In Defense of Free Speech: The 2011 Jefferson Muzzle Awards


Very patriotic

Every year the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Va., awards "Jefferson Muzzles" to organizations that stifle free speech. This year's first place award goes to the attempt at stifling speech by the Obama administration and the BP oil company. As the Center explains:

#1 Following the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 10, 2010, the wellhead continued to spew oil for three months. As journalists attempted to document the impact of the oil plume, BP employees and various government authorities—including local law enforcement, the Coast Guard, and Homeland Security—repeatedly prevented them from viewing public areas. Whether these incidents were collectively intended, or the incidental by-products of an ambiguous policy that allowed BP and government agents too much latitude, the Obama Administration and BP share responsibility for having prevented the media from fully documenting the spill.

One other notable Muzzle went to the Transporation Security Administration for arresting Aaron Tobey at the Richmond, Va. airport when he protested the TSA full body scanning procedures by baring his chest on which he had written the Fourth Amendment. As the Center explains:

X-raying your rights

#2 Aaron Tobey broke no laws when he removed his sweatpants and shirt at the Richmond airport. His peaceful protest of disrobing and displaying the Fourth Amendment on his bared torso could be characterized as "passenger theater," in the same manner that airport security has been characterized as "security theater" by its critics. For this expression of dissent, he was charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor that can result in up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. On January 11, 2011, the Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney responsible for prosecuting the case announced that Tobey's actions did not constitute a crime, and that the charge against him would be dropped.  Clearly, the TSA has an important and difficult job in keeping our airways safe. Yet the arrest of Aaron Tobey was an extreme overreaction to an individual exercising his First Amendment right to protest in a peaceful and non-disruptive manner. For failing to recognize that Americans do not have to surrender their Constitutional rights along with their shoes and metal objects when they wish to travel by air, the Transportation Security Administration earns a 2011 Jefferson Muzzle.

And it's not just government agencies that try to shut people up. The Center awarded a Muzzle to the administration of Hamilton College in New York for imposing extreme political correctness by requiring all male students to attend the "She Fears You" orientation. The Center describes the orientation session as "an ideologically based program that assumes the complicity of men in maintaining a culture of rape." The Center does note:

As a private college, Hamilton is not bound by the dictates of the First Amendment. Yet, as an institution of higher learning that promotes itself as being committed to teaching students to "think for themselves," it fell short of its promise in this instance. Requiring first-year men to attend a presentation billed as a "cognitive and emotional intervention" speaks of forced indoctrination that is the very opposite of freedom of conscience and thereby earns the Hamilton College Administration a 2011 Jefferson Muzzle.

Go here for the list of the 2011 Muzzle "winners."

NEXT: Obama's Debt Speech: "A waste of breath."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I certainly hope they had an interpreter for the hispanic students. “La cultura de el rapo”.

    1. I believe the actual translation was, “Los PC jueros est? muy loco.”

      1. Shit, if you forced an illegal to endure that kind of PC Torture, he’d probably haul ass straight back to the homeland while mumbling something about how it was saner south of the border!

        1. Feminazi College Professor: “Ladies, look to your left and then to your right. These men will rape you!”

          *Girl looks right*

          Right Guy: “I won’t!”

          *Girl looks left*

          Left Guy: “I might!”

          1. Requiring first-year men to attend a presentation billed as a “cognitive and emotional intervention” speaks of forced indoctrination that is the very opposite of freedom of conscience and thereby earns the Hamilton College Administration a 2011 Jefferson Muzzle.

            I’m guessing the men at that college are spineless wimps. What kind of man continues to pay money to a college that treats all men like rapists?

            1. Yeah, I mean what kind of pussy attends their freshman year of college without paying for it by working as a framer?

              I’m sure all those guys with nailgun callususes voted with their feet and dollars.

  2. Clearly, the TSA has an important and difficult job in keeping our airways safe.

    Oh bullshit. They’re a worthless bureaucracy that couldn’t catch a guy with a bomb on his balls.

    1. Not to defend the TSA, but didn’t the underpants guy get on the plane in another country? And it may still be an important and difficult job even if the TSA totally sucks at it.

      1. He got on the plane in Detroit – Still America, such as it is.

        1. cant believe we haven’t given that shit hole to canada already.

          1. Hey! What did we do to you?

            1. You gave us Justin Bieber. Babysitting Detroit is the least you can do.

        2. He his last screening was in Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.


          Not that that is relveant to whehter you can be a shirtless billboard in an airport.

        3. Might want to check your facts before correcting others next time.

          1. What happens in Amsterdam stays in Detroit.

            1. Yup – I’m an asshole. I had the event backwards in my head.

    2. Spoonman, please keep us all safe! Continue with your fine work of checking men’s balls

      1. I like having men’s balls in my mouth, myself.

        1. don’t use my handle

      2. EOM

      3. Spoonman, will you check my balls? I think I may have a tumor.

  3. I would have like to see the treatment of Bradley Manning mentioned.

    1. Yeah I wonder how many times he has been tortured already.

      1. Not enough.

  4. Pretty funny how they name the award after someone who had no problem muzzling the rights of anyone with dark skin.

    1. Thank goodness you brought this up. I had completely forgotten, like most of us had, that Jefferson kept slaves. What a fine public service you have performed this day.

      1. I don’t get it, SF – are you being serious?? I mean, shit, man, how could you have forgotten that? Jeez, man, I really hope you’re just being sarcastic or something, but, you know, it’s just so hard to tell sometimes.

        1. No, completely sarcastic. Screaming “slave owner!” every time Jefferson comes up has nothing to do with history, but rather is an attempt to invalidate the Constitution with an context interdependent ad hom. Considering that everyone knows Jefferson kept slaves, bringing it up every time he’s mentioned has nothing to do with the reprehensible fact he kept slaves and everything to do with furthering the leftist denigration of Constitutional principles that should lie with everyone, even though they didn’t when the document was created. It’s red herring, a bloody shirt to wave. And boring in it’s constant repetition.

          1. How dare you lose patience with an idiot! Don’t you know you have to be civil to even the basest of scum?

            FUCK YOU.

            1. You’re just jealous because you can’t have slaves like THOMAS JEFFERSON DID!!

              Fucking slaver.

              1. You’re a towel! Or slaver! You’re a beaner slaver!

          2. Now THAT is funny.

            I was following your sarcasm with some of my own.

            Because your sarcasm was sarcastic. And I saw that.

            And my response was equally sarcastic, but evidently not obviously enough…


            1. Regressive sarcasm loop. Kinky.

              1. It is the only way to defeat Nomad.

          3. Wow…. I’m gonna plagerize that some day! Thanks!

            1. All that I ask is that you clean up my atrocious grammar and spelling.

      2. Plus it’s OK to exploit darkies if they make a Merchant/Ivory film about it.

    2. I get it.

      If you oppose liberals muzzling free speech then you’re racist.

      Just like anyone who says the Constitution should be interpreted as it was written must be racist since the Founders condoned slavery.

      Yup. Just call them racist.

      Works every time (if you’re a moron).

      1. Three fifths of a person!! THREE FIFTHS OF A PERSON!!!11!

        1. Ray-cyst!

  5. The Hamilton College thing doesn’t seem much like it’s worth a Muzzle Award. Maybe a Leash Award for dragging their students to it, but lots of school require indoctrination. I would say forcing them to go to a stupid PC lecture is less obnoxious than forcing them to sign an oppressive honor code, like BYU’s.

    1. true, though at least the folk going to byu are (we hope) aware that they’re going to an un-party school.

      1. Not necessarily. Though you may tl;dr this.!5791461

        1. How could you possibly go to BYU and NOT get that it is run by Mormons enforcing their code of morality?

          I’m pretty sure that would come up repeatedly prior to admission.

          1. I mean, I’ve been to the BYU-Hawaii campus and it’s chock full of reminders that you’re SO not on a typical campus, including such things as posters showing how far up the side a skirt can be slit to show leg (answer: not very far at all).

      2. But were the folks at Hamilton aware that they were going to a religious school?

    2. as a hamilton grad, years ago, they had plenty of orientation activities that were worthy of a muzzle.

      and the orientation activities were definitely oppressive – including womyns groups that explained how to use sexual harassment rules to their advantage

      Hell, someone overhearing you could, back then, result in suspension, unless the accused could prove that he was open minded.

      but that was the height of the PC age (late 80s, early 90s)

      or, “you’re a male. You have no voice in this discussion. sit there and learn what you have done to womyn and minorities throughout the years” – actual quote of prof to male student (not me, but i was sitting next to him)

      1. Jesus, VM. I thank Jeebus I went to Johns Hopkins, where PC was for idiots and the only thing that mattered was who got an A. Sometimes, cutthroats are best.

      2. Yeah, I was in school for the peak of PC, and those orientations were horrific. I had thought those days were fading into history, but it seems that there’s still some life in the old “all men are evil” meme.

        I’ve recently heard the new label they have for the most ridiculous drivel of the period – “enthusiastic consent”. When I was in school the indoctrination was that you had to ask permission repeatedly during any physical encounter – “Can I touch you here? May I kiss you there?”. Failure to do so and get a clear yes meant you were guilty of rape.

        Now with “Enthusiastic Consent” they’ve worked it out so that even if she says yes, it can still be rape if she didn’t give an enthusiastic yes. Google it yourself, I find it too depressing to read…

        1. I hate to be dick here, but these issues shouldn’t even be an issue. If you’re:

          1) getting involved with a woman who will accuse you of rape after consensual sex

          2) having sex with someone who isn’t enthusiastic, especially afterwards

          UR DOIN IT RONG

          1. edit/sorry for double:

            Epi – are you speaking from your NutraSweet era?
            [ducks. runs off]

            1. How dare you mention my relationship with NutraSweet! That ended amicably! Really! He has a small dick, but that’s not my anger talking! It really is!

              1. at least your anger and rage management correspondence courses were successful!

              2. My penis is of a fine and noble size. It’s not my fault I couldn’t do any good work in that train tunnel you call an asshole.

                1. since trains are ecologically sustainable, democratic forms of public transportation that the American male opposes, this is a valid point.

          2. Wait, women can be enthusiastic sometimes?

            1. Sometimes they are “not unresponsive.”

          3. Heh, funny! Yeah, I never got any of those reactions personally. However, I did get a few exhausted expressions of gratitude… ;P

            You really should run out an read up on Enthusiastic Consent though. They’ve formalized a philosophy that says it is your responsibility to not only take no for an answer and be sure that your partner formally affirms consent, but that you also read beyond her words and actions and ensure that she is truly enthusiastic from her core. (this only works uni-directionally by the way)

            If she is consenting for any reason other than her own pure desire, you are guilty of rape. If she is acting from a desire to please you, or avoid disappointing you – rape! If she’s afraid of the stigma of being a virgin – rape! If she’s a little bit tipsy and might otherwise not be so enthusiastic – rape!

            Their ethics system (which they wish to have the force of law – and have made some gains in doing so) requires a young man to be an omniscient clairvoyant, reading all possible motivations and in a bizarre paternalist twist determining what her true motivations are for her, even if she is unaware of them.

            The simple version of EC is “only have sex with someone who wants to have sex with you”. That’s pretty obvious, and if that’s all it really was there wouldn’t even be a term for it. Heck, at that point it becomes a bit of a tautology. But that isn’t the end. They go on to list dozens of illegitimate motivations for sex – that you may or may not be aware of. Any of these reasons invalidates the yes – and renders you guilty of a felony.

            I recall one treatise that gave the example of altered mental state. Lets say a young lady has a tough breakup with a boyfriend. The next week she heads out to the club and meets a guy that is appealing and they head home together. Maybe they even have a few dates first. By their reasoning, her altered mental state due to the recent breakup – rebound – renders her consent less than enthusiastic. Since he “took advantage” of her mental state, he’s guilty of rape.

            This stuff is just insane. It comes from the same place as the “all sex is rape” and “all wives are prostitutes” feminism.

        2. Epi – no kidding!
          Cyto – you guys probably had the “next morning regret” which also retroactively counted as “date rape”

          (separate from the hideous crime of rape, but was the official Hamilton charge if “enthusiastic consent” wasn’t given) – we had that concept, but I don’t recall that it was called EC…

          and none of this actually prevented coercive, violent crimes, of course. It just clogged the system with who knows what. (women judged negatively with social fall-out for filing bona fide reports, etc)…


        3. It can actually be quite a turn-on to keep asking a woman to do erotic things to her and keep getting enthusiastic “yes, yes, YESSs”.

          But, if you’re with a woman who thinks that is NECESSARY, rather than vanilla-kinky foreplay, leave the room. Right away. You don’t need that kind of trouble.

      3. or, “you’re a male. You have no voice in this discussion. sit there and learn what you have done to womyn and minorities throughout the years” – actual quote of prof to male student (not me, but i was sitting next to him)

        I am speechless. This is beyond shameful.

        1. Is it required that they stay awake throughout the orientation session?

          1. At least try to stay awake during the sex.

  6. Clearly, the TSA has an important and difficult job in keeping our airways safe.

    It may be just boilerplate, but STFU anyway.

  7. The gubmint respects the First nearly as well as it respects the Second.

    And as for the Fourth… well that’s totally fucked.

    1. Since most politicians have a toddler’s maturity level I don’t think that you can reasonably expect them to count to four!

      1. Necessary and Proper, general welfare, regulate commerce. That’s all they retain after reading the thing.

    2. I would say that the goverment resepcts the First more than any of the rest of the bill of rights (well maybe the Third). Which is a pretty sad commentary on how well the BOR is respected.

  8. The Fourth Amendment isn’t that important. He needed to display the fifth, and sixth.

  9. Aaron Tobey put the fourth amendment on his chest.

    If I were American, I would have room for the entire Constitution on my gut. With room left over for the Declaration of Independence and a selection from the writings of Thomas Paine.

    1. …and he apparently stripped down to a pair of gym shorts. I like his style. I wonder, did they still feel him up to make sure he wasn’t a threat ? Cause obviously someone intent on evil would try to keep a low profile by stripping nearly naked at the security check point.

      1. Maybe it’s reverse psychology. Like how Mel Brooks tried to “sneak” through security in High Anxiety.

  10. I applaud Hamilton College’s stand against the culture of rape. It is a brave and unusual position in this rape-happy times. I think a workshop of confessing complicity is the wrong way to go. The real way is to train Hamilton College’s new male freshman in the use of internet porn.

    1. Porn is rape.

    2. I’m sure the feminists there think porn is rape with a thin veneer of prostitution. Plus the women in those films appear to be enjoying themselves, so they must be being exploited.

  11. So the whole issue of the TSA and full body scans has faded into the background. I’m flying soon so I have to ask, are they routinely doing full body scans now ? with the option of a groping ? I thought we were all outraged by this, but I’m guessing it’s quietly become the norm.

    1. When I flew internationally from JFK, there was one body scanner and 3 regular old metal detectors and you got to choose which one you went through.

      1. Worse than that – my last departure from West Palm Beach they put me and a coworker through the naked scanner, then proceeded to do a pat down anyway. I’m not really sure of what the naked scanner is supposed to be doing if you still have to pat down.

        Actually, it appeared that the scanners didn’t do much of a job of getting the sides of your body, so they did a pat search there. So the scanners don’t really work all that well and they have to pat down anyway. Perhaps they should have run a longer pilot program before investing all that cash?

        A couple of other coworkers opted for the pat-down, but didn’t get the taint-grab they were promised. So it was TSA-fail all around.

      2. So the naked scanners are here to stay then…great. Rugged individualists, my ass.

  12. Hey, how come guys are free to go shirtless but girls aren’t?

    I hate that Fourth Amendment shirtless pervert. WEAR A FREAKING T-SHIRT! Nobody needs to see your Abercrombie body.



    2. I disagree. Young people are notoriously irresponsible. Witness the rates that car insurance companies charge if you are a male under 25.

      Therefore we should pass a law requiring all women aged 19-25 to go topless.

      You know, for the children… won’t someone please think of the children?

    3. Yep, I can see how you would be appalled at racist government policy.

    4. Girls are free to go shirtless in many jurisdictions in the US.

  13. Let’s not forget the guy who was jailed for posting a goofy YouTube video that he had creatively edited to make it look like he was singing a dirty song to some school kids. He was just sentenced for his “crime,” under a plea deal. I would have said no fucking way – this poor schmuck will now have a criminal record and the judge restrained him from publishing his video.

    And to Glenn Beck’s credit, he just talked about it and was outraged by the court’s decision. I was thinking he was about to take the position that the guy shouldn’t have done what he did, but Beck sided with the First Amendment and against this silly “crime.”

    1. I can’t even get my head wrapped around that judge’s comments (and restraining order!). He’s in the same mental category as those idiot school administrators who stand behind “zero tolerance” policies in support of expelling students who have tiny plastic G.I. Joe toy guns. Anyone that ignorant should never be trusted with power of any kind.

      1. Anyone that ignorant should never be trusted with power of any kind will do everything they can to seek power rather than do something productive


        1. There is nothing so oppressive as a small man given power. No matter how slight his power, such a man must flaunt his power by causing others to suffer.

          1. There is nothing so oppressive as a small man given power.

            In my experience, there is no other kind, and there’s a reason: a big man simply doesn’t need power — pure force of will is generally sufficient for the attainment of his goals. Note as well that he has goals — influence is for him, only a means to an end. For the tin god, on the other hand, possession of power is itself the goal.

    2. Yeah, the plea bargain seems extremely stupid. I can’t imagine that the conviction would not be overturned on appeal.

      1. I don’t think you can appeal a plea bargain. Perhaps some of the lawyers here can confirm.

        1. I think Zeb may have meant that even if the guy got convicted at trial (with a much harsher sentencing, in all likelihood), then that conviction wouldn’t last long at appeal. I’d like to agree with that. Problem is, he’d have to pay for attorneys for both the lower court and appeals court, the charges would be more severe, the sentencing would definitely be more severe, he might have to go to PMITA prison instead of county jail…lots of reasons that innocent/overcharged people take pleas in our system.

          I thought you waived your right to appeal when you made your plea agreement and testified to it in court. Not sure what it takes to overturn that waiver, probably have to show that you didn’t knowingly and voluntarily waive the right. While you may not think the prosecutor offering 60 days with one hand, versus 10 years with the other, constitutes a lack of coercion, the courts do. Good luck.

          1. Yes, I meant it was stupid of the defendant because now he can’t appeal.

  14. I love what toby did and wish more americans would challenge the TSA.


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.