September 20, 2011

Today's protesters "have no understanding of civil disobedience."

Says Matthew Knee:
To far too many young leftists, “civil disobedience” is a get-out-of-jail-free card that should allow people to break the law so long as they are really, really, self-righteous about it. The idea of evoking sympathy through the moral power of passively enduring suffering for a just cause is foreign to many safe, middle-class, revolutionary wannabees who want a free lunch out of their rebellion as well as their government.
Yes, the Wisconsin man who poured a beer on a legislator he didn't like enjoyed himself and basked in the love and encouragement he got from the other protesters. (And speaking of "free lunch," our Wisconsin protesters got lots of free pizza.)

My test for the defenders of the protesters is: Think through a reverse hypothetical. Make the protesters an exemplar of the ideology you oppose and the target a proponent of what you love.  See my post yesterday about the Doubletree incident, in which I challenged someone who supported a pro-affirmative action protest: "Picture a press conference by a beloved advocate of civil rights stormed by a group of racist skinheads... Make all the actions exactly the same, but change the political viewpoints. Would you then use the words 'mob' and 'physically violent.'"

Those who cheered the beer-pourer need to picture a Tea Partier dumping a glass of beer on... You know, I'm too averse to violence to name a particular individual who is embodies the ideology of the left. I don't want to put the picture of an attack in anyone's head. That's why I wrote "a beloved advocate of civil rights" in my reverse-Doubletree hypothetical. To me, whatever the politics of the target, pouring a beer is physical violence. It's not cute. It's nothing to be celebrated.

It's not just that people lack an understanding of civil disobedience. They don't understand what principles are. In the previous post, I wrote about the French ban on covering your face in public and linked to a Metafilter thread. I just noticed that someone over there wrote:
Once again, I find myself not having sympathy for any parties involved. This French approach is simply antithetical to my American sensibilities. On the other hand, I just can't relate at all to these women, and I can see why French people don't like the niqab.
I responded to that:
If you really care about freedom and equality, you should move beyond the question of what kind of people you can "relate" too. The test of your principles is whether you can apply them to people you don't even like at all, who are making what you think are bad choices.
Is critical thinking a lost art?

65 comments:

ndspinelli said...

Critical thinking is indeed a lost art in Madison. Just get the hell out of this Cuckoo's Nest as there is critical thinking and sanity elsewhere.

cubanbob said...

Ann you are asking too much of these people. You are asking them to think and not just react. Its above their pay grade.

great unknown said...

A Tea Partyer would drink the beer and pour logic and contempt on the head of the opponent. Eliciting screams of rage and cries of "Racism."

The approach of the modern left is one aspect of the entitlement culture in which they were raised. They feel entitled to do whatever they wish in order to attain satisfaction, regardless of who pays the cost.

Sofa King said...

Yes.

I blame it on the literature typically assigned in education, which is mostly fictional dreck utterly devoid of any critical thinking whatsoever. Students simply never encounter it and have no idea what it looks like.

Real American said...

leftists aren't critical thinkers, which is another reason they're not liberals in any sense. they don't question. they emote.

jimspice said...

Every WI liberal blogger I read has denounced the beer pourer. But come on. To say pouring equals violence belittles actual violence.

Patrick said...

Yes.

Henry said...

The original civil rights leaders -- the leaders who today's self-aggrandizing protesters would cite as inspiration -- were incredibly thoughtful about which laws they challenged.

The Freedom Riders, for example, specifically chose interstate bus travel as a target in order to force the Federal Government to enforce its own rulings.

Quayle said...

Is critical thinking a lost art?

Critical thinking presupposes the existences of thoughts that you haven't yet had.

It presupposes the existence of an intellectual world that you haven't yet fully explored.

But everyone in educated America knows that we know everything there is about everything.

There's no reason to search for more.

When the prevailing paradigm says there isn't another planet, no respectable scientist is out looking for one.

The American mind is truly closed, as Allan Bloom described and predicted.

Beta Rube said...

When Tea Party folk chant "Kill the Bill", they are accused of violent sentiments, and elitists mourn the loss of civility.

The Left does not posess the requisite powers of empathy to see things from the other side. They have been indoctrinated early and often by a liberal education establishment and an entertainment complex that preaches one sided positions.

People who are forever right are rarely able to think critically.

bagoh20 said...

What if at Doubletree the speaker was a new University President at your school who was making rules shutting down free speech, and purposefully disciplining colleagues and ruing careers. He was not allowing disagreeing people in the door. Are you gonna have a quiet respectable dialogue, outside the door with yourselves or push your way in?

What if you are in a death camp and you find a loaded gun? You gonna give it to the "authorities" like a good citizen or shoot some son of a bitch on your way out?

The ends really do justify the means, when they do. The problem is getting a free lunch doesn't justify anything except offering a thank you.

gerry said...

Your values are those imposed upon you by your group. Other groups have values just as valid as yours. They are just as right as you are. You are imprisoned by your values.

No truth is correct because all truth is relative, just like good and evil. Critical thinking? HA! Critical thinking is a delusion of bourgeois false consciousness.
************************************************
Come on, Professor: you make a living amongst the postmodern elites. This is easy stuff for them.

Chip S. said...

Not merely a lost art, but nearly a dead one.

Suffocated right there on our campuses, by professors of ideology-driven topics with "studies" appended to their names, while the rest of the faculty stood by and did nothing to stop them because the perps meant well.

Now we have an educational system that hands out PhDs to people who write dreck like this:

Until she, and everyone else, realizes that all oppressions are bound up together, no oppression will be overcome.

Yes, critical thinking is nearly dead. It took an academic village to do it.

DADvocate said...

I'm not so sure critical thinking was ever widespread. Your comments about principles are especially pertinent. Personally, I value freedom and equal opportunity, not equal outcome, highly.

Contemporary western society tramples all over freedom in the name of equality. People in prison are equal. Without freedom, equality means nothing.

Once you remove the rhetoric, neither freedom nor equality are core principles of the left. Power and control over others stand as the left's central theme.

As for the burkha, freedom's been dieing in France, and Europe in general, for a long time.

Drew W said...

There's a piece in today's NY Daily News about the Wall Street-area pizza parlor that's been supplying pies to the protesters at a reduced rate of $15, as opposed to the $20 that anybody else would have to pay. The owner defended his unfair pricing: "You can't be greedy," he said. "Look at what greed has done here."

Once the protests fizzle out, I wonder how many of this pizza place's regular customers will have read this piece, and will start casting around for some other place to get a lunchtime slice. (I probably would.)

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PETER V. BELLA said...

Is critical thinking a lost art? Look at the politicians we elect. Not a thinker in the bunch.

Dan from Madison said...

Another problem we have that you fail to mention is that there isn't enough instant physical retribution to the offenders. As an example, if a guy pours a beer on my head, he had better be prepared for a whirlwind of violence.

Of course the perpetrators of these things know they have nothing to lose and their victims do. However, I would love to see just once one of these pie throwers or beer dumpers on the receiving end of a right cross.

There is a reason that home invasions are quite low in states where everyone owns guns.

Paddy O said...

Critical thinking isn't as much a lost art as an unnecessary one.

We are not living in an age that values critical thinking.

The veneer of critical thinking covers up a suspicion of intellectualism.

We're all Fundamentalists now. The question is what our fundamentals are. These are the driving assumptions that cannot be pierced with reason or critical thinking but often push us to, after the fact, come up with reasonable sounding arguments.

Which is why most blog forums are about apologetics not critical thinking oriented conversations.

ic said...

"...a Tea Partier dumping a glass of beer on..."

Will never happen. They use their own money to buy the beer, they will not waste it on a leftist. They, however, will dump their used tea bags in the trash bins.

Quayle said...

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith described his first shot of heroin as the greatest rush he had ever experienced - truly transcendent - which he hungrily chased with each successive hit but never obtained.

The spiritual high that some on the left experienced in helping with the civil rights movement became the fix they have now endlessly searched to obtain.

For them, every successive political goal has been morphed back into the civil rights movement, as they keep trying to recreate the magic.

They have no other structure from which to view the world. There always has to be racists somewhere. They don't have any other characters or roles which which to make sense of what they see.

phx said...

Before you all go breaking your fingers on the keyboard to respond how yes critical thinking is SUCH a lost art, particularly among all those liberals and leftists, you should really read the comments section at Althouse with a critical eye.

Some folks here are really good at critical thinking, I'm happy to keep my mouth shut and just listen to what they say, even if they're far more conservative than I am.

But there's a virtue in calling your fellow travelers to account for their poor argumentation skills. I wish their was more of it here, and then at places like HuffPo and Balloon Juice.

RonF said...

The leftist protestors hold up signs calling for Pres. Bush to be killed but would go apoplectic if conservative protestors did the same w/President Obama. The issues is not critical thinking, I don't believe. The issue is that they think they're right and we're wrong, and that justifies what they do and condemns what we do. To ask them to flip the circumstances and consider the result asks them to consider that conservatives have as much right to their viewpoints and to express them as they do. But they don't think that's true, so they don't accept the argument as valid.

"To say pouring equals violence belittles actual violence."

Well, yes. And to say that subjecting an attractive young woman to the "male gaze" is equivalent to rape belittles rape, too. But now we're back to the equivalence issue. The argument that non-violence equals violence is available to the left but denied to them by the right.

People who invoke "civil disobedience" should read the origional Thoreau essay and look at the history of the Civil Rights movement. If you committ true civil disobedience you should expect to be arrested and jailed. And you should not be engaging in behavior that destroys property or injures people. That's not what the concept is.

If a whole bunch of people want to buy a whole bunch of pizzas every day then why not drop the price to encourage the business? Businesses drop pricing for bulk customers all the time. If someone came into my pizza joint and complained that I was selling the protestors cheap pizzas I'd tell him "You buy 50 pizzas and I'll give you the same price."

Robert Cook said...

"If you really care about freedom and equality, you should move beyond the question of what kind of people you can 'relate' too. The test of your principles is whether you can apply them to people you don't even like at all, who are making what you think are bad choices."

Or, as Jesus Christ taught: Love your enemies as yourselves.

It is this inability to put oneself in the place of one's opponents, this attitude of "Free speech for me, but not for thee" that leads to commonplace impasses in public disputes, as well as the implementation of tyranny in our names.

When supporters of George W. Bush applaud his outrages against the Constitution, they have no reason not to expect that Obama or any other successors whom they disfavor will not carry on or even extend those outrages, and supporters of Obama who meekly accept or justify his continuation of policies they supposedly deplored when Bush was in office have no standing to claim any ethical or political superiority or legitimacy.

One doesn't have to have an ounce of altruism in one's body to oppose cruel and unusal punishments to those in state custody, or to agree with the acts which have landed someone in the hands of the authorities; all one needs is a clear and very selfish fear that acts we permit by the state when they are applied to those we oppose will be applied by the state against us no less remorselessly.

We demand free speech for all and oppose cruel treatment for all and require fair trials and humane treatment for all because it's the only way to guarantee it for ourselves.

Class factotum said...

Once the protests fizzle out, I wonder how many of this pizza place's regular customers will have read this piece, and will start casting around for some other place to get a lunchtime slice. (I probably would.)

At the least, his regular customers should demand the reduced price. You know - to keep him from being greedy.

bagoh20 said...

We're all critical thinkers, aren't we? It's the other guy that's all emotional. I hate those guys too.

Hagar said...

They never have.

This is not a new thing.

Kit said...

I would never say that Rep. Vos didn't deserve to have a beer poured on him. I would never say that he shouldn't expect consequences if he's going to rile people up the way he has done. Just because somebody deserves something does NOT make it legal. And if someone decides to take the law into his or her own hands and actually, intentionally pour a beer on someone, that person must accept the consequences. If he had been charged with assault, or felony disorderly conduct, etc., then I would think he was being singled out for excessive "punishment." As it was, either misdemeanor or municipal is fine with me.

The willingness to walk in another’s shoe’s is the antidote to self-rightous thinking. Empathy is a real buzz-kill.

Chip S. said...

And if someone decides to take the law into his or her own hands and actually, intentionally pour a beer on someone...

What crime did Vos commit? Getting some folks "riled up"? You've got some interesting laws in Wisconsin.

Tibore said...

"Is critical thinking a lost art?"

I don't think it's "lost", so much as gleefully jettisoned in favor of feel-good thinking. In the medical world, it's no good that multiple studies show mercury bound in thiomersal is too low a dose to be dangerous, it just feels good to blame the medical establishment for putting children at risk. In the sports world, it doesn't matter that statistically, veteran free agent pickups bomb more than succeed, it feels good to add a "proven" veteran to your team's roster, nevermind that the "proven veteran" was let go for a reason. And in societal discourse: It doesn't matter that civil disobedience is supposed to be a tactic to react to governmental intransigence with the goal to restore civility and rationality. It just feels good to chant slogans, pump fists, and instigate incivillity in the name of some "noble" cause.

No, professor, the art isn't really lost. Rather, it's rejected. Forcefully. And that's what makes it all the more terrible.

CJinPA said...

I think critical thinking can suffer from the narrow information delivery we all enjoy. It's easier to gather information without having to consider the other side.

Many blog readers do this. Protesters certainly do. I do on occasion. I am fortunate that in my job I have to monitor the media, read the NY Times, etc.

The prof's exercise in reversing the roles is a good one. I do it often with racial issues. "What if a white person said that?" "What if a black person did that?" It's a good exercise to go through before establishing an opinion.

What if Gore invaded Iraq on the mistaken belief there were WMDs? Would the right be so understanding? What if FOX News hired a white version of MSNBC's Al Sharpton, a race baiter with a history of inciting racial violence?

Useful exercise.

Chase said...

Robert Cook,

I applaud your comment, thought I feel the complete opposite regarding George W Bush.

I do agree though that civil disobedience, and for that natter free speech are widely misunderstood ( as it was by me years ago).


I am opposed to abortion. I have not participated in clinic protests, though I am sympathetic to the cause (to a non-violent degree). That said, I knew several passionate young people who participated in protests that were against legal ordinances. It was difficult for them to be arrested and booked, especially by officers that attended their church. In a conversation with one, I asked him, what does it mean if you perform an act of civil disobedience but are not willing to take the consequences? Doesn't that lessen the value of your committment? He did 15 days in county lock-up and never participated in a protest again.

gerry said...

Love your enemies as yourselves.

Jesus did not teach that. He taught "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Was your remark the outcome of critical thinking?

CJinPA said...

The American mind is truly closed, as Allan Bloom described and predicted.

I agree with much of your comments, but it's not an American thing. It's human nature.

Now, political correctness - which requires a lack of critical thinking - is deftintely a Western invention.

phx said...

Empathy is a real buzz-kill.

But here's the deal. A certain percentage (Carol Althouse not long ago quoted an author on sociopaths who had the figure) of the population at large has an inability (underscore that) to feel empathy.

That's not dems or repubs, rights or lefts, tards or thugs. That's probably across the board.

I feel that it's not your ideology that leads you astray; you were astray before you chose (or were destined to) those ideas.

roesch-voltaire said...

I agree that many of the current crop of protestors on both sides seem to ignore the lessons laid out by MLK. In terms of critical thinking, I am not sure when the golden age occurred, but with the passing of William F. Buckley, Jr on the right no one seems up to his level of discourse, and with the demise of I.F.Stone no on on left has met his level of critical reporting. I do think some elements of critical thinking is the ability to reflect on problems by engaging in counter-factual thinking, questioning sources and one's assumption and then the willingness to change one's perspective in face of new information. Often today what passes for critical thinking is bending everything to fit ideological assumptions, or the feel good reaction of calling someone a liberal or commie or fundamentalist, or pouring beer over a Republican--all are just thoughtless actions.

phx said...

I'll spell it out:

You are going to see bad behaviors and hear bad things from both sides.

Joining the Republicans or joining the Democrats or the Libertarians or even moderates and whatnots, that isn't going to keep you from going off your thinking rocker.

Have a little humility. And show a little mercy.

Chip S. said...

@roesch-v: It pains me to pass up a chance to agree with a comment of yours fully, but you may want to find a better poster boy for left-wing journalism than I.F. Stone.

Shanna said...

So many people have rotten manners today.

Robert Cook said...

Gerry:

Jesus did teach that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, and this may be the phrase I was thinking of, but he did also teach that we should love our enemies:

http://www.incommunion.org/2007/10/27/love-your-enemies-as-yourself/

and:

http://www.loveyourenemies.org/neighbour.html

I don't think it is inaccurate to say he believed we should "love our enemies as ourselves."

(Besides, "our neighbors" does not necessarily exclude and may well include people who are our enemies.)

cassandra lite said...

This is a legacy issue. On college campuses in the 60s, students/radicals/wannabes who took over admin bldgs would present a list of demands to the dean or president before agreeing to leave. First item was always: "No reprisals."

edutcher said...

Ann is essentially invoking the Freedom Riders, but the Doubletree animals are descended from the campus creeps that protested the Vietnam War, using the Gospel According to Uncle Saul.

It's like trying to get the SA to behave like the disciples of Ghandi.

David said...

Critical thinking is indeed a lost art. Yesterday I was stuck in O'Hare near a blaring CNN news TV that United Airlines had on. For over a half hour Wolf Blitzer let various commentators from his network and outside blather talking points. There was not a single thoughtful moment. So I blame television.

I also blame an educational system where the opinions of children and adolescents are given center stage. Before you develop opinions you have to learn how to analyze and think. We are leaving that part out.

Grrrrrrrr.

Dark Eden said...

Any time there's an outrage of the moment, I always reverse the parties involved and see if I would still be bothered (or not bothered) by it. This defuses a lot of Fierce Moral Outrage.

Robert Cook said...

Chip S., there are those who dispute allegations that I.F. Stone was a spy for the Soviets, and one must expect this would have been the customary slur to be applied to a leftist reporter of such prominence and influence as he.

phx said...

So define the problem without recourse to one or another form of "it's the tards fault" or "no, it's the thugs fault."

Try it. Not just this one time only. Try it all the time.

phx said...

Maybe you'll be ready for the 21st c if you can do that.

Chip S. said...

there are those who dispute allegations that ______ was a spy for the Soviets...

This applies to a long list of people. I believe that Tony Hiss still disputes the overwhelming evidence against his father. Hard-core leftists rarely relent on the subject of Soviet espionage.

As for this truism:

one must expect this would have been the customary slur to be applied to a leftist reporter...

one would not necessarily expect this slur to be applied by "former KGB officer turned journalist."

Rick67 said...

Impressive. In our house we call this the "Armetta test" named after my wife.

"Change the variables. Would you still think that way? Would that argument still work?"

I wonder if progressives could really tolerate what they preach and practice if the situation were reversed.

RonF said...

The prof's exercise in reversing the roles is a good one. I do it often with racial issues. "What if a white person said that?" "What if a black person did that?" It's a good exercise to go through before establishing an opinion.

Black people can say things that white people cannot because all black people regardless of economic station are oppressed and all white people are the recipients of unearned privilege. In fact, it is impossible for black people to be racist because the definition of racism is discrimination against someone due to their race AND the power to subject that person to negative consequences on that basis. Since black people have no power in the country and white people do, black people cannot subject white people to negative conseqences and thus cannot be racist.

Really. I hear this argument all the time. It's not even debatable; if you try to you get told that you are a) a bigot or b) need to take Racism 101 until you believe it too.

Robert Cook said...

"one would not necessarily expect this slur to be applied by 'former KGB officer turned journalist.'"

Why not?

How do we know the "former" KGB officer is really "former," or is not simply now working for the CIA and is involved in promulgating disinformation?

kimsch said...

JimSpice said: Every WI liberal blogger I read has denounced the beer pourer. But come on. To say pouring equals violence belittles actual violence.

That's just assigning relativity. It's still violence. You may not get hurt as badly as if someone punched you in the gut, but it's still violence. It's still an assault on your person.

*****

uayle: your comment reminded me of a sign I saw recently:

"I'm not young enough to know everything."

wv: rantiang

E.M. Davis said...

This applies to something as trivial as advertising.

We have a mentor program at my agency.

As a mentor, I create several different creative projects for budding art directors/copywriters/etc to complete in addition to their regular work.

One of the projects is to create an advertising campaign for something they hate or disagree with. This forces them to look beyond the superficial, and to apply at least a modicum of critical thinking.

You'd be surprised to see how much critical thinking goes on in ad agencies. Always contrarian, always skeptical.

Joanna said...

There's a piece in today's NY Daily News about the Wall Street-area pizza parlor that's been supplying pies to the protesters

Funny thing about that. On Twitter, the protesters have been begging people to order pizzas for them. (Not to mention begging for other food, supplies, a generator, people to come down and join them...)

Perhaps they think acts of self reliance will downplay their cause.

gregq said...

For decades I have believed that the one and only proper response to "civil disobedience" is to hit the law-breakers with the maximum possible punishment for their crime.

If the law is wrong, then seeing people punished for doing nothing wrong will push people to get the law repealed.

If there's nothing wrong with the law, and the protesters are just a bunch of whiny self-entitled jerks who have no respect for democracy, then they deserve the full force of the law landing on them.

No more kid gloves. If you violate the law during a political protest, you go to jail. If that means stuffing a couple thousand people into cattle cars, do it. Fine them. Throw them in jail. If they "work" for the government, fire them (government employees who think the law doesn't apply to them are people who shouldn't be working for the government).

If the public thinks the thing they're protesting against is wrong, the public gets to express that in the next election.

No more cost-free law breaking.

gregq said...

bagoh20

If what you're protesting against really is evil, then the fact that you're in jail for protesting against it will push the public to fight that evil.

If you don't think it's evil enough to justify going to jail fighting against it, then don't violate the law, don't trespass, don't shove your way in.

If the people think you're wrong, and that it isn't evil, that's their right. It's called democracy. If you're not willing to respect that, then we aren't willing to respect you, anything you say, or anything you believe.

You want to fight great evil? Great. Put your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor on the line. And when the majority disagrees with you, take it like an adult, not a whining child.

It's not worth risking jail or large fines over? Great. Don't violate the law protesting it.

Martin Luther King's smartest enemies were the ones who did everything in their power to keep him out of jail, or to pay his fines and get him out of jail. You want to follow in his footsteps? Then toughen up, buttercup.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Is critical thinking a lost art?

No it isn't, but it sometimes leads to conclusions that go against that which is considered hip and cool. And we all know that hip and cool wins out over just, moral, and intelligent every time.

Currently, the Left is considered the empitome of hip and cool and it will be until Obama goes nuts over losing the 2012 election, delcares himself God-Emperor, and orders his follwers to build him a mighty temple. Faced with the horrific prospect of real work, the Doubletree mob will decleare the Left decidedly uncool and will join the Tea Party, post haste.

David R. Graham said...

In positivist society, principle on principle rejected is because upon a prius that can arrest the flow of private stipulations and canalize them, giving the appearance of restricting freedom, it rests.

Positivist society, as often noted, on principle to reject principle relies. So, yes, critical thinking, which on principles to sort facts depends, of positivist society a casualty is.

Althouse athwart the principled principle-less-ness of positivist society stands. So Jacobson does too. And now to Tillich I return, of critical thinking much to rejoice.

Chip S. said...

@RobertCook--Of course we can't "know" those things with certainty. That's why I referred to your comment as a truism.

Reasonable people deal in probabilities, not absolutes. The probability that Stone was a Soviet agent was never zero, and it rose considerably on the flood tide of information that came out after the fall of the Soviet empire.

You can--and no doubt will--persist in denial about Stone. Not a big deal to me. But it's not an example of "critical thinking."

LordSomber said...

Culture, schools, etc. have been dumbing down for a long time.
But that being said, what kind of parent would subject their kids to it all?

When I meet college students this dull, I really wonder what their upbringing was like.

wv: cogent

Thorley Winston said...

Every WI liberal blogger I read has denounced the beer pourer. But come on. To say pouring equals violence belittles actual violence.


I disagree, I think it’s a pretty clear line that you don’t intentionally touch other people without their permission and that includes touching them with foreign objects by throwing or pouring things at or on them. Those who violate this pretty basic precept of civilization may be guilty of assault or battery regardless of whether they’re throwing a shoe or red paint or glitter or dumping beer or hot coffee or urine on someone else.

Alex said...

So pouring beer is a capital offense, but head stomping is A-OK among teanutters!

Robert Cook said...

"You can--and no doubt will--persist in denial about Stone."

I can't deny anything...I don't know enough about Stone to be able to say he was or was not a Soviet spy. I just responded to your link to an accusation that he was a spy, as if this would be enough to discredit Stone for once and all. I am aware enough of him to know that such accusations about him have been disputed.

Has the matter ever been definitively proved?

timmaguire42 said...

Rev. King was exactly right when he said that we have a duty to disobey unjust laws, but we also have a duty to accept punishment for it.

Civil Disobedience is about protesting a particular law, not the rule of law.

Peter said...

‘bagoh20’ said,

“What if at Doubletree the speaker was a new University President at your school who was making rules shutting down free speech, and purposefully disciplining colleagues and ruing careers. He was not allowing disagreeing people in the door. Are you gonna have a quiet respectable dialogue, outside the door with yourselves or push your way in?”

If we’re talking about civil disobedience, then you’d violate the speech code and accept the punishment for doing so. And if you could get enough people to do the same, you’d overload the jails and force the authorities to make a choice between enforcing a police state and recognizing your freedom of speech.

What does pushing through the doors at the Doubletreehave to do with civil disobedience?

“What if you are in a death camp and you find a loaded gun? You gonna give it to the "authorities" like a good citizen or shoot some son of a bitch on your way out? “
I’ve never heard anyone claim that civil disobedience was or could have been an effective tactic against Nazis.

“The ends really do justify the means, when they do.” I’m sure they do- if you find yourself in a country run by Nazis. But, this discussion was about the use of racial preferences in college admissions.

Of course, there’s always BAMN- "By Any Means Necessary.” Are you justifying (for example) threatening opponents of “affirmative action” with death? Would you throw acid in a child’s face (the University's daughter, perhaps) if doing so furthered your political objectives?