Category Archive 'Thought Crime'
29 Jan 2021
Walter Donway reports in the introduction of a very scary new bill.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (DTPA) of 2021, introduced into both houses of Congress on January 19, defines “terrorism” by reference to ideas or beliefs—in particular, the ill-defined term “white supremacism,” which is less an idea than a smear. The proposed legislation is an innovation not only in the United States, but for most world bodies, too, where “terrorism” has been defined strictly in terms of violent criminal acts.
One sponsor of DTPA says the “threat that reared its ugly head on January 6th is from domestic terror groups and extremists, often racially-motivated violent individuals …”
Another says DTPA is “to combat the threat of violent white supremacists and other domestic terrorists …”
Another says: “Homegrown, violent domestic terrorism from white supremacists, and other racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists, remains a serious ongoing threat that demands the full coordination and efforts of our federal law enforcement agencies.”
Another says: “White supremacy and domestic terrorist organizations have no place in America. Rhetoric from the outgoing president and right-wing political leaders have emboldened white nationalist groups to pursue violence as a means to an end.”
And: “DTPA directs DHS, DOJ, FBI, and the Department of Defense to establish an interagency task force to combat white supremacist infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement.” Infiltration? Surely terrorists must be outed from the police, military, and intelligence agencies?
These statements usually couple the term “white supremacism” with “violence,” but it could hardly be more obvious that “domestic terrorism” is violence connected with white supremacist and “other racially motivated” beliefs and ideas. The act now before Congress declares a viewpoint—one capable of infinite elasticity and only subjective “proof”—to be part of the nature and definition of “terrorism.” …
As we have seen, given the elasticity of the term “white supremacism,” it is used to mean “any racially or ethnically motivated” belief. Like opposing reparations. Or attacking quotas in university admissions. Or opposing defunding the police. Or opposing riots in cities. Or opposing the government funding of abortions. Or drawing negative conclusions about the disintegrating American family structure. Or opposing prioritizing Blacks for the COVID-19 vaccine. Or opposing removal of public statues. Or opposing the growth of the welfare state. All are now seen to contribute to the “white supremacist” atmosphere that fosters terrorism’s violence.
At a very minimum, DTPA portends a new and virulent leftwing McCarthyism. Allegations will be enough to destroy careers. The search will be on for “a terrorist under every bed.” One atrocity story, January 6, will be enough to cast all republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and objectivists under a pall. Periodicals, TV networks, social media sites, publishers, employers like universities and schools will all feel patriotically justified in excluding ideas they view as politically incorrect. And with almost everyone involved with ideas and opinions now on record and easily “searched” online, it will take five minutes to identify those against whom “our whole country must unite”—as against the “radicals,” the “commies,” and their “fellow travelers” during the McCarthy era. Mostly, the “Reds” were deemed unpatriotic, not American. This time around the designation is “terrorist” and the penalty is potentially decades in prison.
As usual, the first cases will have some plausibility. On January 15, Justin Stoll, a 40-year-old man from Wilmington appeared in court … He had posted on YouTube and elsewhere videos from the Jan. 6 riot, some allegedly including himself yelling aggressive comments. A woman online responded online that she had “saved” his video. Stoll took that as a threat and responded: “… you ever in your f—— existence did something to jeopardize taking me away from my family [sic], you will absolutely meet your maker…. And I will be the one to arrange [it].”
That could be five years for “interstate communication of a threat” and another 20 years for “intimidating a witness”—the woman “saving” the video. But this, of course is pre-DTPA and the charge is not terrorism. And whether the woman threatened is Black was not “of the essence” in the charge. But, notably, Stoll was arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
I offer this as the kind of plausible case with which DTPA prosecutions might begin. There was no violence, but there was a clear threat—although it sounds like a bit of swaggering and most death threats are not made as part of YouTube threads. But if “white supremacy” was clearly involved (again, say the woman threatened was Black), I think Stoll would be facing charges of terrorism.
The legislation could well pass; co-sponsors include Republicans. The New York Times almost daily runs front-page stories about the Jan. 6 violence to keep the crisis alive until the vote on the legislation.
08 May 2018
Bari Weiss of The New York Times takes a fearful peek down the rabbit hole of the Intellectual Dark Web.
What is the I.D.W. and who is a member of it? Itâ€™s hard to explain, which is both its beauty and its danger.
Most simply, it is a collection of iconoclastic thinkers, academic renegades and media personalities who are having a rolling conversation â€” on podcasts, YouTube and Twitter, and in sold-out auditoriums â€” that sound unlike anything else happening, at least publicly, in the culture right now. Feeling largely locked out of legacy outlets, they are rapidly building their own mass media channels.
The closest thing to a phone book for the I.D.W. is a sleek website that lists the dramatis personae of the network, including Mr. Harris; Mr. Weinstein and his brother and sister-in-law, the evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying; Jordan Peterson, the psychologist and best-selling author; the conservative commentators Ben Shapiro and Douglas Murray; Maajid Nawaz, the former Islamist turned anti-extremist activist; and the feminists Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Christina Hoff Sommers. But in typical dark web fashion, no one knows who put the website up.
The core members have little in common politically. Bret and Eric Weinstein and Ms. Heying were Bernie Sanders supporters. Mr. Harris was an outspoken Hillary voter. Ben Shapiro is an anti-Trump conservative.
But they all share three distinct qualities. First, they are willing to disagree ferociously, but talk civilly, about nearly every meaningful subject: religion, abortion, immigration, the nature of consciousness. Second, in an age in which popular feelings about the way things ought to be often override facts about the way things actually are, each is determined to resist parroting whatâ€™s politically convenient. And third, some have paid for this commitment by being purged from institutions that have become increasingly hostile to unorthodox thought â€” and have found receptive audiences elsewhere.
17 Jul 2016
Thomas Lifson notes current levels of intimidation and ideological indoctrination in this country, without even once mentioning an event at one of our elite universities(!).
Political correctness has attained a level of institutional power today in the United States that it can justifiably be compared with the totalitarian brainwashing efforts seen in Mao Tse-tungâ€™s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (also known as “fundamental transformation”). The salient social mechanisms shared by the two efforts at thought reform are pubic shame and self-criticism.
Consider the case of Louis Graham, editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the cityâ€™s venerable daily newspaper. He had the temerity to publish an accurate headline.
Read the whole thing.
09 Apr 2014
Mollie Ziegler Hemingway quotes an essay on totalitarianism by Vaclav Havel in connection with the ouster by Mozilla of CEO Brendan Eich.
[L]etâ€™s revisit an old essay by Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright, poet, dissident and eventual president. Havel, who died in 2011, was a great man of freedom, if somewhat idiosyncratic in his political views. He was a fierce anti-communist who was also wary of consumerism, a long-time supporter of the Green Party who favored state action against global warming, and a skeptic of ideology who supported civil unions for same-sex couples.
â€œThe Power of the Powerless,â€ written under a communist regime in 1978, is his landmark essay about dissent. Itâ€™s a wonderful read, no matter your political persuasion. It asks everyone to look at how they contribute to totalitarian systems, with no exceptions. It specifically says its message is â€œa kind of warning to the West,â€ revealing our own latent tendencies to set aside our moral integrity. Reading it again after the Eich dismissal, I couldnâ€™t help but think of how it applies to our current situation in the States. …
To explain how dissent works, Havel introduced the manager of a hypothetical fruit-and-vegetable shop who places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: â€œWorkers of the world, unite!â€ Heâ€™s not actually enthusiastic about the signâ€™s message. Itâ€™s just one of the things that people in a post-totalitarian system do even if they â€œnever think aboutâ€ what it means. He does it because everyone does it. Itâ€™s what you do to get along in life and live â€œin harmony with society.â€ (For our purposes, you can imagine that slogan is a red equal sign that you put up on your Facebook page.)
The subtext of the grocerâ€™s sign is â€œI do what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me.â€ It protects him from supervisors above and informants below.
Havel is skeptical of ideology. He says that dictatorships can just use raw power, but â€œthe more complex the mechanisms of power become, the larger and more stratified the society they embrace, and the longer they have operated historically â€¦ the greater the importance attached to the ideological excuse.â€ We donâ€™t have a dictatorship, obviously, but we do have complex mechanisms of power and larger and more stratified society.
In any case, individuals need not believe the lies of an ideology so much as behave as though they do, or at least tolerate them in silence or get along with those who work with them. â€œFor by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system,â€ Havel says. …
In the greengrocer scenario, Havel notes that if the text of the sign read â€œI am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,â€ he might be embarrassed and ashamed to put it up. The dissidents are the ones who, by refusing to put the sign up, or refusing to recant, shine a huge light on the system, including the ones who go along to get along. All of a sudden those Facebook signs, those reflexive statements, those cries of â€œBigot!â€ look less like shows of strength and more like shows of weakness.
Read the whole thing.
29 Jul 2010
One can see in the case of Julea Ward versus Eastern Michigan University the way in which progressive academic institutions, professional organizations, and judges can all collaborate in defining educational requirements, professional standards, and the law in a such a fashion as to outlaw non-progressive opinion in the academic world as well as denying access to practice of professions to non-progressives.
A federal judge [on wednesday] dismissed a lawsuit brought against Eastern Michigan University by a master’s student who said she was removed from the school’s counseling program because of her strong religious views against homosexuality.
As part of her course work, Ward had refused to counsel homosexual clients, saying she believed homosexuality was morally wrong.
The university removed Ward from the counseling program after determining her actions violated university policy and the American Counseling Association (ACA) code of ethics.
Julea Ward sued the university in 2009, alleging violation of her First Amendment and religious rights.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh ruled in favor of the university and granted it summary judgment.
“The university had a rational basis for adopting the ACA Code of Ethics into its counseling program, not the least of which was the desire to offer an accredited program,” Steeh said in a 48-page opinion.
“Furthermore, the university had a rational basis for requiring its students to counsel clients without imposing their personal values.
“In the case of Ms. Ward, the university determined that she would never change her behavior and would consistently refuse to counsel clients on matters with which she was personally opposed due to her religious beliefs — including homosexual relationships.”
The judge said Ward’s “refusal to attempt learning to counsel all clients within their own value systems is a failure to complete an academic requirement of the program.”
2005 ACA Code of Ethics (pdf)
Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants.
A similar case is underway involving a student in the counseling program at Augusta State University in Georgia.
28 Feb 2009
A student at Central Connecticut State University who had the temerity to argue that allowing concealed carry of firearms on campus might save lives in cases of violent episodes like the murders at Virginia Tech soon found himself asked to come down to the campus police station to identify what firearms he owned and where he kept them.
Questioning a fundamental article of liberal faith at many Northeastern colleges today is sufficient to brand a student as an outlaw and potential threat to society.
For student John Wahlberg, a class presentation on campus violence turned into a confrontation with the campus police due to a complaint by the professor.
On October 3, 2008, Wahlberg and two other classmates prepared to give an oral presentation for a Communication 140 class that was required to discuss a â€œrelevant issue in the mediaâ€. Wahlberg and his group chose to discuss school violence due to recent events such as the Virginia Tech shootings that occurred in 2007.
Shortly after his professor, Paula Anderson, filed a complaint with the CCSU Police against her student. During the presentation Wahlberg made the point that if students were permitted to conceal carry guns on campus, the violence could have been stopped earlier in many of these cases. He also touched on the controversial idea of free gun zones on college campuses.
That night at work, Wahlberg received a message stating that the campus police â€œrequested his presenceâ€. Upon entering the police station, the officers began to list off firearms that were registered under his name, and questioned him about where he kept them.
They told Wahlberg that they had received a complaint from his professor that his presentation was making students feel â€œscared and uncomfortableâ€. …
Professor Anderson refused to comment directly on the situation and deferred further comment.
â€œIt is also my responsibility as a teacher to protect the well being of our students, and the campus community at all times,â€ she wrote in a statement submitted to The Recorder. â€œAs such, when deemed necessary because of any perceived risks, I seek guidance and consultation from the Chair of my Department, the Dean and any relevant University officials.â€
28 Jan 2009
John S. Theon, formerly chief of all weather and climate research for NASA, and James Hansen’s former boss, has just released a statement of his personal skepticism concerning the predictions of climate alarmist James Hansen and of climate models.
Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASAâ€™s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankindâ€™s effect on it).
[C]limate models are useless.
My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit. Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy.
But Dr. Theon and Senator Inhofe had better watch out. If James Hansen has his way, they as Global Warming deniers, along with the chief executives of energy companies, would be put on trial “for high crimes against humanity and nature.”
Hansen is a pioneer of a fascinating new political debating technique. You declare that your position is true and that if it fails to be accepted the consequences will be terrible, and therefore anyone opposing you is prosecutable for injuring the public interest by spreading lies.
I can picture certain Constitutional obstacles to such prosecutions myself, but some of the blogosphere’s leftwing nutroots, example: Kirk Murphy at FireDogLake, are calling Hansen’s proposal “a nice start.”
If prosecuting people who object to your theory is a nice start, presumably burning them at them at the stake for heresy or sending them to the death camps in Siberia is the logical finish.
05 Jan 2009
They got the idea from Brussels.
The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into peopleâ€™s personal computers without a warrant.
The move, which follows a decision by the European Unionâ€™s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives â€œa coach and horsesâ€ through privacy laws.
The hacking is known as â€œremote searchingâ€. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someoneâ€™s PC at his home, office or hotel room.
Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.
Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someoneâ€™s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.
A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he â€œbelievesâ€ that it is â€œproportionateâ€ and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime â€” defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years. …
Richard Clayton, a researcher at Cambridge Universityâ€™s computer laboratory, said that remote searches had been possible since 1994, although they were very rare. An amendment to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 made hacking legal if it was authorised and carried out by the state.
He said the authorities could break into a suspectâ€™s home or office and insert a â€œkey-loggingâ€ device into an individualâ€™s computer. This would collect and, if necessary, transmit details of all the suspectâ€™s keystrokes. â€œItâ€™s just like putting a secret camera in someoneâ€™s living room,â€ he said.
Police might also send an e-mail to a suspectâ€™s computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or â€œmalwareâ€. If the attachment was opened, the remote search facility would be covertly activated. Alternatively, police could park outside a suspectâ€™s home and hack into his or her hard drive using the wireless network.
Police say that such methods are necessary to investigate suspects who use cyberspace to carry out crimes. These include paedophiles, internet fraudsters, identity thieves and terrorists.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said such intrusive surveillance was closely regulated under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. A spokesman said police were already carrying out a small number of these operations which were among 194 clandestine searches last year of peopleâ€™s homes, offices and hotel bedrooms.
â€œTo be a valid authorisation, the officer giving it must believe that when it is given it is necessary to prevent or detect serious crime and [the] action is proportionate to what it seeks to achieve,â€ Acpo said.
Residents of Britain live under a legal regime that arrests people for carrying pen knives, for hunting with hounds, and for politically incorrect speech, and which watches its own citizens’ daily activities via 4.2 million CCTV cameras (one for every 14 people). The current British idea of what exactly is a “serious crime” is not likely to provide much protection for individual liberty or privacy.
30 Nov 2007
A grandfather has been given a prison sentence for racial harassment after calling a Welsh woman “English”.
Mick Forsythe used the term during an argument over a scratched car in his Welsh home town.
He called the vehicle’s owner, Lorna Steele, an “English bitch”.
She and her husband took great offence at the jibe and decided to take him to court.
The 55-year-old former lorry driver was found guilty of racially aggravated disorderly behaviour, and received a ten-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months.
Yesterday Mr Forsythe attacked the prosecution as a waste of time and money.
“I find it unbelievable that I’ve been prosecuted for this,” he said.
“I’m originally from Northern Ireland so I’m an adoptive Welshman.
“I’ve travelled all over Europe as a lorry driver and never had any problems with anybody and now they’re officially calling me a racist.
“It’s political correctness gone mad.
07 Jun 2007
President Bush has nominated Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, as Surgeon General.
The Holsinger nomination will ignite a firestorm of controversy because Dr. Holsinger wrote a politically incorrect paper for the United Methodist Church in 1991 at a time when that denomination was considering changing its position on homosexuality.
Holsinger’s paper on the Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality identifies anatomical inconsistencies and epidemiological hazards attendant upon common male homosexual activities, concluding that the inevitably greater likelihood of injury and disease provides a “speaks for itself” argument against the proposed change.
This nominee’s decade-and-a-half old heresy will not go unavenged by the forces of political correctness.
Representatives of the life style which Dr. Holsinger criticized in 1991 are well entrenched in prominent positions in government and the punditocracy, and will certainly not be inclined to forgive his observations.
Today’s initial ABC News story, just for instance, manifests such a tone of high-pitched indignation, and undertakes so detailed a point by point effort at refutation that its author’s personal interests and affiliations seem only too clear.
Aspects of the fight on this one will have amusing elements of comedy, but I don’t see how Bush can possibly believe this nominee is going to be confirmed. It seems remarkable that the president is willing to take the heat over a foredoomed gesture like this one, but isn’t willing to stick his neck out (at least, perhaps until the last possible moment) to right an injustice as eggregious as the conviction of Lewis Libby.
13 Oct 2006
Peggy Noonan observes liberals involved in four speech incidents in the past 10 days:
At Columbia University, members of the Minutemen, the group that patrols the U.S. border with Mexico and reports illegal crossings, were asked to address a forum on immigration policy. As Jim Gilchrist, the founder, spoke, angry students stormed the stage, shouting and knocking over chairs and tables. “Having wreaked havoc,” said the New York Sun, they unfurled a banner in Arabic and English that said, “No one is ever illegal.” The auditorium was cleared, the Minutemen silenced. Afterward a student protester told the Columbia Spectator, “I don’t feel we need to apologize or anything. It was fundamentally a part of free speech. . . . The Minutemen are not a legitimate part of the debate on immigration.”
On Oct. 2, on Katie Couric’s “CBS Evening News,” in the segment called “Free Speech,” the father of a boy killed at Columbine shared his views on the deeper causes of the recent shootings in Amish country. Brian Rohrbough said violence entered our schools when we threw God out of them. “This country is in a moral freefall. For over two generations the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum. . . . We teach there are no moral absolutes, no right or wrong, and I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children.” This was not exactly the usual mush.
Mr. Rohrbough was quickly informed he was not part of the legitimate debate, either. Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post: “The decision . . . to air his views prompted a storm of criticism, some of it within the ranks of CBS News.” A blog critic: Grief makes people say “stupid” things, but “what made them put this man on television?” Good question. How did they neglect to silence him?
Soon after, at Madison Square Garden, Barbra Streisand, began her latest farewell tour with what friends who were there tell me was a moving, beautiful concert. She was in great form and brought the audience together in appreciation of her great ballads, which are part of the aural tapestry of our lives. And then . . . the moment. Suddenly she decided to bang away on politics. Fine, she’s a Democrat, Bush is bad. But midway through the bangaway a man in the audience called out. Most could not hear him, but everyone seems to agree he at least said, “What is this, a fund-raiser?”
At this, Ms. Streisand became enraged, stormed the stage and pummeled herself. Wait, that was Columbia. Actually she became enraged and cursed the man. A friend who was there, a liberal Democrat, said what was most interesting was Ms. Streisand made a physical movement with her arms and hands–“those talon hands”–as if to say, See what I have to put up with when I attempt to educate the masses? She soon apologized, to her credit. Though apparently in the manner of a teacher who’d just kind of lost it with an unruly and ignorant student.
On “The View” a few days earlier it was Rosie O’Donnell. She was banging away on gun control. Guns are bad and should be banned. Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who plays the role of the young, attractive mom, tentatively responded. “I want to be fair,” she said. Obviously there should be “restrictions,” but women have a right to defend themselves, and there’s “the right to bear arms” in the Constitution. Rosie accused Elizabeth of yelling. The panel, surprised, agreed that Elizabeth was not yelling. Rosie then went blank-faced with what someone must have told her along the way is legitimately felt rage. Elizabeth was not bowing to Rosie’s views. Elizabeth needed to be educated. The education commenced, Rosie gesturing broadly and Elizabeth constricting herself as if she knew physical assault were a possibility. When Rosie gets going on the Second Amendment I always think, Oh I hope she’s not armed! Actually I wonder what Freud would have made of an enraged woman obsessed with gun control. Ach, classic projection. Eef she had a gun she would kill. Therefore no one must haf guns.
There’s a pattern here, isn’t there?
It is not only about rage and resentment, and how some have come to see them as virtues, as an emblem of rightness. I feel so much, therefore my views are correct and must prevail.
She missed the proposed Nuremburg Trials for Global Warming skeptics.
12 Oct 2006
The US Senate Committtee on Environment and Public Works released the following yesterday:
A U.S. based environmental magazine that both former Vice President Al Gore and PBS newsman Bill Moyers (for his October 11th global warming edition of “Moyers on America” titled “Is God Green?”) have deemed respectable enough to grant one-on-one interviews to promote their projects, is now advocating Nuremberg-style war crimes trials for skeptics of human caused catastrophic global warming.
Grist Magazine’s staff writer David Roberts called for the Nuremberg-style trials for the “bastards” who were members of what he termed the global warming “denial industry.”
Roberts wrote in the online publication on September 19, 2006, “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
And over on the Huffington Post, the same David Roberts bleats that he is being attacked! Though he is willing to admit to “rhetorical excess,” Roberts is not really taking back what he said about crimes and trials. All we Global Warming skeptics are just a bunch of hired mercenary corporate flacks, who know perfectly well that Roberts and the other goofball, tree-hugging, Luddite moonbats are correct about the science, we’re just lying. Oh, sure. Pretty to think so, if you’re a moonbat.
Well, if they are ever going to be putting people on trial for lying about Global Warming, my next posting makes it pretty clear just who it is that will be standing in the dock.
The endless calls for “civility” among the nation’s political and media elite have become so numbing that it’s difficult to get out from under the haze and speak simply about this. But it needs to be said: These people are, morally if not legally, criminals.
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