September 13, 2012

I'm shocked, shocked to learn that the Harvard Law School Human Rights Journal doesn't want right-wing articles.

If you're going to expose liberal bias on law student-edited publications, you'll have to show me something other than a journal that displays lefty pride in its name.

What's wrong with a student publication with a political bias? If conservative lawprofs want to publish more articles, let them found their own publication or hoodwink tantalize law students to work their right-wing will. Or cut out the middleman and blog.

Live freely in writing... or die.

Lawprofs, whining about not getting enough of what they deserve — is there anything less likely to inspire sympathy?

59 comments:

Chip S. said...

Since when are "human rights" left-wing?

Unless the term now refers specifically to the UDHR, in which case it's been rendered equivalent to "social justice."

David said...

Here's your topic: Property rights as a fundamental human right.

Here's a hint. In much of sub Saharan Africa, individual property rights are highly insecure. Many of these nation have no reliable system of property ownership registration. In many more the government will seize property at its pleasure, utterly without compensation.

Write about that, Mr Lat, draw parallels and contrasts to developed western nations, and submit. Then come whining if they reject your article.

Revenant said...

"Human rights" is left-wing solely because the academic left doesn't value the same human rights that conservatives value.

It is easy to make a case that, e.g., "life" and "self-defense" are fundamental human rights. Just... not ones the left cares about.

David said...

Human rights are left wing in the sense that lefties are convinced that they are the only people who care about them. They are also left wing in that lefties are generally incapable of imagining that individual property protections are a part--a big part--of fundamental human rights.

David said...

Oh yeah and that abortion thing.

Alex said...

Whenever I ask a left what is a 'human right' they always cite clean water, health care, guarantee employment. Everything but property rights, freedom of speech and so on.

Ann Althouse said...

Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get. Yes, you could go conservative under that rubric, but anyone who would submit there knows what to expect.

Alex said...

Ann is correct of course. The left has a monopoly on so many terms.

"human rights"
"social justice"
"fairness"

Gahrie said...

What's wrong with a student publication with a political bias?

Nothing.

As long as they are willing to publically acknowledge their bias. .

kcom said...

"Whenever I ask a left what is a 'human right' they always cite clean water, health care, guarantee employment."

And I always reply that those are services, not rights. If you have to deliver it in a truck, or enslave someone to produce it, it's not a right.

pogo101 said...

Ann, I'd agree if the journal had "owned it," i.e., had admitted, "You're darn tootin' that's why we rejected his article."

But it didn't do that. It expressly, surgically, hand-over-heart swore that bias against the author had nothing to do with the rejection. (Who are going to believe? The journal or your lying eyes, reading the emails?)

Sigivald said...

Our host said: Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get. Yes, you could go conservative under that rubric, but anyone who would submit there knows what to expect.

The HHRJ describes itself thusly: "The Harvard Human Rights Journal was founded in 1988 and has since endeavored to be a site for a broad spectrum of scholarship on international and domestic human rights issues"

"Broad spectrum" might be read as a call for "not just the obvious leftist stuff", might it not?

Or is it true that we should just assume everything is the most convenient code we could interpret it as, rather than as its plain English?

I'm perfectly happy with a journal saying "We only want Leftist stuff" or "We only want Conservative stuff", either outright or by having an explicit non-coded name saying it, eg. "Harvard Conservative Studies" or "Harvard Progressive Law Review".

But saying "Human Rights Means Leftist So Sod Off" is an implicit claim of dominion over the entire concept of "human rights" for the Left.

And people can fight that, legitimately, can't they?

Chip S. said...

Ann Althouse said...
Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get.

So what?

Just recast the complaint you find so laughable as an objection to the hijacking of "human rights" by the left.

Nobody outside "the culture" gives a shit what the organisms in the culture say to each other. We care about limiting the spread of mental disease to the world outside the culture.

Ann Althouse said...

They are students, working on their careers, finding themselves under conspicuous attack. They're acting like normal human beings. Why expect more?

Revenant said...

Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get.

In academic culture, maybe. In American culture, not so much.

holdfast said...

So "human rights" now equals gay?

Human Rights Campaign?

Hard to keep up with all the newspeak.

Chip S. said...

They're acting like normal human beings. Why expect more?

Because once they're let loose on society at large they'll start asserting their moral and intellectual superiority over the rest of us.

So they should absolutely be held to a standard higher than "acting like normal human beings."

Surely you hold your own students to a higher standard than that. Or at least I hope so.

AllenS said...

If conservative lawprofs want to publish more articles, let them found their own publication

The Harvard Human Conservative Journal

Would Harvard be ok with that? Somehow I doubt it.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get.

That doesn't mean we have to acquiesce to their definition of the phrase. In fact, doing so allows them to engage in a Newspeak-like engineering of the language.

edutcher said...

The problem is that the Lefties think they should decide who deserves human rights and, clearly, Conservatives, Libertarians, and Republicans don't.

ricpic said...

It's not nice to string an author along as these student editors did...but it's human, all too human. Complain about it? Go ahead. But it's futile, utterly futile.

Tyrone Slothrop said...




Well said, Sigivald, well said.


Paddy O said...

The whole law journal thing is weird to me. In what other field do students serve as gatekeepers to "peer" reviewed academic journals.

Moreover, while it takes a good bit of thinking skills, it's not like a law degree is itself that advanced in education. It's a 3 year professional degree after college. A glorified Masters.

In my field if I submit an article to a journal I know that I am sending it an editor who begins their career with at least 6 years of education after college in the focused subject (and often more), then are also recognized experts in the academy on even more specific subjects of the journal.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get.

OK, maybe not the former clerk for [conservative justice A] who wasted his time submitting, but rest assured that the people who count get it.

fivewheels said...

I think the objection is not so much that the publication doesn't want right-wing "articles" -- judged by the content, which would be fine -- but that it doesn't want right-wing people.

The implication of this quote is: Why bother even reading the article. This writer is a non-person.


"In addition, I am a little concerned based upon [Author D]‘s CV. He is incredibly conservative, clerked for [Conservative Justice A], worked in the White House under Bush, questioned [Liberal Justice B] during her confirmation hearings in Congress, and has written critically on [Liberal Justice C] in the wall street journal. Maybe that background isn’t important to all of you and I understand the need to have HHRJ be open-minded buuuuuuut, yeah, doesn’t make me want to take this article."

My god, he questioned a liberal justice! How dare he!

Paddy O said...

What are the code words that everyone knows indicates a conservative slant?

And if everyone knows that human rights is a liberal slant, then I argue that such a phrase and topic especially needs deconstruction as it is no longer in service of broader humanity but is attaching a metanarrative through a rhetoric of violence that is intended to exclude specific viewpoints from the conversation.

Dante said...


Question: Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own?

Ann's answer: Sure, if he wasn't an ass about it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You begin to see where liberals get the idea that everyone's communications are rife with dog whistles.

John Lynch said...

The Left has a monopoly on Human Rights?

Since when?

I'm old enough to remember when Amnesty International went after the Soviets. Human Rights were a big concern of the Neoconservative movement, weren't they?

Hell, the whole idea of human rights comes from classical liberal ideology (see the Declaration of Independence and John Locke). It's not a lefty concept at all.

Dante said...

What are the code words that everyone knows indicates a conservative slant?

Illegal Alien.
Right to life.
Republican.
Fiscal Cliff.
Strict Constitutional Construction.
Equal Opportunity.
Traditional Marriage.
Drill, Baby, Drill.
Creationism.
Strong Military.

Anything Romney, Bush, or Reagan said.

Dante said...

Some more.

"We did build that."
"Individualism"
"Personal Responsibility"
"Freedom"
"Liberty"
"Rights that rely on others to fund them are not rights"
"Small government"
"Capitalism"

jr565 said...

What's wrong with a student publication with a political bias?


Where does it say anywhere that they are left wing?

jr565 said...

Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get. Yes, you could go conservative under that rubric, but anyone who would submit there knows what to expect.

that should be their byline. It's a lefty thing, you wouldn't understand.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

What Chip S. said. What makes "human rights" a matter of "lefty pride"? There are a hell of a lot of human rights abuses, past and present, that are generally known about only because "conservatives" raised a stink about them. We could start with the Ukrainian and Chinese terror famines, the general state of things behind the Iron Curtain while it was still there, and -- to take current human rights crises -- China's, er, interesting means of harvesting organs for transplant, and its equally interesting means of enforcing the "one-child policy," which does not really involve "choice."

KenK said...

Makes me glad i quit law school after a year. What BS. Nobody reads that shit anyhow other than academic sorts who mostly couldn't make it at private practice. Real lawyers doing real work couldn't care less about that stuff or the insufferable pricks that edit it. My 2¢.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get. Yes, you could go conservative under that rubric, but anyone who would submit there knows what to expect.

Well, frankly, that's damned sad, because if "the culture" is such that people who tend to ignore human rights violations by the likes of, say, Cuba, or North Korea, or China get to define "human rights violations," then the captive citizens of certain countries are royally screwed.

But that's what "people who are in the culture get." So much the worse for them, I think.

AndyN said...

Interesting that everybody else assumed "displays lefty pride in its name" was referring to the 4th and 5th words in the title. I thought she meant the first three.

AndyN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nichevo said...

Conspicuously attacked? How many dead, how many wounded?

Careers? If they're students, shouldn't they be working on their educations?

so what you are really saying is there is no amicable, reasonable way to resolve this, so they have to be sued into oblivion, or perhaps bombed into bone-flecked jam? Okay, if you say so. I guess Bill Ayers would agree with you. No great loss.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Only a human can conceive "human rights" therefore this bigoted term should be abolished, unless your hateful mind doesn't concur, in which case I gladly allow my foes to hang by their own rope, spun for years.

I will now dedicate my life to making sure those hateful minds that do not concur feel it.

Meaning:

somefeller said...

The Harvard Human Conservative Journal
Would Harvard be ok with that? Somehow I doubt it.


Harvard Law School has had a conservative/libertarian law journal for decades called the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. While most HLS faculty wouldn't say they love it, Harvard seems to be OK with its existence.

somefeller said...

Careers? If they're students, shouldn't they be working on their educations?

People go to law school to start a career, not just for kicks or general knowledge. At least anyone with any sense does so. If you are simply seeking knowledge for its own sake (which is a worthy endeavor), then get a master's degree in the humanities.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"In April, in April,
My one love came along,
And I ran the slope of my high hill
To follow a thread of song.

His eyes were hard as porphyry
With looking on cruel lands;
His voice went slipping over me
Like terrible silver hands.

Together we trod the secret lane
And walked the muttering town;
I wore my heart like a wet, red stain
On the breast of a velvet gown.

In April, in April,
My love went whistling by,
And I stumbled here to my high hill
Along the way of a lie.

Now what should I do in this place
But sit and count the chimes,
And splash cold water on my face,
And spoil a page with rhymes?"

Dottie Parker

NotquiteunBuckley said...

You might not like Hollywood, but I am sure as Hell glad conservatives didn't try and develop this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMX6BubBwmM

"I write do dads cause ... it's a do dad kind of town."

Mrs. Parker and The Vicious Circle

Fen said...

" I am a little concerned based upon [Author D]‘s CV. He is incredibly conservative, clerked for [Conservative Justice A], worked in the White House under Bush, questioned [Liberal Justice B] during her confirmation hearings in Congress, and has written critically on [Liberal Justice C] in the wall street journal. Maybe that background isn’t important to all of you and I understand the need to have HHRJ be open-minded buuuuuuut, yeah, doesn’t make me want to take this article."

"ok i trust [Editor above]‘s judgment — those all sound like major concerns and are enough to reject the article. i’m fine with rejection based on that — we really need to act quickly on all this."

[...]

Ann thinks "They're acting like normal human beings. Why expect more?" They must be diversity admits, else why the lower standard?

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Too honest to win, I'll play an Ace card:

1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203.

Thorley Winston said...

What's wrong with a student publication with a political bias?

It depends, who's paying for the student publication? If the students are being forced to pay for the publication through mandatory student fees, then I think it's a much different situation than a student publication that raises it own funds voluntarily from contributors.

Thorley Winston said...

What's wrong with a student publication with a political bias?


It depends, who's paying for the student publication and how are they paying for it? If the students are being forced to pay for the publication through mandatory student fees, then I think it's a much different situation than a student publication that raises it own funds voluntarily from contributors.

Ralph L said...

You'd think a lefty publication would want to throw in something conservative once in a while, in order to have the fun of abusing it and getting one's dander up (to say nothing of knowing thy enemy). The WSJ Op-ed page did this with Anthony Lewis, Alexander Cockburn, and Al Hunt.

Are they afraid the conservative might convert some of their readers? Really shows their insecurity.

bgates said...

What are the code words that everyone knows indicates a conservative slant?

The Harvard Law School Patriotic Review. The HLS Pro-American. The Cambridge Anti-Communist.

The Harvard Law School Healthy Families Journal. Obviously wouldn't let Althouse publish.

On account of her son being gay.

Healthy Families...that's a phrase that people in the culture get.

DEEBEE said...

Applying Alinsky's rules is not necessarily whining. It might seems that way, but "whining" and taking your advice of action would be the way to go.

Tina Trent said...

Well, I believe Althouse did come to her outlier (conservative) views post-tenure. But that doesn't justify her criticizing those who are subjected to the regime of ideas without the absurd privileges of that rank. Why do these things matter? That's an insulting question to anyone who has tried to make their way through the academic world -- to ordinary goals such as teaching -- while doing anything other than actively concealing any stance other than leftism, including a desire to avoid politics in scholarship. It's also silly to recommend blogging to anyone without tenure.

Robert Cook said...

I think any journal or periodical that has a mix of writers from all points on the political spectrum makes for a better, more interesting total package.

I read some blogs and websites that are politically in sync with my views, but seeing one's own views ratified by others gets stale; it's much more fun to come here and engage with people who are so wrong about so much!

For a while here in NYC there was a weekly newspaper called THE NEW YORK PRESS, published by Russ Smith, a conservative, but which featured writers with various and sundry points of view. It was great fun to read clashing points of view published side by side within one publication, and it was easily the most lively "alternative" newspaper of its brief time. Publisher Smith sold his Tribeca loft post-9/11 and moved himself and his family to Baltimore so his kids could have a suburban childhood, or so goes his story. He sold his paper to another publisher who made bad change after bad change, leeching the paper of any spark or freshness, until it died, not with a bang, but a whimper, a couple of years ago.

Peter said...

What's left-wing about "human rights" is its redefinition.

As encoded in the U.S. Constitution, "human rights" are essentially about the right to do as you please, so long as what you're doing is not directly harmful to others.

As envisioned by the left-wing, "human rights" include the right to force others to provide for you, and ask nothing of you in return.

This, surely, is and always has been a major fault line between left- and right-wing definitions of "human rights."

paul a'barge said...

Good grief, Althouse.

Human Rights is Lefty?

You don't think Conservatives care about Human Rights?

Just how paralyzed spiritually are you by your biases? You want to cede Human Rights to Leftists?

Riddle me this: show me the advances in history in Human Rights propagated by Conservatives and people committed to fundamental principles, such as traditional American values.

Now, show me a list of the Human Rights advances propagated by Leftists.

#FAIL. Did you even get up out of bed before you wrote this?

Ann Althouse said...

"Human Rights is Lefty? You don't think Conservatives care about Human Rights?"

You really are missing the point.

If it was called Law & Patriotism, you'd get that it was right-wing. Lefties assert that they too are patriotic, but that isn't the point.

This kind of willful -- I assume it's willful -- obtuseness makes it hard to write with concision, but that's what I do.

Please try to get it. Comments like yours are discouraging. Really.

damikesc said...

If you're going to expose liberal bias on law student-edited publications, you'll have to show me something other than a journal that displays lefty pride in its name.

It doesn't --- unless you believe conservatives OPPOSE human rights. Which would ignore that we ended slavery, passed civil rights laws, etc.

Look, it's a phrase that people who are in the culture get.

That is why more and more people are turning on academia. They see a culture that takes almost pleasure in hating the people who are expected to foot their bills and then produce a series of falsified terms for what they are doing.

It was like when you said Obama's support of critical race theory wasn't a big deal in academia. Lovely and all --- but the entire theory is insanely ridiculous.

As I said in college when I attended --- 1984 was supposed to be a CAUTIONARY tale, not a solid idea to build around.

They are students, working on their careers, finding themselves under conspicuous attack. They're acting like normal human beings. Why expect more?

They paint themselves as "better" than "normal people". Want to play the role? Don't whine if you're held to the expectations.

This kind of willful -- I assume it's willful -- obtuseness makes it hard to write with concision, but that's what I do.

Professor, the right categorically disagrees with that entire concept. It's not obtuseness.

It's "that is bullshit and we're not going to just sit back and accept it".

It'd be like if the Left decided to write "Anti-Racism Times", then conservatives wouldn't just sign off on it.

And I cannot fathom a college allowing a "patriotic" publication that forbids articles from progressives.

paul a'barge said...

This kind of willful -- I assume it's willful -- obtuseness makes it hard to write with concision, but that's what I do.

Let's just say this straight up: the possession of vocabulary is part of the Leftist agenda. It's not part of the Conservative agenda, and you know it.

And for someone to cede the possession of the vocabulary to vile Leftist losers is to drop to your knees and surrender before you even get out of bed, much less begin to engage the struggle.

You want to write with concision? Start by writing with some freakin' values first.

Apparently you think it's cute an clever to be all concise and coy and oh, isn't it all so obvious.

I have word for you: it's not.

Chip S. said...

I think that people who actually write "with concision" would say that they write "concisely", but maybe things are different in the law-school culture.

The larger point is exactly as stated by paul a'barge, which I would expect an admirer of Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" to understand readily:

Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

The academics challenging the appropriation of the term "human rights" by the left are neither naive nor obtuse. Prof. Althouse, in her support of the status quo, is complicit in the degradation of language.