Rod Dreher learns that Free Speech at Stanford is pretty darn expensive.
[L]ast week… the student government at Stanford refused to commit funds for a one-day conference run by the Stanford Anscombe Society, an organization named for the prominent 20th century British philosopher. Why the stinginess? Because the Anscombe Society stands, in part, for defending traditional teachings about sexual morality and the family. Their conference will bring to campus Ryan T. Anderson, … a Princeton-trained political philosopher best known for making a natural law case for privileging traditional marriage. That cannot happen on the campus of Stanford University, it seems; one student said that the presence â€” the mere presence! â€” of Anderson would make her feel â€œunsafe.â€ Thus does one of the worldâ€™s great universities appear as the Palo Alto School For Tots. …
[A]s was pointed out, correctly, refusing to fund a conference isnâ€™t the same thing as suppressing it.
The SAS found other sources of funding for its conference, and all was well. Until this week. From an SAS news release:
The Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS) is requesting that Stanford University remove a burdensome $5,600 security fee it imposed on the conference organizers following the Graduate Student Councilâ€™s revocation of funding for its April Communicating Values conference.
â€œThis fee is a tax on free speech,â€ said Judy Romea, SAS co-president. …
The fee is intended to pay for the presence of ten event security personnel, including four police officers, at the single-day conference. Approximately, 120 participants are expected, making the ratio of participants to security personnel 12 to 1. The administration only insisted on the added security after a vocal group of LGBTQ activists announced their opposition to the event. …
[T]he Grad Student Councilâ€™s decision to revoke the previously-granted $600 of funding was because of this same pressure from LGBTQ activists. …
This is jaw-dropping. The only danger on campus is to the 120 participants in this conference, who will no doubt face heckling and possibly worse from gay activists and their allies, trying to disrupt the meeting. And the university â€” an actual American university! â€” is requiring them to pay nearly $6,000 to guarantee their right to lawfully assemble and practice free speech. On a campus. Of an American university.
Georgetown Law School’s Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law Louis M. Seidman cannot even be bothered to wear a coat and tie when participating in a debate on a major issue of national public policy, i.e. defending the supposed constitutionality of the Obamacare health insurance mandate.
I smiled recently with bitter amusement upon reading of Stanford University’s preposterous appointment of an “atheist chaplain” when I came upon the detail that made the story perfect: the new padre in charge of unbelief is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School.
It seemed to me to speak volumes about establishment university administrations’ systematic pattern of what really amounts to nothing less than long-term embezzlement via the application of institutional resources and funding for purposes diametrically opposed to those which the institutions in question were created to pursue. It sounds like a joke when you observe that one of our most elite divinity schools graduates doctors of divinity specializing in atheism, but the pattern of institutionalized academical heresy and treason obviously extends far beyond mere theology.
Over the weekend, the New York Times published an editorial, written in complete earnest by a tenured professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown, one of the country’s top-tier law schools, titled “Letâ€™s Give Up on the Constitution.” Its author, Professor Seidman, who has been teaching, i.e. obviously traducing and malpracticing, Constitutional Law for nearly four decades, brazenly argued in favor of ignoring the Constitution altogether.
As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official â€” say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress â€” reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?
Obviously what this country needs to do is the precise opposite of seeking spiritual counseling from atheists and constitutional legal analysis from opponents of constitutional government. We need to take back our most important and prestigious institutions from the flakes, creeps, and radical fanatics who have infiltrated and occupied them. Our best-credentialed elite ought not to be enthusiastic adversaries of the historical country, culture, and civilization which created the institutions awarding their credentials and vesting them with influence and authority.
Maybe there is a solution for the problem of out-sized tuition costs from elite universities which leave graduates hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
Andy Kessler, in the Wall Street Journal, describes what happened when a Stanford Computer Science professor last year decided to offer an Artificial Intelligence course over the Internet for free.
[Sebastian Thrun was] [f]rustrated that his (and fellow Googler Peter Norvig’s) Stanford artificial intelligence class only reached 200 students, they put up a website offering an online version. They got few takers. Then he mentioned the online course at a conference with 80 attendees and 80 people signed up. On a Friday, he sent an offer to the mailing list of a top AI association. On Saturday morning he had 3,000 sign-upsâ€”by Monday morning, 14,000.
In the midst of this, there was a slight hitch, Mr. Thrun says. “I had forgotten to tell Stanford about it. There was my authority problem. Stanford said ‘If you give the same exams and the same certificate of completion [as Stanford does], then you are really messing with what certificates really are. People are going to go out with the certificates and ask for admission [at the university] and how do we even know who they really are?’ And I said: I. Don’t. Care.”
In the end, there were 160,000 people signed up, from every country in the world, he says, except North Korea. Rather than tape boring lectures, the professors asked students to solve problems and then the next course video would discuss solutions. Mr. Thrun broke the rules again. Twenty-three thousand people finished the course. Of his 200 Stanford students, 30 attended lectures and the other 170 took it online. The top 410 performers on exams were online students. The first Stanford student was No. 411.
Mr. Thrun’s cost was basically $1 per student per class. That’s on the order of 1,000 times less per pupil than for a K-12 or a college educationâ€”way more than the rule of thumb in Silicon Valley that you need a 10 times cost advantage to drive change.
So Mr. Thrun set up a company, Udacity, that joins many other companies attacking the problem of how to deliver the optimal online education. “What I see is democratizing education will change everything,” he says.
Liberals are burbling in delight over Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s full-throated expression of the left’s soak-the-rich version of the social contract.
I hear all this, you know, â€˜Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own â€” nobody.”
â€œYou built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didnâ€™t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory â€” and hire someone to protect against this â€” because of the work the rest of us did.
â€œNow look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless â€” keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.â€
One of Glen Reynolds’ readers, who signs himself Fog City sent along his own rejoinder to Warren, originally posted in a discussion of her remarks in the Current Events section of a Stanford Football Fan forum:
â€œYou built a factory out there? Good for you,â€ â€œBuilt a factoryâ€ is a summary for a lot of work. Put up equity, designed a business, took risk to buy land, get permits, pay property taxes and use taxes and permit fees. Then, bought a bunch of equipment and had it installed â€¦and paid sales taxes. Hired some employees and paid them a bunch of money and paid payroll taxes on top of that. Bought a bunch of raw materials from companies that paid a bunch of salaries and a bunch of taxes. Building a factory is a huge private investment that pays the public a lot of taxes for the right to be built.
â€œBut I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.â€ Between fuel taxes, license fees, tolls and various taxes on transportation related activities, the roads budget is smaller than the total tax take.
you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; No, you did not educate them. You babysat them for 12 years. Then I hired them, taught them how to be responsible and show up for work, taught them how to communicate in clear sentences, taught them that there are rights and wrongs and (unlike with your schools) wrongs have consequences in the workplace. Then paid for extended education for my employees so they could continue to improve themselves and better add value to what we do around here.
â€œYou were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.â€ Funny, my factory has 24/7 security guards because the last time it was broken into, the police did not even bother to take a report, they just said â€œcall your insurance companyâ€. As for fire? The closest fire department is 10 miles away. My insurance company requires that I have a full wet sprinkler system to qualify for insurance because there is no local fire protection.
â€œYou didnâ€™t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.â€ Well, that is not exactly true. When the AFL-CIO tried to unionize my workforce, they staged three days of noisy protests outside my factory. The police forces just stood around and watched as the protesters intimidated my workers, vandalized their cars and destroyed my property.
You say â€œweâ€ like the government and society are the same. They arenâ€™t. My company and my community and you politicians are not â€œweâ€.
Another Stanford fan signing himself neodymian60 remarked in disgust:
I’ll weigh in because she could be my next Senator and the Democrats here are scrambling to unseat Scott Brown. Somehow she seems like the perfect insufferable replacement for the insufferable Ted Kennedy.
She has the big 3. Harvard. Lawyer. Academic. Check.
She is shrill, contentious, and condescending as only the elite can be.
While any idiot knows that there can be no market without roads and consumers, she insults everyone’s intelligence by having to explain that to them. And then insults the successful by making it seem as if they have betrayed everyone with their talents. …
I just got a call from the Brown campaign and gave them $110.
You built a factory out there? Good for you,” she says. “But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.”
Um – the thing is – those who built the factory and employed the workers generated the revenue that allowed the ctizens to pay for the roads, police etc. It sure as hell wasn’t built by the poor.
She continues: “Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
Um – again. THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN DOING THAT. Hey if she questions that – just go to a town that revolved around a factory that went out of business and see how that town is faring. The factory – as it employs the citizens and pays its taxes etc (not to mention all its fees etc under the various regulations/licensing requirements) IS TAKING A HUNK OF THAT AND PAY(ING) IT FORWARD FOR THE NEXT KED WHO COMES ALONG.” Course if the factory shuts down – then that kid loses that opportunity and the town loses a whole lot of revenue.
Elizabeth the Harvard and Rutgers Prof, Head of TARP, lawyer, marxist, head of consumer affairs, candidate for US senate in Mass. friend of Obama, friend of Harry Reid…
If anyone on this board doubts that she is for the social contract that successful people need share their success with those who aren`t successful and have no cause for personal celebration or reward, that she intends that wealth redistribution is necessary and good, that she is not a marxist, you must be Palcal. There is no successful individual except those who have earned it on the backs of others and therefore owe the masses. There are no successful countries except those that earned it on the backs of other countries and therefore owe those countries.
Thus the apology tour at the initial stages of the Obama administration, the rage at successful people, the class warfare rhetoric. She and Obama are two peas in a pod, share the same values and cannot be called anything but Marxist redistributionists. To me, this is the antithetical behavior and value of what made the US exceptional and why the country is headed into the deep morass with policies that slowly and quickly drain the wealth of America over the world.
Gosh, it looks like some Stanford grads must have gone into business and become conservative.
Historian Victor Davis Hanson points out that the past explains how America got where it is today.
If one were to survey the elite campuses around 1975 and talk to those in law school, poly sci, or the humanities, then imagine them 35 years later as our elite leaders in government, the media, the universities, the foundations, and the arts, one could pretty much expect what we now have.
The present symptoms that characterize both our popular culture and current governance â€” shrill self-righteousness; abstract communalism juxtaposed with concrete pursuit of the aristocratic good life; race/class/gender cosmic sermonizing with private school and Ivy league for the kids; crass and tasteless public expression; a serial inability to take responsibility for oneâ€™s actions; the bipartisan mega-deficits; the inability to cut pensions and social security for the baby boomers â€” from the trivial to the fundamental, all derive from a bankrupt cohort that came of age in the sixties and seventies.
We see the arrested adolescence and hypocrisy that come from that sermonizing generation, whether in Al Frankenâ€™s puerile face-making, the ideologically driven suicide at Newsweek, the steady destruction of the New York Times, John Kerryâ€™s tax-avoiding yacht, the Great Gatsby Clinton wedding, Michelle on the Costa del Sol, Nancy Pelosiâ€™s jet, Tim Geithnerâ€™s tax skipping, or the constant race-card playing of a Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters. Yes, one walk across the Yale or Stanford campus circa 1975, and one could see pretty clearly what sort of culture that bunch would create when it came of age and was handed power.
Marc Morano, at Climate Depot, reports on the frantic moves by the prestigious left-coast university to prevent an Irish documentary film-maker publishing an interview with an activist faculty member who switched (when the weather changed) from blaming mankind for initiating a New Ice Age to identifying human agency as to blame for Global Warming.
Stanford University has banned a skeptical documentary film from airing a climate change interview with one of its prominent warming activist professors, Stephen Schneider. After legal threats from Stanford University — apparently on behalf of Prof. Schneider — the documentary filmmakers were forced to use a blank screen and an actor had to read the transcript of Schneider’s already taped but legally banned climate interview. The skeptical global warming documentary â€œNot Evil Just Wrongâ€, set for its international premier on October 18, 2009, interviewed Schneider about his flip-flop from a coming ice age proponent in the 1970s to his current advocacy of man-made global warming fears. Schneider is a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University. …
Stanford University sent a scathing letter to the documentary makers declaring: â€œYou are prohibited from using any of the Stanford footage you shot, including your interview of Professor Stephen Schneider. Professor Schneider likewise has requested that I inform you that he has withdrawn any permission for you to use his name, likeness or interview in connection with any film project you may undertake.â€
The Stanford letter concluded: â€œPlease confirm to me in writing that you have received and will comply with Stanford’s directive that all shots of Stanford University (both indoors and outdoors) and all parts of Professor Schneider’s interview will be removed from your footage. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.”
Climate Depot has also obtained the exclusive pre-release video and the transcript of Schneider’s interview which Stanford University lawyers deemed too hot for broadcast. McAleer called on Stanford to withdraw the legal threat which has forced the filmmakers to use a blank screen and an actor’s voice to read the text of Professor Schneider’s interview about his changing climate positions.
â€œThe lawyers at Stanford sent the unprecedented letter after we asked Schneider about his flip-flopping on climate alarmism,â€ the film’s director McAleer explained. McAleer said he is shocked at the legal maneuvering by Stanford to censor an interview with one of their most prominent professors.
The Wall Street Journal noted yesterday a certain inconsistency in the way Columbia University enforces support for Gay Rights in its campus access policies.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has his doubts about whether the Holocaust happened. He thinks the Jewish state should be wiped off the map. His regime funnels sophisticated munitions to Shiite militias in Iraq, who use them to kill American soldiers.
Oh, and by the way, his regime also executes homosexuals for the crime of being themselves. Maybe if Columbia University President Lee Bollinger were aware of the latter fact he would reconsider his invitation to the Iranian president to speak on his campus next Monday.
Mr. Bollinger, notoriously, voted in 2005 not to readmit an ROTC program to Columbia (absent from the university since 1969), ostensibly on the grounds of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gay service members. Never mind that other upper-tier schools, including Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania all have ROTC programs. Never mind, too, that in 2003 the Columbia student body voted in favor of readmission by a 2-1 margin. In Mr. Bollinger’s view, “the university has an obligation, deeply rooted in the core values of an academic institution and in First Amendment principles, to protect its students from improper discrimination and humiliation.”
Mr. Bollinger’s position might at least be coherent were he not now invoking the same principles to justify his invitation to Mr. Ahmadinejad, whose offenses to gay rights and any other form of human dignity considerably exceed the Pentagon’s. After promising that he would introduce the president “with a series of sharp challenges” — including Iran’s “reported support” for international terrorism — he went on to say that “it is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their expression.”
We’re all for free speech and the vigorous exchange of intellectual differences, though we don’t see how Mr. Bollinger can be, given his decision to discriminate against young men and women who seek to make careers in the military. We also don’t quite see how the right to free speech — a freedom Mr. Ahmadinejad conspicuously denies his own people — is tantamount to the right to an illustrious pedestal. Columbia is a selective institution in its choice of students as well as speakers; its choices confer distinction on those whom it selects. Were it otherwise, Mr. Ahmadinejad would surely have better uses for his time.
And the Journal’s comments must have stung, because Lee Bollinger promptly deleted the honorific portion of Columbia University’s invitation, removing Ahmadinejad’s from a “World Leader’s Forum” program. At this point, however, Ahmadinejad is still scheduled to deliver an address at Columbia.
The president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, yesterday withdrew an invitation to the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The dean of Columbia’s school of international and public affairs, Lisa Anderson, had independently invited Mr. Ahmadinejad to speak at the World Leader’s Forum, a year-long program that aims to unite “renowned intellectuals and cultural icons from many nations to examine global challenges and explore cultural perspectives.”
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Mr. Bollinger said he canceled Mr. Ahmadinejad’s invitation because he couldn’t be certain it would “reflect the academic values that are the hallmark of a University event such as our World Leaders Forum.” He told Ms. Anderson that Mr. Ahmadinejad could speak at the school of international and public affairs, just not as a part of the university-wide leader’s forum.
And Ahmadinejad is clearly doing a lot better than former Harvard President Larry Summers, who is regarded as such a villain in the groves of Academy for merely speculating upon the possibility of other explanations besides discrimination for the less frequent academic focus of women on science, mathematics, and engineering that faculty members at the University of California at Davis were able to pressure their regents into withdrawing an invitation to Summers.