Freedom of Speech Isn’t Just A Law, It’s A Principle


It’s about damn time someone did this:

Graduation speaker blasts students

A commencement speaker on Sunday blasted Pennsylvania college students as “immature” and “arrogant” for protesting another speaker who then decided to withdraw.

William Bowen, former president of Princeton University, used his commencement speech at Haverford College outside Philadelphia to criticize students who campaigned against Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

Birgeneau is among several commencement speakers who canceled their appearances this spring amid student protest.

More than 40 students and three professors had protested Birgeneau’s invitation to speak, objecting to his handling of a 2011 incident at Berkeley in which police used force at a student protest. The group wanted Birgeneau to apologize, support payments for victims, and write a letter to Haverford students explaining his position on the events and “what you learned from them.”

Birgeneau, who was also supposed to receive an honorary degree from Haverford, refused those demands and others in a terse email.

“I am disappointed that those who wanted to criticize Birgeneau’s handling of events at Berkeley chose to send him such an intemperate list of `demands,’” Bowen said Sunday.

“In my view, they should have encouraged him to come and engage in a genuine discussion, not to come, tail between his legs, to respond to an indictment that a self-chosen jury had reached without hearing counter-arguments.”

Bowen also said Birgeneau had “responded intemperately, failing to make proper allowance for the immature, and, yes, arrogant inclinations of some protesters. Aggravated as he had every right to be, I think he should be with us today.”

He called Birgeneau’s withdrawal a defeat for the university.

His remarks drew a standing ovation.

Freedom of speech is under attack in this country. I tend to be an absolutist when it comes to our civil rights and freedoms, and this mostly left-wing fascism is deeply troubling to me. It is no less troubling that the attacks on our freedom of speech do not raise First Amendment issues.

“Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . .”

Those ten words have taken up a disproportionate share of Supreme Court jurisprudence over the past couple centuries. One of the issues that the court has made very clear is that the First Amendment only applies to government action.

The Speech Nazis are quick to point out that the First Amendment does not prohibit things like boycotts against people who say offensive things or advocate offensive ideas. If the NBA wants to fine Donald Sterling a couple million dollars and force him to sell the team, no government action is involved.

We have seen a number of instances recently where people were threatened with or subjected to loss of income for saying things that were perfectly legal but that others found offensive. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty is just one example. Chik-fil-A is another. Brendan Eich was forced to resign from Mozilla when it was revealed that he had donated to the campaign to support Propsition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative in California

In Sterling’s case the offensive things he said were not made in public but rather in private. Nonetheless, when they were revealed the NBA took action against him.

The First Amendment is a law, but freedom of speech is a principle. We need to defend both.

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.’ You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.”

If there is any place where freedom of speech should be prized most highly it is in our colleges and universities. Ironically, that is where freedom of speech is becoming most restricted.

We need to put a stop the the Speech Nazis. If some special snowflake has his or her fee-fees hurted by some mean words, we need to tell them to grow the fuck up. If you can’t deal with somebody else exercising his/her freedom of speech, the problem is YOU, not them.

There is a huge difference between not listening to someone and silencing them. But sometimes you just have to put up with annoying shit.

Boo fucking hoo. Pull on your big boy panties and get over it.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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134 Responses to Freedom of Speech Isn’t Just A Law, It’s A Principle

  1. driguana says:

    Fuckin’ awesome!

  2. driguana says:

    Why does someone want to call another person a “name” or attack them with derision or vitriolic language? Because they feel inferior? Superior? Less intelligent? What do you think inspires this kind of behavior?

    • Lulu says:

      Insecurity which they attempt to overcome by convincing themselves that they are superior. They are drawn together also which serves to reinforce their delusions of superiority. The cult of Obama as well as many other groups can be seen in this way. This old college president/professor just called them out although most will be too dumb to see it.

      • Yes, it’s both cultural amnesia, the inability to know anything past yesterday, and cultural blindness, being too dumb to see reality!

      • 49erDweet says:

        Herd mentality. Fearful they will thought to not be a member of “the chosen ones” if they pause a second to reflect on contrary views. Comes from a lack of self confidence and unfamiliarity with the skill of critical thought.
        Thank you, modern education. But in truth this is 90% world-wide.

    • elliesmom says:

      Part of it is intellectual laziness. Call someone a name, and you either shut down discourse or deflect the conversation to a place that doesn’t require you to have any counter arguments that require research or thought.

      • Lulu says:

        It is a childish and immature personality which does not develop beyond a certain point because they are protected and can get away with it. Some of it is cultural protection, some of it parental, and I think some is evolutionary. I may be cruel in saying this but a lot of helicopter parents have really stupid children who would be run over by a bus or fall out of a window on their head if they were not hovered over.

      • The Klown says:

        College is the place where you should have your beliefs challenged and get exposed to new ideas. You should be learning to articulate arguments as well as spot fallacies.

        Research and thought is what you’re there for.

        • Lulu says:

          But that is UNCOMFORTABLE! Nothing uncomfortable, embarrassing, painful, difficult, or challenging is allowed! Mostly because someone will fail at it and that is simply not allowed. So we regress as a culture and society because someone can’t keep up. The realization that all of the current failure in government, culture, the economy etc is because it is being run by dumb, emotionally stunted, ignorant assholes is coming out ever so slowly.
          Semi on topic: HT to AOS!
          …”we have regressed to the Freudian phallic stage of development, reaching in, back in short pants with our hands all the way down them, which gives one a rather limited impression of the elephant in the room.
          Slavery in Nigeria, the occupation of Ukraine, whatever: It ain’t about you, Sunshine.”

          A society of two year olds is not a good place. Like is drawn to like thus the cult of Obama. They need to be sent to their rooms to play with themselves.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      Some people are just plain Bullies. 👿

    • lyn says:

      To belittle is to be little.

  3. votermom says:

    More than 40 students and three professors had protested Birgeneau’s invitation to speak

    Students wanting to please their professors – that’s what they’ve been conditioed to dosince they started pre-school, after all.

    • Lulu says:

      Yes for the grade point and to please the “in” group. If it is the same kid that was named by the retired Princeton president it is a Fairey street artist wannabe on the make.

    • Constance says:

      Sadly the need to please professors passes for intelligence these days. Of course they can’t have real standards or the little legacies might not advance. Flawless indoctrination passes for intelligence.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      Musta ran outta Apples!! 😯

  4. The Klown says:

    BTW – lefties aren’t the only ones who do this crap. I didn’t like what happened to the Dixie Chicks either.

    • Lulu says:

      The Republicans to a great extent started it at least on a grand scale. It is always amusing how Democrats always pick up the worst stunts and actions of Republicans thus the “they did it first”.

      • DeniseVB says:

        In my liberal activist days the worst names I remember were “dirty hippie” and “pinko commie”, which were holdovers from the 60’s. The Republicans weren’t too original. Bless their hearts ❤

  5. The Klown says:

    Late nite Twitter can get weird. Some people actually take offense to short jokes.

  6. DeniseVB says:

    When President Bieber and his vile progs took over in 2008, wasn’t that the beginning of speech control and zero tolerance for constructive crticism ? Of course the complacent media worms enabled that further. It’s okay if they slur us (teabaggers, racists, homophobes) for daring to disagree with The Won. Heaven forbid if you’re conservative while being gay or black, they get the roughest treatment because not (D).

    Now that Ben Carson and Allen West are mulling Presidential runs (oh, have books out too!), let’s pop some popcorn shall we? 😉

  7. The Klown says:
  8. Constance says:

    Liberals think free speech is the right to produce and saturate society with male viewpoint pornography. They never really got the concept of free speech.

  9. Love it…the Earthlink word of the day is “verbicide, the willful distortion of the original meaning of a word”. Any pop into mind quickly?

  10. helenk3 says:

    there are a lot of “snowflakes” in this college generation. funny thing about snowflakes, they melt in a little bit of heat. problem is if too many snowflakes melt they cause flooding which causes a lot of damage. we are going to have to start with the next generation and start teaching them young to listen, learn and survive. It will not be easy but it has to be done.

    i may not like what you say, but I will defend your right to say it, is one of the greatest sentences in the english language a shame it is not being taught or acted upon in this country today.

    Thank You MYIQ for this great post today

  11. helenk3 says:

    My oldest daughter gave the best compliment on the Mother’s day card she sent me. she signed
    thank you mom for all you taught me , most of all how to be a survivor. I sat down an cried because I did my job. and she went on to raise two great kids and now I have three great grandchildren. she is not a snowflake

  12. votermom says:

    The latest news on my Mother-in-Law is that she is still in the ICU. The docs says the left side of her brain was “severely affected.”
    I am praying now that they can get her stable.

  13. votermom says:

    OT 2 days ago my inbox had 13,000 emails. I decided to start cleaning up and now I am down to 4000 emails and also I am out of steam. Blegh.

  14. SHV says:

    “and this mostly left-wing fascism “………” lefties aren’t the only ones who do this crap. I didn’t like what happened to the Dixie Chicks either.”
    People think of politics as a linear spectrum, left/right. Today’s Progs again demonstrate that if one goes far enough in any political direction (circle/sphere?) the destination is totalitarianism. Hitler/Stalin, Fascist/Communist, in the end the body count was about the same. At some fundamental psychological level there is no difference between a committed young Obot/Prog and the Hitler Jungen of the 1930s except for the superficial “politics”.

    • votermom says:

      The classic Nolan chart (from the 70s?). Progs are in the bottom corner Chart

    • 49erDweet says:

      I agreed with the first push back against the DC’s because I believed the venue was inappropriate. They have every right to their public speech and opinions, but when people have to pay to attend a musical entertainment event it does not give entertainers a right to substitute speech on philosophy or world problems or politics or other stuff, IMO.
      And, btw, if they had a rep for spending similar jaw-jaw time during previous concerts. I would be wrong. But one of my staff, a longtime ardent fan, was totally upset at the first rant. He was surprised and never got over it. I based my opinion on his reaction.

  15. lyn says:

    Brilliant post.

  16. helenk3 says:

    off topic

    this is unacceptable.
    there better be a whole bunch of people gone at the VA

    this has me so angry

    • SHV says:

      With the VA system, where do you start? The problems are everywhere and the system is so political that the shit rolls down hill and everyone is trying to CYA. Fire a VA employee who isn’t doing their job….forget it. Vets who’s military service was sitting at a desk for two years and scamming the system for all that they can get vs tight budgets depriving combats vets with severe life long injuries who can’t get services. These problems are nothing new; thirty years ago when I used to work at a VA 2 days a week and complained about a 60 person waiting list for heart surgery, the response from the hospital director was that it wasn’t his problem, he had to worry about the budget and his job.

  17. swanspirit says:

    This is a great post . What I fail to understand , when anyone tries to shut down someone from speaking , is why their “professors ” do not encourage their students to listen . What do they fear ? Are they so afraid that someone might hear something different than , or contrary to what they are teaching ? I was on the debate team in high school , so we learned to defend our positions , or
    even defend a position or opinion with which we disagreed . Of course , what was funny , to me , was that the nuns taught us to think , but if any of us did think ,far enough to disagree with or question something ” Catholic” they got very upset. We were only supposed to think for ourselves so far , and then stop . I would think secular schools , especially colleges and universities . would be different , and not so devoted to dogma as to shut down speakers with whom they disagreed, or find fault with . I guess a great many speech control freaks have their own dogma .The irony of course is , once you have your rigid and unbending dogma , there is no need to think.

    • Somebody says:

      You would think colleges and universities would foster and encourage diversity of thought, but they don’t. At least not very many encourage that type of diversity.

      My daughter got her undergraduate degree from a community college recently turned 4 year college. When it was a community college they had a lot of technical programs and so a lot of their professors had been in private industry. They still have strong technical programs there, but now offer more traditional BA and BS degrees too. She absolutely loved the back and forth debates and discussions that were encouraged by her professors there. Many times if most of the class was in agreement on something the professor would purposely play devil’s advocate, sometimes requiring certain students to join him. They wanted all points of view out on the table, they wanted lots of world views and indeed with such a mixed population and mixed age demographic they had a lot of variance in points of view.

      She went to a large university for her graduate degree. She was so excited, expecting a lot of back and forth discussion…….verbal jousting as it were on what she expected to be a much higher academic level. That was not the case at all, not in any way. Her very first week she expressed a contrary point of view to several students in her class on some of Woodrow Wilson’s policies. There were literal gasps, including from the professor, from that point forward she was ostracized. She had already been sneered at because of where she got her BS, her statements sealed the deal…….she wasn’t one of them, she wasn’t worthy. In the end she ran circles around all of them and even impressed the hell out of her professors, many of whom btw had a small betting pool on how long it would be before she quit, so she later found out.

      She eventually had a chance to have some open dialogue and give feedback, guess what she told them? She told them they could pat themselves on the back all day long about tolerance and diversity but that very little of either existed on that campus. She told them that there was more to diversity than pigmentation, more to tolerance than the cause du jour, and they had obviously been in their ivory tower too long to recognize that. She told them that at an institution of higher learning all points of views and ideas should be discussed and debated. She said that the most open marketplace of ideas should be found within the halls of such institutions and that was what she expected to find there, but instead found some of the most closed minds she’d ever encountered in her life. She told them that she knew many of them felt she shouldn’t have been given a slot because of the small “lesser” college she came from. She told them that she learned more and had her mind broadened more in one class at the small inferior college than she had in all her classes combined at their ivory tower.

      I doubt they took any of it to heart, but it is true our universities for the most part are becoming more and more insular.

    • votermom says:

      Speaking of debate teams:

      Black College Debate Team Wins National Championship By Repeating N-Word Over And Over

    • 49erDweet says:

      Many of today’s “professors” aren’t. They are closer to being “indoctrinators”. And are highly invested in what they see as their best system for advancement, one that demands absolute dedication and adherence to prog dogma.

      • mothy67 says:

        I lived in Philadelphia but I was a mess. I commuted from Phily to NYC everday for two years. I also had three jobs in Philly. I ate one personal pan pizza every day. Sucked but I never felt sorry for myself. I was a trash kid from a steel town discussing Beloved with _Toni Permission

  18. DandyTIger says:

    Great post. Honk!

    • The Klown says:

      You guys are funny. The posts that get the most praise are often ones (like this post) that I was the least satisfied with. It was really a lot better in my head but by the time I wrote it out I was tired and the words weren’t coming out like like I planned. Finally I just said fuck it, posted it and went to bed.

      Sometimes I’ll put up a post I am really proud of and it either gets very little reaction or you guys pick it apart.

      Blogging forces you to refine and organize your arguments, and then subjects them to immediate feedback. The feedback gives you a chance to amplify and explain your ideas. Sometimes what I mean to say isn’t clear to the reader. I know what I meant, but my words seemed to say something different.

      I never consider a post to be complete until the comments have closed.

      • DandyTIger says:

        We’re fickle and unpredictable just to keep you on your toes.

      • Somebody says:

        Yes we like to keep you on your toes! From your description I guess blogging can be a lot like cooking. Sometimes you work your butt off following some recipe precisely and your met with “meh” response. Other times you throw together a few things in a pot and your family raves for days about it!

        • elliesmom says:

          I write reviews for a sewing magazine. I can write a review that’s 99% positive, and someone will blast me for “trashing” their favorite product or designer. Likewise I can write a scathing review, and someone will say they can’t wait to buy it because of one positive thing I said. But I get paid either way. 😉

  19. votermom says:

    From the public school trenches:

    • Jadzia says:

      Jesus Christ. Where is this, Houston? I’m beginning to see why my teenager’s teachers (LAUSD) seem a little blasé about his crappy grades, if they are dealing with that kind of ridiculousness.

  20. lyn says:

    At noon today, the decision on Oregon’s prohibition of same-sex marriage will be released.

    • elliesmom says:

      The mayor has a point. When a victim of bullying goes to the principal or a teacher and turns the bully in, the bullying moves out of school to the walk home, the cellphone, or the internet. Schools truly have no control over what happens outside of school property and bullies over 10 know that. If your child is being threatened outside of school, you have the option of calling the police. Some very nasty little girls were calling our house to inflict emotional pain on my daughter. They made the mistake of threatening her. I had the phone company put a trap on my phone. They were caught, and Verizon turned them into the police. They found themselves in front of a judge. She finished school with no further incidents and a reputation for getting it done. Being a victim just encourages other bullies. Do I think schools should do all they can to protect kids from bullying? Absolutely. But there is really only so much they can do.

  21. mothy67 says:

    Life does throw you for a loop sometimes.
    Judge said no unsupervised viisits. I was told I had eight weeks to live14 months ago. I was ready to do what I had to. Quit my insurance because i thought if i am going to die I prefer the money go into the brat’s college fund. Seems I now get medicare. Never applied. I do have end stage liver desease and I am okay with it. Gonna die big deal so is everyone else.

  22. trixta says:

    Mothy, you are so brave … your indomitable spirit and kind heart are an inspiration to all of us. May these 14 months streeeeeeetch out to many many many more months…years!

  23. The Klown says:
  24. The Klown says:
  25. helenk3 says:

    stolen from a commentor at No Quarter

    Judicial Watch is doing a great job for the American people

    documents showing just how bad obamacare rollout was and is

    • The Klown says:

      We should always keep in mind that the rollout IS NOT Obamacare. A great policy can have a botched execution.

      All the problems with Obamacare are separate and distinct for the problems with the rollout, but they all have the same source: Obama

  26. The Klown says:
  27. The Klown says:
  28. The Klown says:
    • helenk3 says:

      Is there any legal reason why veterans can not go to the nearest hospital instead of the VA hospital? Why not a system like medicare? I know it will not happen under the backtrack bunch but after they are gone it should. Could be a campaign issue

      • lorac1 says:

        Because it’s not actually insurance, it’s “just” a benefit provided just in VA facilities. I don’t know about all VAs, but the VA here has no trauma services, so those veterans with traumatic injuries (falls, car accidents) have to be brought to a regular trauma hospital. The hospital never gets paid for those services – because it’s not an insurance. (Some – not most – veterans have Tricare, which may be different, I’m not sure. Most of them just seem to have VA services.)

        I’m sure the government could change that if they wanted to, though.

        Those people who are going on TV now saying that their loved ones died for not receiving services – I was wondering, why didn’t they just go instead to a regular hospital if it was so bad – then I remembered, they were probably afraid of the bill. Since the VA doesn’t pay regular hospitals for services rendered to veterans with VA benefits, the hospital bills the patient – which of course won’t get paid, hospital bills are a lot of money. But it’s stressful to get a huge bill you can’t pay, so a lot of people try to avoid it.

  29. helenk3 says:

    when backtrack does make it to the daily briefing, he does not seem to pay attention. Every time a scandal breaks he claims he learned about it through the newspapers. maybe he should just have a reader instead of cabinet members, would be a hell of lot cheaper

  30. The Klown says:
  31. Somebody says:

    It’s time for DWTS!! I’ll be back later and I promise not to post spoilers.

  32. lorac1 says:

    Excellent essay, myiq.

  33. westcoaster says:

    OT: what’s not to like about a red box creature in Keds that’s a cross between Elmo and SpongeBob with a monster mouth? /s

    It’s called “Happy”… reminds me of a skit with Dom DeLuise on the Muppets:

  34. leslie says:

    I finallt got to read your post!
    Most excellent, myiq. Thank you.

  35. Blessyourheart says:

    Shorter you: Get off’n my lawn!2!44 bengayzi!!?!(:??

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