Stop Making Laws Named After People Who Die


I dunno, maybe do something else with your time?

Civil rights lawyer and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education co-founder Harvey Silverglate (Reason archive here) has a great piece up at Forbes about still another legislative attempt to restrict speech in the name of protecting students. Excerpt:

Few American institutions best the Congress in the destructive practice of turning a human tragedy into an assault on liberty. Exhibit A is the ongoing effort to ratchet up anti-bullying measures on campus—with potentially dire consequences for campus free speech. […]

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) and Rep. Rush Holt (D., N.J.) have authored a bill—dubbed "The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act"—that aims to prevent future incidents of collegiate "bullying" by dramatically expanding the scope of existing anti-harassment regulations. First introduced in November during the last Congress' lame-duck session, Representative Holt stated this week that the bill will be reintroduced in the new Congress.

Even if well-intentioned, this proposed legislation is deeply flawed: Its restrictions are redundant, frustratingly vague, and dangerously broad. If enacted, the law would further erode college students' speech rights, a foundational tenet of liberal education.

The supreme irony is that, under state and federal laws, genuine bullying is already a violation. The extreme conduct that precipitated Clementi's suicide—broadcasting a fellow student's private sexual encounters—is a felony in New Jersey, as in many other states. Both students, one of whom was Clementi's roommate, now face state charges of felonious invasion of privacy. […]

[T]his bill would replace a comparatively precise definition of harassment with a vague one, inviting punishment of speech protected by the First Amendment. Since most students would not risk their college careers, much less their freedom, on the altar of free expression, they will inevitably avoid hot button and taboo subjects during the very years when students' urge to explore the world of ideas is at its apex. […]

FIRE has learned in its decade of experience that charges of "harassment" are already easily the most abused tool to punish speech on campus. This occurs even under the current, considerably narrower definitions than those contained in the proposed legislation.

Link via Silverglate's partner in freedom, Greg Lukianoff, who wrote for Reason in February 2010 about how "P.C. Never Died."

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  1. Luatenberg already gave us the infamous “Lautenberg Amendment” the first time he was senator. Now they have gone and dug the old bastard up and got him elected. And he is trying to outdo himself.

    1. Lautenberg is a colossal piece of shit. I didn’t know they stacked shit that high.

      1. No human being can stack shit like that

      2. I may be turd-like, “Episiarch,” but at least I don’t hide behind a pseudonym.

      3. At least he’s not from Texas.

  2. Stop making laws named after people who die is a good idea, but so is “stop making laws ostensibly aimed at behaviors that are already felonies, that actually criminalize much less severe behaviors.”

    1. How about: STOP MAKING LAWS!

      1. I’d go with “for every new law passed, one thousand old laws must be rescinded”.

  3. I like Lautenberg looks pretty good for someone who has been dead for fifteen years.

  4. How about just stop making any laws for a while? We can’t keep track of the ones we have now as it is.

    1. What Douglas Fletcher said ^^

    2. I look at this the way I look at my son when he asks for money. Let’s say he wants to go to prom. He comes to me and says, “It would be so cool if I could rent a Ferrari and buy a cool tux and have a hotel suite for all my friends and take everyone to this expensive restaurant and I need $2,000 it’s soooo cool.”

      I give him $50 and tell him to have a good time.

      Maybe we need a body that is entirely separate from the federal government that determines how much money it can have for all of its little teenage yens.

      1. That a blow job from hooker is more fun than the prom makes you one great dad!

      2. Ha, sucker; he knows you’ll never give him two grand so he highballs you and you give him half a Benjamin. My dad’s response was to just laugh.

        1. No. Like the Cylons, I have a plan. Only I really have one. I determined he could have fifty bucks for prom years ago.

          Actually, I’m lying. He has a job. We make him pay for everything, except when we let him eat with us and stuff. You get pretty strict with four kids, let me tell you.

          1. Why you would have four is frankly beyond my ability to comprehend.

            1. The first three came out looking like him.

              1. Even the girls? Poor, poor girls.

            2. I’m breeding for the Apocalypse. I need someone to run the ranch of human cattle for me.

            3. Obviously his wife asked him to have sixteen.

              Sorry, PL, just couldn’t resist.

              1. You poor, sad, bitter fools. Don’t you understand? Children are slaves! Legal slaves! How can you not know about this scam?

                1. Just like I told my kids when they were younger.

                  “If I wanted to do those chores, I wouldn’t have had kids.”

    3. Then there oughta be a law for that.

  5. Fucking Frank Lautenberg. I want a goddamn fucking machine gun, dickhead, but you had to go and fuck everything up because you’re a joyless sack of puke. Fuck you.

    1. Son,

      Only law enforcement personnel are allowed to have machine guns. They are professional and know how to handle such weapons. If we let just anyone have them, innocent people sitting in their homes might get killed.

      1. You knew your house was a drug den and so you deserved to die!

      2. —“Only law enforcement personnel are allowed to have machine guns.”—

        Not sure, because I’m not a gun guy, but aren’t Licensed Firearms Dealers allowed to have fully automatic weapons in some cases?

  6. I don’t get the title, as opposed to what? People who don’t die? We can’t name every law after Jesus!

    1. I did die. But I got better.

    2. I think the point is to stop using names and switch to descriptive, concise names e.g. Affordable Care Act. [sarcasm intentional]

  7. You know, terms like “unconstitutionally vague” come to mind. And I’m just some blog commenter! You’d think people who have constitutional duties to understand such things would understand that, too. But nooooo.

    1. You are just a fetishist Pro. You and your other conservative bretheren want to treat the Constitution like it actually means something. That is just so reactionary. Don’t you know the Constitution lives and breaths and means whatever the government decides it should mean? In all of our best interests of course.

      1. I’m told that I find it sacred.

        Freedom? That is a worship word. Yang worship. You will not speak it.

        1. No one grabbed that ball and ran with it. Almost like ya gotta throw out an ‘E pleb neesta’ before the little fucking 5 watt light bulbs go on over their heads. Fucking Kom lovers.

          1. This is too wierd. I was trying to find the exact wording of the bastardized Yang pledge for another thread today and finally gave up.

            We really are a hive mind of sorts sometimes.

      2. Well, I for one don’t understand what it says because it was written over 100 years ago.

        1. They even use funny letters in it. Like ? instead of s sometimes.

          1. I know! Like, it totally doesn’t mean anything in today’s world. Peoples’ lives are so much more dynamic than they were then. In conclusion, people shouldn’t think it means anything in today’s word.

            (My apologies to iowahawk for stealing his joke. But it’s too good of a joke not to steal.)

            1. They didn’t even have doctors and people died like at 15 or something and it was so terrible and they made everyone work in factories until they couldn’t text anymore.

            2. And teh *Toobz*! They change *everything*!

          2. Wasn’t it written in Anglo-Frisian?

            1. Norman French.

            2. Stanley Fish strikes again.

              1. Ideas have no consequences, NutraSweet.

            3. Yes, and with Runes instead of the Latin alphabet.

              1. Elvish.

            4. Middle Anglo-Frisian, to be precise. I believe the Declaration was written in Etruscan.

          3. And it uses big words like ordain, tranquility, posterity. And that is just in the preamble (whatever that is). Who talks like that anyway? The whole thing is just racist and genderist. How are people from different cultural backgrounds like minorities, immigrants, and the transgendered supposed to be able to understand it?

              1. excuse me, I speak jive

                1. Yo, mamma. I dug her rap.

  8. The extreme conduct that precipitated Clementi’s suicide?broadcasting a fellow student’s private sexual encounters?is a felony in New Jersey, as in many other states.

    Wait- you mean there was already a law against what these guys did, buy they did it anyway? How is that possible?

  9. James Toranto today. For a second I thought this was an actual interview with Friedman.

    That would be awfully entertaining. But you know who would be even more entertaining as press secretary? Thomas Friedman. Imagine the scene:

    Q: Do you have any comment on the new unemployment figures?
    Friedman: The president believes that the Republicans drove the car into a ditch. It all goes back to a well-known concept in strategic theory: how to win a game of chicken between two drivers barreling head on at one another. If you are one of the drivers, the best way to win is, before the race even starts, to take out a screwdriver and very visibly unscrew your steering wheel and throw it out the window. The message to the other driver is: ”Hey, I’d love to chicken out and get out of your way, but I just threw out my steering wheel–so unless you want to crash head on, you better get out of the way.”
    So the Republicans drove the car into the ditch, and now we’re like a patient that just got out of intensive care and is sitting up in bed for the first time when, suddenly, all the doctors and nurses at bedside start bickering. One of them throws a stethoscope across the room; someone else threatens to unplug all the monitors unless the hospital bills are paid by noon; and all the while the patient is thinking: “Are you people crazy? I am just starting to recover. Do you realize how easily I could relapse? Aren’t there any adults here?” And the Republicans are just standing around sipping a Slurpee. Sometimes you wonder: Are we home alone?

  10. Gentleman, I here present to you the world’s oldest uncircumcised penis.

    1. The things that spring to your mind first would make Lovecraft puke.

  11. Freedom?


    1. Please. Don’t mix the episodes.

      That one, of course, was a metaphor for our government. Congress was all the kids except the older boy-child. He was the president. Kirk and crew were reason and sanity personified. Naturally, they were fictional.

      The crazy freak child that attacked the landing party? That was the Supreme Court.

      1. “I never get involved with older women, Yeoman.”

        1. That’s such B.S. In the alternative reality in which Star Trek actually happened, Kirk nailed Miri (topically played by Kim Darby on our side) and Rand. I mean, come on, we’re talking about Kirk.

          1. Kim Darby was quit nailable back in the day.

            1. Now that’s an interesting statement.

              1. She was cute in her early 20s. She turned into some kind of elven troll mix now that she is older. But in her 20s she was very cute.

                1. It’s interesting because it is commonly understood that she’s the reason that John Wayne is a fag.

                  1. The fact that you have project gay fantasies and perverted lifestyle on a great American like John Wayne says all we need to know about you Pro.

                    1. Now, John, after all of your years here, you should know I’m just quoting a classic line from Repo Man.

                      Personally, I don’t think he was a fag. I think he was a bull dyke.

                    2. Just kidding. I defended the Duke just the other day somewhere around here.

                    3. I had forgotten that line. My bad for being a philistine.

                    4. I need to see that movie again. It’s been years.

                    5. Why do you do this when I’m driving home?

                  2. Ah Repo Man, easily in my top 5 films of all time.

      2. Also, the token black kid in that episode grew up to play Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld.

        1. You know his father was Greg Morris, the black dude on the original Mission Impossible, right?

          1. I knew that, but I didn’t know that he was one of the Star Trek kids. The older boy did some movies (just saw him freeze to death in Scrooged).

            Incidentally, Mission: Impossible ruled. The movies suck, but the series was fun. I like to spot guest stars and props that made their way over from their next door neighbors at Desilu.

  12. The victims of real bullying (which primarily happens below college level) do need police protection, but this bill does not address that need at all.

    1. Seriously. Whatever happened to teaching kids “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”?

      1. Lawsuits, and lots of ’em.

    2. The victims of real bullying (which primarily happens below college level) do need police protection,

      Aren’t the police the real bullies?

  13. Stop Making Laws Named After People Who Die


    1. Stop.

  14. AKA the Jim Carroll rule of legislating.

    1. hey, it beats rikers!

  15. Sure, let’s stop naming laws after dead people.

    While we’re at it, we should also stop naming buildings, roads, etc. after politicians. You want your name on it? Buy the naming rights out of your own pocket, you megalomaniacal micro-dicked control freaks.

    1. Maybe the naming rights to laws should also be sold. That would be a great non-coerced revenue source and funny too.

      1. Americathon gets closer and closer to reality. Really, they need to do a general release of that film on DVD.

        And, for the record, I think the federal government should get money like that all the time. The ISS should be sold to a hotel chain. When we drop bombs, the tape of the bombing should be sponsored. The White House should be the Martha White House. The president should be belabeled like a NASCAR driver. And so on.

    2. Really, given that they can be sold, yet are not, aren’t America’s shareholders being cheated?

  16. The victims of real bullying (which primarily happens below college level) do need police protection,

    For most values of “real bullying”, what the victims need is a pair of stones, a decent right cross and a rib-cracking left hook.

    I was a skinny little geek with coke-bottle glasses, but I stopped getting bullied when I bounced a coke bottle off a guy’s head. Sure, it was a lucky throw, but it did the job.

    1. Sadly, that would land you in jail today and leave you with a criminal record that would have fucked your life up royally. Thanks to zero tolerance, the days of the geeky kid finally having a enough and beating the shit out of some little deserving bastard are over.

    2. That’s helpful too, but if that doesn’t happen (eg, if your bottle toss was less lucky) you need others (possibly including police) to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Just because the “society” children set up among themselves follows only the rule of might-makes-right, doesn’t mean adults should stand back and allow it to go on.

    3. today, YOU would be the one punished for defending yourself. The bully would win a big-time lawsuit against your parents and the school.

  17. Teddy sniffing glue, he was 12 years old
    Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
    Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
    On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
    Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
    He looked like 65 when he died
    He was a friend of mine

    Those are people who died, died
    They were all my friends, and they died

    1. Maybe that says someting about you.

  18. Its restrictions are redundant, frustratingly vague, and dangerously broad.

    According to the designers, that’s a feature, not a bug.

  19. Make a law after Eddie Murphy. His career has long since died.

  20. Laws with the word “Child” or “Children” in the title are an even worse crime against democracy. Nearly every law has a cutesy little asinine acronym, and 9 out of 10 have the letter “C” in it – which stands for child or children. The Children’s Blah Blah Protection and Tax Hike Act of 2011, the Children Online Protection Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Children’s 9-11 Safety and Anti-Sex Offender Act, the Protecting Our Children from Illegal Aliens Act, etc. And then there are the ones named for dead chilren. Any law with the words “child” or “children” in the name, or even worse any law named after a dead child is an absolute guarantee that the law will be an total failure costing the taxpayers billions if not trillions of dollars.

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