Campus Free Speech

Howard Dean Is Glad That Yale Prof Is Done Teaching, Because 'Respecting Others' Trumps 'Free Speech'

Erika Christakis was respecting her students when she told them the truth.


Howard Dean

Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, is quite satisfied that Erika Christakis—the Yale University professor who mildly defended offensive Halloween costumes—has decided to quit teaching. On Twitter, he wrote:

Christakis explained her decision to quit in a statement to The Washington Post:

 "I have great respect and affection for my students, but I worry that the current climate at Yale is not, in my view, conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve our urgent societal problems," she said in an email to The Washington Post.

And Dean thinks that's a good thing?

Look, "respecting others" is a perfectly noble goal, but it's entirely subjective. I would argue that Christakis was showing respect for her students when she opined that perhaps they were mature enough to make their own judgments about Halloween costumes without administrative guidance. There's nothing respectful about the regime of emotional coddling and feelings-protection some students want administrators to create on their campuses; infantilization is not dignifying.

When "respecting others" is a higher priority than defending free speech on campus, administrators are given license to punish students and faculty for the stupidest things. They also wall themselves off from legitimate criticism. People with institutional power—like campus administrators—simply have the most to gain from restricting speech rights. Is that what Dean wants: more coercive power for the powerful? 

NEXT: New Jersey's Roads Don't Just Suck: They're Massively Expensive, Too

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. Goddammit, Soave. Why am I not seeing that picture of Howard Dean strangling a kitten accompanying this article? Yeeeeaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  2. Is that what Dean wants: more coercive power for the powerful?

    Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate…

    1. How could any dean be so mean?

        1. I should be ashamed that I keep missing all these Glee references.

  3. That was a rhetorical question at the end, right?

  4. This guy again? I thought he is only still relevant during bar trivia games when team members frantically try to remember which pol humiliated himself the most ten years ago.

  5. You know, this whole thing isn’t really about power. It’s just about making sure everyone believes the same right things. I’d be willing to bet that greater than 85% of these people don’t see getting everyone on the same ideological boat as coercive power. It’s why the fall back position is to have someone else (the government) enforce their rules. They don’t want the power themselves because they know they’re too weak to handle it.

    1. Please note that the above is pure speculation. It sprung fully formed from my brain and was not influenced by some magazine/newspaper (I don’t read) nor some talk radio show (I don’t listen).

      1. I have always figured that control freaks are projecting their own weak self-discipline and lack of self-control, and thus want guardians for all.

        I define self-control as “the absolute right and duty to control self and property, regardless of harm to self or distaste to others”, and one of the obvious derivations is that if you won’t exercise your duty to control yourself or you violate others’ right to self-control, then you don’t get to exercise your right to self-control either.

        Control freaks want to assign government as everybody’s guardian, with them at the helm. They have removed all doubt.

        1. I’m not buying that they’re control freaks. I’d say they are controlled freaks. They’re lazy sycophants, hangers on, yes men. They want somebody else in power that they can fawn over. They just expect that those in charge will be enforcing views that they approve of. They are too spineless to take control themselves. They’re toadies.

          1. Maybe some are. My experience is that those screaming loudest for gun control, for instance, seem to think that the mere handling of a gun puts the thought of killing in mind, never mind studies showing CCW holders are less likely to commit crimes than off-duty police. Same applies to alcohol — the temperance union mottoes seemed to be that anyone drinking demon rum was turned into a crazed blood-thirsty womanizer, that no one could drink in moderation or even enjoy drinking. Same applies to so many drug warriors today, that no recreational drug has any purpose, that no one can enjoy them, that any one who uses drugs turns into a face-eating cannibal.

            I agree with your general statement that they expect those in power to only enforce the right laws, but I think it’s more than being a toady, that it stems from being afraid of their own emotions and they project that sense of helplessness onto everybody else.

  6. Good thing I didn’t have any respect to lose for Howard Dean.



    1. I remember the incident but I don’t really remember why it was considered such a terrible thing?

      1. You have to remember that politics is basically High School writ large. Remember that kid who stepped in dog poop by accident once, and no one ever let him forget it? Dean made himself look kind of silly, and nobody ever let him forget it. Our President has to be the coolest kid around.

        1. And yet Trump is still firmly in the running…

        2. I never got why people did dumb shit like that in high school either.

      2. I don’t remember anyone saying it was “terrible.” Just embarrassing. Terribly embarrassing.

        1. I just don’t see that either. He was giving a speech at a political rally. Isn’t shouting and carrying on and trying to rile up the crowd kind of the point?

          1. The Top Men determined that John Kerry was to be the Democratic nominee for the presidential race. They had to gin up an excuse to knock out Dean.

            My Dem colleagues were split between the two and the Dean camp fell into line.

            There was nothing wrong or inappropriate about his scream.

            1. There was nothing wrong or inappropriate about his scream.

              I don’t remember anyone saying it was. What is was was funny. And when taken out of context and repeated over and over, it became a subject of ridicule. Was that fair? Probably not. But that doesn’t really matter, does it. Principals trump principles.

            2. Split between those two stiffs………..Talk about setting the bar low.

      3. Nor do I. In fact I find it utterly mystifying. I have no idea why that was seen as any kind of gaffe or mistake or that it said anything negative about Dean at all.

        That said, fuck Howard Dean.

        Free speech is good. Respecting others is also good. But there is no basis on which to compare those two. And free speech is a fundamental legal and cultural principle in a way that respecting others (especially when it comes to stupid bullshit like people getting offended by Halloween costumes) just isn’t.

        1. Dean was always dancing on the edge of spit-flecked madness in the eyes of the electorate and this pushed him over. His sweat-faced enthusiasm for the job was always vaguely distasteful to most people.

          1. I think you nailed it here. For just about anyone else, it wouldn’t have been a gaffe. But, Dean had, at least to some extent, cultivated the image of a loose cannon. And The Scream solidified that image in a lot of voters’ minds.

          2. He was in the wrong party 12 years too soon, I guess. (Holy shit, 2004 is 12 years ago, almost.)

  8. He doesn’t respect her, though?

    1. C’mon. Who could respect a woman who dresses like that?

    2. He respects her now.

  9. Suthenboy dropped a great line yesterday:
    Put your feelings in one hand and shit in the other, and tell me which one weighs more.

    There is no adult supervision at universities anymore.

    1. Looks like it’s missing at the Federal level as well.

    2. So you’re saying we all need to shit in our hands and fling it at the nearest college student?

      1. Almost certainly a hate crime, so yes.

    3. There is no adult supervision at universities anymore.

      Technically there shouldn’t need to be. Used to be that college students were adults, and most of them behaved accordingly. They certainly didn’t demand adult supervision when it came to choosing Halloween costumes. These college students are emotionally and psychologically stunted children.

      1. When I see these punk kids, I’m reminded of the lyrics to “Holiday in Cambodia”.

        1. +1 Star-Bellied Sneech

  10. Is that what Dean wants: more coercive power for the powerful?

    Rhetorical question, I assume.

    1. “Say it ain’t so, Howard, say it ain’t so!”

  11. Who the fuck is Howard Dean and why should I give a fuck about what he has to say about anything?

    1. 1. He was the comic relief a few elections ago.

      2. Because making an ass out of yourself on live TV is the mark of TOP MEN.

    2. That statement can apply to just about any pundit, politician, self-appointed advocate, or guy on the street.

      At least as far as I am concerned.

  12. I want to respect other people, but a lot of them don’t seem worthy of it.

    1. If they can’t lift Mjolnir, then they can fuck off.

  13. Free speech is good. ______ is better

    Fill in the blank contest

    My entry: “Sucking authoritarian cock”

    1. Heroin.

    2. “mimosas with Dom Perignon and grapefruit juice?”

    3. Gelfling essence?

    4. Free beer?

    5. Pummeling hypersensitive dweebs.

    6. Ativan.

      1. You really should have combined your two answers.

        1. Um that sounds like a waste of downers, dude.

          1. CS Lewis is pretty depressing

    7. Firepower?

    8. A high attack bonus

    9. Avoiding having your life ruined by a cabal of sensitive students back by another cabal of vice provosts?

    10. A six demon bag

    11. Hitler. The answer is always Hitler.

  14. Free speech is good but respecting others is better?

    But only one of those things is a constitutional amendment.

  15. Assuming others are adults and don’t need to be coddled is far more respectful than insulating them from reality as if they were infants.

    1. Those kids aren’t going to get better. Better to smother them in their cribs.

  16. What this is all really about is that no one cares about their rights.

    People don’t care that their rights can be taken away without due process. They don’t care about free speech. They don’t care that you can randomly be put on the no-fly list and therefore have your second amendment RIGHTS taken without due process.

    These people have not grown up cherishing their rights. When you talk with them about rights, they think you’re a raving loon who loves shootings and hates everyone.

    1. That’s because there is a distressing number of people who believe that they get their rights from the government.

      1. Where else could they come from? God? Humanity? Nature? Come on. Rights are meaningless if they cannot be enforced, and government is the only way to truly enforce anything. So your rights are whatever the government says they are. Nothing more, nothing less. You see, it is impossible for government to violate your rights because they define your rights. If they say you don’t have a right to live, and then kill you, nothing else will happen. Thus government is God. Now let us pray.

        Our Obama, who lives in Washington, hallowed by thy name….

        /Tony (if he was honest)

      2. Your rights come from the end of a barrel of a gun. If you don’t have the ability and will to kill for your rights or are lucky enough to have someone else who will, be prepared to die or surrender your rights because rest assured someone out there has the ability and the will to kill you to take them.

        It sucks but it is how the world works.

        1. Your rights don’t come from a gun, they are a integral part of your being. I’ll agree that they don’t mean much unless you’re willing to fight for them.

          The government doesn’t assign rights, it defends them. The government can’t take away your rights, it can only suppress your ability to express them.

          1. You are right. the government doesn’t assign you anything. At best it enforces or protects your rights. At worst, it takes them from you.

            It is really a question of semantics. Does your need to be able to kill to keep them if necessary mean they come from the barrel of a gun? Technically no but practically yes.

    2. Just the thing our 10th grade civics teachers warned us about; an uneducated, disengaged electorate being the greatest danger to a democracy. Well, here we are.

      1. Even worse is an uneducated engaged electorate. That gets you Obama and Trump.

        1. The solution is to import millions of uneducated or educated but crazy people from backwards fucked up country. That will improve things.

          1. Yep. Open borders is awesome that way. And clearly, using taxpayer money to pay their way here is somehow libertarian.

    3. What this is all really about is that no one cares about their rights.

      No. I suspect they care quite a bit about their rights. It’s just that they think that the other fellow’s rights can be violated and theirs’ will be just fine. They have no problem violating the right to free speech of “icky” people. They just delude themselves that they’re never going to be the ones deemed “icky”. They have no problem throwing away the Second Amendment rights of “gun nuts”. They just never consider the possibility that their free speech rights might some day be the thing deemed inconvenient.

  17. he is a dumbass and not worth writing about.

  18. That would be part of the progressive mantra; it’s just how they “feel” about it.

  19. OT: Thanks Obama!

    Following President Obama’s speech last night, Smith & Wesson is up 7.75% today (its best day in 4 months) and Sturm Ruger is up 8.25% today (most in 8 months)…

    1. He is the best gun salesman. Ever.

    2. Mr. President: Gun sales skyrocketed after your speech.

      President (eating pudding. Licks spoon): This was not the unintended consequences I was looking for!

      1. I just had a vision of what Obama is going to do next. A reboot of Fat Albert. He’ll do all the voices and the live-action explanations of the morality play of the week.

        1. Think “Life of Julia” with a more diverse cast.

          1. Instead of Russell (based on Cosby’s brother), they could create a new character, Malik.

            1. And Trayvon. There needs to be a Trayvon.

            2. Also a young Muslim radical named Sayeed. Who can teach the gang many lessons of tolerance, while being himself intolerant.

              1. I was actually thinking of Obama’s half-brother.

                1. Malik seems like a lot smarter and nicer than his brother. Seriously.

                  1. That may be true of Russell Cosby, too, sadly.

                  2. You need a character acting as Obama’s fragile ego.

    3. I had a strangle on SWHC last week/this week. I’ve already legged out on the call side, and now it’s time to wait….

    4. As soon as my credit card closes for the month, is going to be getting some business.

  20. Howard Dean is a motherfucking piece-of-shit asshole and that is being respectful. Don’t get started on what I really think about the guy.

  21. Hey. Howard. S-s-suck m-m-my dick.

    Respect enough for you?

    1. You didn’t say please!

  22. Seems to be a remarkable woman.

  23. Well, I guess America will now have to look to Republicans to protect their first amendment rights.

    1. *cries silently into handkerchief*

      1. The Dems will let you keep your porn, provided it is sufficiently gay affirming. There is that.

    2. We are one liberal justice away from both Heller and Citizens’ United being overturned.

      1. Yep. The revolution is that much closer.

  24. Jesus Christ can you live up to the stereotype of the crazy Muslim killer any better? Look at the angry butt hurt look on that woman’s face. Ten to one she was the driving force behind it more than him.

    1. Are you suggesting there’s a cuckold porn video of them out there?

      1. He just looks stupid and a bit out there. She looks like a scary fucking lunatic.

        1. To be fair, I’m not much to look at after a 12 hour flight either.

          1. Sorry but these assholes are the last people I am going to be fair with. More importantly, no amount of flight creates that kind of scary looking crazy unless it is already there.

          2. Really? I always look good.

          3. I’m with Rhywun. After a long flight, I look like I’m on a hair-trigger for a homicidal rampage.

            Because I am.

            1. I have long wished to transform into a giant green rage monster when dealing with the airport.

  25. What this woman said was said so careful and delivered with no insult intended, but it let in just enough light for the SJWs it see the crack and they jammed the crowbar right in.

    She didn’t endorse racist costumes. She didn’t. But that’s how the little outrage addicts could spin it to the craven media. No analysis of this issue was done whatsoever.

    This is the chilling effect in action. People being too scared to say anything against them is the goal.

    1. Outrage addicts is a good way to describe them. It doesn’t matter what she said. The entire point is to be outraged. Since anyone who would ever dream of saying something even remotely racist has long since been run off campus, they are left to police increasingly absurd “violations”.

  26. he is who I thought he was

    1. When you consider the army of little fascists known as the juicebox mafia got their start supporting him in 2004, that should not come as any surprise.

  27. Look, “respecting others” is a perfectly noble goal

    When you assume that others are automatically deserving of respect.

  28. Is that what Dean wants: more coercive power for the powerful?


  29. “I have great respect and affection for my students, but I worry that the current climate at Yale is not, in my view, conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve our urgent societal problems,” she said in an email to The Washington Post.

    Her resignation is exactly what ISIS the outrage mob wanted her to do!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.