Barbara Bush died just a few days ago, and, as might be expected the left was in rare form.
You had this kind of assclownage from nobodies
me visiting barbara bush’s grave when she dies: pic.twitter.com/8b43OsniIB
— Mira Gonzalez (@miragonz) April 17, 2018
And you had this by a person who, in theory, should know better:
She appears to be a professor of creative writing at Fresno State University. (See the story by my colleague, Brandon Morse.)
This, being the age of social media, had the desired effect. It got at fourth-rate intellect at a third-tier university a lot of notoriety. And it caused a demand that she be fired. And people who say that being a noxious ass shouldn’t be grounds for firing.
Here is Ben Shapiro, for whom I have the greatest respect. Here is Ben Shapiro, for whom I have the greatest respect.
If we’re going to call for freedom of expression on public university campuses, Jarrar’s speech is protected. That doesn’t mean tenure should exist in the first place, or that if her teaching is compromised by her politics, that she’s immune to being fired — if she’s a crappy teacher, she should go for that reason. But dumping her over a nasty tweet about Barbara Bush is beyond the scope of the First Amendment.
And some guy who writes editorials for the Washington Examiner had this to offer:
Here’s the thing, though: Jarrar shouldn’t be fired from Fresno State University over her comments, as objectionable they may seem. She’s protected by the First Amendment, and Fresno State is a public university. It would be hypocritical of conservatives to call on her to be fired for making crude comments about the former first lady, especially if they criticize colleges for suppressing the speech of conservatives.
Does this even need to be said? Public universities should NOT “investigate” professors even for the most vile of statements. Free speech is free speech. End of discussion.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) April 19, 2018
Good on @benshapiro for defending the free speech rights of the Fresno professor who made those disgusting comments about Barbara Bush. We need more conservatives to do the same. https://t.co/Bne04MYtyk
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) April 19, 2018
I understand this line of argument and I totally reject it.
There is a very simple reason why we should demand that this woman be fired…and she created ample grounds when she gave out the school’s suicide hotline number as where to call if people had complaints, so this is not even a free speech issue.
When Marquette Professor John McAdams commented on a classroom argument between a grad student teaching assistant and an undergrad over gay marriage and concluded that is was too bad that gay marriage couldn’t even be discussed at the university, he was stripped of tenure and fired. His case is a great analog for the Jarrar. McAdams wrote on his private blog. He didn’t write anything disparaging of anyone. The SJW grad student was angry that the incident was actually being discussed and got the administration to fire a tenured professor.
I believe in free speech. I also believe in reciprocity. If conservatives are being shut down by de facto university actions–when the Federalist Society’s Josh Blackman lecture on, oddly enough, free speech was shut down, the dean of the CUNY law school said that demonstrations to stop a lecture were protected speech–then it is suicidal to go along with this lemming-like devotion to free speech. If free speech is transactional, I don’t have a problem playing that game.
What is lost on a large part of the right is what the left is talking about when they talk about free speech. They are talking about freedom to speak their shibboleths. This is via Ben Domenech’s The Transom:
This brings to mind Herbert Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance”, published in 1965. http://vlt.tc/38dp This essay does a good job of summing it up.http://vlt.tc/38dq “Marcuse argued that, because of the radical repressiveness of Western society, a tolerance for all viewpoints actually contributed to social oppression. A pervasive network of assumptions and biases implicitly privileges the viewpoint of the powerful, so that seemingly “equal” presentations of opposite opinions actually end up benefiting the viewpoint of the powerful… Because of social programming, the inhabitants of a given society automatically favor certain values. The ideological playing field’s lack of levelness means that seemingly equal presentations of ideas are not really equal.
“In the light of this situation, Marcuse made a rather cunning inversion (one that has been aped countless times since by cultural organs across the United States): The fact that society is so radically unequal means that we should be intolerant and repressive in the name of tolerance and liberty. He rejected what he termed “indiscriminate tolerance” — a tolerance that accepts all viewpoints — in favor of “liberating tolerance” or “discriminating tolerance.” Unlike many of his disciples, Marcuse was frank about what this intolerance would mean: “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”
Lest you think I’m being paranoid, this kind of thing appears regularly on the left.
"Is white supremacy on the rise or is that term just being redefined by the far-left to include more and more people?"
— Far Left Watch (@FarLeftWatch) April 13, 2018
This essay, which got a lot of attention on the left, spells it out. Free speech is just a tool of the alt-right to claim victim status.
My focus is on the right wing because there is no “free speech” movement being supported and pushed by the left wing. Many of today’s free speech advocates call themselves progressives, even though their talking points often align with the white-supremacist ideals pushed by many supporters of the GOP. The right-wing focus on the oppression of free speech is disingenuous at best and, at worst, insidious. This is an invented oppression. Many of these self-proclaimed free speech advocates are solely advocates for the right to say hateful things unfettered. Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacist organizations and sympathizers already have the right to say hateful things, because hate speech, however you define it, is protected by the First Amendment. What today’s right-wing free speech advocates are truly advocating is for Nazis, the KKK, and other white supremacist organizations and sympathizers to have additional, special rights the rest of us do not have: the right to say whatever they want without dissent, argument, pushback, or consequence.
Speaking or writing words is by definition an action, and every action has a consequence. If I see a guy dressed up like a Nazi, goose-stepping up and down the street, and I run up and punch that Nazi in the face, I will likely be arrested and convicted for assault. In America, it is not illegal to be a Nazi. It is, however, illegal to punch somebody for being a Nazi. That means freedom of speech is pretty well protected in this country. The consequence of me punching a Nazi is that I become a criminal, and the police have a duty to find and arrest me. The consequence of being a Nazi is that somebody may want to punch you in the face enough to take that chance.
Ironically, if you go back to the Charlottesville episode, we conservatives had no shortage of people wanting to “punch a Nazi.”
I am solidly with Kurt Schlichter on this issue. We are not engaged in a war of ideas where we debate over a glass of chilled pinot grigio. We are engaged in a fight for freedom of speech and freedom of conscience with people who openly admit they are trying to deprive us of those rights. How is me supporting the right of this bloated bolshevik to say whatever she wants going to help guys like Josh Blackman, and Ben Shapiro, talk about conservative ideas? It won’t. In fact, it will just make the job harder as we’re fighting for get-out-of-jail-free cards for these “people” while they are classifying us as Nazis. Why in the name of heaven would I line up to march silently into the gas chambers based on some abstract principle that, apparently, only my side is bound by? Not. Going. To. Happen.
No. I want this noxious troll fired. No. I will not support her right to say whatever she wants to. And no, none of this means that I don’t support free speech, it just means that I believe in social compacts and my support of your rights is directly linked to your support of mine.