Category Archive 'Left-wing Intolerance'
12 Jan 2021

A Watershed Moment

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Brendan O’Neill

Cancel culture doesn’t exist, they say. And yet with the flick of a switch, billionaire capitalists voted for by precisely nobody have just silenced a man who is still the democratically elected president of the United States. With the push of a button in their vast temples to technology, the new capitalist oligarchs of Silicon Valley have prevented a man who won the second largest vote in the history of the American republic just two months ago — 74million votes — from engaging with his supporters (and critics) in the new public square of the internet age.

Not only does cancel culture exist — it is the means through which the powerful, unaccountable oligarchies of the internet era and their clueless cheerleaders in the liberal elites interfere in the democratic process and purge voices they disapprove of. That’s what Twitter’s permanent suspension of Donald Trump confirms.

The new capitalists’ cancellation of the democratically elected president of the United States is a very significant turning point in the politics and culture of the Western world. We underestimate the significance of this act of unilateral purging at our peril. It demonstrates that the greatest threat to freedom and democracy comes not from the oafs and hard-right clowns who stormed the Capitol this week, but from the technocratic elites who spy in the breaching of the Capitol an opportunity to consolidate their cultural power and their political dominance.

Twitter’s ban on Trump is extraordinary for many reasons. First, there’s the arrogance of it. Make no mistake: this is the bosses vs democracy; corporates vs the people; exceptionally wealthy and aloof elites determining which elected politicians may engage in online discussion, which is where most political and public debate takes place in the 21st century. Those who cannot see how concerning and sinister it is that a handful of Big Tech companies have secured a virtual monopoly over the social side of the internet, and are now exploiting their monopolistic power to dictate what political opinions it is acceptable to hold and express in these forums, urgently needs a wake-up call.

Secondly, there is Twitter’s deeply disturbing justification for why it suspended Trump. It says Trump’s account ran the ‘risk’ of ‘inciting violence’. And yet the two tweets of his that it cites do nothing of the sort. In one, Trump describes his voters as ‘great American patriots’ and insists they will have a ‘GIANT VOICE’ in the future. In the other he confirms that he will not be attending the inauguration of Joe Biden. That’s it. In what warped moral universe can such standard, boastful Trump-made statements be interpreted as calls for violence?

RTWT

HT: The Anonymous Professor.

12 Jan 2021

As the Left Reveals Its True Fascist Colors…

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Kurt Schlichter has some choice words for our liberal fascist overlords.

So, the Establishment has decided to address the grievances of people who feel disenfranchised, silenced, and subjected to double standards with much more disenfranchisement, silencing, and double standards. Seems like an on-brand move for the most corrupt, unwise, and incompetent – yet remarkably arrogant – ruling caste America has ever known. Good plan – deny them the right to pick their 2024 president, clap like trained seals as corporate overlords cut off their ability to express themselves, and continue to treat their own supporters well and dissenters much, much worse. That’s sustainable. Say, let’s put out this blazing fire with this handy can of gasoline.

Yeah, they are having fun for now. While the supine GOP is tweeting hack cliches about Muh Not Who We Are, the left is trying to tighten the noose. But we’re woke. Rasmussen puts Trump’s popularity at 51%, rising after the riots. We aren’t blaming Trump for the riots. And we sure aren’t rolling over for these bastards.

RTWT

09 Nov 2020

The New Regime

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29 Oct 2020

Scotland’s Hate Crime Bill Would Prosecute Dinner-Table Speech

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Humza McYousaf, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice since 2018.

Tyler Durden reports that the recent Scottish efforts at self government seem to indicate that complete Independence would be a really bad idea.

Scotland’s new odious hate crime bill would go so far as to criminalize dinner table conversations if their ‘offensive’ content is reported to police.

“Conversations over the dinner table that incite hatred must be prosecuted under Scotland’s hate crime law,” reports the Times.

Such conversations were previously protected under the Public Order Act 1986, which includes a “dwelling defense” that shields conversations that take place in private homes from being prosecuted, however that would be removed under the new law.

The new bill would add an additional crime of “stirring up hate” against a protected group by “behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, or communicating threatening or abusive material to another person,” as well as the crime of possessing “inflammatory material.”

Critics have argued that the vague term “stirring up hate” could be broadly interpreted and could lead to people like JK Rowling facing criminal charges and up to seven years in prison for expressing views about transgender issues.

It also has dire implications for comedy and freedom of speech, given that anyone could choose to take offense to anything and complain that they have experienced “hate.”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said journalists, writers and theater directors could also be dragged into the courts if their work is deemed to have stirred up “prejudice.”

RTWT

13 Oct 2020

First, They Came for QAnon…

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Matt Taibbi used to be a particularly sharp-tongued left-wing wiseass journalist. Unfortunately for him, he was afflicted by inconvenient streak of intellectual honesty that caused him to take note of some of the Left’s inconsistencies and irrationalities.

Taibbi was sufficiently indiscreet about those kinds of insights that it cost him a well-paying and prestigious position in the media establishment. He’s now publishing high quality opinion pieces on Substack. I recommend those who can afford it it chip in with a subscription. He’s paid the price for speaking the truth, and I believe his voice will become more and more valuable over time.

Facebook announced Tuesday that it’s stepping up efforts to clean its platform of QAnon content:

    Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content…

Facebook had already taken several rounds of action against QAnon, including the removal this summer of “over 1,500 Pages and Groups.” Restricting bans to groups featuring “discussions of potential violence” apparently didn’t do the trick, however, so the platform expended bans to include content “tied to real world harm”:

    Other QAnon content [is] tied to different forms of real world harm, including recent claims that the west coast wildfires were started by certain groups, which diverted attention of local officials from fighting the fires and protecting the public.

Describing what QAnon is, in a way that satisfies what its followers would might say represents their belief system and separates out the censorship issue, is not easy. The theory is constantly evolving and not terribly rational. It’s also almost always described by mainstream outlets in terms that implicitly make the case for its banning, referencing concepts like “offline harm” or the above-mentioned “real-world harm” in descriptions. As you’re learning what QAnon is, you’re usually also learning that it is not tolerable or safe. …

[T]he Q ban pulls the curtain back on one of the more bizarre developments of the Trump era, the seeming about-face of the old-school liberals who were once the country’s most faithful protectors of speech rights.

Bring up bans of QAnon or figures like Alex Jones (or even the suppression or removal of left-wing outlets like the World Socialist Web Site, teleSUR, or the Palestinian Information Centre) and you’re likely to hear that the First Amendment rights of companies like Facebook and Google are paramount. We’re frequently reminded there is no constitutional issue when private firms decide they don’t want to profit off the circulation of hateful, dangerous, and possibly libelous conspiracy theories.

That argument is easy to understand, but it misses the complex new reality of speech in the Internet era. It is true that the First Amendment only regulates government bans. However, what do we a call a situation when the overwhelming majority of news content is distributed across a handful of tech platforms, and those platforms are — openly — partners with the federal government, and law enforcement in particular?

In my mind, this argument became complicated in 2017, when the Senate Intelligence Committee dragged Facebook, Twitter, and Google to the Hill and essentially ordered them to come up with a “mission statement” explaining how they would prevent the “fomenting of discord.”

Platforms that previously rejected the idea they were in the editing business — “We are a tech company, not a media company,” said Mark Zuckerberg just a year before, in 2016, after meeting with the Pope — soon were agreeing to start working together with congress, law enforcement, and government-affiliated groups like the Atlantic Council. They pledged to target foreign interference, “discord,” and other problems.

Their decision might have been accelerated by a series of threats to increase regulation and taxation of the platforms, with Virginia Senator Mark Warner’s 23-page white paper in 2018 proposing new rules for data collection being just one example. Whatever the reason for the about-face, the tech companies now work with the FBI in what the Bureau calls “private sector partnerships,” which involve “strategic engagement… including threat indicator sharing.”

Does any of this make “private” bans of content a First Amendment issue? The answer I usually get from lawyers is “probably not,” but it’s not clear-cut. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this could go sideways quickly, as the same platforms the FBI engages with often have records of working with security services to suppress speech in clearly inappropriate ways in other countries.

As far back as 2016, for instance, Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was saying that Facebook and Google were complying with up to “95 percent” of its requests for content deletion. The minister noted cheerfully that the rate of cooperation had just risen sharply. Here’s how Reuters described the sudden burst of enthusiasm on the part of the platforms to cooperate with the state:

Perhaps spurred by the minister’s threat to legislate to make companies open to prosecution if they host images or messages that encourage terrorism, their rate of voluntary compliance has soared from 50 percent in a year, she said.

Whether or not one views Internet bans as censorship or a First Amendment issue really depends on how much one buys concepts like “voluntary compliance.”

The biggest long-term danger in all of this has always centered on the unique situation of media distribution now being concentrated in the hands of a such a relatively small number of companies. Instead of breaking up these oligopolies, or finding more transparent ways of dealing with speech issues, there exists now a temptation for governments to leave the power of these opaque behemoth companies intact, and appropriate their influence for their own sake.

As we’ve seen abroad, a relatively frictionless symbiosis can result: the platforms keep making monster sums, while security services, if they can wriggle inside the tent of these distributors, have an opportunity to control information in previously unheard-of ways. Particularly in a country like the United States, which has never had a full-time federal media regulator, such official leverage would represent a dramatic change in our culture. As one law professor put it to me when I first started writing about the subject two years ago, “What government doesn’t want to control what news you see?”

RTWT

23 Aug 2020

Margaret Mitchell Was a Cold-Eyed Realist Not a Romantic

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Turner Classics Movies is broadcasting “Gone With the Wind” (1939) tonight at 8:00 PM EST. It might be advisable to catch what may be one of the famous film’s last public viewings. Woke hysteria finds the social attitudes and language of 1939 every bit as unacceptable as those of 1859.

Today, GWTW must be presented with a warning label:

“Presented as originally released in 1939. Includes themes and character depictions which may be offensive or problematic to contemporary audiences.”

Bruce Bawer has a good essay, just out in the New Criterion, that corrects a large number of common misconceptions about the novel.

Gone with the Wind tells the story of the flirtation, lasting from the eve of the war until many years after, between Scarlett and Rhett. They’re drawn to each other, Mitchell wants us to understand, because they’re both, by nature, at odds with the social system into which they were born. If Mitchell celebrates anything, it’s not the conformist pre-war lives of planters and their families but the spirit of nonconformity exhibited by Rhett and Scarlett. During the war, the other members of their race and class are devoted heart and soul to what they describe as “the Cause.” In her account of the Atlanta bazaar, Mitchell describes the devotion of the women present to “the Cause”—“A Cause they loved as much as they loved their men, a Cause they served with their hands and their hearts, a Cause they talked about, thought about, dreamed about.” But neither Scarlett nor Rhett has any attachment whatsoever to the “Cause.” He runs Union blockades, he tells her, only to enrich himself; as for Scarlett, it’s plain from the first page that she has no attachment to the Confederacy. Toward the novel’s end, he says: “We are both scoundrels, Scarlett, and nothing is beyond us when we want something.” When Scarlett finally realizes that she loves not Ashley (the now-useless embodiment of pre-war Southern knighthood) but Rhett, she sees that “he, like her, saw truth as truth, unobstructed by impractical notions of honor, sacrifice, or high belief in human nature.” With this long-delayed self-insight, Scarlett fully embraces Mitchell’s own cold-eyed realism.

No, this is assuredly not a soggy, sentimental drama of cavaliers and chivalry, but a candid, even cynical, study of two strong-minded survivors set against the backdrop of America’s greatest social upheaval. Nor is it, as Mitchell readily and repeatedly admitted, a beautifully written book or a masterpiece of plotting. (She could never grasp why it became a bestseller or won the Pulitzer Prize.) But there’s no fictional work that paints a more sweeping and meticulous picture of the South at war, or that contains more characters of that place and time—women and men, black and white—who stir our sympathies and tremble with life. It’s a puzzlement, then, that Selznick—who in supervising the writing and rewriting of the script was almost fanatically insistent that, wherever possible, it was preferable to use dialogue from the novel rather than to write original lines—decided to frame the film with a title card that invites audiences to view the pre-war South with a romantic nostalgia that Mitchell’s book itself urges the reader to reject.

17 Aug 2020

Syracuse Plans to Punish Bystanders for Simply Witnessing ‘Racial Incidents’

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American Greatness:

Syracuse University recently announced that it will soon be unveiling a newly-revised policy on “racial bias” that includes possible punishments for students who are guilty of simply witnessing an incident, as reported by Breitbart.

The announcement came from Keith Alford, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Syracuse, who declared in a press release that “The Code of Student Conduct has been revised…to state that violations of the code that are bias-motivated – including conduct motivated by racism – will be punished more severely. The University also revised the code to make clear when bystanders and accomplices can be held accountable.” Alford said that the code will be “distributed” to students in the fall, where all will be forced to sign.

RTWT

31 Jul 2020

A Recent Casualty of the Culture Wars

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Mike Adams, 1964-2020.

Mark Steyn write a tribute to Mike Adams, an apparent recent suicide after being driven from his teaching job at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington by the Woke leftist mob.

At the time of his death Mike Adams was a professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington – although not a very popular one with the administration. You will generally see him described in the media as “Controversial Professor Mike Adams”, as if it’s the subject he teaches: Mike Adams, Head of the Department of Controversy. It wasn’t always so. A two-time “Faculty Member of the Year” winner at the turn of the century, Adams grew more “controversial” as the university got more “woke”. He got a book deal with Regnery (publishers of America Alone), and was quoted favorably by Rush:

What American university wants a prof who’s published by Regnery and getting raves on the Rush Limbaugh show? The Deputy Assistant Under-Deans of Diversity all frosted him out, and Adams spent seven years in a lawsuit with UNCW – which he won, but it’s still seven years of your life you’ll never get back. …

It was all scheduled to come to an end on Friday with Adams’ painfully negotiated departure and a $504,702.76 settlement. Half-a-mil sounds a lot, but it was to be paid out over five years, if the university stuck to it, and it’s not really a lot, is it, for the obliteration of any trace of your presence at the school to which you devoted your entire teaching career.

On Thursday a neighbor called 911 because Mike Adams’ car hadn’t been moved for several days and there was no answer on the telephone. Inside police found the body of a 55-year-old man with, in cop lingo, a “gsw” – gunshot wound. …

He “seemed like” a happy warrior, but who knows? It’s a miserable, unrelenting, stressful life, as the friends fall away and the colleagues, who were socially distant years before Covid, turn openly hostile. There are teachers who agree with Mike Adams at UNCW and other universities – not a lot, but some – and there are others who don’t agree but retain a certain queasiness about the tightening bounds of acceptable opinion …and they all keep their heads down. So the burthen borne by a man with his head up, such as Adams, is a lonely one, and it can drag you down and the compensations (an invitation to discuss your latest TownHall column on the radio or cable news) are very fleeting.

The American academy is bonkers and has reared monsters. …

Pushing back can be initially exhilarating – and then just awfully wearing and soul-crushing: “I’m with you one hundred per cent, of course. But please don’t mention I said so…” “Oh, we had a lovely time at the Smiths’. Surprised not to see you there…” It is possible, I suppose, that Mike Adams was the victim of a homicide rather than the ultimate self-cancelation: Certainly there are plenty on Twitter and Facebook who would like to kill him, or at least cheer on any chap who would. …

And yet, if the facts are as they appear, a tireless and apparently “happy warrior” – exhausted by a decade of litigation, threats, boycotts, ostracization and more – found himself sitting alone – and all he heard in the deafening silence of the “silent majority” was his own isolation and despair. A terrible end for a brave man. Rest in peace.

RTWT

13 Jul 2020

12-Year-Old Arrested in England For Racism!

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26 May 2020

Tyranny and So-Called “Hate Speech”

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The Heritage Foundation recently published a must-read report on the Left’s widely successful effort to first stigmatize, and eventually to criminalize, speech and ideas it doesn’t like, thus shutting down all discussion and debate over very significant cultural and policy issues.

America is the only Western nation that does not criminalize “hate speech.” Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most nations of Europe already do so. The United Nations relentlessly pressures the remaining holdouts to follow suit: “As a matter of principle,” says the U.N. Secretary-General, “the United Nations must confront hate speech at every turn.”

Meanwhile in America, Members of Congress issue their support for speech restrictions, and Big Tech’s digital oligarchs, enjoying a disproportionate power over society, continue to impose speech restrictions in exchange for access to their platforms. So are America’s colleges and universities more and more governed by an aggressive chorus of students, faculty, and administrators who demand and impose speech codes. These fronts promises to grow in size, strength, and confidence in the coming years.

Leading restriction advocates want not only to banish “hate speech,” but also to criminalize it. In the words of Mari Matsuda, an influential professor at the University of Hawaii Law School, “[F]ormal criminal and administrative sanction—public as opposed to private prosecution—is also an appropriate response to racist speech.”

Perhaps most surprising, legal precedents that would bring this revolution fully into existence in America are already embedded in two areas of our legal system: antidiscrimination and harassment laws, and Supreme Court rulings favoring sexual liberation that are based on a new view of “dignity.”

If Americans are to resist this growing movement, they must understand the arguments, the demands, and the consequences of outlawing “hate speech.” No laws of history dictate that America must submit and follow this path.

The debate over “hate speech” reveals a fundamental disagreement about the purpose of America. Either it is political liberty, in which case the freedom of speech is essential for presumptively rational citizens to rule themselves politically and to pursue the truth through science, philosophy, or religion. Or it is the equal self-respect and dignity of marginalized and self-created identities, in which case these must not only be publicly affirmed and celebrated, but also shielded from (even well-meaning) scrutiny and criticism, called “speech violence” or “hate speech.” These two views cannot coexist. Indeed, restriction advocates admit that America’s understanding of speech “comes into tension with the aspiration of equal dignity.”

They want to eliminate the former to make way for the latter.

RTWT

06 Apr 2020

The Left Bans Key Game Management Technique in Northern England

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Crazy left-wing busybodies rule the world. Didn’t you know? If there is anything going on that useful, productive, or merely fun, they’ve got Environmentalism to use to get their way. Essentially anything human beings do can be argued to produce changes in the world, and any changes can be claimed to be somehow, in some sense, negative. Voilà! Mustn’t offend Gaia! That’s been banned!

Driven grouse shooting in England & Scotland is not only a sport. It’s also an economic activity. The sale of wild game was banned early in the last century in the United States. Market hunters were responsible for the eradication of the buffalo and the near extinction of some other species, and they competed with sport hunters. In Britain, on the other hand, game bird management on enormous estates included harvesting by sportsmen followed by commercial sale. British restaurants compete to offer red grouse the soonest after the shooting season opens on the traditional date of August 12th.

The goo-goos have all these rationalizations about heather-burning being bad for the environment, but they are all anti-blood sports, and enviromentalism always provides excuses for lefties to nobble things they don’t like, from timber-harvesting to grouse shooting.

The Guardian is gloating.

The controversial practice of setting heather-covered moorland on fire – often carried out by gamekeepers to create more attractive habitats for grouse – is now banned on more than 30 major tracts of land in northern England. Three large landowners have confirmed that their tenants are no longer allowed to burn heather routinely.

The ban is a blow to grouse shoots, which burn older heather to make way for younger, more nutritious plants for grouse to feed on, but environmental groups say the practice harms the environment. Research by the University of Leeds has found that burning grouse moors degrades peatland habitat, releases climate-altering gases, reduces biodiversity and increases flood risk.

Last year, the Observer reported that Yorkshire Water was reviewing each of its grouse-shooting leases amid concerns about the practice of routine burning. The company says has written into its lease a presumption against burning as a land management technique.

United Utilities is also altering its leases to shorter terms, with a similar review to Yorkshire Water’s expected. Last month, it confirmed to the campaign group Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors (BBYM) that it now prohibits routine burning on its land.

And three estates overseen by the National Trust – Marsden, Braithwaite Hall and Dark Peak – also told the group that tenants were no longer allowed to conduct routine burning. Braithwaite Hall said tenants required written consent to do so, and that it had taken legal action against one. Dark Peak said it retained complete control of burning practices on its land. Marsden said tenants could not carry out any burning.

A National Trust spokeswoman said: “We don’t allow burning on deep peat and over recent years have moved away from using controlled grouse-moor burning as a matter of course. There are a diminishing number of historic agreements where burning may occasionally be used but we are working with these tenants to introduce more sustainable land-management practice.”

RTWT

29 Aug 2019

New Book on the Crisis at the Universities by Former Dean of Yale Law School

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Power-line’s Steve Hayward has an important new book recommendation.

This week’s mail brought me Anthony Kronman’s new book, The Assault on American Excellence, which begins with a chronicle of the follies of Yale University, where Kronman teaches and once served as dean of Yale Law. … I got to meet Prof. Kronman at a terrific colloquium about Max Weber last year at UCLA, where he told me some about his new book, which arose out of his rising disgust with identity politics and what it is doing to higher education. In one sentence, it is bringing “higher education” quite low.

Kronman is significant because, like Columbia’s Mark Lilla, he considers himself to be a liberal/progressive in his general political views. As such, he represents perhaps a last gasp of an older liberalism what was generally liberal. And sure enough, like Mark Lilla, Kronman has drawn some early attacks for the book, such as this disgraceful review in the Washington Post by Wesleyan University president Michael Roth, who I thought might be part of the resistance to the nihilism of identity politics, but turns out instead now to be a fraud.

I suspect Kronman is going to get a frosty reception in the Yale faculty lounges and faculty meetings. But all hope is not lost. Last summer we reported on the campaign of journalist Jamie Kirchick to be elected as the Alumni Fellow to the board of the Yale Corporation, with the intentions of trying to argue at the board level about Yale’s moral and intellectual dereliction. To be a candidate in the board election requires a lot of Yale alumni signatures within a short window of time, and Kirchick’s drive fell short.

This year Nicholas Quinn Rosencranz, a Yale Law grad and currently professor of law at Georgetown, is running an insurgent campaign. (The Rosencranz family has been very generous to Yale over the years; there’s a building named for them.) See this statement of the Alumni for Excellence at Yale about the myriad reasons for his candidacy, but most important, if you are a Yale alum (undergraduate or graduate school), scroll to the bottom and click on the button to sign Nick’s petition to be put on the board ballot. He needs to get 4,266 alumni signatures by October 1, at which point a full-fledged campaign can begin to win the alumni vote.

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