Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

What does a progressive consider “righteous anger”?

Allison Stranger, the Middlebury College professor injured by protesters opposing Charles Murray’s appearance on campus, has something to say. The New York Times published her comments on the incident in an article titled Understanding the Angry Mob at Middlebury That Gave Me a Concussion.

Stranger has some straightforward and well justified criticism of the protesters, the extremely illiberal liberals supposedly fighting against hate (by using hate). And yet she also has an odd attitude about the whole thing. Stranger construes the hateful speech and hateful actions of the progressive protests as “righteous anger” and curiously proceeds to build a case showing the exact opposite.

Nearly half way into her article Stranger admits this “righteous anger” was in fact hate: “Most of the hatred was focused on Dr. Murray…” She proceeds to describe what is unavoidably understood as intimidation and terrorism as she states “I feared for my life.”

The problems only continue to mount. Strange proceeds to describe how the well was poisoned long before Murray even showed up on campus.

Part of the problem was the furor that preceded the talk. This past month, as the campus uproar about Dr. Murray’s visit built, I was genuinely surprised and troubled to learn that some of my faculty colleagues had rendered judgment on Dr. Murray’s work and character without ever having read anything he has written.

Once the propaganda began, college progressives were simply uninterested in intellectual (or any other kind of) honesty.

Intelligent members of the Middlebury community — including some of my own students and advisees — concluded that Charles Murray was an anti-gay white nationalist from what they were hearing from one another, and what they read on the Southern Poverty Law Center website. Never mind that Dr. Murray supports same-sex marriage and is a member of the courageous “never Trump” wing of the Republican Party.

There is no excusing what happened at Middlebury, and those who prevented Charles Murray from speaking must be punished for violating college rules. But what the events at Middlebury made clear is that, regardless of political persuasion, Americans today are deeply susceptible to a renunciation of reason and celebration of ignorance. They know what they know without reading, discussing or engaging those who might disagree with them.

It’s true, as Stranger says, “People from both sides of the aisle reject calm logic, eager to embrace the alternative news that supports their prejudices” but we should note it is not the political right who is engaging in and celebrating violent protests: that is the hallmark of the modern political left.

Stranger honorably recommends “We must all be more rigorous in evaluating and investigating anger, or this pattern of miscommunication will continue on other college campuses.” But it would be good for her to take her own advice. Notice how she seems to have blindly embraced the anti-Trump narrative of the left.

Throughout an ugly campaign and into his presidency, President Trump has demonized Muslims as terrorists and dehumanized many groups of marginalized people. He declared the free press an enemy of the people…, and seems bent on dismantling the separation of powers and 230 years of progress this country has made toward a more perfect union. Much of the free speech he has inspired — or has refused to disavow — is ugly, and has already had ugly real-world consequences.

In an effort to “be more rigorous in evaluating and investigating anger” let’s take a closer look at Stranger’s allegations.

No one is claiming all Muslims are terrorists, while the vast majority of terrorist actions in the world today are in fact committed by Islamic extremists (or American progressives). To even acknowledge this plain fact garners the label “Islamophobic”. Why? Because over generalizing and making blanket accusations are fine if the target is Christianity or conservatism, but Islam is to be protected at all costs, even the cost of one’s own intellectual credibility.

Ignoring the influx of violent immigrants and imported gang violence (especially among states bordering Mexico) does no good for the American people despite the gains it provides to the political left vilifying those who acknowledge this. No one is claiming all immigrants are a danger. But pretending there is no danger is downright idiotic especially considering ISIS has bragged about infiltrating other countries with operatives posing as refugees (something that has actually happened).

The American “free press” has chosen sides in political conflict and it is absurd to deny this: it has been the case for decades. With very few exceptions they are an enemy of Trump and were nauseatingly fond (and protective) of Obama and Clinton (either of them). As a single piece of evidence: Stranger accuses Trump of being bent on dismantling the separation of powers and over two centuries of progress in the United States when that dishonor could easily be placed on Obama’s shoulders.

Also, it is common place for politicians to portray their agendas as the will of “the American people” so there no point in denying this when Trump brands the press as the enemy. It would be easier to reject his claims if the press weren’t so hell bent on pumping any and all criticisms and accusations Democrats throw at Trump when they worked so hard to refute or dismiss Obama’s critics.

And so what if a lot of the free speech of late has been ugly? Falsely accusing the political right of various forms of bigotry (something that has been done for decades) is also ugly, but that doesn’t stop the political left doing so. Stranger is doing that very thing even here in unquestioningly regurgitating the left’s narrative on Trump. Did you notice how Nazi comparisons were treated as distasteful when Obama was president but were perfectly fine when Bush was president, and are once again in vogue with president Trump?

Intentionally misconstruing the political right’s comments provides an excellent example for Stranger and the rest of the political left to “be more rigorous in evaluating and investigating anger”. With very few exceptions Stranger’s criticism of hate is an apt description of the common progressive, and even more apt of left wing activists. It looks like Jonathan Haidt is proven right once again.

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University presidents more concerned with climate than free speech

original article: University presidents nationwide refuse to sign ‘Intellectual Freedom Commitment’
March 10, 2017 by NATHAN RUBBELKE

Zero presidents have signed it; all refuse

In November 2015, as racial protests engulfed the University of Missouri and students issued demands nationwide, Peter Wood thought the rocky campus landscape was ripe for higher education leaders to affirm their commitment to intellectual and academic freedom.

With that in mind, the prominent scholar penned a “College and University Presidents’ Intellectual Freedom Commitment.” However, campus leaders completely rejected it.

“Zero, absolutely zero” presidents have signed on, Wood said in an interview, but the president of the National Association of Scholars isn’t giving up on his mission.

Wood’s efforts initially began in the fall of 2015, as the Mizzou protests garnered national attention and ousted university leaders, spurring students nationwide to make demands at their respective campus.

At that time, Wood saw a number of conservative commentators responding with “very aggressive statements” about the need to preserve freedom of speech on campus. While he didn’t disagree with them, he thought “something a little bit more thought through about what kind of actions could and should be taken to preserve the intellectual freedom” might be needed.

MORE: It might be time to defund colleges that suppress free speech, scholar writes

Wood initially published in January 2016 a 30-page document entitled “The Architecture of Intellectual Freedom.” He shared it with several thousand university presidents and trustees, but received little feedback.

“It certainly did not hit home,” Wood said.

That led Wood to develop the “College and University Presidents’ Intellectual Freedom Commitment,” a single-page, 340-word document he describes as less historical and philosophical and more of a “definite pledge.”

The document states “that intellectual freedom is the foundation of higher education.” It calls in part for the protection in academia to raise questions, analyze claims, express doubts and to argue for and against conclusions.

The commitment acknowledges intellectual freedom often results in controversies and public scrutiny.

“With that in mind we believe it is important from time to time for the leaders of colleges and universities to affirm strongly the principle of intellectual freedom,” it reads.

College and University Presidents’ Academic Freedom Commitment by The College Fix on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/341416284/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-LbyqKpDThhST7eAmM6jh&show_recommendations=true

The model for enlisting higher education leaders to sign on to such a cause comes from the progressive left, Wood said.

He pointed to the success of the “American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment,” which was brought forth by a dozen college leaders in 2006. The group worked with climate advocacy groups like Second Nature, ecoAmerica and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to push the pledge forward. By the end of 2007, the commitment had more than 300 signatures and eventually more than 650 institutions committed to it.

Wood hoped to have the same success. He reached out to university presidents one by one. Could he enlist campus leaders?

“The answer is a big flat no. I can’t,” he said.

Wood said it appears college and university presidents have moved so steadfastly to the left that they’re “much more interested in mounting the resistance to the rule of law and to President Trump than they are in protecting the rights of their own students and faculty members.”

However, that’s the negative way to look at the lack of signatories.

“The positive way is that the time has not yet come when they are really ready to commit themselves to this,” he said.

However, the fight for intellectual freedom on college campuses hasn’t stopped with Wood. It’s expanded outside academia. Wood pointed to model campus free speech legislationdeveloped by the Goldwater Institute and Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Additionally Wood and his organization, the National Association of Scholars, are working on proposed changes to the federal Higher Education Act.

MORE: Public colleges that threaten free expression would face steep penalties under model bill

However, Wood isn’t giving up on his intellectual freedom pledge. The potential legislation might spurn campus leaders to act on their own.

“As they begin to notice that their states and federal government are about to move into this territory, they may well begin to think that voluntary and self-regulation might not be a bad idea and could stave off these external authorities,” Wood said.

He also noted that recent riots at UC Berkeley over the appearance of conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos “revived public interest in the topic and that opens up another chance.”

Wood isn’t discouraged by the original lack of response.

“I expect that everyone of these fights is going to be hard and I understand that higher education is now pretty much a wholly owned subsidiary of the progressive left,” he said.

While there are conservative scholars and conservative institutions, Wood said it doesn’t particularly help him in getting them aboard given they’re a small demographic ignored by the mainstream.

It’s the larger demographic Wood wants to reach.

bias, censorship, culture, diversity, education, free speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, reform, scandal

“My hope is to make this a mainstream thing,” he said.

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Instructor files complaint against free speech on campus

original article: Instructor files ‘hostile work environment’ grievance because university let Milo on campus
March 2, 2017 by Grace Curtis

President prioritizes free speech over ‘safety and well-being’

A doctoral student is accusing the University of Washington of creating a hostile work environment by letting anti-feminist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos speak on campus in January.

Alan-Michael Weatherford, a diversity and queer studies instructor, filed a complaint through his labor union. He personally confronted UW President Ana Mari Cauce at a student government meeting last month, saying he was “very busy taking care of your mess.”

Cauce bucked heavy pressure from students and faculty to cancel the Yiannopoulos event, hosted by the UW College Republicans (UWCRs), even after someone was shot outside the building where he spoke. Doing so would embolden other protesters to try to shut down other events, Cauce later told the community.

A law professor told The College Fix that Weatherford’s union complaint “makes little sense” legally.

Respecting free speech ‘will only replicate systems of inequality’

Weatherford made himself a target by organizing a “day of resistance” composed of “peaceful teach-ins” at the library across from Yiannopoulos’s venue, the instructor wrote a lengthy op-ed in The Daily.

Hours before Yiannopoulos arrived, Weatherford and his crew started marching downtown to continue the protest. They covered their faces with masks because of UW’s failure “to protect its own population” from “neo-Nazis” who supported Yiannopoulos, an “internet hate-mongerer,” Weatherford wrote.

The instructor told Seattle Weekly that he tried to block a man who continually tried to film them as they marched.

By the next day videos and photos of his protests were circulating online, and Weatherford was “doxxed” when internet users found and published his email address, social media profiles and office location and hours.

He began receiving “homophobic and transphobic slurs” and threats of rape, while users “libeled” his page on RateMyProfessors, he wrote in the op-ed. (Those reviews have apparently been removed, while several new glowing reviews have since been added. His page is now limited to registered users.)

Weatherford has since shut down his social media pages and his university email is no longer listed on UW’s directory. He declined to teach class the Monday after he was identified.

“All of this is especially shocking, provided that I was just recently nominated for a Distinguished Teaching Award and have a great track record in teaching my own courses,” Weatherford wrote. He said teaching “diversity courses” made him “an exemplary target.”

MORE: UW president says we can’t shut down Milo any more than Black Lives Matter

The instructor urged students to consider the “enormous differences in power, privilege and safety” between people with the same constitutional rights.

“I am urging you to recognize that blithely promoting free speech in all contexts without consciously and intentionally prioritizing the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable will only replicate systems of inequality,” he wrote.

“I ask that in the future when the University considers upholding free speech at the expense of physical safety, that the administration thinks hard about those consequences,” Weatherford said.

He did not respond to interview requests from The Fix.

Falsely accused of ‘exchanging grades for sexual favors’

The instructor wasn’t the first person to get doxxed in response to the Yiannopoulos event: Two weeks earlier, UWCRs President Jessie Gamble was pictured on a flyer that included phone numbers for her and her father, calling her “the racist in your class.”

Weatherford’s department, Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media, released a statement against the “hateful internet bullying, sexual harassment and violent threats” against him, including claims of “exchanging grades for sexual favors.”

Echoing Weatherford’s op-ed, the department said the behavior toward him was not protected by the First Amendment. It cited a 1992 Supreme Court ruling “protecting individuals from … the possibility that the threatened violence will occur.”

MORE: College Republicans leader says UW employee threatened her over Milo

The instructor’s union complaint that allowing Yiannopoulos on campus created a hostile work environment was revealed in a lengthy feature in The Chronicle of Higher Education. After Weatherford filed a report with university police, a detective started investigating a threat against him and an officer now escorts him to class, it reported.

Grievance is just a formalized heckler’s veto

George Washington University Law Prof. John Banzhaf told The Fix that Weatherford’s hostile-workplace complaint is not legally actionable because it targets “things which are essential” to his workplace.

“Most would agree that an important purpose served by a university is to permit its students to be exposed to new and often unpopular viewpoints, often by inviting (or having student groups invite) them to speak on campus,” Banzhaf said in an email.

He called the filing of a grievance an update of the “heckler’s veto,” in which “the mere threat that there will be disruptive hecklers” leads a university to “stifle speech with which the hecklers disagree.”

The UW taking Weatherford’s union grievance seriously would be like “acting on complaints from doctors that they may be exposed to blood with the AIDS virus,” Banzhaf said.

bias, bullies, censorship, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, elitism, extremism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, scandal

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School officials threaten, bully pro-life students

original article: Pro-life students say school officials threatened them if they sought legal help
February 27, 2017 by College Fix

Adoption message is ‘offensive’ to one student

When Carmel High School officials tore down a display created by pro-life students that had taken 25 hours to complete – after a student complained it was “offensive” – Carmel Teens for Life was miffed.

The display bore approval marks from the office that regulates student signage, and other signs from Democratic and LGBTQ student groups had been posted and left alone.

But the pro-life group was frightened when officials at the Indiana school threatened to force its leaders to resign, “jeopardizing the club’s existence,” if they didn’t “immediately” sign an agreement that waived their right to seek “legal assistance” in response to the school’s actions, LifeNews.com reports:

School personnel had also demanded the Carmel Teens for Life student members sign an agreement prohibiting club members from using the word “abortion” in any club communications, verbal or written, including on Facebook, school posters and other official correspondence. … The students were not allowed to take the agreement home or to discuss it with their parents.

School officials backed down when religious liberty law firm Liberty Counsel threatened to sue for First Amendment violations, agreeing to let the students rehang their poster – which promotes adoption over abortion – for 10 days. It still claimed that student-made signs are “not allowed to advocate a club’s agenda or cause.”

MORE: Pro-life club told it can’t use ‘abortion’ on club sign

Carmel Clay Schools said school officials “did not believe [the original sign] met club signage guidelines and had not received the proper approval by administration.”

Liberty Counsel claimed the principal and assistant principal had said the sign – actually several smaller signs arranged into one large display – was not allowed to “interfere with what folks are thinking or feeling comfortable with.”

According to the Indianapolis Star, the school district says signs can only include “time, date and place of meetings” for student clubs, not “messages.”

The school district also punished the club because its own rules were ambiguous:

The dispute arose after the students in Teens for Life got a little creative. Club members can hang up to 10 signs and display them in the cafeteria.

The club taped their 10 signs together to create one large banner and hung it in the cafeteria. …

MORE: University ditches ‘diversity grant’ rather than give it to pro-life group

Some basic facts remain in dispute. [Carmel Teens for Life President Mary Carmen] Zakrajsek says administrators approved the sign, which is a school requirement, before it was put up.  Hung during National Adoption Month, the word “abortion” was altered to say “adoption.”

[District spokesperson Tammy] Sander, though, said text was added after the banner was approved, which Zakrajsek disputes.

Zakrajsek also said it was unclear to her that signs could only contain times, dates and places of meetings, not other messages. She recalled seeing a sign for Carmel High School Democrats that included an image of a donkey.

The Indiana Family Institute is using the dispute to promote a state bill to expand students’ rights to freely express their religious views “in homework, artwork and other assignments,” as well as on their clothing, and to create a “limited public forum” for such viewpoints at school events.

abortion, abuse, bias, bullies, bureaucracy, censorship, discrimination, education, first amendment, free speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, political correctness, pro-life, prolife, public policy, relativism, scandal

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How tolerance became so intolerant

original article: Why the New Definition of Tolerance Is Dangerous
March 11, 2016 by Amy Hall

I received an email objecting to one of Greg’s commentaries on tolerance. In the commentary, Greg explains that tolerance “involves three elements: (1) permitting or allowing (2) a conduct or point of view one disagrees with (3) while respecting the person in the process.” In other words, only disagreement calls for toleration; otherwise, it’s simply agreement (or apathy). But not according to the email I received:

You said on Feb 4, 2013 – “Tolerance is reserved for those we think are wrong.”

Wrong. Tolerance is removing the right/wrong judgement from your view of other people & beliefs, as long [as] those people and their beliefs don’t impede the freedom or well-being of others.

What you’re describing is holding your nose and lying about being tolerant. That’s not tolerance, that’s empty condescension.

“We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.” – Karl Popper

Of course, this response perfectly illustrates Greg’s description of the current understanding of “tolerance,” and it struck me, as I read it, how dangerous this view of tolerance is. Here’s what he’s really saying: “It’s wrong for you to think my views are wrong. Therefore, if you think my views are wrong, then I have a right to shut you up.”

Keep in mind that his complaint here isn’t even about “intolerant” actions; it’s about beliefs. He argues that “intolerance” means holding a judgment in your mind against someone else’s beliefs. And intolerance (i.e., incorrect beliefs), according to him, should not be tolerated. How far people will go to uphold this new “tolerance” remains to be seen. Considering the fact that 40% of Millennials favor government censorship of speech, the future doesn’t look promising.

Notice also that his reasoning doesn’t work the other way around—i.e., Greg wouldn’t be allowed to say to him, “‘Tolerance’ means that if you think I’m wrong, then I have a right to shut you up,” because baked into this new definition is a preference for a particular set of political positions (i.e., anything his side deems essential for the “well-being of others”). If you agree with those positions, you’re declared “tolerant.” If you disagree, you’re intolerant.

This new definition of tolerance is nothing but a political tool to accomplish the very opposite of tolerance.

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Permit required to exercise constitutional rights

In all the voter ID objections I’ve heard the most prominent is the idea that no permit or ID should be required to exercise our constitutional right to vote – because it’s a constitutional right.

Keep in mind, our right to keep and bear arms is blatantly spelled out in the constitution but for some reason requiring permits for that meets little objection from the voter ID opponents. If being a constitutional right is in and of itself reason enough to oppose the requirement of a permit shouldn’t that apply to the second amendment as well as the right to vote? Most voter ID opponents have weak reasons for their objection but I actually like the argument that constitutional rights ought not require permits. Of course, when abuse occurs an intervention seems almost inevitable.

There are certainly reasonable limits to all our rights. For example, felons do not have the right to keep or bear firearms nor do they have the right to vote. The right to vote has an age limit, where one must be at least 18 years old before it becomes one’s right. But free speech is an entirely different matter. There seems to be two different standards on speech.

If you ever wondered what the next step would be after limiting the constitutional right of free speech to “speech zones” Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, MI has the answer: free speech permits. Yes, in the name of diversity and inclusion, institutions of higher education are pushing the oppressive absurdities even further without recognizing the irony of their own actions. Not only are college students often limited as to where they can express their opinions but apparently they must also have obtained official approval from the institution. KCC is not the only one.

So the next time someone complains about voter ID laws (supposedly an example of right wing extremism), ask them about gun rights and free speech rights, both of which are highly regulated and limited by left wing extremism.

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A dynamic society is not perfectible – stop acting like cattle

In light of the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage we see the two fundamental social forces at work in the United States. These forces show us the human condition is dynamic, thus so is human society. Because society is not a static thing the idea of progress is not nearly as settled as many people would think.

The idea of progress is a very noble one, at its core. There is suffering and injustice in the world. A lot of it. ISIS is a good example of the evil that exists in the world. Indeed the desire for improvement of the human condition adds social pressure to a people to prevent its decay into a barbaric society like that of ISIS. A health society needs this desire to improve.

On the other hand, because society is dynamic and not static, we must remember that progress itself is not static. The idea that past improvements are here to stay is an assumption. There are good reasons for thinking progress is a permanent thing but there are also good reasons to doubt this assumption. It seems to me the idea of progress, while often viewed as achievement, is in practice really nothing more than trend.

In the gay marriage example, we have a group of people who are widely believed to have been oppressed. The alleged oppression prevented gay people from loving who they wanted to love and prevented them from living with who they wanted to live with. Of course neither of these forms of oppression are true in the United States, as gay people were living with and loving the people they wanted all along. Though these allegations are true in some regions of the world:

Thrown to death… for being gay

‘Kill the gays’ penalty proposed Malawi Muslim Association

UK Muslim Cleric: ’Okay to Kill Gays’

Horrific moment ISIS kill four gay men by throwing them from a roof

Iranian Gay Men To Be Hanged For Sodomy: Report

‘Gays’ and the Muslims who kill them

So Far, Media Downplaying Muslim Scholar Preaching Death for Gays in Orlando

Yes, yes, gay people have been murdered in the United States as well. In the US killing gay people is considered murder, while in many other parts of the world murdering gays is considered justice. But there are plenty of people who insist on treating the murder of gays in the US as no different from killing them elsewhere. In fact many go out of their way to argue conservatives and Christians are no different from Islamic extremists, yet would insist Muslims don’t hate gays. How are conservatives and Christians hateful homophobes no different from Muslim homophobes while Muslim homophobes are not homophobes at all? Don’t ask me. We live in a country where believing marriage is between one man and one woman is treated as equivalent to murdering gays, yet when gays are actually murdered by an Islamic extremists it is not Muslims who are to blame. Guess who is to blame:

ABC Blames Orlando Terror on Election Rhetoric and Guns in America

Anything But Islam: Media Attack Guns, Men, Christians, GOP Instead of Ideology in Terror Attack

NYT Columnist: Orlando Shows ‘How Potent’ Combination of ISIS, NRA Can Be

The View: Orlando Shooter Had No Ties to ISIS but Trump Is ‘Working With ISIS to Kill Us’

Vile Bee Prays NRA Is Plagued with Boils, Declares She Wants to Take Guns Away Post-Orlando

ThinkProgress Blames Christians For Orlando Shooting

Nets Censor Chick-fil-A’s Help in Orlando Blood Drives After Shooting

North Carolina NBC Reporter Blames Christians, Bathroom Law Advocates for Orlando

CBS Insinuates Christians ‘Promote the Kind of Violence’ in Orlando

Huffington Post Blames Orlando on Christians and Fox News Viewers

NY Times Again Blames Anti-Gay GOP, Not Radical Islam, for Orlando Massacre

The Logic Behind the Left’s Demonization of Conservatives

So we’ve got a convoluted notion of who is anti-gay and who is not but American culture tells itself redefining marriage to include same sex couples is progress, and this progress is here to stay.

That’s rather curious. In Europe in centuries past, it was one group or another of Christians who could be oppressed, abused and murdered merely for being the wrong kind of Christian. Some of those people left the old world to help forge a new world, one inherently based in a spirit of individual liberty where they could practice their beliefs freely. This idea would later be codified as the freedom of religion and made part of the law of the land. But that essential liberty is being undermined, along with a few other things.

There some fundamental problems with the way the American government dealt with the gay marriage issue. The tactics chosen to affect this type of change undermine many rights Americans currently enjoy and even some vital aspects of the government itself.

First, American society holds to a separation between church and state. This separation is widely and frequently cited as essential to the preservation of liberty. Throughout its history the United States has treated marriage as an inherently religious thing. But in 2016 the federal government usurped this religious institution, making it what a few oligarchs on the bench decided it should be. And gay activists demanded this. So much for keeping government out of the bedroom. It turns out keeping government and religion separate is only selectively important; apparently we don’t need this separation when government wants power over religion.

Second, American society holds to a separation of powers. The genius of the American experiment has several aspects, not least of which is the balance of power. In the Constitution of the United States, the supreme law of the land, the power to make law does not rest in the hands of the President or the Supreme Court. That power is reserved for the Congress. But the Supreme Court has decided it can make law by fiat. This is not the first time SCOTUS presumed the right to make law (Roe v Wade is another).

This episode in American history show us certain things presumed permanent can easily be undone. The separation between church and state and the separation of powers are being undermined, and are done so with celebration from the political left. In the aftermath of recent mass shootings we see an overt effort to defend Muslims against imaginary acts of meanness while undermining the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms (and even question the right to self defense, another aspect of the law of the land long thought to be permanent). Some people are willing to be honest about their true intentions in supporting gun control.

You think gay marriage is a great step forward? Will you think the same if it turns out changing marriage in this way was merely a step toward banning marriage altogether as activist Masha Gessen is candid enough to admit?

You think the right to free speech is a permanent fixture of a free society? Well, you’re right, but that doesn’t mean the United States is going to remain a free society, not with politicians clamoring to change the first amendment. In the United States it used to be taken as self evident that rights do not come from government but from a higher source. Today it seems half of Americans think rights are bestowed upon us by government. Some may call this progress; I would call it regress.

When our Progressive (by that I mean radically left leaning) society pushes for its idea of liberty I cannot help but notice this also means the restriction or even elimination of other liberties often taken for granted. Liberty is an achievement, but not a permanent one. The American experiment is an historical anomaly in a world where oppression and tyranny are the norm. Not seeing tyranny for what it is, Progressives tend to fight inequality not realizing they do so by sacrificing everyone else’s liberty and are pushing American society back towards the historical norm.

In his body of work on analyzing society Russel Kirk explains ten principles of conservatism. In principle 10 he explains it like this:

The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Let us embrace healthy change (an admittedly subjective concept) when it is needed (also a subjective notion) and not rush to it just for the sake of change. All actions have consequences. Changes we impose on society by fiat have not been vetted and consequences will ensue, often painful and often accomplishing the opposite of what was promised. As Kirk alludes to a balance between permanence and progression let us carefully consider the change we desire and especially the methods we employ to achieve it. Whether the change we affect hits its target or misses completely there will inevitably be unforeseen consequences either way. We cannot possibly know how future generations will interpret or distort our efforts and accomplishments of today.

Change should be viewed more like a pendulum rather than a ladder. As we see in our own lifetime some things previously taken for granted have been inverted. We now allow a man to claim to be a woman. We now allow a white person to claim to be black (though for some reason we won’t allow a murderous thug to declare himself Muslim). We officially claim the freedom of religion and use it as an excuse to restrict the freedom of religion. We restrict the freedom of speech and excuse it as the avoidance of hurting someone’s feelings. The more volatile an issue is, and the more controversial the methods of dealing with it, the more likely a strong reaction will upend what was once considered stable. You can push, but you should expect others to push back.

We humans are not perfectible. And neither is society. What was once achieved can be torn down. Humanity is a dynamic thing. Real solutions are elusive. Realistically we should expect to deal with the problems of life by finding trade offs rather than sweeping solutions. In this election season we would do well to remember every promise a politician makes has an underlying cost, a cost often obscured or ignored but will come back to bite us eventually. Don’t blindly accept what politicians and news media are selling.

american, civil rights, conservative, culture, first amendment, free speech, freedom, ideology, philosophy, politics, right wing, separation, unintended consequences

Filed under: american, civil rights, conservative, culture, first amendment, free speech, freedom, ideology, philosophy, politics, right wing, separation, unintended consequences

Tell me again who is waging culture war here

original article: NYC Hits Peak Gender Idiocy
May 18, 2016 by Rod Dreher

Not long ago, I was talking to a university-based research scientist in New York City about a particular project he’s working on. It was interesting stuff, and I said that his research might have fascinating implications for broader society in light of the radical and relatively swift changes in social norms around sex, marriage, and gender. Ever thought about exploring that? I asked.

The scientist said he wouldn’t even begin to think about it. In his work, he stays far away from anything related to race, sex, and gender, unless it can’t be avoided, and even then he treads very, very carefully. Too risky politically. You never know where the land mines are hidden. You could say something you think is entirely uncontroversial and scientifically neutral, but if someone decides to make trouble for you, and call you a racist, homophobe, transphobe, or whatever, it can ruin your academic career.

The Social Justice Warriors have done their work well. Especially in New York City.

Eugene Volokh reports that in NYC, the Human Rights Commission advises that you can be fined if you don’t refer to someone by the name and crackpot pronoun (“ze,” “hir”) that they prefer. How can you avoid trouble under the NYC Human Rights Law? Says the Commission:

Covered entities may avoid violations of the NYCHRL by creating a policy of asking everyone what their preferred gender pronoun is so that no individual is singled out for such questions and by updating their systems to allow all individuals to self-identify their names and genders. They should not limit the options for identification to male and female only.

Oh for freak’s sake. Volokh is not having it:

So people can basically force us — on pain of massive legal liability — to say what they want us to say, whether or not we want to endorse the political message associated with that term, and whether or not we think it’s a lie.

We have to use “ze,” a made-up word that carries an obvious political connotation (endorsement of the “non-binary” view of gender). We have to call people “him” and “her” even if we believe that people’s genders are determined by their biological sex and not by their self-perceptions — perceptions that, by the way, can rapidly change, for those who are “gender-fluid” — and that using terms tied to self-perception is basically a lie. (I myself am not sure whether people who are anatomically male, for example, but perceive themselves as female should be viewed as men or women; perhaps one day I’ll be persuaded that they should be viewed as women; my objection is to being forced to express that view.) We can’t be required to even display a license plate that says “Live Free or Die” on our car, if we object to the message; that’s what the court held in Wooley v. Maynard (1978). But New York is requiring people to actually say words that convey a message of approval of the view that gender is a matter of self-perception rather than anatomy, and that, as to “ze,” were deliberately created to convey that a message.

It’s much worse. If the patron of an establishment doesn’t comply with the law, the owner has to throw the patron out, on pain of having to pay a fine. And, according to the Commission’s guidance, it “can impose civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.”

They could ruin you if you failed to understand this bizarre gender babble, and apply it correctly.

Seriously, how does a business owner operate under these conditions, even a business owner who wants to do the right thing? Read Volokh’s entire piece to get a full appreciation of how lunatic this thing is. 

Could you imagine being a business owner in NYC under this fanaticism? “Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue,” said Robespierre. So it is with the Gender Robespierres. First they make us all lose our minds and our integrity by acquiescing in their bizarre fantasies, and then, if we don’t, they make us lose our livelihoods. (But not our heads; be thankful for small mercies.)

Volokh points out that this is not likely to remain in New York City, either. Think about that. Three of the scariest words in the English language are “Human Rights Commission.”

You know, liberal friends, next time you want to complain about how conservatives are the ones waging culture war, I want you to think about this.

abuse, bias, bigotry, culture, diversity, extremism, free speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, unintended consequences

Filed under: abuse, bias, bigotry, culture, diversity, extremism, free speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, unintended consequences

One college defends free speech despite its hateful intent

Among the many examples of hate speech punished on college campuses there are still two topics on which free speech trumps all. These are anti-Americanism and Antisemitism.

Numerous instances have been reported about differences of opinion and policy about academic freedom. Oberlin College shows us another example of a higher ed. administration defending free speech when it is anti-American or anti-Israeli in nature, even if it’s racism. In any other situation, speech like this would simply be deemed hate speech and prosecuted.

The head of a prestigious Ohio school appeared to have defended a professor whose Facebook posts blaming Israel and Jews for everything from 9/11 to the creation of ISIS created an uproar earlier this week.

Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov said in a letter to the college community Wednesday that professor Joy Karega’s posts on social media affected him on a personal level and also challenged his professional beliefs, according to The Chronicle-Telegram.

To be honest, the way Oberlin is treating this instructor’s comments is how speech ought to be treated across the spectrum, on every campus in the US. Approved speech is the opposite of free speech; setting rules on what is approved or where it is approved naturally invites further restriction. That is not how free speech works. If Oberlin will defend all speech like this, kudos to them. But will they?

read full article:
Oberlin College president appears to defend controversial professor in letter
March 3, 2016 by FoxNews

Rutgers University can also be found defending free speech recently.

bigotry, education, extremism, free speech, hate speech, ideology, racism, racist, tolerance

Filed under: bigotry, education, extremism, free speech, hate speech, ideology, racism, racist, tolerance

Poop Nazis

original article: Poop Nazis
Dec 14, 2015 by Mike Adams

Matt Walsh is among the best conservative writers in America. I appreciate his insights on a number of issues. I was especially happy when he wrote about the recent race debacle at the University of Missouri (Mizzou). However, I think his correct observations about the veracity of certain alleged hate crime claims were supplemented with an incomplete analysis of their causes. I write today to offer some additional insights, if not incites.

First, as Walsh points out, if someone made a swastika out of fecal matter, it would not have been an example of anti-Semitism. Just as someone covering an American flag in fecal matter would have been expressing anti-American sentiment, a poop swastika would have been a statement against Nazism. In other words, the rise of a Turd Reich would have been a statement against the Third Reich. Of course, people who write messages with their own poo are seldom led by reason. The same is true of those who concoct stories about non-existent poop crimes.

Second, none of this is relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement. Black civil rights leaders – all the way from Farrakhan to Jackson to Sharpton – have long been openly anti-Semitic. It’s been that way ever since Martin Luther King was assassinated. In fact, Black Lives Matter should apologize for attempting to build a phony civil rights movement on the foundation of a very real Holocaust.

Given their obvious illegitimacy, what can be said about the causes of these contrived incidents? Matt Walsh believes the cause is simply immaturity. But I think immaturity is just another effect from a common cause. That common cause is better described as narcissism. It is a growing narcissism that I have been dealing with for 45 semesters as a college professor.

When I first became a professor in the early nineties, the universities had just started implementing speech codes. These codes promised students they had a right to be free from being offended. It didn’t take long for the most self-absorbed students to demand that the university make good on the promise of an offense-free environment. I’ll share just one early and salient example.

In 1993, the first time I taught Introduction to Criminology, a black student was offended by my explanation of Social Disorganization Theory, which is a theory of juvenile delinquency. She thought the theory was anti-diversity because it implied that ethnically diverse neighborhoods were less cohesive and thus more likely to experience crime. She announced in class that I had offended her and demanded I stop teaching the theory. It was a harbinger of things to come.

In more recent years, our university administration has supplemented the speech codes with campus “safe spaces.” They have also printed up “ally” stickers for faculty members to put on their doors. That way, if the KKK suddenly appears on campus attempting to lynch blacks, feminists, and homosexuals, the students have a place to run and hide.

But that hasn’t happened. Instead, leftist students have started trolling Facebook pages looking for comments they deem “offensive” or that make them feel “unsafe.” Some actually file complaints with the Dean of Students about faculty and student speech expressed on social media. In other words, students actively seek out dissenting opinions made off campus, pretend to be offended and threatened, and then use the false claims to get authorities to intervene and restore their sense of comfort and safety on campus.

Like their Marxist professors, they seek global domination. They want to turn the entire world into one giant safe space where only their ideas are disseminated. If Matt Walsh had it right and all of this was simple immaturity we could expect students to grow out of it. But none of these students ever contemplated feigning offense in order to silence dissent before going off to college. In other words, it is not something they failed to grow out of (like ending sentences with prepositions). It is something they grew into with the help of campus leftists.

The combination of this new generation’s narcissism and the old generation’s ideology is potent. The only good news is that leftist students have started going after the jobs of leftist administrators who refuse to accede to their demands.

Hopefully, some day history will be revised to say that one Marxist consumed many.

abuse, bias, bullies, censorship, corruption, culture, diversity, education, elitism, extremism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, oppression, political correctness, progressive, racism, relativism, scandal, unintended consequences

Filed under: abuse, bias, bullies, censorship, corruption, culture, diversity, education, elitism, extremism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, oppression, political correctness, progressive, racism, relativism, scandal, unintended consequences

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