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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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120 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    I saw this stuff from Freddie a couple days ago. It’s a shame he moved on. Of course he is “real lefty” so his noting this should also mean something in the entire debate. I’m sure he is correct but i’d note that the academic left has about as much actual power as the Stonecutters. Also i don’t think what he is seeing is all that new. What he is pointing has been an unfortunate set of beliefs held by some liberal groups for a while. Is it worse now? beats me. But nothing about it seems new ( or good for that matter) to me. Did you think you were the only person who noted the anti-free speech tendencies of some liberal groups? Lordy knows i’ve seen it discussed before.Report

  2. Avatar Will Truman
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    says:

    Gah! I read the title and freaked out because I though something went wrong with Russell’s adoption.Report

  3. Avatar clawback
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    says:

    He cites exactly one example to support the notion that the left is “abandoning free speech”; namely, an incident involving anti-abortion protesters and a UCSB professor. Then, based on that you tell us “the left seems to be cracking down on free speech.”

    Please. This is just remarkably weak stuff.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to clawback
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      says:

      “you tell us “the left seems to be cracking down on free speech.””

      No, I don’t.

      “He cites exactly one example”

      No, he doesn’t.

      As always, reading the posts first before objecting to them is always recommended.Report

      • Avatar clawback in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        Ah. I see. You didn’t exactly tell us “the left seems to be cracking down on free speech.” You just approvingly summarized his post as “the left seems to be cracking down on free speech.” I stand corrected.

        And yes, the first post you approved of cited exactly one example. His follow-up post revived a litany of complaints about “political correctness” that would have been right at home in the ’80s.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        I’m not sure what “approvingly summarized” means, so I’m not entirely sure if I did. If you mean that I somehow worded it in an attempt to preemptively trick you before you even objected, well then gosh, I really am quite clever.

        And your second point is well taken too, and so I will move the goal posts the appropriate and temporary distance.Report

      • Avatar clawback in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        You wrote, “… Freddie wrote recently that the left seems to be cracking down on free speech.” You also wrote, “It’s just a little comforting to know I’m not the only one who sees this.”

        On the other hand, you disagreed with “you tell us ‘the left seems to be cracking down on free speech.’”

        He said it, you agreed with it; but that’s totally different from you told us it.

        So yeah, I’d agree that you are quite clever if you can find a distinction here that matters.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        Ah, then I see where the confusion lies. That last bit wasn’t looping back to the second paragraph, it was looping back to the first. The thing I’m seeing isn’t the left restricting free speech on campuses, it’s simply that the left is veering down an unwise path in general. I had thought that was clearer than it is.

        Apologies.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to clawback
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      says:

      @clawback

      As I commented on Tod’s last post regarding the left, the organization, FIRE, has reams of examples of left leaning universities cracking down hard on free speech/assembly.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        btw…didn’t “free speech zones” start with Bush II in attempt to keep him away from protesters? If they didn’t start with him, he was more then happy to use them.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Hurray! Both Sides Do It!Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Welcome to clichés r usReport

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Nah, they precede W (they go back to the late 80s and 90s) but he def. made use of them.Report

      • Avatar clawback in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        MRS, as I mentioned, “speech codes” and other campus silliness have been with us for many decades. This stuff can’t possibly be construed as a new scary phenomenon.

        Greg, yeah, the attempt to frame the left with “free speech zones” struck me as remarkable as well.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Okay…my hearing was still bad in the late 80’s early 90’s from one particularly loud Midnight Oil show.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Also remember a thread just last week or so, when some said liberals don’t or wont’ or can’t criticize themselves. Something like that occurred. Well here is a post triggered by Freddie where a bunch of the local liberals are stating how they don’t like the tendency in some on our own side to diss free speech. Its almost like we are knocking some on our own side and also this just might be one of those areas where plenty of liberals and libertarians….gasp…..agree.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Campus Free Speech Zones pre-date Bush II. What he did was decide that the Secret Service could use guns & force to establish “Friendly Free Speech Zones” around politicians. I seem to recall that SCOTUS is considering a case resulting from that.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        I have a weird relationship with Campus Speech Codes in general. I keep going back in forth.

        On the one hand, I believe colleges are an ideal area to have your beliefs challenged, for the give and take of debate, and for exposure to all aspects of society.

        On the other hand, people pay a lot of freakin’ money to get an education there.

        And “speech codes” are all over the business world, because “getting sued” is a bad thing internally and “losing clients because our employees were bigoted jerks, or because we sat them next to OTHER clients who were bigoted jerks” is bad for business.

        I really can’t decide where I stand, so I generally just go case by case on the codes and why they’re there.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        @morat20

        Your reasoning is fairly applied to private colleges, but publics have to abide by the First Amendment.Report

      • @jm3z-aitch

        What’s your view about whether private campuses *should* adopt speech codes? I’m not talking about legal rights and I agree the first amdt doesn’t apply there. But are you supportive of any such codes at private schools?Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Your reasoning is fairly applied to private colleges, but publics have to abide by the First Amendment.
        Eh, see — public colleges aren’t free. People pay a fee for admission.

        Can a publicly owned museum kick a patron out for harassing other patrons? What about shushing loud people (or asking them to leave if they won’t quiet down) during something like “Movies in the Park”?

        I don’t think you’re “They’re public, ergo no speech codes” logic makes much sense. It’s certainly not Constitutionally supported, as there are plenty of rulings dating back to the founding showing free speech isn’t absolute.

        If public colleges were free — that is, entirely state supported — you’d have a more arguable point. But they’re merely subsidized — like many museums, fine arts facilities, and other public facilities.

        Heck, even the local parks and rec game room will kick you out for cursing, name-calling, and generalized jerkiness.Report

      • @morat20

        I think I partially disagree, or at least have a different emphasis. Shushing or “harassing” someone crosses a line where the “speech” in the cases you describe is less speech for speech’s sake and more based on the discomfort it causes. Which is a wordy way of saying the restriction on speech in those cases isn’t viewpoint-based.

        Also, most public campuses that I’m familiar with allow non-students on school property, although perhaps not in the lecture centers or select other places. And although students pay, what they pay is often at least partially subsidized either through keeping the tuition somewhat lower or through taxpayer subsidies on federal loans. And regardless of whether or how much the students pay, the government can’t–or at least ought not, in my view–compel people to surrender their rights therefor.

        But I do think your parting example–“even the local parks and rec game room will kick you out for cursing, name-calling, and generalized jerkiness”–is a more solid point because most of that example has at least some relation to the content of the speech. It is or can be interpreted to be threatening. If campus speech codes are envisioned as a way to forbid the most explicitly threatening behavior, then I think a stronger case might be made for them or I can at least see where they’re coming from. (And for all I know, that’s all most codes are designed to do.) I’d still probably oppose them, however.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        This subthread raises a question:

        What’s the difference between free speech and rude speech?

        I mean, there’s a commenting policy here. If I’m really, really rude — calling someone names or what not — Dave or Tod or Mark are going to be all over it. Each has, at one point or another, responded to things I’ve pointed out cross the line.

        So somewhere, bottled up in all this discussion of free speech on campus (or off) has to be a discussion of basic manners.

        Because speaking politely and with respect isn’t always easy; sometimes it’s hard to recognize when we’re being rude or disrespectful; when are words harm some sub-group without our knowledge. That is the whole point of ‘political correctness.’ Not to bash people and limit their speech, but to point out when certain kinds of speech that we take for granted — the N word, or the C word — are rude.Report

      • @zic

        I do believe that what is often derided as “political correctness” is actually just social norms about manners and rudeness. Much of what is called political correctness is, in my opinion, not even “speech codes” or but just a sense that it’s insensitive to say certain things or that it’s more welcoming to say things in a certain way.

        I had an acquaintance once who asked what I thought of “political correctness,” and when I responded that I thought it had some merit, he immediately accused me of supporting government-imposed speech codes. Which I think I don’t support, or I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d support them. I’m *almost* a free speech absolutist.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        I agree, Pierre. There’s a very, very large difference between socially discouraging people from being assholes / calling them out for being assholes (which I support) and making it illegal to be an asshole.

        Believing that some basic level of courtesy, decency, and consideration for others should be socially encouraged does not connote a desire to ban speech. The people who conflate the two are, in the main, conservatives who mean “I want to be an asshole, and I want the right to have nobody think less of me for it, criticize me for it, or stop listening to me because of it”.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        @zic

        Some times First Amendment scholars do wonder if there is a First Amendment right to a “Heckler’s veto”. As far as I know there has never been a case on the heckler’s veto.

        The Heckler’s Veto would only cover situations where a person used their speech to drown out another persons speech.

        Freedie De Boer wrote in his essays that he generally considers this to be bad form and that the remedy for speech you hate is a counter demonstration or speech somewhere nearby or after the event. I generally agree.

        Rude Speech is protected speech. The case I would site for this is Cohen v. California aka the Fuck the Draft Case. Justice Harlan’s opinion noted that one person’s vulgarity is another person’s lyric even for really rude speech.

        Who gets to determine what is rude and offensive speech? When is it called for and when is it not? Have you ever said something really rude and mean in a flash of anger and frustration or because you were under stress? Should you be punished or fined for that? Rude words are necessary for writers of fiction to effectively portray certain characters and psychologies. Should a female novelist be allowed to use the C word but not a male novelist?

        There are sixteen trillion different hypotheticals and questions that could be thought of with what is and is not rude speech. A guy who works at my coffee shop is the son of an Oklahoma pastor. His household was very censorious on language and with a zeal. My dad was a largely secular Manhattan litigator, so I heard a good deal of cursing growing up and my parents never censored the content of my music or tv watching from the time I was 11 on. Which is the right path? Perhaps both. Perhaps neither.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        @zic

        @pierre-corneille

        I agree with both you that people who claim to be anti-PC are really just being offensive for the sake of being offensive and not wanting to treat people with common decency and dignity but I feel the prohibition against rude speech would be worse than any benefit received.

        I once worked for a non-profit radio station called Pacifica. They are entirely listener sponsored and seem to be on very slow but very unstoppable death spiral and have been so for the past 14 years. Their NY station, WBAI, was very hip and cool during the 1960s to early 70s but most of the audience has been listening for that long. They don’t have young listeners.

        WBAI lost a lot of their Jewish listeners in the early aughts because one of the factions that took control of the station played a lot of conspiracy theory stuff about how Jews were all involved in the slave trade. Keep in mind that most Jewish listeners were the children and grandchildren of Eastern European immigrants. Their families did not come to America until 20-40 years after the civil war and were just really poor in small villages in the Pale of Settlement.

        http://www.laweekly.com/2014-03-20/news/left-wing-darling-pacifica-radio-is-sliding-into-the-abyss/

        The speech was wrong and incorrect in a very easy to spot manner but there are probably many more times when the speech is going to be true enough or count on a very fine tuned judgment call about what is right or not and it is those cases that I worry about and we protect the really idiotic stuff to protect the stuff the is more debtable on truth matters.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        I kinda see a distinction between saying “Don’t talk about politics here” and saying “only people who are pro legalization of heroin are allowed to talk about politics here”.

        The former is an issue of politeness. The latter is a horse of another color.

        The worst part is when one says “the rule is that we don’t talk about politics” but the rule is only enforced among those who are on the other side.

        Because, seriously, that’s bullshit.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        I don’t think anyone here is trying to attack MD, Jay.

        (If an entire university campus declared political discussion off-limits, now that would be a different thing. And very problematic for the Poli Sci students.)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Of course not, Katherine. At least when it comes to MD, anyway.

        What I do worry about is the attitude that says “well, the legalize heroin position is the polite, trusted, nice, kind, and socially acceptable position. It’s when people start arguing against heroin that we know that they’re supportive of such things as long prison sentences for minorities, premature deaths of talented musicians, and that they oppose pain management.”

        It’s fairly easy to find normal normative attitudes anywhere… places where any given person can casually point out how awesome they and their positions are in the course of discussing other things. It’s when the differently attituded folks start talking that we find out what the underlying Free Speech Philosophy really is.Report

      • @newdealer

        For the record, I oppose banning speech. My main point was that the term “political correctness” is more than just speech bans and even more than government action.

        @jaybird

        It’s when the differently attituded folks start talking that we find out what the underlying Free Speech Philosophy really is.

        I partially disagree. I can sincerely hold to a very expansive free-speech philosophy both as to government action and to social norms, but then find that when it’s my ox being gored, I suddenly don’t like it. It’s not unusual for people to forgo their ideals, and went they do forgo their ideals, it is to me one of those “their but for the grace of….go I” things.

        But I also partially agree. Free speech–whether we’re talking about government intrusions or social norms–means nothing if “differently attituded” people cannot speak.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        @pierre-corneille

        The question is, when it’s your Ox being gored, do you get upset, maybe offended, and either engage the offender or walk away upset; or do you resort to violent action (stealing a sign, pushing people, etc) or demand the authorities “do something!” to silence the offender?Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist You mentioned FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) as an organization finding many examples of “leftist” universities cracking down on freedom of speech.

        I’ve looked into FIRE a bit. They claim to be non-partisan. However, there are a group of universities that FIRE labels as “Exempt” from any analysis of free-speech-friendliness. Care to guess which side of the political spectrum the vast majority of those universities are on? I’ll give you a hint, Pepperdine, Baylor, and BYU are exempt from their analysis.

        FIRE’s language: “When a private university expresses its own values by stating both clearly and consistently that it holds a certain set of values above a commitment to freedom of speech, FIRE does not rate that university.” I can’t find a more explicit description of this rule in their methodology, so we have no way to evaluate how it is applied.

        Now, FIRE claims that this applies to all private universities that claim such values. And I’ve seen mention that Swarthmore is an example of a “lefty” school that has such an exemption, but that is not the case. Swarthmore is NOT exempt under FIRE’s evaluation. FIRE does not provide a list of all exempt schools, but I’ve browsed through their website and I can find no exempt schools that are not traditional conservative religious colleges and universities.

        So, I think it’s hard to make any claims about the relative willingness of the Left to censor others compared to the willingness of the Right to do so when you simply set aside the most egregious violators on the Right.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        @zane

        Pepperdine – PRIVATE Catholic College
        Baylor – PRIVATE Baptist College
        BYU – PRIVATE Mormon College

        Note the fact that all are PRIVATE institutions and therefore not subject to the First Amendment. As you quoted, “When a private university expresses its own values by stating both clearly and consistently that it holds a certain set of values above a commitment to freedom of speech, FIRE does not rate that university.” In short, if the institution is private and CLEARLY expresses a mission not beholden to the ideas of free expression & the free exchange of ideas, but something else, FIRE does not rate them, as such institutions are not advertising themselves as bastions of free expression (see here).

        Note that took me all of 30 seconds to find that link, as it was linked on the BYU Rating page on FIRE’s website, under the commentary tab. As for Swarthmore, again, 30 seconds from the profile tab gets me this: http://www.thefire.org/the-state-of-free-speech-on-campus-swarthmore-college/

        Spend a few more minutes & you’ll find that all three of your examples have their speech policies linked on the profile pages, so students who are interested can have such policies at their fingertips. They also do not shy away from publishing commentary critical of such schools, even when the schools are not rated.

        Next time, do a little actual research in an effort to disprove your own bias before you spout off. Helps to keep the taste of shoe leather out of your mouth.Report

      • It appears that they are selective in their exemptions. Pepperdine is exempt, but Notre Dame isn’t. They say that exemptions are given when a school “express[es] clearly and consistently that they believe in a set of values above the commitment of free speech”… I’d be interested to know precisely what statements they accept as such and what states they don’t.

        MRS is right that they do list the policies regardless.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        @mad-rocket-scientist : “Next time, do a little actual research in an effort to disprove your own bias before you spout off. Helps to keep the taste of shoe leather out of your mouth.”

        Have I been disrespectful to you at some time at the past? If so, I apologize. I don’t think that I put my foot in my mouth in this instance, however.

        I think you misunderstood my point. In your earlier comment, you said: “As I commented on Tod’s last post regarding the left, the organization, FIRE, has reams of examples of left leaning universities cracking down hard on free speech/assembly.”

        FIRE does have many examples of such. And far fewer examples of right leaning universities doing the same. Of course, I also mentioned that the books are cooked (heh) if we look to FIRE to provide some useful information about the relative willingness of the Left or Right to censor, because they offer a pass to many of those schools (private ones, to be sure, as was mentioned in my quote from FIRE) on the Right that do regularly censor free speech.

        Nowhere did I hide FIRE’s justification for that approach. In fact, I quoted it, and you quoted it again. FIRE’s stance is that if a private university* claims that some other set of values is more important to it than freedom of speech, that it is exempt from FIRE’s evaluation. They said it; I quoted it; you quoted it. I wasn’t arguing that private universities are or should be held to the same *legal* requirements regarding freedom of speech. I wasn’t arguing that FIRE have somehow hidden this policy (though I noted they aren’t particularly clear about this works methologically). I wasn’t even arguing that FIRE’s criteria are a bit strange for an organization so opposed to freedom speech restrictions on individuals. I was arguing that by exempting from analysis these private conservative religious schools, FIRE’s information can’t delineate the relative willingness of the Right or Left to use censorship.

        Is your position that FIRE’s data is exhaustive and inclusive enough to answer such a question?

        Now, I do have to apologize for a lack of clarity on my part in one instance. I said “…I’ve seen mention that Swarthmore is an example of a “lefty” school that has such an exemption, but that is not the case.” And you went to the trouble to track down Swarthmore’s page in FIRE’s database for me. I had already read it, of course, which is how I knew that Swarthmore was not exempt and why I said that that Swarthmore was not exempt. What I apologize for is that I didn’t make it clear that I had read that Swarthmore was an exempt school in a story *about* FIRE from a couple of years ago. In my defense, I did say that “I’ve seen mention of…” which I thought indicated that I had not gotten the impression from FIRE itself. In the story, Swarthmore was provided as the counter-example to BYU. When I read that, I trundled off to FIRE’s site to see if it was true. And, like you, found that Swarthmore was not exempt. The story I had read had it wrong. I have been unable to find *any* non-conservative religious university that is exempt from FIRE’s data collection and activism.* I have just tried to do a search to find the article that mentioned Swarthmore, but I have been unsuccessful.

        As a side note, in the 2007 blog entry from FIRE that you provided a link for, Robert Shibley indicated that Bard College is an example of a private secular college that meets its criteria for exemption. Bard College was also used as the private secular college example in this 2011 interview: http://www.policymic.com/articles/335/what-are-the-worst-colleges-in-america-for-free-speech. Later in 2011, Bard College changed its policies, and is no longer listed as exempt by FIRE.

        In your second to last paragraph, you explain that FIRE does list many universities’ speech policies, including all the ones we’ve discussed. Unfortunately, FIRE has profiles on well under 50% of American universities. I suspect it’s in the 20% range, but I haven’t tracked down a comprehensive breakdown of this sort of statistical information from FIRE. If you find one, please share it with us.

        I won’t claim to being an expert on FIRE, but I have followed them with interest and have spent a fair amount of time on their website for several years now.

        *FIRE does exempt the US Military Academy and the US Naval Academy. Both are public institutions of course, but both are military institutions. While FIRE’s statement about exemptions (as quoted by both of us) addresses only private universities, their exceptions in these cases certainly could be consistent. It would be nice if FIRE spelled out this exemption policy in a more clear description of their methodology, though.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        @will-truman: “MRS is right that they (FIRE) do list the policies regardless.”

        Yes, FIRE does list the policies of exempt schools. Though only a minority of all universities are included in this way.

        More importantly, they don’t open “cases” on exempt schools. The bulk of information available at FIRE is not their documentation of each university’s policies, it’s the cases that FIRE opens when they find that someone’s free speech rights have been violated. When FIRE opens a case, they begin reporting on what has happened, how this violates the individual’s rights, FIRE’s actions as an advocate, the university’s response, etc. These can be quite extensive and continue for months or years.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        Every time I’ve read *anything* on the FIRE website, they turn out to be liars who are clearly misrepresenting the actual speech guidelines they claim to be quoting.

        For example, someone linked to the page: http://www.thefire.org/the-state-of-free-speech-on-campus-swarthmore-college/

        Read that page. Notice FIRE has no problem with a paragraph saying ‘. An intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment is defined as one that is so severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes…’, but somehow the second paragraph, which is clearly listing *things not to do*, somehow renders all that void, because, apparently, it doesn’t repeat the fact that such a thing must only not be done repeatedly? What?

        ‘Do not persistently or extremely do X’ in one paragraph, and then ‘X is defined as’ in the second paragraph, does not mean ‘any single instance of X is banned’.

        And either FIRE thinks that, and are thus either complete idiots, or they are liars. Or perhaps they think ‘sexual innuendoes’ that are ‘so severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes’ with education should be fine?

        And I remind people this, *literally*, was a random page at FIRE that *someone else* mentioned, and I picked to prove a point. And, just as I had expected, they had basically invented their entire problem out of whole cloth, by deliberately misreading the speech code.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Well, everything except the surreal ones. My favorite FIRE complaint is this one:

        http://www.thefire.org/fire_speech-codes/student-code-of-conduct-special-eventlate-night-event-policy-12-13/

        That’s rated a yellow. Yes, folk, listen to this threat to free speech at Georgia State University:

        Student Code of Conduct: Special Event/Late Night Event Policy 12-13
        Category: Other Speech Codes, Statement
        School: Georgia State University
        Statement Rating: Yellow
        Relevant excerpt

        The sponsoring organization will be responsible for all costs related to security for the event. The sponsoring organization will develop a security plan with a representative of the Georgia State University Police, in conjunction with the event venue representative and in advance of the event. The police will make decisions on the number of police officers required, the number of hours necessary and the estimated cost.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Every time I’ve read *anything* on the FIRE website, they turn out to be liars who are clearly misrepresenting the actual speech guidelines they claim to be quoting.

        Ideology is the enemy…again. There’s always something special about lying about other people being liars.

        Here’s a case from FIRE’s pages that even you can grok.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Ideology is the enemy…again. There’s always something special about lying about other people being liars.

        Here’s a case from FIRE’s pages that even you can grok.

        I have the feeling you missed that I said they were liars ‘who are clearly misrepresenting the actual speech guidelines they claim to be quoting’.

        The page you are talking about…is not about speech guidelines. It is, in fact, a summary of events.

        So, yes. They are not lying on that page. And presumably not lying on their ‘About Us’, or any random page on their site. I didn’t say they were. I said they were lying whenever they talk about *speech guidelines*.

        Although, if you’re going to nitpick, I guess I should clarify in advance: They’re lying when they *criticize* speech guidelines. As opposed to the times they present guidelines without comment or when they’re not able to invent a problem with them so rate them acceptable. Those pages, as far as I know, do not contain lies.

        However, I’ve never read a single article there that *criticized speech guidelines* without containing some obvious untruths, although I will admit I have once or twice run across a valid criticism, or at least one not based in lies. But they can never leave the article at just that.

        And I obviously haven’t read all of their criticism. But I have read at least 50 or so, at one time, solely because I couldn’t believe the nonsense they were sprouting.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        says:

        Oh, and be aware that a lot of their complaints are presented without comment, even ones they rate as ‘Red’. They quote the speech code, and that’s it.

        While these ratings are often stupid and sometimes I can’t even figure out what they object to (They appear to object to the idea that Arkansas State University students are expected to be civil, for example.), they aren’t ‘lying’, because there is literally no facts written on their part. Just a ‘don’t like’ opinion.

        I am talking about when they *do* offer commentary on the speech code. They will always interpret things in completely nonsensical ways, ignoring context or sane readings of the code. They’re playing a game of ‘Let’s see how we could possibly twist these words into being a first amendment issue?’.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
        Ignored
        says:

        @zane

        My apologies, Friday was a stressful day & you caught a bit of that. Thank you for clarifying your position. I was under the impression you just spent a few minutes on their website & hammered out an uninformed critique that fueled by ideology, instead or reason.

        I never hoisted FIRE as the be all, end all of campus free speech issues, nor do I expect them to be all inclusive of their data or criticisms (and for a non-profit advocacy group, the fact that they have so far gotten as many campus profiles up as they do is impressive, especially if many campuses hide their policies behind logins & restrictive TOS). Still, they do offer a large dataset of problematic campuses (mostly public campuses & big name private), many of which lean left & claim to be all about free speech, but then actively restrict it in some way. Enough to be indicative of a troubling administrative cultural issue (much in the same way grade & high schools have major issues with zero tolerance policies). Remember, the whole point of the OP was that the left is working it’s way down a dangerous path that the right has already tread, so I don’t care if the right does it too, since that is established fact. We want the left to NOT take that path.

        As for conservative schools, it would seem the right leaning private institutions are just much more up front about NOT caring about student or faculty free speech issues, or at least don’t make the explicit claim that they do. Since FIRE states, clearly, that one of their key criteria is essentially Truth in Advertising when it comes to private schools, I can understand (even if I disagree with it) their reluctance to target such schools, as the resources of any non-profit are very limited. In much the same vein, I do not disparage the ACLU for refusing to take 2nd Amendment cases because they still hold to the idea that the right to arms is held by the state, not the individual (despite 2 SCOTUS decisions otherwise). I wish they would support such cases, but the ACLU is a private non-profit & despite their stance, they still do admirable work protecting other rights.

        @davidtc

        From the linked policies:

        Some specific examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to: unwelcome verbal or physical advances; persistent leers; sexual innuendoes, comments or jokes; the persistent use of irrelevant references or remarks to a person’s gender, sexuality or sexual orientation; sexist remarks about the target’s clothing or body; expressions using sex stereotypes whether or not they were made about or directed to the grievant and whether or not intended to insult or degrade….

        Now, IANAL, but the bolded statements each lack the keyword you focused on, that being persistent. The list is not comma seperated, but semi-colon seperated, which tells me each item in the list stands alone. Which leads me to conclude that, if one were to split hairs, the bolded items do not need to be persistent, but could be single instances. This is problematic.

        Et. al.

        Keep in mind that university policies are interpreted by the faculty & administration, and that generally students have little in the way of legal recourse in the moment when falling victim to such policies. There is no right of Due Process, no right to face the accused, no right to be convicted beyond all reasonable doubt, etc, unless the school has written policies explicitly saying so. If the administration has loose & vague policies & wants you expelled, you will be, and a university expulsion pretty much guarantees you will never be admitted to any other school at or above the tier of the one you just got the boot from, along with other negative effects. Hell, the expelling school may even withhold your transcripts even if you do get accepted elsewhere, such that all the money & effort you’ve put in to date is lost. Often, the only recourse expelled students have is to file a civil suit against the school for violating their own written policies, so such policies must be worded clearly, with as little ambiguity as possible. (I humbly offer the local Professors to correct or clarify my understanding here).Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
        Ignored
        says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        Now, IANAL, but the bolded statements each lack the keyword you focused on, that being persistent. The list is not comma seperated, but semi-colon seperated, which tells me each item in the list stands alone. Which leads me to conclude that, if one were to split hairs, the bolded items do not need to be persistent, but could be single instances. This is problematic.

        No, that’s not what I was saying. That paragraph defines ‘specific examples’ of sexual harassment. But single examples of ‘sexual harassment’ *aren’t against the rules*. (I know it just seems obvious that if someone says ‘that action is sexual harassment’, they mean ‘and thus it’s not allowed’, but that is based a fundamental misunderstanding of what ‘harassment’ actually is.)

        What is against the rules is ‘[A]ny unwelcome action, verbal expression, usually repeated or persistent, or a series of actions or expressions that have either the intent, or are reasonably perceived as having the effect, of creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning educational, employment, or living environment for a student or College employee, either by being sexual in nature or by focusing on a person‘s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.’

        The first paragraph rules are saying ‘Don’t sexual harass people constantly to the point of creating a hostile environment’ and the second paragraph is saying ‘And here are some examples of things that can be sexual harassment’.

        And, more to the point, FIRE entirely left out the relevant paragraph of:

        The perception of a conduct or expression as harassing does not necessarily constitute sexual harassment. Such perceptions must be carefully examined to determine whether they constitute quid pro quo harassment or hostile environment harassment (as described in Sections B.1 and B.2)

        https://web.archive.org/web/20130530202117/http://www.swarthmore.edu/equal-opportunity-and-title-ix-office/sexual-and-discriminatory-harassment.xml (I’m fairly certain this is the version of the rules that FIRE is talking about. Their link is dead.)

        I.e, if you don’t create a hostile work environment (Or it falls under quid pro quo harassment, which is the ‘power differential’ form of sexual harassment between employer/employee or teacher/student, and not what we’re talking about here.), Starthmore college doesn’t consider it actually sexual harassment. *Period*.

        FIRE…does not seem to grasp this at all. Or, instead, they do grasp it, and then deliberately misread the policy.

        Keep in mind that university policies are interpreted by the faculty & administration, and that generally students have little in the way of legal recourse in the moment when falling victim to such policies. There is no right of Due Process, no right to face the accused, no right to be convicted beyond all reasonable doubt, etc, unless the school has written policies explicitly saying so.

        You’d think such a thing would be relevant for FIRE to inform people about, wouldn’t you? But, then again, they’re pathologically biased, so pointing out that there *is* such a procedure at Swarthmore would not be something they care to do.

        (Please remember, folks, I have no idea if Swarthmore is a good school or not, I’ve never even heard of the place before last week, I couldn’t even tell you what state it is in, and I didn’t pick it as the example. I can discover FIRE’s bullshit on literally any of their nonsensical posts criticizing schools, when they randomly cherry pick sentences to mean whatever they want them to mean.)Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
        Ignored
        says:

        @davidtc

        You seem to have a point, but as I said, IANAL.

        Also of note is that Swarthmore seems to have recently updated their Policies & moved stuff around on the site. No explanation as to why is given (nor needed).Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Someone needs to explain to Freddie which side this sort of thing helps and convince him to stop saying it.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    students who claim that Things Fall Apart triggers them

    All I know is that there are going to be a lot more injured QBs if we never let centers hold.Report

  6. Avatar NewDealer
    Ignored
    says:

    I saw this a few days ago as well and generally agree.

    However, I think the dynamic is a much older one than Freddie thinks it is. The farther and far left has been dismissive of so-called “bourgeois freedoms” since the days of Marx. This is an example of how I can go from being the socialist firebrand (universal healthcare! market skepticism! affordable housing! unions!) to a haute bourgeois sell-out (I disagree with the concept of hate speech very strongly and am very firm on the First Amendment being broadly interpreted.) There is plenty of speech I dislike, find stupid and/or dangerous but I think legally prohibiting it is worse.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      I think the dynamic is a much older one than Freddie thinks it is.

      This argument can be countered by pointing out that it would fit right in with discussions of Political Correctness in the 80’s.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        High Ideologies, the ones that attempt to have an all encompassing cosmology, tend towards not liking bourgeoisie freedoms because it reminds them that millions of people disagree.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m pretty sure Marx was dead long before the Political Correctness battles of the 1980s and long before the fights between the old left and the new left during the 1960s and 70s.

        Marx was also long dead when the Stalinists and the Trotskyists and the non-Communist lefty students were arguing it out during the 1930s in the Cafeteria at City College.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      @newdealer

      I think you are right, but my worry is that such far left ideologues are the ones influencing the coming generations. This would be a non-issue if the far-lefties were just professors, but when the institutions back them up… I worry that too many are too tolerant of restricting speech they find offensive.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
        Ignored
        says:

        I have yet to see strong or conclusive evidence that one course taught by Judith Butler or a Judith Butler disciple turns someone into a left-wing radical who hates bourgeois freedoms.

        I went to Vassar College. This is probably a college that many libertarians and conservatives would fear about turning their kids into ultra-radicals. Most students were Democratic when they entered and were Democratic when they left. We did have a left wing population but I don’t think they influenced too many people. Everyone was sort of constantly annoyed at the vegan activist who declared all meat and diary eaters were immoral and was super-earnest with his go vegan plea.

        IIRC most students at Wellesley supported the location of the Sleep Walker statute and rolled their eyes at the protestors for triggers. Many of my friends who are farther left than me are opposed to trigger warnings in the classroom and these are people involved in academia.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
        Ignored
        says:

        The studies I’ve seen seem to indicate the college/university educations just work to cement already existing beliefs instead of changing them.

        Liberals stay liberal and might become more liberal. Conservatives stay conservative and might become more conservative. Libertarians stay libertarian, etc.

        I know two libertarians who became liberal/progressive after they finished college. There were a handful of Republicans at Vassar and as far as I can tell, they all stayed Republican. Four years at Vassar did not turn them into lefties.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
        Ignored
        says:

        @newdealer

        I don’t think individual faculty are a problem. As you say, a single Judith Butler will not turn out a legion of minions.

        But the suppression of free speech on campuses by campus authority, which is then supported by faculty, can cause longer term harm because the student body gets used to the idea of suppression by authorities as being OK.

        So suddenly, when politician A calls for a Free Speech Zone around politicians, large populations of otherwise educated & reasonable people think, “hey, that’s not a bad idea”, instead of cracking out the proverbial torches, pitchforks, tar, & feathers.Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    An Andrew Sullivan reader, not myself though, reminds us that this might be more a function of academia than anything else.

    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/03/27/the-rebirth-of-political-correctness-ctd/Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      I largely agree with this take, I think. Mind you, I think as a whole we all take too much stock in the political ongoings on college campuses.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        To add on the most leftie parts of uni campuses are usually places like English, Sociology, Antho departments. And we know the immense power they have. My world was rocked, never ever the same, after hearing a feminist interpretation of some Shakespeare play. I was lucky to survive.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I myself went to school in Eugene, Oregon, and I turned out OK. Mind you, every now and then sometimes when I’ve been blogging centrist stuff for too long I get a call from the University where they repeat my trigger word three times, and then give me further instructions to carry out their intricate sinister plot of world domination.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I would assume your trigger word has something to do with a major manufacturer of athletic shoes.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        “Why don’t you pass the time with a game of hackey-sack?”Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        When my wife gets on an anti-union bender, School calls & threatens to take away her library degree.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        Anti-union benders really don’t sound as much as fun as drunken benders. Probably better for the liver though.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        We have to remember that campus politics tend to be really vicious because the stakes are so small. Although some current members of Congress seem to have forgotten how large the stakes are when dealing with national politics.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        @leeesq I think you just hit a nerve that I have to think about.

        You’re saying that is making me think: that’s what seems so different about national politics today. It’s become like campus politics.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        We have to remember that campus politics tend to be really vicious because the stakes are so small.

        Everyone releats this hoary old saw, but nobody ever bothers to question it. So much for critical thinking as a product of higher education.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        @jm3z-aitch, it wasn’t true at my University but thats because it was in DC and everybody was focused on the bigger picture. We also had a very small endowment by university standards so there wasn’t much to fight about except why people thought it was funny to ring the fire alarm in the dead of winter.

        @tod-kelly, it seems to be a combination of treating everything as being too small, why surely nobody would be inconvenienced by shutting the government for a month, and too big, everything becomes a battle between the forces of good and evil.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        We also had a very small endowment by university standards so there wasn’t much to fight about

        That contradicts the hoary old saw.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        Of course, historically, student politics have been anything but low stakes. Things may have been pretty tame here in the U.S. since the late 60s and early 70s, with a few brief flareups, because our politics are remarkably tame in general (whether we like to think so or not), but it was just a few months ago that student-led protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti sparked a chain of events that led to the downfall of the president, and high tensions between Russia and the U.S. Student protests are often catalysts for larger social and political movements.

        The low stakes in American campus politics, if they are in fact low, are likely a result of the fact that the prospects for meaningful change are pretty small, not because of anything to do with the campuses themselves.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        You’re saying that is making me think: that’s what seems so different about national politics today. It’s become like campus politics.

        The internet (and 24-hr news cycle, but mostly the internet) has “shrunk” the world in this way. Politics is far from the only arena that feels more miniaturized, gossipy, trivial and back-stabby now. Feedback loops contract, everyone focuses on the minutiae, information overload occurs, apathy alternating with overreaction sets in, the big picture falls ever further out of focus, the center cannot hold, yadda yadda.

        (I might have gotten a bit carried away there at the end, but you get the idea).Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        I always thought that the stakes referred to who got to be chair of the department or serve on the faculty senate and that sort of stuff.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m thinking of the logic of expending great energy fighting over nothing. Seems less than wholly rational. To follow the logic through, we should have expended far less energy fightong WWIi because the stakes were so high.Report

      • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        I know you’ve challenged the “stakes are so small” trope before on another thread awhile back, and I forget if I commented then or not. But my take is similar to @newdealer ‘s. The arguing is sometimes over who likes whom and who got the good office 20 years ago when the other guy was the one who really should’ve gotten it.

        I can imagine many ways that I’m wrong. Academic departments are no less workplaces than any other, with their own internal politics and tensions, and I do believe at heart that many of the issues debated are really important ones and if feelings get hurt, then that’s part of the game.

        But sometimes it just feels good to poke fun at academics and precious “faculty” who are…..

        ….I should probably stop before I say something I regret.

        (Full disclosure: I am a “faculty” member myself right now (in a non-teaching role at a university library), albeit a contingent-temporary-visiting-hanging-on-a-thread-no-chance-of-tenure faculty member. And don’t get me wrong, I love and am grateful for my job and hope I get to keep it, and sometimes it’s cool to be “faculty” even though I’m still trying to figure out what that means.)Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        “I’m thinking of the logic of expending great energy fighting over nothing. Seems less than wholly rational.”

        I’m of the viewpoint that 99.99 percent of the time people are less than wholly rational. Usually far from it.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        @glyph, thats another problem. Thanks to technology and the internet people have access to a lot more information than they did in the past. This is usually a good thing but it also allows people to find more things to be continually outraged about and makes the problem of 24-hours news cycles worse.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I always thought that the point of that old saying was that once you run out of real external issues to fight about, every battle is ultimately about something personal and petty. People are a lot better at doing cost/benefit analysis when it comes to fighting over money or land or something else “real” than they are about fighting over matters of ego and personality. Deciding rationally whether it’s makes sense to go to war in Crimea may actually be easier than realizing that you’re doing something bad for everybody simply because you hate that other guy’s stupid smug face.

        I don’t think it’s unique to academia. The office politics I’ve seen have often been less about money and real power than they are about perceived slights or simple personality conflicts, which is strange because positioning in the office often really does affect money, power, and the likelihood that you’ll keep your job.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I think people are misinterpreting. “We have to remember that campus politics tend to be really vicious because the stakes are so small.”

        It’s not that low stakes make people fight harder, it’s that low stakes make people more willing to fight each other within a community.

        The idea is that the infighting among people on campus tends to be particularly vicious because it’s a comfortable existence for many with relatively little to lose. If the university were to be threatened by some realistic outside threat, people would recognize their shared interests and set aside their minor disagreements.

        As, for example, the US did in WWII.

        Still an untested proposition, but a more reasonable one.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        And @troublesome-frog beat me to it. I must have taken forever to type those few words!Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I always thought that the stakes referred to who got to be chair of the department or serve on the faculty senate and that sort of stuff.

        Public choice. From the perspective of the individuals involved, these are in fact much larger stakes than political issues, if you adjust for the relative likelihoods of their own actions influencing the respective outcomes.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      Oh it sounds like Erik Loomis!Report

  8. Avatar KatherineMW
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve noticed this mostly with regard to universities (due to being pro-life and pro-Palestinian, two of the viewpoints that universities seem most inclined to ban from expression on campus). But I’m far from sure that the people trying to ban pro-Palestinian groups are specifically liberal in ideology, rather than being a mix of liberal and conservative Zionists.Report

  9. Avatar Herb
    Ignored
    says:

    Ran into a lot of this here on this site a few months ago over Dr. V and her magical putter.

    It left me with such a bad taste in my mouth, I haven’t bothered to click over until today.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Herb
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      says:

      FWIW, I for one and glad to see you back.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Herb
      Ignored
      says:

      @herb

      As the author of one of the Dr. V posts, may I ask what left a bad taste in your mouth? (Or perhaps I should re-visit the threads to remind me what went on…)Report

      • Avatar Herb in reply to Jonathan McLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        Thanks, Tod.

        @jonathan-mcleod
        Honestly it wasn’t just that post. There were others about similar subjects in the same time frame. Michael Douglas making jokes at an awards show. Some reviewer at Esquire trying to be funny in a review of “Looking.”

        Bad jokes, bad reviews, and “inappropriate pronouns.” (To be fair, there were other things happening in the zeitgeist outside OT at the time. Phil Robertson’s comments were still fresh in people’s minds.)

        Don’t get me wrong: None of this rose to the level of making “controversial speech illegal,” but it served well as an example of “antagonism towards free expression within the social justice left.”Report

      • Thanks for the explanation @herb, I’m glad you’re back.Report

  10. Avatar trizzlor
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    says:

    While I’ve enjoyed your series, I felt the example of Nate Silver was far too nuanced, whereas Freddie’s examples are unequivocal instances of lefties behaving badly. Moreover, Freddie is pretty open about his examples being personal and anecdotal, whereas your thesis seems to be more about a broad trend in the Democratic party. In both instances, the trouble is that we’re looking at an extreme example and deciding if it is the start of a trend or an outlier – a decision that’s dominated by preconceptions. In a perfect experiment, we would see consistent thinkers get drummed out of the discussion just for going off-message. And by drummed out I don’t mean sniped at by some bloggers, but flat-out fired (Buckley 2008; Frum 2011) or marginalized and insulted by the editorial staff of their organization (Parker 2008, Manzi 2011). There is little nuance in these examples: these people were commenting on politics according to a set of values that was initially respected; their values remained consistent but their conclusions became negative; and they were kicked out because of their conclusions. Is something like this happening in the Democratic party or the press? Is it happening in academia? I’ve yet to see any such examples.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to trizzlor
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      says:

      @trizzlor No, I don’t think that they are — and if they are, I’m not entirely aware of them.

      And there’s more difference between what Freddie is talking about and what I am than just nuance. His interactions (at least from his point of view) are just more concrete than the things I’m talking about. Remember that unless I’m talking about risk management — or in those rare instances, trying to do something somewhat approaching actual journalism — most of what write here is me thinking out loud, and looking for feedback from the hive.

      This series in particular has been hard, because there’s no question that most of what I’m responding to can best be described as my “Spidey sense.” In the same way that it was so difficult for me to put into words why I was worried about what the right was doing fifteen years ago (I just knew that it felt wrong), I’m having trouble articulating why I’m having the same vibe now about the left.

      God knows I’m convincing absolutely no one, and that includes people not on the left. And so one of the realities I have t take into consideration is that I’m wrong on this. But I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m not, so I have to keep doing this until I can either better articulate what it is that I sense, or am convinced by y’all that I’m on a wrong track.

      I don’t know if that makes any sense.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        I’m inclined to believe Tod, but then I’d be very surprised if in the long run both sides didn’t do it. So, my own (admittedly silent) support may not be particularly appreciated.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        Re: Krugman

        There is a game among some bloggers regarding identifying the times when Krugman contradicts himself based upon how well he can stick it to the GOP.

        I’ll have to see if I can find an example of it.Report

  11. Avatar J@m3z Aitch
    Ignored
    says:

    Academics are my people.

    Although I am in a rare moment of agreement with him on the issue of free speech, I, most assuredly, am not Freddie’s people.Report

  12. Avatar Cathy
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not sure trigger warnings belong in the list of “efforts to suppress free speech, especially with the force of law.” I would consider trigger warning policies to belong on that list only to the extent that they created regulatory burdens sufficient to persuade a reasonable professor to just drop the material, or were to designed to do precisely that.

    But I don’t think that a requirement that a professor warn the class (or, better, the potential class) that there will be graphic depictions of torture in a particular lecture, or a discussion of rape in a particular week of a seminar, is equivalent to attempting to suppress that speech, or the discussion around it. It seems like just a slightly more detailed syllabus, and I’m struggling to understand why, in the absence of the extreme conditions I note above, that would be a problem.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Cathy
      Ignored
      says:

      I would consider trigger warning policies to belong on that list only to the extent that they created regulatory burdens sufficient to persuade a reasonable professor to just drop the mater

      Follow Freddie’s anti-vaxer link, and you’ll that’s exactly what happened.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to J@m3z Aitch
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        says:

        There’s an anti-vaxer link? I’m not seeing one.Report

      • Avatar Cathy in reply to J@m3z Aitch
        Ignored
        says:

        Oops, somehow I misthreaded and replied below in a new thread instead.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch
        Ignored
        says:

        Weird. I meant his trigger warning link. Some wires must have gitten crossed in my brain.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to J@m3z Aitch
        Ignored
        says:

        Erm, no, it’s not an example of that.

        No one in the administration *asked* her to provide trigger warnings, much less created any sort of policy as deliberate red tape.

        The story linked to is a story about students apparently want warnings of disturbing content, and complaining if they don’t get said warnings.

        Actually, no. Not even that. The first incident quite clearly said that the young people were *suggesting* a trigger warning. It sounds like a friendly warning that the professor was doing something that might cause problems for some other people, not a complaint.

        And the second incident was, in fact, objectively disturbing. It was pictures of *torture*. That’s not asking for a ‘trigger warning’, that’s asking for a warning on something the *news* warns about!

        Or have we decided that *all* content warning requests are outrageous all the sudden? *embeds the goatse image*

        And the professor, far from being *required* to do anything, has apparently decided to stop showing such things out of spite, or something.

        None of this has anything to do with the left, unless ‘some random college students’ are now ‘the left’.Report

      • Avatar The Left in reply to J@m3z Aitch
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        says:

        Given that virtually all of this thread about The Left Becoming Censors is contained entirely within the walls of academia, I suggest that Freddie get out a bit more.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch
        Ignored
        says:

        And the second incident was, in fact, objectively disturbing. It was pictures of *torture*. That’s not asking for a ‘trigger warning’, that’s asking for a warning on something the *news* warns about!

        I took high school students to a lynching exhibit at a Chicago museum. No trigger warning. They all got real quiet, real fast.

        Or have we decided that *all* content warning requests are outrageous all the sudden? *embeds the goatse image*

        It’s a college class. You think there was nothing in the syllabus or anything the professor said that gave students some forewarning that the day’s topics included torture?

        And the professor, far from being *required* to do anything, has apparently decided to stop showing such things out of spite, or something.

        I think that’s a remarkably thoughtless statement. To be as nice about it as I can, it violates Hanley’s Razor–never attribute to malice what can be attributed to self-preservation.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to J@m3z Aitch
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        says:

        I can certainly picture the MRA asking for a trigger warning for The World According to Garp. (I can still picture where I was and the reaction I had when I read that part.)Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch
        Ignored
        says:

        Given that virtually all of this thread about The Left Becoming Censors is contained entirely within the walls of academia, I suggest that Freddie get out a bit more.

        He’s even at Purdue University, where walking 1/2 mile from campus in any direction puts you wholly outside the academic environment (unlike the Socialist Republic of Bloomington, further south).Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to J@m3z Aitch
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        says:

        I took high school students to a lynching exhibit at a Chicago museum. No trigger warning. They all got real quiet, real fast.

        Ah, yes. They must have be completely startled, having not gotten on a school bus and ridden to a museums and walked into an exhibit about lynchings.

        Just *poof*, a Chicago museum’s lynching exhibit, right there in the classroom. No warning at all.

        Christ Almighty. Do people literally not understand what a ‘trigger warning’ is? It does not have to include the word ‘trigger’, you know, nor does it have to say anything like ‘This topic may trigger some people’.

        A museum exhibit about lynching is rather obviously going to include images and depictions of lynching. That, in itself, is a warning!

        It’s a college class. You think there was nothing in the syllabus or anything the professor said that gave students some forewarning that the day’s topics included torture?

        Uh, no, the complaint wasn’t a *discussion* of torture, the complaint was *images* of torture. I have a feeling the syllabus did not list that day as ‘Viewing images of torture day’.

        Which, again, I point out we, in this society, have a general rule not to show graphic imagines to people without warning. Before we show people disturbing images, we *warn* them. This is not some new ‘political correctness’ thing, it is not asking for a ‘trigger warning’, it has nothing to do with colleges.

        We’ve been doing that for as long as we’ve had fricking visual media.

        If you fail to do that, if you show people such images without warning, people *will* complain.Report

  13. Avatar Cathy
    Ignored
    says:

    If it’s the Chronicles of Higher Ed link from the OP (the “trigger warning policies” one) that you’re talking about, I did follow that and read it. I just don’t think the kind of regulatory burden I mean is present in that example. It seems the professor decided to “more or less try to avoid showing anything too upsetting” after two incidents, several years apart, in which students (not, from the article, any administration involvement) complained that they should have been warned. And one of those was over pictures of Abu Ghraib.

    What I’m envisioning is actual administration policy (or at least administration “frowning” after too many student complaints) that requires additional red tape, or ex ante approval of the syllabus, or something like that. Not a professor who decides to pull material because a few students would have appreciated a warning before graphic photos of torture.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Cathy
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      says:

      Cathy,

      Believe me, no faculty member wants students complaining to the administration. Even when the complaint is completely unjustified, it’s a huge pain in the ass, a time suck, and a stressor. And not all administrations are as supportive as they should be because it’s pain in the ass for them, too, and potentially a big political flap. Far easier to just avoid things that will predictably cause trouble.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to J@m3z Aitch
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        says:

        Okay, I’m sorry, I have to call bull on this.

        College students complain about all sorts of complete nonsense. Professors do not live in terror of such events. And I would wage that things that effect *grades* are giant causers of that, and a few people saying ‘The professor showed us something that bothered us’ wouldn’t even make the list of top fifty categories of student complaints.

        However, everyone does realize this completely *disproves* the premise of Freddie’s article, right? Because it implies that *college students* are the ones running around bullying *the left* (aka, the college administration and professors) into doing things.

        I.e, such a claim is making exactly the *opposite* point of the ‘the left’ wanting speech codes. It’s saying that *other* people are making the left *conform* to speech codes.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch
        Ignored
        says:

        I wouldn’t say we live in “terror.” But they do make rational calculations about whether it’s to their benefit to do certain things.

        Hell, I just spent the last two weeks dealing with a provost over a student’s complaint that an on-line quiz didn’t become available when it was scheduled to, and my failure to respond quickly enough. It led to an investigation of the (on-line) course by the Distance Learning staff, and I got slammed for such stupid things as not cleaning out discussion boards from prior classes (they’re not even visible to current term students), and just copying my course content from term to term instead of wasting time rebuilding it (Blackboard provides a nice efficient “copy course” utility, but educational bureacracy is going to make me abandon it).

        That was for the most minor of issues. Now imagine a claim of sexual harassment or psychological trauma caused by a rape flashback. Think of the case at IUPUI a few years ago where a janitor got in trouble because he was reading Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. A co-worker was offended by the book, even though it is an anti-Klan book (and available in the school’s library), because it made her feel uncomfortable, and filed a complaint. The janitor was told that he “used extremely poor judgment by insisting on openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your black co-workers.”

        So, bullshit? No, even though the example I chose wasn’t about a faculty member. In my opinion, faculty are becoming more gun-shy because administrators are becoming more gun-shy, because (I suspect) college lawyers are becoming more gun-shy. Whether we’re really becoming an even more litigious society, or that’s just the perception, I think it’s what’s driving the problem.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to J@m3z Aitch
        Ignored
        says:

        Now imagine a claim of sexual harassment or psychological trauma caused by a rape flashback.

        And the way this intersects with trigger warnings is…trigger warnings would allow you to *avoid* the complaint, or at least have a reasonable defense against it.

        If students are assholes who complain about random things, and so teachers attempt to avoid those things, whatever.

        This has precisely zero to do with the left demanding ‘trigger warnings’ or ‘speech codes’.

        If anything, it rather indicates that *even if* academia is implementing such things, it’s not due to academia wanting to, it’s due to students forcing the issue.

        In my opinion, faculty are becoming more gun-shy because administrators are becoming more gun-shy, because (I suspect) college lawyers are becoming more gun-shy. Whether we’re really becoming an even more litigious society, or that’s just the perception, I think it’s what’s driving the problem.

        That *might* indeed be the problem, I don’t know.

        What I do know is that has very little to do with ‘the left’ or ‘trigger warnings’.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch
        Ignored
        says:

        This has precisely zero to do with the left demanding ‘trigger warnings’ or ‘speech codes’.
        If anything, it rather indicates that *even if* academia is implementing such things, it’s not due to academia wanting to, it’s due to students forcing the issue.

        It being driven by students–as much of the speech code issue was–doesn’t contradict the idea that it’s the left demanding these things. (I have a colleague who wanted students from our Right to Life club to be reprimanded for putting up an anti-abortion display that consisted of nothing more than a bunch of gravemarkers–he’s a good friend, but he’s very left wing).

        Not that the right doesn’t want to shut down debate on certain issues, too.Report

  14. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    As it relates to “both sides do it”. Yep. Seen it. Frankly, it disgusts me.

    Back in the day, I used to attend my University’s speaker series. We had a variety of guests, conservative and liberal. Jean Kirkpatrick came once and the protestors will out in force banging drums and shouting out side the venue. They didn’t attempt to block the doors. They didn’t attempt to shout her down during the speach. They did ask questions, challenge her statements, etc. in the Q&
    A afterward. Everyone was civilized and relatively respectfull.

    Too bad they don’t do it that way now….Report

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