legal protections for the feelings of presumptively vulnerable or disadvantaged students who are considered incapable of protecting themselves has generated not just obliviousness to liberty but a palpable hostility to it.
The Left simply invokes a simplistic kind of sophistry to re-define speech it doesn’t like as an aggressive act and to transform disapproval and displeasure at oppositional mocking speech into victimization.
“Those DEKE and Zeta Psi initiations dared to ridicule our self-important ideology of victimization, and that created ‘a hostile atmosphere’ preventing us from feeling equal, and that should be a federal offense.”
The claim being made here is arrant nonsense, which any rational adult should recognize immediately, but American society has not been headed by rational adults since at least the 1960s.
[Yale] University is under investigation by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights stemming from an alleged mishandling of several instances of sexual misconduct in recent years.
The Office for Civil Rights will open an investigation into the University “for its failure to eliminate a hostile sexual environment on campus, in violation of Title IX” — which prohibits discrimination or exclusion from education programs — according to a press release by the complainants sent to the News Thursday afternoon. Yale administrators said they have not yet received a copy of the complaint and cannot comment.
The measure comes after 16 Yale students and alumni filed a formal complaint March 15 informing the Office for Civil Rights about Yale’s breach of Title IX by citing a slew of “inadequate response[s]” to public episodes of sexual misconduct on campus, such as the controversial Delta Kappa Epsilon chanting incident on Old Campus last fall.
“We have tried so many avenues,” complainant Hannah Zeavin ’12 told the News Thursday. “We exhausted every internal process [available at Yale].”
Alumna Presca Ahn (Branford ‘10) details the unspeakable outrages that drove sixteen of Yale’s daughters to turn Mother Yale in.
On March 15, 16 students and recent alumnae of Yale filed a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights; I was one of them. The signatories were a diverse group, representing men and women, current students and recent graduates, those who have been involved in campus feminism and those who have not. The complaint itself was a detailed and heavily sourced 26-page document that outlined incidents of sex-based harassment and intimidation that have occurred at Yale every year for the past seven years, and argued that these incidents — and the University’s inadequate response to them — have resulted in a hostile educational environment for women at Yale. ...
For the past seven years, Yale has demonstrated… tolerance towards harassment of women: in 2004, when fraternity members stole (and photographed themselves wearing) four t-shirts from the annual Take Back the Night Clothesline Project, in which past victims of rape record their testimonies on t-shirts and display them; in 2005, when a new class of fraternity pledges stole 20 more of the t-shirts; in 2006, when yet another class of pledges gathered by the Yale Women’s Center and chanted, “No means yes! Yes means anal!”; in 2007, when over 150 Medical School students wrote a letter of protest about the conditions of sexual harassment on campus in which eight specific instances of sexual assault were cited; in 2008, when Zeta Psi pledges posed in front of the Yale Women’s Center with a poster reading, “We Love Yale Sluts,” photographed themselves in the pose, and disseminated the photo on Facebook; in 2009, when anonymous male students at Yale authored and circulated a “Preseason Scouting Report” e-mail that rated incoming freshman women according to how many beers it would take to have sex with them, and listing their names, hometowns and residential colleges; and this past October, when DKE pledges congregated on Old Campus chanting, “No means yes! Yes means anal!” and “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I f—- dead women and fill them with my semen.”
So what do we mean when we say that Yale is a hostile environment for women? What we don’t mean is that every female student at Yale has experienced sexual harassment or assault. What we mean is that the University has consistently demonstrated an attitude of tolerance for highly public acts of misogyny and sexual aggression. Female undergraduates see their peers call them “Yale sluts” and hear still other peers chant that “no means yes.” They live with the knowledge that the University has failed to punish those peers for sexual harassment. It takes little imagination to understand the effect of this kind of atmosphere on female students’ ability to engage in campus life on a basis of safety and equality.
Oh me! oh my! Stolen t-shirts! Frat members displaying “Yale Sluts” posters… and on Facebook, too! DKE pledge chanting slogans which were crude!
And no one was expelled or conspicuously punished and ostracized for politically incorrect expressions in mocking and parodistic contexts. It is easy to understand how the failure of President Levin personally to horsewhip those rowdy and insensitive fraternity men inevitably drove Yale’s womynist leaders to drop a dime on their alma mater.
After all, as a lot of Old Blues warned back when Kingman Brewster started talking about coeducating the place in the 1960s, many womyn are just to emotionally frail, too politically refined and sensitive, to bear uncouth, oppositional speech or mocking expressions of political incorrectness.
Such females may suffer untoward intellectual confusion, ideological indignation, and hyper-emotional distress. They may suffer from feelings of persecution and harassment. Thus, a real sector of the female community cannot possible function at an equal level in a university environment which naturally and inevitably features high-spirited young men, and in which ideas and perspectives are intended to be challenged, ridiculed, and vigorously contested. Some of these poor lambs are simply too delicate, too frail, too easily upset for all that.
Females of this kind need protection. As we see, some 16 unhappy Yale womynists felt vulnerable and persecuted, simply because their preferred ideological positions had been mocked or derided on several occasions in the course of a period of years, and no masculine protector had come forward to avenge them. In the end, they had to turn to the ultimate alternative masculine surrogate, Big Brother himself.
I was talking about all this with one of my pre-coeducation friends from Bones and DKE, just this afternoon.
“I warned you that this kind of thing was bound to happen.” Tripp observed, taking another sip of his gin-and-tonic. “Political ideas and higher education just mess up some female heads. They become fanatical and they egg one another on. Sexual frustration, of course, is endemic among politicized females. And the combination of sexual frustration and their hormonal cycle leads directly to delusions of victimization, paranoia, and vicious and destructive behavior. Imagine complaining about Yale to the Federal Government! It’s the behavior of a cad and a bounder, but for a politicized feminist it’s par for the course. That radical Brewster sowed the seeds, and Levin is reaping the harvest.”
Matthew had a nice comment apropos of all the opportunistic leftist whingeing about “vitriolic political speech.”
The First Amendment is the singer on stage in front of everyone whose voice can not be ignored, while the Second Amendment is the individual in front of the stage making sure no one kills the performance.
Michael Barone identifies the moral of the firing of Juan Williams by NPR and applauds the happy result for this particular victim of liberal intolerance.
Reading between the lines of Juan’s statement and those of NPR officials, it’s apparent that NPR was moved to fire Juan because he irritates so many people in its audience. An interesting contrast: while many NPR listeners apparently could not stomach that Williams also appeared on Fox News. But it doesn’t seem that any perceptible number of Fox News viewers had any complaints that Williams also worked for NPR. The Fox audience seems to be more tolerant of diversity than the NPR audience.
The good news: Fox News president Roger Ailes has given Williams a three-year contract at an increase in salary. Hurray!
NPR has terminated its contract with Juan Williams, one of its senior news analysts, after he made comments about Muslims on the Fox News Channel.
NPR said in a statement that it gave Mr. Williams notice of his termination on Wednesday night.
The move came after Mr. Williams, who is also a Fox News political analyst, appeared on the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday. On the show, the host, Bill O’Reilly, asked him to respond to the notion that the United States was facing a “Muslim dilemma.” Mr. O’Reilly said, “The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.”
Mr. Williams said he concurred with Mr. O’Reilly. ...
NPR said in its statement that the remarks “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”
Here are the comments that got Williams fired.
Your tax dollars fund National Public Radio and pay the salaries of the representatives of the arrogant and intolerant left who enforce political correctness at the expense of freedom of thought and expression. Let’s hope the next Congress does something about this.
Alvarez claimed to be a retired 25-year Marine Corps veteran, who was many times wounded and had received the nation’s highest award for military valor for serving as a helicopter pilot and rescuing US POWs from behind enemy lines during the War in Vietnam. In fact, Alvarez was never in the military, and was 17 years old when the Vietnam War ended in 1975. (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin link)
In 1977, Alvarez was exposed and was prosecuted and pled guilty under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which made the unauthorized claim, display, manufacture, or sale of US military decorations or awards a federal misdemeanor. He was sentenced to more than 400 hours of community service at a veterans hospital and fined $5,000, but then appealed claiming the 2005 law violated his right to free speech (!).
Preposterous, wouldn’t you say?
But not too preposterous to persuade a three-judge panel of the 9th Circus. Judge Milan D. Smith opined, joined by Judge Thomas Nelson, as Josh Gerstein reports, that there is a free speech right to lie.
We have no doubt that society would be better off if Alvarez would stop spreading worthless, ridiculous, and offensive untruths. But, given our historical skepticism of permitting the government to police the line between truth and falsity, and between valuable speech and drivel, we presumptively protect all speech, including false statements, in order that clearly protected speech may flower in the shelter of the First Amendment.
While asserting that they were not endorsing “an unbridled right to lie,” Smith and Nelson said regulations of false speech that have been upheld by the courts were limited to narrow categories where a direct and significant harm was caused. But, they said, the harm caused by people making false statements about military decorations was not evident.
Both of these judges were Bush appointees, leading one to conclude that there must be something in the water out there.
Seaside Heights, New Jersey “Hit the villains with a baseball” game
President Obama’s performance has been so memorable that already, after less than two years in office, he has won a special place in the hearts of ordinary Americans: a place resembling Osama bin Laden’s as one of a series of carnival targets you throw baseballs at and win prizes for knocking down.
Gawker positively squeaked in protest at the political incorrectness of it all, headlining the story as “Horrible Obama-Smashing Game.” (chuckle)
That didn’t keep them from uploading a video of a young man hurling baseballs at the target of the president prefaced by “F**k you, Obama.”
Hit the alien invader with the health care bill & presidential seal game
The Jersey Shore boardwalk game, however, was not the great man’s first recognition by amusement park popular culture. Even earlier, a church fair outside Allentown, Pennsylvania attracted the attention of the Secret Service when a rented shooting game featuring You-Know-Who holding the health care bill appeared as the target.
The Morning Call reports that the feds were not amused and the games company was quickly strong-armed into removing this threat to his Imperial Obamaness.
The game’s target is a painting of a black man in a suit who is holding a scroll labeled “Health Bill.” He sports a belt buckle fashioned after the presidential seal, antennae and a troll doll on his shoulder.
Players paid $1 per shot, or $5 for six shots, to fire foam darts at targets on his head and heart. Those who hit their mark won a stuffed animal.
Cindy Wofford, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia office of the Secret Service, said her agents are looking into the game and will determine if there were any direct or indirect threats to the president. They will share their findings with the U.S. attorney’s office.
“We take these kinds of things very seriously,” Wofford said.
The White House issued a statement Wednesday through spokeswoman Moira Mack saying it disapproves of using the president’s name and likeness for commercial purposes. The longstanding policy precedes Obama.
There was no Secret Service intervention that I can recall when representatives of the liberal urban intelligentsia produced a fantasy documentary and a play featuring the assassination of George W. Bush. (link)
I am inclined to think that Ieshuh Griffin is entitled to run for the Milwaukee Assembly using the ballot slogan “NOT the ‘whiteman’s bitch’ “, if that’s what she desires to do. Griffin says that she is going to appeal the Accountability Board’s decision banning her slogan.
Irate Muslims attacked Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who was delivering a lecture on free speech at Uppsala University last Tuesday, interrupting the presentation of a basically puerile and vulgar free speech exercise, a short 1:56 video, titled Allah ho Gaybar, made to protest alleged Islamic hypocrisy about homosexuality by the pseudononymous Sooreh Hera, an Iranian woman living and working in exile in the Netherlands. According to Hera, married Muslim males frequently indulge in homosexual relations, despite maintaining their religious intolerance of homosexuals and homosexuality.
Vilks was knocked to the ground and his eyeglasses were broken during the attack. The following Swedish televison 10:59 video shows the entire incident.
There is one happy moment (around 1:07) when a female Swedish cop peppersprays a belligerent Muslim youth wearing an orange coat and then her blond police compatriot bangs his head onto the back of a seat with a very satisfying thump.
But overall the video is horrifying. You see howling Muslim fanatics, chanting “Muhammed” in tones of insolent hostility, demanding that the film be stopped, shouting obscenities, and manipulatively threatening police with complaints. Several smirking non-Islamic Swedes do absolutely nothing to defend Vilks, public order, or the right of free speech in a major university in the face of open threats of mob violence, and in the end, in true contemporary European fashion, the authorities back down, the video is not finished, the lecture is canceled, and Muslim violence and intimidation are allowed to win.
Lars Vilks has been the object of Muslim threats for some time as the result of a humorous cartoon he drew depicting several years ago depicting the Prophet Mohammed as rondelhund, a kind of jocular street ornament in the form of a dog.