April 24, 2017

"What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech."

An enticing headline for a column I don't agree with, by Ulrich Baer (in the NYT). He's a vice provost for faculty, arts, humanities, and diversity and a professor of comparative literature, and — as he champions excluded voices — he claims authority — funnily enough — based on his own positions of prestige:
As a college professor and university administrator with over two decades of direct experience of campus politics, I am not overly worried that even the shrillest heckler’s vetoes will end free speech in America. As a scholar of literature, history and politics, I am especially attuned to the next generation’s demands to revise existing definitions of free speech to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences. Freedom of expression is not an unchanging absolute. When its proponents forget that it requires the vigilant and continuing examination of its parameters, and instead invoke a pure model of free speech that has never existed, the dangers to our democracy are clear and present.
I don't think I have ever read 4 consecutive sentences containing as much bad writing and bad thinking. I'm a bit awestruck at the badness. I'm certainly glad that it was published. I was going to criticize it, but I think it speaks for itself. I'll just say thanks for hanging your ideas out where we can see them. I'm moving on, looking for other parameters to examine.

171 comments:

Unknown said...

Nothing says Liberal so much as "we can't have unrestrained free speech. We need to redefine "Free speech" to mean "speech I agree with."

Right Inga, Chuck, et. al?

--Vance

fizzymagic said...

Of course it's in the NYT. Where else?

David Begley said...

The Left doesn't want any speech with which it disagrees.

Owen said...

Prof. A: "I'm a bit awestruck at the badness."

This piece tees up one of my favorite lines of Wolfgang Pauli, commenting on another physicist's work: "It's not even wrong."

Bay Area Guy said...

The educated stupidity is prominently displayed.

Lem said...

"demands to revise existing definitions of free speech to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences."

People shouldn't talk with their mouth full.

J. Farmer said...

"As a college professor and university administrator with over two decades of direct experience of campus politics..."

Sounds like the opening lines of a bad cover letter. The first, and most obvious, question that comes to mind for Professor/Administrator Baer is who is the person to whom he has given the responsibility for deciding for him what is appropriate for him to hear and to read? If he has no one, then why has he decided that such a person must exist for other people. Free speech is not just about the right of a speaker to speak; it's about the right of an audience to listen.

Real American said...

"credentialed, not educated."

Ambrose said...

Even the usually reliable lefty NYT commenters called him on this. It's running considerably against him.

MikeR said...

What Fascists get right about suppression of free speech

Bill R said...

Oh give the guy a break. He's a provost. You've got to make allowances.

hawkeyedjb said...

This and all similar proclamations can be shortened to: I am against free speech. But why use five words when you have a couple hundred to use up.

Jake said...

He's on the fringe. SILENCE HIM!

donald said...

I bet this person knows his way around a Grand Central Station glory hole. Or seven. Or eight.

MaxedOutMama said...

So the Nazis may NOT march in Skokie when he's der Fuehrer. But the Palestinians shouting "Death to Israel" MAY. Got it, heard this tune, never liked it, don't like this POS when he's singing it.

Our universities have been trashed by these people. They can't think logically; the Dunning-Kruger effect means they are so poorly equipped to make meaningful distinctions that they can't even perceive their own deficits. Thus all who disagree have no argument and are demonstrating their own bias.

All tyrannical systems tend to exalt such people.

chickelit said...

The higher up we look at the Berkeley hierarchy to apologize for speech suppression, the more those opinions speak for the University as a hole. No voices higher who oppose Baer? Sad.

Clyde said...

Well, SOMEBODY is certainly a danger to our democracy. I'm thinking it's Herr Baer.

buwaya said...

This is normal.

You would get the same or very similar from hundreds of thousands of persons in authority throughout the educational system.

chickelit said...

Junior faculty ranked lower than Herr Professor Doktor Baer will have to grin and baer it.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"Ulrich Baer is a professor of German and Comparative Literature and serves as Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts, Humanities, and Diversity in the Provost’s Office."
https://www.nyu.edu/about/leadership-university-administration/office-of-the-president/office-of-the-provost/arts/ulrich-baer.html

I cannot imagine a person less qualified to determine the boundaries of unfree speech.

n.n said...

He's a [class] diversitist. He judges people by the "color of their skin". Probably weighs their worth in clumps of cells, too.

Richard said...

Lem,

People shouldn't talk with their mouth full.


And their head empty.

chickelit said...

Althouse notes: I don't think I have ever read 4 consecutive sentences containing as much bad writing and bad thinking.

Baer probably still thinks in German and just writes it down and then plays with the syntax a bit.

chickelit said...

There is still something oppressive even about modern Germans. I'll never forget a German acquaintance's reaction to seeing Naked Lunch (the film) when it came out: "I should not have been allowed to see that film."

MadisonMan said...

He is doubtless smart, Prof. Baer. PhD in Comp Lit from Yale just 4 years after his undergrad at Harvard and from there to NYU.

Have to wonder what kind of real world experience he has though. His ideas aren't particularly enlightened.

Jupiter said...

Come on, won't anyone defend the opinions of this worthless government-subsidized piece of human refuse?

Mary Beth said...

chickelit said...

Althouse notes: I don't think I have ever read 4 consecutive sentences containing as much bad writing and bad thinking.

Baer probably still thinks in German and just writes it down and then plays with the syntax a bit.

4/24/17, 7:43 PM


I was going to say, it probably sounded better in the original German.

Birches said...

Shorter editorial: These kids look to me as a guide and mentor. I don't want to disrupt the gravy train.

Why would the NYT would publish this? Because they have become almost like another branch of the government. They think they'll always be on top and so they will get to decide what speech is allowed. All I can say is watch out. Mao thought he had The Cultural Revolution under control too. Robespierre thought he had everything figured out as well.

bagoh20 said...

He must be way smarter than me. Otherwise, I would agree with him.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

I heard a rumor, only a rumor, perhaps just folk lore, that Ulrich's grandfather coined the term "Arbeit macht frei" while working as some sort of administrator in the old country...

Robert Marshall said...

If you really want "to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences," then the solution plainly is to establish a forum to do just that. Book a lecture hall or set up a journal symposium, call in all the folks with those previously delegitimized experiences you want to accomodate, and invite them to speak or write about them. Problem solved.

How does this objective in any way justify putting a muzzle on those who want to speak or write about something else? Unless, the true objective is the muzzle.

Which, rather plainly, it is.

Mark O said...

Badness. It's everywhere.

Judge Smails: Danny, Danny, there's a lot of, uh, well, badness in the world today. I see it in court today. I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn't wanna do it, but felt I owed it to them. The most important decision you can make right now is what do you stand for, Danny? Goodness... or badness?

Danny Noonan: I know I make some bad mistakes in the past. I'm willing to make up for that. I wanna be good.

AprilApple said...

Shorter NYT leftist: It's Ok to curtail speech we don't like.

tcrosse said...

This is good source material for a game of Buzzword Bingo.

Sebastian said...

"I don't think I have ever read 4 consecutive sentences containing as much bad writing and bad thinking. I'm a bit awestruck at the badness." Same here. And thank you: it is a small consolation that someone somewhere feels the same way.

Michael K said...

"Baer probably still thinks in German and just writes it down and then plays with the syntax a bit."

One of the greatest writers in the English language composed his stories and translated them from Polish, his native tongue.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

When its proponents forget that it requires the vigilant and continuing examination of its parameters, and instead invoke a pure model of free speech that has never existed...

Oh, terrible, terrible Pure Model of Free Speech. One must never have ideals.

M Jordan said...

Bad writing, really tryout horrid writing, is as difficult to fake as off-key singing. If one can sing on key, it's really hard not to. When I sit next to an off-key singer -- and in my many years of diverse church settings, I indeed have -- I marvel.

This writing by this professor is bad. It's marvelously bad. It is, as Saki once said, "horribly good," in its badness. It inspires awe in me as it appears to in Ann. I hate it so much that I love it. I never want it to go away. It brings joy to my soul.

Selah.

Roughcoat said...

Chicklit @ 7:41 PM: ". . . the more those opinions speak for the University as a hole."

A felicitous typo if ever there was one!

M Jordan said...

I smile to see an auto-correct in my above post, a game effort by my iPad to out- bad-write the professor. Nice try, Apple, but even in the worst case auto-correct hell, where one writes "I lube you" instead of "I love you," nothing can equal the professor.

buwaya puti said...

I am trying to be Conradian, writing fiction. But I think I am not doing better than this poor fellow.

AprilApple said...

Related: Howard Dean(D) is a Constitutional Illiterate.

Scratch a democrat progressive, find a free speech stomping fascist.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I thought Conrad was Ukrainian?
They speak more than one language in Ukraine.
I think the great lesson you learn from Conrad is that fulfillment comes from doing what your nature best suits you to do. Don't try and be a lion if you are a lamb, and vice versa. Come to think of it, this was the lesson from Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. I wonder if the homage was deliberate?

bwebster said...

I am staggered that so much of the allegedly educated and 'liberal' left keeps trying to find reasons to suppress speech they disagree with. But, hey -- more power to them. As people are wont to say....

#ThisIsWhyTrumpWon

..bruce..

Tank said...

Prager: You have to have an advanced degree to be this stupid.

AReasonableMan said...

This is a more realist version of speech on campus, as opposed to the hysterics of the provocateurs and provocatees.

Jason said...

Heh. I remember in 2015 when Althouse was cheerleading Takei's online lynch mobs agains Memories Pizza, sweet cakes by Melissa and the other cases that emerged at the time.

When 1st Amendment and freedom of association liberties become inconvenient to her sacred cows, she starts goose stepping right along with him.

John said...

Blogger chickelit said...

There is still something oppressive even about modern Germans.

We live about a mile from the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. I used to be active in the Navy League. One year the USO asked for volunteers to invite sailors on ships for Thanksgiving dinner. Probably 88-89 or so. We wound up with 3 sailors off a German destroyer. One was a Lieutenant, the other 2 were enlisted. The Lt was German, one of the others Austrian. All in their 20s, I guess.

So we're eating dinner and my wife, who's is a history teacher and is genuinely interested asks "So what do you all think about this Hitler fellow?"

I cringed and the 2 ratings stayed quiet. But the Lt gave us quite a disquisition. Hitler was a horrible man, the 12 million murdered in the camps, WWII and all that. Especially because he brought all that destruction on Germany.

BUT....

Europe was and remains a mess. These Europeans don't have the vaguest Idea how to run a country. They need the Germans to teach them how to be. It is Germany's destiny to rule Europe. Hitler was a very bad man but he had the right idea about ruling Europe.

Me, I'm kicking my wife's foot and trying to change the subject.

Then, my son, about 10 at the time, and I took them back to the ship and he invited us aboard. He gave us about a 2 hour tour. We saw everything including some areas that I don't think he was supposed to show us like the radio room and CIC.

One of my more memorable Thanksgivings.

John Henry

buwaya said...

Conrad was an ethnic Pole born in the Ukraine.
He identified, passionately, as Polish, to use a silly modernism.

John said...


Blogger Tank said...

Prager: You have to have an advanced degree to be this stupid.

Orwell: "Some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual would believe them."

John Henry

John said...

Blogger buwaya said...

Conrad was an ethnic Pole born in the Ukraine.
He identified, passionately, as Polish, to use a silly modernism.


One of my favorite authors. "Youth" is, to my way of thinking, perhaps the best thing ever written in English.

Great at seagoing novels and even "Heart of Darkness" is a seagoing book, in a sense. I find most of his non-seagoing novels rather dull. A few, like "The Duellists" show some sparks but not enough for me to keep reading them over and over for 40 years now.

Even "Lord Jim", great in the first half, becomes somewhat pedestrian when Jim fetches up in the jungle village. IMHO, anyway. I've been told by people with more sophisticated literary knowledge that I have it backwards.

John Henry

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger AReasonableMan said...
This is a more realist version of speech on campus, as opposed to the hysterics of the provocateurs and provocatees.


You know how to pick 'em, ARM.


"Recently for a course I taught on personal essays and memoir, I included Barack Obama’s profound book “Dreams from My Father” on the syllabus."

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roughcoat said...

Conrad is one of the greatest writers in any language, but upon revisiting his work in the past few years I've found his style less to my liking than formerly. I find his prose too dense; he doesn't seem willing to let the reader participate in the act of literary creation; as if he feels he must explain everything to the reader, down to the smallest detail. By the same token, upon revisiting Hemingway I've found him more to like than previously. So it goes.

antiphone said...

I don't think I have ever read 4 consecutive sentences containing as much bad writing and bad thinking. I'm a bit awestruck at the badness. I'm certainly glad that it was published. I was going to criticize it, but I think it speaks for itself. I'll just say thanks for hanging your ideas out where we can see them. I'm moving on, looking for other parameters to examine.

Personally, I'm not much of a writer but as a reader this strikes me a bit of a cop out. However, I'm not going to get into why I think that...

buwaya said...

ARM,

We have plenty of experience on the opposite end of the classroom. Much of the reason why kids dont engage, tune out, and stare at their phones, is because they have been conditioned not to engage, in K-12. They have been beaten about the head enough by arrogant teachers, and a system that actively hates them.

The real problem, for intelligent kids in K-12, is dreadful, propagandistic material. This becomes the reality of Liberal Arts. It is annoying, boring, and not a little threatening - if they enter into here, they enter the den of their enemies, where they must abandon their identities and ritually renounce their patrimony. Math and science, comparatively, are clean, safe, unsullied, and above all, fair.

But the kids with brains, especially boys, are forever ruined for literature, even as readers.

Which leaves the Liberal Arts , in universities, full of hopeless duffers, coasters, and the like, as the fellow describes. In better schools (not the writers school apparently) one does get a good number of the politically/culturally corrupted.

The other problem of course, is that far too many kids attempt college, who have no business there, especially in the harder subjects. So in lesser institutions they pack the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Another cause of the writers complaints.

What I say is so, a common perception among parents and all sorts of interested observers, and not a few teachers as well.

Paul said...

Snowflakes have NOTHING right about free speech. Nothing.

And this 'professor' is pathetic. An embarrassment to the profession.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I have seen modern geography textbooks that curse Western colonialism on one page, and on the next page praise the UN for tying grant money to developing nations to that nation's increasing the years of education for girls.

buwaya said...

Nostromo is my favorite Conrad.
He is like one of those realist painters, a Velasquez, painting a dynamic picture that creates a sense of place and of affairs.

Michael K said...

ARM is familiar with soldiers in combat.

To evaluate the status of speech on campus according to observations made at a protest transformed into a riot at the University of California, Berkeley is the equivalent of predicting the life expectancy of young Americans by examining the dangers facing soldiers in combat.

No, I don't think so. Salon has sadly declined from its modest beginnings. It is the most left wing site, aside from The Nation, on the internet.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
They have been beaten about the head enough by arrogant teachers, and a system that actively hates them.
But the kids with brains, especially boys, are forever ruined for literature, even as readers.


I have had two boys go through the local public schools and nothing like this happened. One kid was a natural scholar the other was more interested in sports, neither had much complaint about the school, certainly less than I did when I went to school. One did have complaints about his fellow students, too many drugs.

We have had endless versions of this argument. My view is the primary problems are the parents, the students themselves and our militantly anti-intellectual culture. Given good parents, schools are an adjunct to learning. Given crappy parents and your odds of getting a decent education are very poor. This being said, I had a conversation today with a student who I worked with for a while, he will get into med school despite the fact that he works two jobs and just had to give $4,000 to his hopeless mother so that she could avoid eviction. Some people can overcome pretty much anything, but it takes a toll.

Chuck said...

I see that my name was brought in on the first comment.

Why would anybody think that I view this intellectually dishonest and legally deficient column any differently from Professor Althouse?

I agree with her, 1000%.

Bob Boyd said...

US general in Afghanistan suggests Russia arming the Taliban
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The United States must confront Russia for providing weapons to the Taliban for use against America...

http://bigstory.ap.org/dbc0ed6fc2184dc59eabae5cc9adc357

Have we come full circle?
This is what was going on in Vietnam, US troops fighting for propped up local government against insurgents armed by the Russians.

AReasonableMan said...

Bob Boyd said...
This is what was going on in Vietnam


You do not need to leave Afghanistan to go a full circle.

Russian troops fighting for propped up local government against insurgents armed by the US.

buwaya said...

Militantly anti-intellectual?

In the public schools of a certain sort you can certainly say that, among the students. They are like crabs in a bucket, preventing the ambitious from escaping the trap.

But I dont see that as the case overall. Most parents we have known, be they grand or humble, have an almost pathetic sort of hope for their kids, and would like nothing better than that they accomplish something intellectually.

And they do. Put together a critical mass of white and Asian kids and even the public schools can do a decent enough job with mathematics, I have seen that everywhere. But not in the Liberal Arts. The reason the kids dont read is that they have been given shit to read.

Bob Boyd said...

@ARM

That's what I meant by full circle. Should have been more clear.
The Vietnam comparison is beyond full circle.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
Militantly anti-intellectual?


The broader culture, it's an embarrassment. It was never great but it once had pretensions, now it doesn't even have those.

CR said...

Yes, these four sentences are magnificently awful. Thanks for helping me become attuned to this. The writing sounds like it comes straight from Orwell's Ministry of Truth.

Lewis Wetzel said...

My view is the primary problems are the parents, the students themselves and our militantly anti-intellectual culture.
I have a degree in the liberal arts. I don't think that American culture is "militantly anti-intellectual."
I hope, ARM, that you don't think that a person who describes Dreams of my Father as being "profound" is an intellectual. You might as well describe The Art of the Deal as profound.

AReasonableMan said...

Bob Boyd said...
Should have been more clear.


It's late, I should go to bed. If you talk to Afghanis, they see Pakistan as problem one through one hundred. Not sure the Russians can do more damage than the Pakistanis.

Fernandinande said...

Ulrich Baer should profess comparative weasel-wording.

AReasonableMan said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
I hope, ARM, that you don't think that a person who describes Dreams of my Father as being "profound" is an intellectual. You might as well describe The Art of the Deal as profound.


Having read neither book I can't comment. Obama's book got better reviews.

Bob Boyd said...

Goodnight ARM.

William said...

I can't understand why the left thinks that only brownshirts can go skiing on the slippery slopes. From the sans culottes to the Red Guards, the left has a long and impressive history of policing thoughts. This professor is the person he warns his students against......Presenting a conundrum: There used to be quite a lot of underground literature that recounted the scandalous doings of Marie Antoinette and her court. These banned publications told how she seduced and debauched her five year old son. The readers of these broadsides accepted these as facts. At her trial, she was formally charged with this crime. She was not convicted of this, but the fact that she was even charged says something about the hatred her jurors felt towards her. (Interesting little known fact: The young Dauphin was placed in solitary confinement in a stone cell. He perished in a few years.)........So here are my questions: were the authorities right to ban publications that explored the themes of pederastry and incest at the royal court? Were the Jacobins even more deranged by their resentment than the aristocrats were by their privilege?........Should talk of Donald Trump having incestuous designs on Ivanka be considered hate speech?

Scott X said...

Professor Baer:
"We have to destroy the university in order to save the university."

Big Mike said...

I think it's perfectly all right to ban hate speech. As long as I am the one who gets to determine what is hate speech and what is free speech.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Here is the example Masciotra giver us from the "profound" Dreams from My Father

In a chapter on his undergraduate years at Occidental and Columbia, he wrote that many white people foolishly believe that black Americans maintain a myopic focus on race: They assume that like machines operating with activist software, African-Americans think, speak and act with the sole motivation of racial politics.

Obama wrote that the truth of black American life, and human nature as it applies to ideology more broadly, is that “Our worries seemed indistinguishable from those of the white kids around us: Surviving classes, finding a well-paying gig after graduation, trying to get laid. I stumbled upon one of the well-kept secrets about black people: that most of us weren’t interested in revolt.”


This is absurd. Obama was born in Hawaii, and raised in Hawaii and Indonesia by non-Blacks. He attended a pair of expensive private colleges and went to Harvard Law. He has no authority to speak on behalf of Black or white Americans. He is off base. His observations in the example are not "profound," they are either false or banal. I went to a high school that was 60% Black (West high School in Minneapolis). I even spent a semester at North High School. I was exposed to much more "Black culture" growing up than Obama ever was.
I compared Dreams from My Father to The Art of the Deal because both Obama and Trump had co-writers. Trump, at least, names his (Tony Schwarz).
Some people, when they are told that they are stupid or that their ideas are stupid, think "the person that said that to me is obviously anti-intellectual."

The Cracker Emcee said...

"The broader culture, it's an embarrassment. It was never great but it once had pretensions, now it doesn't even have those."

ARM gets his monthly one right. I know many college-educated young people, including an Economics PhD, who've never read a book after getting their degrees. Today's upper-middle class is undoubtedly less cultured than the pre-war working-class. Even Classic Comics would be too challenging for these affluent yobs.

exiledonmainstreet said...

It turns out that Bernie Sanders is more of a fan of free speech than many of his admirers:

"In a surprising turn of events, every millennial’s favorite old man, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has come out in defense of Ann Coulter, denouncing threats that forced the University of California, Berkeley, to try to postpone her appearance at the college.
“I don’t like this. I don’t like it,” Sanders told The Huffington Post in response to the security threats that forced the university to put off the conservative firebrand’s event.

“Obviously Ann Coulter’s outrageous―to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation,” he added."

JLScott said...

"As a college professor and university administrator" is not going to cut it. Now if he had said "as a karate expert"...

Jim S. said...

I don't understand why the political right doesn't argue that all the slurs the left send their way qualify as hate speech and as such isn't protected free speech. Calling someone a Nazi, fascist, authoritarian, or whatever the buzzword of the day is certainly sounds like hate speech to me. For that matter, you could claim that accusing people on the right of not giving a sh*t sounds like hate speech. If you want to make it a little more surreal -- and really, why wouldn't you? -- you could say calling something hate speech is hate speech and so should not be allowed by its own tenets.

Alex said...

I trust that the country George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and Lafayette helped to create will survive this.

Gospace said...

On children reading- Children who read tend to come from families where their parents read. Our house has several thousand books in it if I were to actually count. All five of our kids read, and all read before they got into public school. And our grandchildren are starting in on reading before they get into school.

I've walked into many a house and observed no visible books at all. And talking to my kids, their friends in those houses don't read outside of schoolwork, if they bother reading that, and generally aren't doing all that well in school.

Parents have more of a say in the future success of their children then schools.

And all of my kids have once in a while been PIA's to their teachers. Our last one in HS graduating this year had just finished telling us about his teacher encounter of the day, and we were laughing about it, when the teacher called to complain about his behavior. I promised to talk to him about it.

Unknown said...

I don't get it. Trump won. We have a Republican House, a Republican Senate, an even Supreme Court which will probably +1 more before the end of Trump's term -- and this guy thinks that if 1A goes out the window, *his* side be writing the rules?

traditionalguy said...

The student rioters are today's Nazi Brown Shirts. And their fate will be the same.

Mike Sylwester said...

This is what happens when a Scientific Progressive is allowed to become a vice provost for faculty, arts, humanities, and diversity.

Jack Tors said...

"Freedom of expression is not an unchanging absolute. When its proponents forget that it requires the vigilant and continuing examination of its parameters, and instead invoke a pure model of free speech that has never existed, the dangers to our democracy are clear and present." Professor Baer must be speaking of the United States as he wishes existed as opposed to the one that embraced and codified unencumbered freedom of speech in 1791.

Douglas said...

Interestingly enough, most of the comments at the NYT disagreed strongly with the NYU commie, I mean, vice-provost. Maybe not all is lost. But I am starting to think that perhaps the call for Congress to pass a law requiring schools that accept federal funds to respect freedom of speech, see, e.g., http://www.nationalreview.com/article/446999/free-speech-campus-censorship-congress-must-punish-universities-indulging-student-mob, might be a good idea. We could call it Title X, slot it right in after Title IX.

Bill said...

I am especially attuned to the next generation’s demands to revise existing definitions of free speech to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences.

The words land like cudgels.

Laslo Spatula said...

Woke Hate Speech Guy says..

I can admit it now: I realize that a lot of things I have said in the past could be considered Hate Speech. And I realize now that Hate Speech Hurts, and I feel bad about that. I'm still not quite sure why I feel bad, but I guess that is part of becoming more conscious of people's feelings...

In the past I might have said something like "All Jews should die." Then -- of course -- people would get upset and not listen to the nuances of my statement.. So now I say:

"I don't think that ALL Jews should die."

Or:

"There are SOME Jews who shouldn't be killed."

See? There is far less Hate in what I am saying, and I think my message is stronger for it.

I have learned that it is important to be reasonable. People want to be reasonable to a reasonable person, it makes them feel good about themselves. And I figure if you can get people to meet you half-way, then you're half-way there...

Like, I previously might have said:

"All Jews should've died in the ovens."

Now I would more likely say:

"It was inhumane to use the ovens to kill Jews."

See? Less Hate. I even used the word 'inhumane', which is a good thing to say about things that other people find bad.

Where I might have said:

"The Jewish Conspiracy is the biggest problem the World faces," I now say:

"The Jewish Conspiracy is a big problem the World faces,"

I'm still kinda working on that one: I realize my Growth is a work in progress...

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

That's the guy the constitution protects us from.

rhhardin said...

As a college professor and university administrator just means he's not used to being laughed at.

Angel-Dyne said...

"When [free speech] proponents forget that it requires the vigilant and continuing examination of its parameters..."

It does? Sez who?

See, this is why us grumpy old grumps get grumpy that nobody knows what "begging the question" means anymore. Even guys with prestige credentials. Especially guys with prestige credentials. You're really begging the question here, Professor-Provost Dunning-Kruger.

In a society whose members actually respect the right to free speech, very little "examination of its parameters" is required. When you've taken to vigilantly and continuously examining (and hoping to police) its parameters, it's probably a sign that you no longer understand the concept. (Or you do understand it, and are hoping to kill it.)

Angel-Dyne said...

ARM:

It kinda undermines your position to complain about anti-intellectualism in American culture and link to Salon for support material on another point, in the same thread.

Jeff H said...

Why is the definition of "tenure" not also a living, breathing, ever-changing thing?

roesch/voltaire said...

If you want to see how the parameters of free speech have been molded take at look at what happen during the 1920s when German Americans had to whisper into their beer any complaints abut the war effort because they could be charged under the Sedition Act of 1918 if over heard. Still I believe the universities must live up to free speech open standards--

AReasonableMan said...

Pro-Trump couple who shot a protester outside a Milo Yiannopoulos event are charged with assault after 'provoking confrontation' with their victim

I Callahan said...

I trust that the country George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and Lafayette helped to create will survive this.

There has never been a country or type of country that lasted the same way forever. The USA is no different. Progressives have been trying, and succeeding, in changing the country for 120 years out of the country's 240.

I'm sorry I don't hold the same optimism as you.

I Callahan said...

Pro Trump couple who shot...

Is there a point to posting that link?

I Callahan said...

When its proponents forget that it requires the vigilant and continuing examination of its parameters

Let me just simplify it for the professor:

What makes speech free is that there ARE NO PARAMETERS. If there are parameters, then speech isn't free.

Our professor is right. These 4 sentences are just weapons grade stupid.

AprilApple said...

ARM's link - I like the image of a masked leftwing fascist waving a sign about how he wants "fascists to live in fear."

AReasonableMan said...

So the shooting is not a problem but a sign is?

Hmmm.

The Cracker Emcee said...

I very much doubt that even a King County jury will convict them. That trial is going to be all about the behavior of the riot...er, protesters.

Peter said...

"Why would the NYT would publish this?"

And why would Ulrich Baer write it?

Because both are confident that their free speech rights will never be questioned (let alone threatened). Because they are on the "right side of history."

At a minimum, there appears to be a vast failure of imagination in this smug assumption.

furious_a said...

ARM plays stupid games for stupid prizes.

"Seattle: Anti-fascist Activist Shot at Protest Against Neo-Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos"

Shooter triggered by victim's whiteness so he pulled the trigger.
http://bit.ly/2orVdMV

Lee said...

> "I'm a bit awestruck at the badness."

Well... he is the vice provost, after all. Maybe they should hire a virtue provost.

MadisonMan said...

ARM: I note in the article (that I only skimmed, I admit) that nothing supports the Pro-Trump headline.

Rumpletweezer said...

At least I could understand what Dean Wormer was saying.

furious_a said...

"VIDEO: Berkeley student union vandalized during protest"

Word to the ARM: if you're fighting racism by vandalizing the Martin Luther King Student Center, you're doing it wrong.

AprilApple said...

Facts first, ARM.

Daniel Jackson said...

Laslo is always Laslo. In France, one hears that logic constantly from leftists; but, they substitute Israelis for Jews as in "we don't hate Jews, we hate Israelis." Which Israelis? The Jewish ones.

Where this logic is frequently used in political discourse is against [Muslim] Extremists who blow up nightclubs and restaurants in Paris or drive trucks over people walking along the promenade in Nice. That is is HORRIBLE! But similar acts against nightclubs and pedestrians in Israel are acts of resistance.

The problem in the Academy today is not a fascist bent, it is pure Stalinism. Censorship already exists regarding accepted texts. Book burning of unacceptable texts will come next.

AReasonableMan said...

MadisonMan said...
ARM: I note in the article (that I only skimmed, I admit) that nothing supports the Pro-Trump headline.


Seattle Times said...
"Marc Hokoana, whose Facebook page has indicated he is a supporter of President Donald Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association"

Matthew Sablan said...

"Freedom of expression is not an unchanging absolute."

-- I think I am dumber for having read that.

Unknown said...

Progressives never stop to think ahead about the possible consequences of their goal to eliminate what they call ‘hate speech’.

Imagine that President Trump in fact turns out to be the Hitler-like dictator they’re claiming he is – and that he declares hate speech to be anything critical of alt-right nationalism. He could, under their rules, forbid liberal speakers from appearing at colleges & universities nationwide, shut down Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and the list goes on and on.

On the other hand, permitting free speech of all kinds prevents such actions, although it would force progressives to debate their ideas, and leave their emotions behind.

AReasonableMan said...

Wife admits SHE shot protester in the stomach at Milo Yiannopoulos event 'to protect her Trump-supporter husband'

mtrobertslaw said...

Change of venue, jury trial and the shooter gets acquitted.

Roy Jacobsen said...

rhhardin said...
As a college professor and university administrator just means he's not used to being laughed at.

Well, we'll have to do something about that.

Static Ping said...

The alternative to free speech is violence. The alternative to freedom of religion is violence. The alternative to freedom of assembly is violence. The alternative to freedom of the press is violence. The alternative to petition of the government is violence.

The First Amendment: Trying to keep over educated dunces from getting killed since 1791.

Fernandinande said...

"Shut up!" explained the snowflake.

n.n said...

Pro-Choice is the preferred quasi-religious/moral philosophy of Liberals and Progressives.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Well, ARM, as Static Ping notes, "the alternative to free speech is violence."

You're just peachy with the violence leftists commit, but howl when it's turned against your side. What do you think would happen eventually if a mob turns out to silence a speaker and threatens and beats the attendees?

As I said on the other thread, it's amazing that leftists feel free to change the rules and never imagine that it will come back to bite them in the ass.

Owen said...

Baer is both absolutely wrong and technically correct. The First Amendment just stops the gubmint from stepping on your speech. A property owner in her private capacity can tell you to move your speech somewhere else. A private association likewise.

The murky part is where a "private" place like NYU tries to tell you to move your speech somewhere else, but it subsists on the public dole. That is IMHO certainly true for any campus doing R&D with gubmint money. And it may well be true for any campus accepting students with gubmint-guaranteed loans (which would be all campuses). Not so "private" after all.

I think Baer's statement is (a) incredibly stupid but also some mixture of (b) trolling and (c) taking advantage, knowingly or not, of the aforesaid murkiness. He really must think he can pick and choose who speaks on "his" campus. Excuse me: it's "our" campus. We the People are paying for it, the Constitutional protections apply.

Berkeley just got sued for shutting down the Ann Coulter visit. Pass the popcorn.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Seattle Times said...
"Marc Hokoana, whose Facebook page has indicated he is a supporter of President Donald Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association""

Witch!

Rusty said...

Blogger AReasonableMan said...
"Wife admits SHE shot protester in the stomach at Milo Yiannopoulos event 'to protect her Trump-supporter husband"

Says a lot about the quality of Trump protestors.

Did the antifa guy wielding a bikelock against Trump supporters turn himself in? Oh. Wait. He was wering a mask.

Alec Rawls said...

"... revise existing definitions of free speech to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences."

Means no disagreement with "marginalized people" allowed, snd if he wants to be called Xir you must call him Xir, or be expelled. Not just proscribed speech but prescribed speech.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Did the antifa guy wielding a bikelock against Trump supporters turn himself in?"

That guy teaches philosophy at a local college. Somehow I doubt he's schooling kids on Aristotle, Plato and Kant.

CEL said...

Yes, that is what our country needs - more intellectuals who think they have found the secret formula for perfecting man/society.

furious_a said...

What do you think would happen eventually if a mob turns out to silence a speaker and threatens and beats the attendees?

You posit that like it's a hypothetical (see "Santa Ana" and "San Jose").

Matthew Sablan said...

"What do you think would happen eventually if a mob turns out to silence a speaker and threatens and beats the attendees?"

-- A speaker will force a confrontation to force legal authorities to act.

Hey, what's happening the 27th?

AReasonableMan said...

Two nutjobs shoot someone at a protest and the primary responses are:

They'll get off.
They'll get off if they change the venue of the trial.
Not really Pro-Trump supporters (despite evidence to contrary)
Some third party is holding a sign and it's a bad sign.

Again, someone was shot. Priorities people. Shooting someone is very bad thing to do. Maybe we could join together in acknowledging that point.

Matthew Sablan said...

Someone was shot and there hasn't even been a trial, so we don't know if it was a very bad thing to do. There are times where shooting someone may not be what you want to do, but is perfectly justifiable. We have no idea if these two people are "nutjobs" or not.

CL said...

Of course they never define hate speech as statements that all men are rapists or that Israel should be wiped off the map or that cops should be killed or white people killed or christians killed or capitalism destroyed. No, those are just reasonable statements of fact.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Intimidating someone to the point where they fear for their safety and have to use a firearm to protect themselves is a very bad thing to do. Maybe we could join together in acknowledging that point.

It's telling that these people weren't held by police at the time of the incident. Clearly what the police heard after the shooting indicated a very strong probabilty that the Lefty nutjobs had forced the woman into a legitimate act of self-defense.

Interesting, but unsurprising, that you defend the use of Brownshirt tactics to shut down free speech. It's who the Left is these days.

Vader said...

"Some people, when they are told that they are stupid or that their ideas are stupid, think "the person that said that to me is obviously anti-intellectual.""

The difficulty being in deciding who is actually being deep and who is a poseur.

Back in the day, it was easier: No one could call himself an intellectual who could not translate a passage from Latin into English. It was possible to know if he had done it right. It was a kind of basic test of intellectual competence.

Nowadays the equivalent would be correctly working the solution of a differential equation. It is even more possible to know if you have done this right than if you have translated some Latin correctly.

I'm guessing this provost can do neither.

I Callahan said...

Two nutjobs shoot someone at a protest and the primary responses are

No, the response is that the left side is WAY worse when it comes to violently shutting down other speakers than the right is. Stop ignoring the big picture just to score points for you own side.

You're welcome.

AReasonableMan said...

I Callahan said...
the response is that the left side is WAY worse when it comes to violently shutting down other speakers


Who has the left shot at one of these media events?

Matthew Sablan said...

"Who has the left shot at one of these media events?"

-- Is your objection to violence, or merely kinds of violence?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Let's see: leftists show up to "protest" a conservative speaker. At various places they have rioted, broken windows, sprayed attendees with pepper spray, beat people over the head with bike locks, punched people, spat, screamed and harassed - and a Trump voter who apparently was acting to protect her husband (the facts will come out), shot one of these lovebirds.

ARM says: Look at these violent Trump supporters, shooting people!

Can ARM tell us of an incident where a leftist speaker was prevented from speaking due to threatened and actual violence and where attendees of those speeches were physically attacked? The vile Bernadette Dohrn spoke at Marquette recently. Where were the Trumpist mobs?

Is it surprising that ARM is so pro-gun control? It would be so much easier if the Left could just gang up on people and assault and beat conservatives without any fear of being shot by someone acting in self-defense. How dare the conservatives spoil their fun!

ZZMike said...

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death my right to make sure it agrees with my values".

AReasonableMan said...

Matthew Sablan said...
merely kinds of violence?


A few punches thrown by both sides versus being shot? Are you serious?

exiledonmainstreet said...

If someone was coming at me swinging a bike lock or a bat, I would not let him or her take a few whacks at me and hope I could somehow land a punch because, gee, we have to keep things fair. (Especially since the MO the leftists practice is to isolate people in a crowd or to have a woman rush up and scream in a man's face and distract him, and then 4 or 5 cowardly thugs jump him from behind. There are vids of those techniques on YouTube. That's why I have absolutely no sympathy for the bitch who got punched in Berkeley.)

Anybody in that situation is fully justified in using a gun, IMO. Was that the case in Seattle? Again, we'll see. Like an earlier commenter said, the cops let the shooter free at the scene, which seems to indicate they thought it was justified.

Matthew Sablan said...

"A few punches thrown by both sides versus being shot? Are you serious?"

-- Oh, you weren't aware of the level of violence at the rallies inflicted on Trump supporters/Republicans prior to the rally where Trump supporters pushed back after explosives, smoke bombs and pepper spray were deployed against them.

Please catch up with current events, since you seem out of date.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Again, ARM is ignoring the fact that in all these cases, the Leftists initiated the violence.

AReasonableMan said...

You are very selectively reporting the violence at these events. You should read more widely.

AReasonableMan said...

Imagine all the whining on this site if someone on the left had shot someone at one of these ridiculous events.

Matthew Sablan said...

ARM: You do realize that at the moment, the shooting you are worrying about has not been investigated, has been claimed to be self-defense, and thus far, we don't know whether it was or wasn't? It is best to hold your concern until we know what actually happened. Because, if a leftist shot someone in self-defense at one of these events, it would be... perfectly fine (though questionable seeing as the left is the one showing up covering their faces, carrying explosives and smoke bombs and threatening to take scalps publicly on the Internet after attempting to claim "punching Nazis" shouldn't be a crime.)

Matthew Sablan said...

"You are very selectively reporting the violence at these events."

-- Prove it.

AReasonableMan said...

Two lunatics shooting someone at what is essentially just a media event is not simply an outrage but also possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard. They deserve to go to jail simply for being so stupid.

Matthew Sablan said...

If that's what happened, you're right.

We don't know that's what happened.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Imagine all the whining on this site if someone on the left had shot someone at one of these ridiculous events."

Again, who is initiating the violence? Not the conservatives.

You insist on drawing a moral equivalence that doesn't exist.

Hell, even Bernie Sanders thinks Coulter should get to speak at Berkeley without violence being directed at her and people who wish to hear her speak. (My, how he must have disappointed the antifas with that statement. No matter, they'll ignore it.)

It's amusing that ARM, who laughably calls himself a "moderate," is more of an leftist authoritarian than Sanders.

AReasonableMan said...

Nathan Damigo ring a bell? Defend that cowardly little piece of shit.

Again, all the outrage here over media events exemplifies partisan hackery at its worst.

exiledonmainstreet said...

If that's what happened, you're right.

We don't know that's what happened.

4/25/17, 4:03 PM

No we don't. But ARM has his Narrative. Facts don't matter.

AReasonableMan said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
Again, who is initiating the violence?


Fuck you are stupid, everyone is right. They shot a guy, you moron. And, they left a trail of evidence showing that they were looking for a fight.

Daniel Jackson said...

A reasonable man said: "Imagine all the whining on this site if someone on the left had shot someone at one of these ridiculous events."

Unfortunately, that scenario is equally likely, as is inevitable return fire.

The entire situation, on both sides, is escalating at an increasing rate with concomitant disaster looming as the rhetoric becomes fever pitched and totally unreasonable. All of this must stop; now.

Consider carefully your screed Reasonable Man. As Kant said (actually he wrote) about the Categorical Imperative--Will Your Words As A Universal Maxim.

The Professor's post is about the theater of German lecturing Americans about the parameters of Free Speech in Civil Society, where the key word is CIVIL, albeit in the Spirit of Discourse. The irony is not lost.

There is no defense of violence on both sides of this issue. We, collectively, are losing our Reason and following Passion. Unless EVERYONE takes a break, and plays nice, more blood will spill and no one should want that.

Souffle, the French say: BREATHE.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Nathan Damigo ring a bell? Defend that cowardly little piece of shit."

He's a piece of shit who punched a piece of shit.

No sympathy.

Sigivald said...

"to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences"

...

How does "forcing badthinkers to not speak" accommodate anyone's "experiences"?

I want him to explain to me exactly what the accommodation of experience in question is, because I don't think he knows.

(I'm not even sure what "accomodate [...] experiences" even means, other than ... what, maybe the lack of denial that experiences happened?

But that's utterly irrelevant to the current tantrum [debate is too dignified] over the heckler's veto.)

exiledonmainstreet said...

They shot a guy, you moron. And, they left a trail of evidence showing that they were looking for a fight.


4/25/17, 4:08 PM

We don't know the facts yet, ignorant fool. You have your mind made up already.

I'm open to the idea that the shooting might not have been justified. You're sure it wasn't - without knowing anything about it.

You really need to choose a different avatar. Aristotle would puke if he met you. You defend people who are doing their best to tear down Western Civilization.

AReasonableMan said...

Daniel Jackson said...
There is no defense of violence on both sides of this issue.


I am not defending violence by anyone, unlike our hate-filled poster, Exiled.

I find the whole thing ridiculous, but ultimately you need to look at who is trying to make money out of these events and the hate they inspire and that is people like Coulter and Milo, whose careers are built on hate.

Matthew Sablan said...

That guy, Nathan is a terrible person. But to call punching someone approaching you during a fight a sucker punch is bad. The woman he hit is on the record as looking for a fight. Two people wanting to fight got what they wanted

exiledonmainstreet said...

"people like Coulter and Milo, whose careers are built on hate."

Lying again, ARM. Oh, I know, mocking leftists is your idea of "hate."

AReasonableMan said...

Matthew Sablan said...
But to call punching someone approaching you during a fight a sucker punch is bad.


Did you watch the video. He rushed in, punched a woman and then ran away, back to his much larger friends. Sad!

Matthew Sablan said...

That's not what the video shows at all. There is a fight, she moves in to join the fight. Is hit. Then, he backs off once it is clear she no longer wants to fight. He's a jerk, but this video doesn't show what the Internet lied to you about.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I agree with Megan Fox:

"Does anyone see the irony in the social justice warriors complaining that a guy hit a girl? A girl who wants equality with men showed up at a Trump rally wearing weighted gloves, tried to punch a guy in the throat, and got laid out with one punch. For as long as I can remember, the feminists have told us they’re exactly the same, if not better than men. So why are we supposed to be outraged that one of them got hit in the face by a man? Isn’t that exactly what she wanted when she jumped into the fray and started swinging? . . .
This girl knew exactly what she was doing joining Antifa at the Berkeley rally. She was there to fight “nazis.” She said so. . . .
This is what feminists have asked for and I’ll be damned if I let them complain about it.
If you go looking for a fight, you can’t complain when people fight back. Believing yourself to be “on the right side of history” will not magically protect you from harm. Two words of advice: Grow up."

Daniel Jackson said...

Monsieur Reason said: "you need to look at who is trying to make money"

No I Do Not.

Perhaps we all should consider the overall end game of divisiveness and "For What It Is Worth." https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=buffalo+springfield+for+what+it%27s+worth

What WE need to look at is the increasing pitch and madness gripping us all as "battle lines are being drawn."

That's what I look at.

Nate Whilk said...

When leftists talk about "hate speech", that's code for "speech we hate".

Baer was born and raised in Germany. Is he a US citizen or a permanent resident? This is from his brief biography (translated) from German Wikipedia.

"Ulrich Christian Baer (* 15 February 1966 in Saarbrücken ) is a literary scholar and publicist. Baer grew up in Germany, went to the USA as a student, graduated from high school in Berlin and returned to the USA. Baer studied literature in Berkeley , Harvard, and Yale and worked as a professor at New York University in the German Department."

AReasonableMan said...

Daniel Jackson said...
What WE need to look at is the increasing pitch and madness gripping us all as "battle lines are being drawn."


I don't disagree with this but commercial interests have become so intertwined with politics that it is always important to ask, who is trying to make a buck out of stirring up hate. Many of these people have nothing of value to say but are simply advancing a commercial agenda.

Paco Wové said...

It's nice to see Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders stand up for the First Amendment, even if college administrators and other lefty apologists won't.

Paco Wové said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
StephenFearby said...

What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech"

Now starts off with:

"This article has been updated to add a disclaimer."

Probably, "My view (and, like all the views expressed here, it does not represent the views or policies of my employer, New York University)."

Baer's Orwellian OpEd had 1173 comments (now closed). Since the overwhelming majority denounce the author, many with great elegance, NYU probably decided to cover its ass by requesting Baer to insert this disclaimer.

Now for some fun conspiracy mongering. The article was SO awful that it could only have been approved by the OpEd editor who also approved "bat shit crazy" (Buzzfeed's term) Louise Mensch's recent Times OpEd piece.

Or, it was an OpEd editor mole, who was so put off by Baer's awful thesis that he or she decided it deserved refutation...by the predicable avalanche of negative comments.

The headline writer may have tried to help in this with the title: "What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech." Which captures Baer's:

"We should thank the student protestors, the activists in Black Lives Matter and other “overly sensitive” souls for keeping watch over the soul of our republic."

Rioters are the antithesis of precious snowflakes.

So, I'd really like to think Baer's piece was approved by a NYT OpED editor mole.

Naah. Given the NYT's track record, it's too much of a stretch.

Daniel Jackson said...

Reasonable Man--"but commercial interests have become so intertwined with politics"

Since WHEN have commerce and politics NOT been intertwined in a capitalist mode of production?

Same as it ever was; Same as it ever was.

Rob.E said...

Why does it never occur to so-called progressives that these types of positions are exactly the cause of Trumps election? Progressive platform is converting more moderates into conservatives, than anything that conservatives, or republicans could ever hope to do,