October 5, 2011

Setting the right free speech example.

Dean Daniel Polsby at George Mason Law School.

Meanwhile, at UW-Stout, after sufficient pressure, the Chancellor caved.

55 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The smell of Victory in the morning!

gerry said...

Stout Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter must be a real fascist.

I hope they restrict her to writing parking tickets.

Unless she tases somebody for parking too close to the ground, or something.

Scott M said...

I think I first noticed FIRE a couple of years ago when my oldest was trotting off to my alma mater. There was a local free speech case that FIRE was taking up and I started following it.

From what I've been able to see, FIRE is doing an incredible job of providing the best cleansing agent known to man...sunlight. That being said, how long do you think it will last before the academic establishment finds a way to combat it effectively? FIRE will have to be agile in the coming years.

Sofa King said...

I thought Animal Mother's article was pretty persusasive.

Fen said...

Sorensen did not respond to FIRE

Ha. That was stupid.

Why are "intellectuals" so dumb?

Triangle Man said...

From the link:

[They] will schedule workshops and/or forums during this academic year on First Amendment rights and responsibilities in higher education."

Do you think they are going to focus on the "rights" or "responsibilities" more?

MadisonMan said...

Good. Sorry it took a while, but good that it ended the way it did (except for the workshops -- unless they are only for the people who need them, namely the Police Chief and the President)

Saint Croix said...

What has happened to liberalism that so many liberals are hostile to free speech and free inquiry? It's as if liberalism has been subsumed by Marxist assholes.

Patrick said...

One would think the Dean's position would be non-controversial, and therefore non-newsworthy. Sadly, one would be mistaken.

The opposite of di-versity is uni-versity. I forgot who said it first.

Shanna said...

From what I've been able to see, FIRE is doing an incredible job of providing the best cleansing agent known to man...sunlight.

Indeed. Also, glad to hear that Firefly is still allowed in Wisconsin! Also, my love for Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin can continue unabated.

Lucius said...

I smell at UW-Stout a rather bitter, bulbous Dworkin/Mackinnon reader.

And vis-a-vis Gerry: I have some experience with that type writing parking tickets. She took it upon herself to lecture my mother over the phone about how badly I needed to clean my car out.

Saint Croix said...

George Mason, of course, is a "right-wing" law school.

I used to register as a Democrat because I always felt they were more populist than Republicans, and more open to free speech.

Who can say that today? Democrats are positively elitist. And they are so hostile to free speech that it shocks me.

paminwi said...

I sent the UW-Stout article to my complete email list with the phone # of the Chancellor and told them to call and leave a message - respectful but strong. I heard from dozens of people they had one that and they they had forwarded my email to their email lists.

So, even though the story said that 1000 emails has been received I know the Chancellor received many phone calls, too!

I used to sit by and let stories like this go and say there is nothing to be done. No more! Voices need to be heard on so many issues and it is time we all start making our voices heard.

Kirk Parker said...

So is 'cave' the new euphemism for 'resigned in shame'?

No? Darn ...

Toshtu said...

"It's as if liberalism has been subsumed by Marxist assholes."

That's why so few self-identify as "liberal" these days

Kirby Olson said...

Liberal and Marxist are often conflated, even within the left.

Leftist critic Raymond Williams distinguishes between these terms in his book Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Williams writes that the word “liberalism” enters into English from Old French in the 14th century and is originally used to imply generosity “but at the same time this was flanked by the negative sense of ‘unrestrained’” (179). Williams continues, “A weaker but related form of this sense is clear in the development, from C18 [18th century], of the sense of ‘not rigorous’” (180). Williams distinguishes between the term “liberal arts” which has to do with “the skills and pursuits appropriate, as we should now say, to men of independent means” (179) and adds that “…liberal as a term of political discourse is complex” (181), and says it has been under heavy assault from both conservative and socialist angles. From the socialist left, “liberal” often connotes individualism. Williams writes, “The sense of a lack of rigour has also been drawn on in intellectual disputes… But liberal as a pejorative term has often been widely used by socialists and especially Marxists…” (181). Michael Bérubé uses liberal as a defense of liberal arts in his books and assumes an alliance between Marxists and liberals, but this is not the case. Liberals, for their part, have not been without their response to socialists. Williams writes:

“…there is a special edge in their reply to socialists, that they are concerned with political freedom, and that socialists are not. But this masks the most serious sense of the socialist use, which is the historically accurate observation that liberalism is a doctrine based on INDIVIDUALIST (q.v.) theories of man and society and is thus in fundamental conflict not only with SOCIALIST (q.v.) but with most strictly SOCIAL (q.v.) theories. The further observation that liberalism is the highest form of thought developed within BOURGEOIS (q.v.) society and in terms of CAPITALISM (q.v.) is also relevant, for when liberal is not being used as a loose swear-word, it is to this mixture of liberating and limiting ideas that it is intended to refer. Liberalism is then a doctrine of certain necessary kinds of freedom but also, and essentially, a doctrine of possessive individualism” (Williams 181).

Williams make further distinctions between Marxism and socialism (Michael Bérubé does not), which further points up Bérubé’s conman's use of liberalism. Against the “possessive individualism” that liberalism has classically used as axiomatic, Bérubé argues that the poor have a moral claim on the wealth of the rich, for instance, and that progressive taxation should redistribute wealth. And yet, Bérubé is in favor of freedom of speech. A young man in one of his classes earns the grade of an A although he shares the abhorrent belief that Japanese-Americans belonged in internment camps during WWII. Bérubé accepts this, but does propose limits for freedom of thought: “Most important of all, we cannot and should not be held to a shallow, relativist conception of ‘intellectual diversity’ in which Holocaust deniers, al-Qaeda operatives, creationists, and people who believe in telepathy, astrology, and/or magic dolphins are given equal weight” (291).

When he’s done inventorying his strawmen, one comes to the conclusion that there is plenty of politics in this book, but very little of the “arts.”

at any rate, Berube is a bellwether of his species, homo academicus, and is illustrative of the type of shenanigans that have become endemic at U campuses throughout the nation, and in crummy places like Madison where they make up a plurality of the population.

Scott M said...

Democrats are positively elitist.

Say it ain't so! Surely you're not talking about the party that has aristocracy institutionalized in it's superdelegate system?

Fred4Pres said...

A wise and pragmatic decision that is what the founders intended. Good example. Pay attention UW Nanny police and start acting like adults!

PETER V. BELLA said...

This is what political correctness looks like.

marylynn said...

The hypocrisy of it all is astounding. Anti Walker crap is ignored, this is censored? Even more astounding is the liberals absolute belief in freedom of speech for themselves only.

Chandrika said...

test2

Rick Lockridge said...

What is UP with Wisconsin these days? As a native midwesterner, I view these college campuses more and more as an aberration--alien spaceships that landed, somehow, among otherwise sensible people...

At least in California you get decent weather with your wackiness. In Wisconsin--how does the joke go? You get ten months of winter and six weeks of bad ice skating.

Somebody get those college profs down to a Texas beach, give 'em a beer and thaw out all those brains that've been frozen in the off position. Life is good. It really is. Just ask any nearby Wisconsinite not attending your college.

Saint Croix said...

Liberal and Marxist are often conflated, even within the left.

Yeah! Nobody objects to the term "liberal education," because that always meant an open-minded inquiry into truth, which required an absolute dedication to the principles of free speech.

Now liberal education means something else entirely.

Strelnikov said...

Gee, that tastes good.

David said...

They reversed themselves only after proving his point.

David said...

I think Daniel Polsby is the son of Nelson Polsby, from whom I took several government courses in college. Nelson Polsby was one of the best teachers I ever encountered.

n.n said...

It would appear that people will no longer be cowed into submission. We may yet be capable of preserving individual dignity and a reasonable measure of liberty.

The same thing is happening in Europe, despite protests from their left-wing, followed by general and unproductive accusations of prejudice, bias, phobias, etc. (with an apology offered from a selective history and selective reality).

As for FIRE, a few ACLU and SPLC alumni in their ranks. Well, maybe they have managed to rise above their special interests.

In any case, it would be desirable for the correction to complete without moving to extremes. So far, that seems to be the case in America. It would appear that Europe's fate will not be nearly so peaceful.

Pogo said...

That law perfesser from George Mason sounds all dead-white-maley, so we don't gotta lissen to him.

Speak truth to power, if it's okay with them.

Titus said...

I did it at UW Stout once.

Pogo said...

Odd how UW Stout cops and administrators saw this as a reasonable and indeed typical response to an incendiary poster.

But once the larger community and the nation peeks in, they look like fascist autocratic loony tune PC nutballs.

So insular have they become, they lack even the imagination to consider how they appear to others.

And this episode will not make them rethink their position, just their tactics.

David said...

"they lack even the imagination to consider how they appear to others."

Ain't that the truth?

Curious George said...

Larger question: Why is there a UW-Stout?

Alan said...

Curious George,

I wonder if UW-Stout is something served in the Rathskeller?

Pogo said...

"Why is there a UW-Stout?"

Federal money and student loans, plus some state cash.

TosaGuy said...

"Don't threaten me with charges that have no basis in reality--I am a committed pacifist and a devotee of non-violence, and I don't appreciate card carrying members of the NRA who are wearing side arms and truncheons lecturing me about violence."

From Miller's email convo with Walter. Somehow, I suspect Miller thinks this is conservatives doing this to him.

Moose said...

So I sense that you don't think he should have caved, Ann?

Class factotum said...

I am a committed pacifist and a devotee of non-violence

And he has the luxury to be a committed pacifist why?

Because there are other people willing to defend him with force.

Apparently, "irony" is not in his vocabulary.

MadisonMan said...

Federal money and student loans, plus some state cash.

Former Teacher's School gone big time. By putting the UW throughout the state, the UW gains Legislative friends.

TosaGuy said...

And those that went to UW-Somewhere think their degree has some UW-Madison cache

Dad said...

Dan Polsby was my 1st year Torts prof at Northwestern. He was a quirky but incredibly bright guy who had little use for the p.c. attitudes of the day. Glad to see he's remained consistent.

MadisonMan said...

Penn State also has branch campuses all over the state. I guess they're for people who don't want to go to a (shudder) technical college but still haven't figured out what to do post-high school. Why not give money to educators?

TosaGuy said...

It's great and all that FIRE came through for the Stout prof, but I suspect this guy is a huge JAG whose is permanently alienated because he is a theater prof at Stout.

Also, I never understood why college folk have to broadcast their every belief on their door. When I had such a door, it remained free of such clutter. If you want to spout an opinion, get a blog!

TosaGuy said...

"I guess they're for people who don't want to go to a (shudder) technical college but still haven't figured out what to do post-high school."

I would combine the two-year UW schools with the tech colleges. Eliminate the overlap and have a more seemless transition between tech and academic colleges -- students would benefit from both perspectives. Back in the day, such an idea would be called "progessive thinking". Today, it threatens too many fiefdoms and cushy jobs held by those with time to put innanities on their doors.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Oh, but...the poor delicate faculty and students, these tender flowers, so easily bruised, must be protected from all unpleasantness!

They just can't bear to have anyone say disagreeable things, contrary opinions, or--oh, I'm getting the vapors!--brutish things.

veni vidi vici said...

Polsby was both my Crim Law and First Amendment Law prof at Northwestern (and I AmJur'd the latter class). He introduced countless generations of students to the idea that "criminals are 'rational utility maximizers'", which has to rank among the greater-sounding verbal formulations ever uttered.

He's an incredibly brilliant mind, a rock-solid Second Amendment guy, and completely no-bullshit. The kind of non-flashy hombre for whom high praise is a given.

It was nice to see his name again after all these years and brought back lots of good memories; thanks for posting, Ann!

Seven Machos said...

FIRE doesn't need to be agile. FIRE simply files cases in court, far outside of the reach of any college bureaucrat's fiefdom.

What would be interesting is to see how many cases FIRE has actually taken to trial. These things never go anywhere near trial. Most don't even get filed. All FIRE has to do is point out stupidity.

richard mcenroe said...

So does this mean my "Sorority House Massacre" one-sheet is OK?

Scott M said...

FIRE doesn't need to be agile. FIRE simply files cases in court, far outside of the reach of any college bureaucrat's fiefdom.

Agreed, but the enemy is slippery and will use the most obtuse methods to avoid, exploit, end-around, etc. Once FIRE's tactics become well known, the enemy will adapt or submit. Submission isn't really part of their palette.

Pogo said...

You can post Rubens' The Rape of the Sabine Women, as long as you don't put the title up.

Seven Machos said...

Scott -- Your assumption is that there is some organized force for censorship. There isn't.

Universities don't like lawsuits, and boards of curators will quickly straighten out associate deans and even chancellors if one is afoot and easily avoidable.

Scott M said...

The Surge is just a different name for the same war.

Not at all. I'm merely suggesting that FIRE can become a victim of it's own success unless it's constantly on its toes, which I hope it remains. If they fail in a given instance, the how's and the why's will make the rounds. Even if they never fail, their means of success will be looked at closely.

Calypso Facto said...

Contrary to the snobs here, I think UW Stout provides a worthwhile science and engineering curriculum in the northern part of the state. 99% of employers hiring bachelor-degree technical graduates from Stout report the hire to be "well prepared" for a career in their field (the highest in the UW system). UW Stout was the first higher education recipient nationwide of the Baldridge Quality Award.

Part of that award is for a system that receives and incorporates feedback. Stout has redacted its censorship and apologized.

When will UW Madison apologize for the Damon Williams organized anti-speech mob? I suspect they won't be winning the Baldridge Award anytime soon, in part because the feedback loop appears to be broken.

Pogo said...

"Your assumption is that there is some organized force for censorship. There isn't."

I wouldn't say that Democrats are disorganized.

Mumpsimus said...

Now Professor Miller should put up a poster of Summer Glau saying "Plus, I can kill you with my brain."

Big Mike said...

The man for whom George Mason University is named is regarded as the "Father of the Bill of Rights." Dean Polsby is being true to Mason's ideals.