Campus Free Speech

Campus Censorship and Anti-Sex Paranoia: Robby Soave Talks College Culture on Bloggingheads

CUNY Professor Angus Johnston hits back

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Have college campuses becomes dens of politically-correct progressive thought-control—with a healthy dose of Orwellian anti-sex paranoia thrown in? Or are activist-liberal students still largely a powerless class? I debated these notions with Angus Johnston, a history professor at the City University of New York and founder of studentactivism.net, in a recent Bloggingheads.tv appearance.

Johnston is an eloquent critic of my views, and he raised several valid objections to my arguments. He is correct to point out that speech that is stridently critical of—or refuses to engage—other speech is still speech. Students who call Christina Hoff Sommers a rape apologist, protest the decision to bring her to campus, and reject everything she says might be completely wrong, but they are not engaging in censorship any more than journalists chastising them for their indignation are engaging censorship. Johnston thinks concerns about an illiberal mob are overwrought, and points out that most university-sponsored violence is directed against the most liberal students.

I hit back more stridently during our segment on the affirmative consent standard—something we vehemently disagreed on. Given the low standard of proof, demonstrable bias against male students when alcohol is involved, and administrators' awful track records of adjudicating these matters, I think I'm more than justified in expecting even less justice in campus rape tribunals if laws like California's became the norm.

Watch the video here.

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  2. Can I point out that someone somewhere will dismiss this entire conversation because it’s between to men…

    1. Did you confirm with either Soave or Johnson whether they identify as men?

      1. I identify as an amorphous blob.

        1. I am a meat popsicle.

          1. I feel we need AC to weigh in with what Xe identifies as…besides cyborg I mean.

            1. Xe might prefer Mx instead.

              This shit makes me want to adopt a policy prescriptivist fundamentalism. Maybe the French have the right idea with their Acad?mie.

              1. no. that’s a dangerous road to go down… “maybe the french have the right idea with their…” can only be followed up by a few statements and hold true.

                1) New wave cinema.
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                3) Cigarettes
                4) …

                1. 4) oral

                2. 4) unshaved pits?

              2. Xe is a pronoun, Mx is a title you shitlord cis-master!!!

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          2. +1 Multipass

        2. but is that a cis normative amorphous blog?

        3. That hair don’t help.

    2. Rico’s at least 50% chick. I mean, look at his hair.

      1. His hair is pretty lush and well-conditioned.

      2. I feel like you’re reducing women in stature when you suggest they’re proportionally 50% hair. You’re neglecting other important features, like ass and tits.

  3. Students who call Christina Hoff Sommers a rape apologist, protest the decision to bring her to campus, and reject everything she says might be completely wrong, but they are not engaging in censorship

    Seems to me that trying to keep Sommers off campus and thus prevent the debate from occurring in the first place is a form of censorship. And I really think that is their goal.

    1. yes, but speaking on behalf of censorship is an act of speech that should not be censored and is subject to the same protections as everything else… I believe that’s what he means.

      1. I can go along with that. But I also think that they wouldn’t limit themselves to speaking about it if they had their druthers.

        1. Yes. Of course they would. that’s their aim- but as long as no one takes them seriously the kids are alright.

    2. What about demanding that the protesters’ faces be edited out of the event video? That seems like a form of censorship.

  4. The subtitle has a misspelling.

    1. +1 vulgarity

    2. Your PUNY humor is still refreshing

  5. studentactivism.net

    NEEDZ MOAR SPEEK TROOTHS 2 POWERZES

    1. “advocate of American student organizing.”

      but the right kind of organizing?

  6. Yeah, fuck ’em all. Or none at all. Whatever.

    1. Only with their explicit and ongoing consent.

  7. “I support your right to speak. Just not here.”

  8. Students who call Christina Hoff Sommers a rape apologist, protest the decision to bring her to campus, and reject everything she says might be completely wrong, but they are not engaging in censorship…

    Except they aren’t aren’t simply being “stridently critical of?or refuses to engage?other speech”. They are insisting that others do the same. And, yes that is an attempt at censorship. If a bunch of religious fundamentalists engaged in a protest over a town’s refusal to ban, say, “Slaughterhouse Five” or, hell, the Harry Potter series, I would hope you’d consider it what it was, an attempt at censorship.

    1. I don’t know. I tend to always associate “censorship” with force. Advocacy of speech suppression is not directly force. Furthermore, when done in the private sphere a la Wal*mart, it may be censorship within that private sphere, but I don’t really see that as something to lament.

      1. When they use their speech to get government to do something, that something ultimately involves force.

    2. That’s my view of it. They’re not just saying that Sommers’ position on the “rape culture” is incorrect; they’re saying that she shouldn’t be allowed to raise the question.

  9. 1. “Orwellian anti-sex paranoia” wait, George was against sex? paranoid about sex? or what?

    2. “that most university-sponsored violence is directed against the most liberal students”

    so the most liberal student on said campus gets the most violent treatment? the uni-sponsored violence tracks liberal outlook, not “disruptive” conduct? Examples where left & right wingers did the same thing on campus but only one side encountered violence? ring ring, omitted variable bias calling

    1. most university-sponsored violence is directed against the most liberal students

      Yeah, I’m gonna call bullshit on that one.

    2. I think “Orwellian anti-sex paranoia” refers to the anti-sex paranoia depicted by Orwell in the Junior Anti-Sex League of 1984. Orwell was parodying anti-sex POVs.

      1. ok, cool. Glad to hear it. I consider myself generally pro-Orwell & ardently pro-Sex. And as I try favor consistency in my outlook, if those positions conflict?. well, you know, there are lots of good writers out there.

  10. My objection to the obnoxious catcallers and screaming dissenters is that while the proper response to hateful speech is more speech, that means actual data content, not just noise in the engineering sense. And especially obnoxious are those who use their speech to encourage governments and universities to shut down other speech. They are not engaging in debate, but trying to prevent debate altogether, which I suppose does send the very clear signal that they have no rebuttal worth considering.

    1. They are not engaging in debate, but trying to prevent debate altogether, which I suppose does send the very clear signal that they have no rebuttal worth considering.

      This used to be a good tactic in certain situations. If you were confronted with an argument that was clearly unhinged, mockery and derision signaled that the argument was stupid enough that anybody with 2 minutes and an IQ above 40 could debunk it.

      Now, the SJWs (and conservatives to a lesser extent) have taken mockery and derision out of its proper context and turned it into a debate style. You’re absolutely right that it signals that they’re not rebutting the assertion. However, now we have no way of signaling that “your idea is so stupid that I’m not going to waste my time responding.”

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