Category Archive 'Free Expression'

12 Nov 2022

Coming America’s Way

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David Spicer, MIT Undergraduate Association President.

The Babbling Beaver (MIT’s conservative satire site) published a real news item, linking a student paper editorial vociferously denouncing a recent Administration report supporting Free Expression.

Its author, the current president of the MIT undergraduate student body is a spectacular specimen of avidly ambitious, power-seeking leftism, like a baby rattlesnake, already fully-equipped with potentially lethal levels of poisonous ressentiment.

This kid, unfortunately, will be heard from in larger contexts in years to come.

[T]he Freedom of Expression report fails to properly consider, let alone assign weight to, the many places speech can occur. Should speech look different in an academic versus residential setting, considering the primary purposes of such places differ? Residential settings serve as students’ ultimate retreat. Unlike speech in the classroom or on the campus grounds where students can stay or exit as they see fit, speech in residential settings inherently has a captive audience. I would not expect it to be acceptable to barge into President Reif’s Gray House anytime I wish to voice my speech, nor should students be expected to have their homes violated in the same manner. More work and discussion is imperative to understand the implications of free speech in different scenarios, taking into account the time, place, and manner of the speech.

Second, the Freedom of Expression report fails to safeguard students against the harms of power differentials. The report believes “empowering our students to be confident advocates who refuse to be silenced” is the appropriate response to speech that chills or silences the voices of marginalized minority groups. I will offer one personal example to illustrate my argument. In spring 2022, I took a required Course 17 class where my teaching assistant said hurtful things to my classmates and me. For example, when I spoke about my queer identity, said TA berated me, asking,“What makes you a minority?” Never in my Latinx, immigrant, genderqueer, gay, disabled, low-income life would I imagine having to defend myself against such an invalidating question. I did not feel comfortable with the remarks of this TA, so I reported the behavior to my professor and department chair and filed a report through the Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office (IDHR). The result? My department chair never followed up on the matter. My professor leaked the contents of my email to the TA without my consent. IDHR told me they could not take action on the case. As a student, I could not continue with the class. What protections would I, as a student, have in a scenario like this? Is this the new hallmark of a MIT education?

Real or not, I had a sincerely held perception that I was not and could not be treated fairly in this class. I use this example to show that this Freedom of Expression report would allow my TA to say such harmful comments and to create a hostile academic environment and fails to protect a student like me from the harms of power differentials. While I would like to consider myself an okay exemplar of a “confident advocate,” I did not achieve an acceptable outcome to my situation. I can only imagine how students without my level of comfort in advocating for myself would fare in such a situation. A belief that students should simply advocate in the face of such situations negligently fails to wrestle with the unsettling realities behind power differentials. Such a belief fails students.

10 Oct 2019

And This Used to Be a Free Country!

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The NY Post reports that, these days, you can’t even try to get an alligator drunk without getting arrested and fined.

A Florida man was reportedly arrested for trying to get an alligator drunk after his pal captured the reptile.

Timothy Kepke, 27, of Hobe Sound allegedly fed some beer to the animal, which also bit him, on Aug. 26 in Palm City, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report obtained by TC Palm.

Moments earlier, Kepke told police, Noah Osborne, 22, caught the gator with his bare hands, the report said.

Kepke told authorities he had consumed a few beers that day, but claimed he wasn’t intoxicated during the incident.

After the beer feeding, which was recorded, the duo released the animal back into the wild, Kepke told officers.

Authorities obtained the video, though it’s unclear how, and on Sept. 17 confronted Kepke at his home, where he copped to the crime.


20 Feb 2014

Academic Freedom Under Question at Elite Universities

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Sandra Y.L. Korn, no liberal she, (who is already contributing to the Nation, as an undergraduate at Harvard) editorialized recently in the Harvard Crimson against academic freedom.

[T]he liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?

Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.

The power to enforce academic justice comes from students, faculty, and workers organizing together to make our universities look as we want them to do.


Meanwhile at Swarthmore:

Robert George ‘77 and Cornel West’s [appearance] on Monday, hosted by the Institute for the Liberal Arts, culminated a campus-wide discussion on the meaning of discourse at Swarthmore. The Princeton professors, known for their friendship despite of their strongly opposing viewpoints, intended to build community and discuss questions like “What does it mean to communicate across differences regarding what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong?’”

The event was expected by many to be controversial, with rumors of student-led protest in the form of a boycott of the event or a rally after the collection, but no such protest occurred during the collection. Prior to the event, many students voiced concerns with the College’s choice of speaker in George, who is known for his strong opposition to abortion, stem cell research, and gay marriage. Some queer students attended the event wearing shirts that read “Beneath Human Dignity,” a reference to a George quote in National Review magazine about the New York gay marriage decision in June 2011. Students also created a zine which opposed tolerance of George’s viewpoints, stating that by doing so, we would be “condoning homophobia.”

After the talk, many students expressed dissatisfaction with the event, saying it did not accomplish any meaningful community-building or address substantive issues.

“What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion. I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society. We should not be conceding to the dominant culture by saying that the so-called “progressive left” is marginalizing the conservative,” Erin Ching ‘16 said.

Really old people like myself can remember the radical left’s adroit use of the so-called Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the early 1960s. Allowing outside agitators representing the extreme left to recruit, propagandize, and proselytize on campus was, way back then, a vital issue of “free speech.”

Now, fifty years and a Gramscian long march later, the radical left effectively controls all our elite universities and the discussion of whether there is any real value in free speech, academic freedom, or diversity of opinion is now on the table.

15 Aug 2013

The Day Free Speech Died in America

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Drudge headlines yesterday(click on picture for larger image)


The Washington Times reported:

The fallout from a Missouri rodeo clown’s mockery of President Obama continued as the Missouri State Fair said it will force all clowns to undergo sensitivity training and the head of the state rodeo-clown organization resigned.

The state fair commission voted Monday to ratify its decision to ban for life the clown in question who wore an Obama mask. The rodeo announcer and a second clown wearing a microphone asked whether the crowd wanted to see him get run down by a bull.

The crowd enthusiastically approved, according to spectators, one of whom compared it to a Ku Klux Klan rally and said his mixed-race family felt threatened.

But the state commission went further Monday, saying it will require that before the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association can take part in any future state fair, “they must provide evidence to the director of the Missouri State Fair that they have proof that all officials and subcontractors of the MRCA have successfully participated in sensitivity training.”


26 Nov 2012

“Australian” a Term of Racial Abuse in Britain

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Careful what you call him!

Call someone an Australian in today’s politically correct Britain and you can get arrested and fined for racial abuse.

Daily Mail

A woman has been found guilty of racially abusing her New Zealand-born neighbour – by calling her an Australian.

Petra Mills called Chelsea O’Reilly a ‘stupid fat Australian’ during a drunken tirade outside her home.

The insult was witnessed by police officers who Mills herself had called after a domestic row with her husband. Czech-born Mills, 31, was arrested and charged with racially aggravated public disorder. She denied the charge but was found guilty at a trial this week.

Miss O’Reilly, 21, who has dual British and New Zealand nationality, told magistrates: ‘She called me a stupid fat Australian b****. Because of my accent there can be some confusion over my nationality.

‘She knew I was from New Zealand. She was trying to be offensive. I was really insulted.’

The incident happened in Macclesfield, Cheshire, on September 4 after Mills had been involved in a row with her husband, Michael. Iain Mutch, prosecuting, said Miss O’Reilly and Mills had been neighbours for 18 months…

Mills also admitted assaulting a police officer by kicking him. She was fined £110 for racially aggravated public disorder and £200 for assault, and ordered to pay both victims £50 compensation and £500 court costs.

18 May 2011

Yale Suspends DKE

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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.

18 Apr 2011

Offensive, or Merely Junk Science?

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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.

26 Nov 2010

15 Year Old Girl Arrested For Burning Koran

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A 15-year-old school girl resident of the multiracial Sandwell Council homes neighborhood in the West Midlands near Birmingham was arrested recently on charges of inciting religious hatred. The teenager had posted on Facebook two weeks earlier a video in which she burned on school property an English-language edition of the Koran in front of an audience of schoolmates.

On Tuesday, a 14-year-old boy was also arrested for posting threats on Facebook in response to the video.

Both teenagers were released on bail, and their Facebook accounts were eliminated.

The British press quoted an Islamic organization’s spokesman who advised readers that burning Korans was one of the most offensive acts imaginable in the eyes of more than a billion Muslims worldwide.

Reported by the Guardian and the BBC and the Sun.

It’s not the Koran which is sacred to British authorities, of course, it is political correctness which trumps freedom of expression. You can still insult Christianity as much as you like.

22 Oct 2010

Stagehand Fired For Wearing the Name Bush

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Another case of liberal excess occurred at USC.

USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)

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