Campus Free Speech

Columbia Law Professor: Letting a Right-Wing Activist Speak Is 'An Act of Violence'

Angry protesters shut down Tommy Robinson event.

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Columbia
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Kayum Ahmed, an adjunct faculty member at Columbia's Law School, helped students prevent a controversial right-wing speaker from giving a talk (via Skype) on campus. He also preemptively filed a discrimination complaint because the speech in question "constitutes an act of violence" and "is a form of harassment and discrimination."

Ahmed claimed in the Columbia Daily Spectator that he is under investigation for his role in disrupting the College Republicans' event on October 10, which involved a presentation by Tommy Robinson. Robinson is a far-right European anti-Islamic activist who is legally barred from entering the U.S., which is why he was scheduled to speak via Skype.

The speech didn't happen: Protesters shouted him down, making it impossible for the Columbia audience to hear him, according to Campus Reform's Toni Airaksinen. Ahmed has defended his actions on the grounds that allowing someone like Robinson to speak is dangerous, and that hate speech does not deserve robust First Amendment protection:

As one of the protesters who stood with a placard in the front of the room where Robinson's image was projected onto a screen, I was not only exercising my right to free speech, I was defending my right to exist and to be recognized as human. Prior to Robinson's talk, I filed a formal complaint of discrimination and harassment with Columbia University's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, arguing that "Mr. Robinson's invitation to speak on campus not only violates my dignity but constitutes an act of violence, [and] is a form of harassment and discrimination. While I recognize Mr. Robinson's right to free speech, his presence on campus (albeit via Skype) is a threat to my safety and security since his speech may encourage fellow students to act in a violent way toward me."

During my engagement with the EOAA, it became apparent that Columbia adopts a narrow conception of free speech that ignores the violent physicality of hate speech: Lips move, sound travels, and words penetrate. And sometimes, these words constitute an act of violence or result in physical forms of violence. However, it is the University's position that hate speech should be countered with equally opposing views so that the student community can decide for themselves what they want to believe. While this neutral approach may seem reasonable, the University ignores the fact that not all voices have equal power and that opposing voices are not equally heard. It assumes that students presented with two perspectives will choose the most well-reasoned argument, but disregards the climate of hatred and victimization within which these perspectives are offered.

I'm not sure who the complaint is directed against (the College Republicans? the university?); Ahmed did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

Robinson is indeed a hateful and loathsome person. If I were a member of the College Republicans, I would have implored my friends not to give him a platform. I support students and professors who protested both the decision to invite Robinson, and Robinson himself.

But words are not violence, and the hatefulness of Robinson's perspective is not grounds for cancelling his speech or shouting him down. Ahmed's argument is paternalistic: He doesn't trust students to "choose the most well-reasoned argument" when presented with a hateful perspective, and so he wants to strip them of their right to listen. This is illiberal thinking, and a betrayal of the values for which Columbia stands, and a concerning position for a member of the law faculty to take.

For more on campus leftists' self-defeating war on hate speech, read Michael Schill in The New York Times.

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  1. Columbia adopts a narrow conception of free speech that ignores the violent physicality of hate speech: Lips move, sound travels, and words penetrate. And sometimes, these words constitute an act of violence or result in physical forms of violence.

    Yeah? Some words make people do things that they wouldn’t do otherwise? Fuck off.

    it is the University’s position that hate speech should be countered with equally opposing views so that the student community can decide for themselves what they want to believe

    As if pretty much everyone at Columbia hasn’t already decided what to believe when it comes to this sort of thing. I think his formulation of the reason for allowing controversial and perhaps hateful speakers misses the mark. It’s not so much about allowing people to hear both sides and make up their own minds. Like I said, most people already have made up their minds. But it is useful, especially at a supposed institution of higher learning, to know what all kinds of people, including hateful bigots and people you disagree with politically, believe and how they articulate it. Assholes like this professor seem to want to deny students large chunks of knowledge about the breadth of human belief and rhetoric.

    When it comes to politics, I disagree with most people about a lot. But these fucking anti-speech pieces of living shit really piss me off more than anything.

    1. The reason the university should allow various viewpoints to exist is that it’s none of the university’s business to be policing viewpoints. Their responsibility end at making sure order on campus is maintained. As such they should boot this adjunct out for disrupting the event.

      1. Come now, everyone knows that certain viewpoints must be silenced, especially if they are presented in an inappropriate manner. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case? Instead of condemning Mr. Ahmed, the author should be focusing his efforts on helping us to eradicate offensive “free speech editorials” from the Internet. See, for example:

        http://forward.com/opinion/385…..s-scholar/

    2. Some words make people do things that they wouldn’t do otherwise?

      Routine advertising must make him go into a fetal position under his desk.

      1. No. He goes on a shopping spree.

    3. I would like to buy a ‘I’m with Zeb’ t-shirt.

      Ahmed can go fuck himself.

    4. “Some words make people do things that they wouldn’t do otherwise?”

      Yes, some words do. “Stop or I’ll shoot” would definitely make me stop, when otherwise I probably wouldn’t. Still, I agree with your basic premise that he fuck off.

      1. You know what I mean.

      2. I don’t think what he was saying applies there, since no matter how the guy with the gun worded things, you’d get pretty much the same message and behave pretty much the same, in accordance with a healthy desire for self-preservation.

        This jackass is claiming normally-sane people become nazi mass murderers when persuaded by silver-tongued demagogues, or something like that.

    5. So HATE speech makes lips move, sound waves travel, and ear bones vibrate….hm, that IS physical, isn’t it? Not too implausible for the 9th Circuit.

      1. If that’s the standard by which hate speech is considered violence, then all speech is violence and all non-consensual speaking to people is assault and battery. In fact, the mere existence of other people is violence by such a standard.

      2. By this logic, you commit violence against me when you cough, because the sound you produce causes my eardrum to vibrate. Get a grip.

      3. Yeah I really felt like he was on the path to a reasonable conclusion there with that breakdown of how trivial and non-violent the act of speaking fundamentally is.

  2. This guy is an ADJUNCT professor. He’s an hourly employee. There are good adjuncts out there, but a lot of them are just grad students who couldn’t get jobs outside of academia. Getting a full professorship is a bit of a crapshoot, but a lot of these people haven’t even bothered putting in the work required to get one. Their careers would be better served at a junior college.

    That this guy has a hornet in his bonnet is a non-story.

    1. This is a pretty good point although I’m sure most commenters glossed over it. They’ll present his half-baked idea as if it’s the official stance of Columbia, but as an adjunct he has no real standing with the university.

      This should be apparent to most people, considering that the DEFENDANT in this case is Columbia. I’d be surprised if he had any real support from the faculty. But a quick glance at the comments here show that not everybody understands this, and they’re sure to chalk it up to “academia being out of touch.”

  3. Robbie through the ages:

    1980’s: “Salman Rushdie is indeed a hateful and loathsome person.”

    2000’s: “Theo Van Gogh is indeed a hateful and loathsome person.”

    Present day: “Ayaan Hrsi Ali is indeed a hateful and loathsome person.”

    Simply attacking people without providing any evidence of why someone is ‘vile or disgusting’ is exactly what these Leftist students do. And I highly doubt that you would refer to someone who is critical of Christianity as ‘hateful and loathsome’. Cosmotarians need to get off of their love of culture war and actually defend free speech without applying a double standard that some critics of religion are alright, while others are ‘hateful and loathsome’. Explain how he is ‘hateful and loathsome’ next time, otherwise shut-up

    1. Waka sez: “You better defend assholes and not be at all critical of them. Because if you criticize assholes for being assholes then you aren’t really defending them.”

      Yep, that’s right. The second you criticize someone then you don’t think that person should have rights.

      1. The good news is, lots of other morons don’t think you should be able to call assholes assholes. If you do then you don’t really, I mean really really, think they should be defended.

      2. That’s not what I said at all. You can criticize assholes, but explain why that person is an asshole. For example, you are noted asshole and there are multiple examples of that. If I were to write an article and casually call you an asshole I would present the evidence.

        As I’ve shown, there are people who would refer to Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hrsi Ali as ‘vile’, but I would not accept that charge. I don’t know anything about Robinson and he may be an asshole, but I’m not just going to take Robbie’s word for it.

        1. And if a critic of religion makes one an asshole, I’m willing to accept that, but then that should be applied equally. You can’t not call Maher an asshole for his remarks about Christians, but then call him such because of his remarks on Islam. That is the definition of hypocrisy. Full disclosure, I do think that Maher’s criticisms of Islam do make him an asshole

        2. Waka sez: “Do what I say or else. An editorial blog is no place to be sharing your opinion, Nancy!”

          1. How about responding to what was mentioned, rather than doing your straw man routine.

            1. Whoops, sorry to mock you without providing sufficient evidence for why you should be mocked.

              Oh wait, I didn’t make that stupid claim to begin with so it’s all good.

        3. Salman Rushdie couldn’t care less about your opinion, as he is still neck deep in fatwa sex.

        4. “Robinson is a far-right European anti-Islamic activist”

          1. So being anti-Islam makes one bad? Are you not anti-Islam? Yoireon record being anti-Christianity, so how are you not anti-Islam as well?

            1. Why aren’t you asking that guy why he isn’t also anti-Christian?

              1. You are, of course, deflecting a valid point. You posit that merely being anti-Islam is enough to be an asshole.

                You are anti-Christian. Many people here are atheists or wary of all religions. Are you and they assholes due to that one fact?

                Just looking for consistency.

                1. I am indeed against all religions. Christianity happens to be the one that’s tried to impose its version of sharia on me my whole life, so forgive me if I’ve focused on them as the more immediate threat in my particular neck of the woods. It’s not just about being smug about not believing in magic, it’s about the harm that such belief causes people.

                  Religious minorities, as Muslims are in Europe and this country, are as threatened as any other type of minority, and thus on the radar of the typical compassionate liberal. I’ll tell them that their stupid belief in desert fairy tales is a bunch of horsecrap as soon as I’m sure that they’re first physically safe from the people who want to put them on trains.

                  1. I usually don’t wade into the Tony Chronicles but those two paragraphs immediately made me think of this. “What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

                  2. I’ll tell them that their stupid belief in desert fairy tales is a bunch of horsecrap as soon as I’m sure that they’re first physically safe from the people who want to put them on trains.

                    And I’m sure they’ll super appreciate it once you finally get around to it.

                  3. I presume you don’t mean CalTrain, ACE Train, Light Rail, BART and our forthcoming high speed rail system because those trains have a shitload of Muslims on them already

                    1. I presume you don’t mean CalTrain, ACE Train, Light Rail, BART and our forthcoming high speed rail system because those trains have a shitload of Muslims on them already

                      Stop talking nonsense. The RethugliKKKans rounded up all the Moozies and gassed them in camps months ago.

                    2. Then who is making the delicious biryani at Al Maiwand these days?

                    3. Nice Aryan Hindus, obviously. We like *them*.

                    4. My kepi is tipped to you

                  4. Don’t worry, Tony. Cato is working hard to prevent privileged Americans from putting people on trains.

                  5. And then some young men would step forward, and murder you for insulting Islam. Which doesn’t really happen with Christianity, or any other religion, for all practical purposes (there are a handful of freakish exceptions, I’ll grant).

                    And that’s why force of arms should be used to defend our borders from Muslim infiltrators, colonists, and would-be conquerors. Just keep them all out, to be on the safe side. There exists no right to move to the West.

                  6. “I’ll tell them that their stupid belief in desert fairy tales is a bunch of horsecrap as soon as I’m sure that they’re first physically safe from the people who want to put them on trains.”
                    Muslims are safer in US and Europe than in their own countries, Tony.

                    And religious minorities have lived far better freer, safer lives in predominately Christian countries than in predominately Muslim ones for centuries. It’s been a long time since the two have been remotely comparable. To complain about Christians being too theocratic while crying crocodile tears over the hurt feelings of Muslims (while Christians and other non-Muslims are still regularly persecuted, for real, in Muslim countries) is… well, Tony-grade hypocrisy.

                    1. Christians are more of a theocratic threat where I live, and where you live too.

                    2. What the hell is a “theocratic threat”? I’m an atheist living a good life in America. No way in HELL I would move to any Muslim-majority country.

        5. You can criticize assholes, but explain why that person is an asshole.

          I think that’s fair. I stand up for Robbie sometimes. I don’t have a problem with people saying “this guy’s a piece of shit, but I defend his right to speak”. But I’ll agree that just throwing out “this guy is a terrible person” without any supporting evidence, especially when it’s someone many people have never even heard of, is pretty lame. If he’s a horrible bigot, it should be pretty easy to link to something he’s written that displays his horrible bigotry.

        6. Yes, it was wrong for the article to criticize Robinson without presenting evidence for the criticism. At this point, we can simply point out the censorship of the no platform movement without commenting on the value of the speakers.

      3. Yep, that’s right. The second you criticize someone then you don’t think that person should have rights.

        What good is a “criticism” with literally nothing to back it up at all?

        Robby is getting into a habit of calling people names without justifying why.

        Is he a “bad” person? Robinson MIGHT be, but I sure as hell don’t know a damned thing about him from this. And I don’t care enough to check on my own. The accuser should provide the evidence of his claim.

        1. Robby is getting into a habit of calling people names without justifying why.

          Awwwwwww.

          It’s such a shame that you can’t read bad words about another person. To be sure, this would have been a perfect article if he hadn’t called that guy something mean.

          1. To be sure, this article would have been perfecter if he had included the customary “to be sure”.

          2. It’s such a shame that you can’t read bad words about another person. To be sure, this would have been a perfect article if he hadn’t called that guy something mean.

            …or included any link to his “vile” behavior or comments. That’d be lovely.

          3. Sparky you seem to be missing something. “He’s a bad person” is one of the foundational blocks of the SJW’s offensive against anyone who isn’t pink as a carnation. Since I don’t believe one lying word out of these scum’s mouths, I don’t believe “he’s a bad person,” either, until I see some independent corroboration of that. If Robbie intends to be that corroboration…….then he needs to provide that corroboration. That doesn’t mean everyone has to have citations for every statement they ever make on Reason. But for this one, Robbie does.

      4. And I would add that only a severe jackass, such as $parky would determine that Salman Rashdie and Ayaan Hrsi Ali are ‘vile’. You either didn’t read what was written or you are just beyond dumb

        1. You either didn’t read what was written or you are just beyond dumb

          I’m sorry, you didn’t provide enough information to back up this claim. You ought to be banned from Reason.

          1. Ok, hot shot. Whatever you say. Don’t read the following comments that make the same criticism.

            1. Why can’t you be more like your mom, WakaWaka.

            2. I’m sure it makes you feel better to not be the only tard.

    2. Tulpa through the ages:

      2000s: “I love to make things up out of whole cloth to make the puppets dance.”

      Present day: “I love to make things up out of whole cloth to make the puppets dance.”

    3. A simple search shows that he’s a former soccer hooligan who co-founded the EDL, then got convicted of mortgage fraud. His prime issue is that he’s anti-Islam and he seems to be more than a little racist. That took all of two minutes to gather with my favorite search engine.

      1. Shocked to find that Rico is as journalistically lazy as he is rhetorically lazy.

        Coincidence?

        Nah.

    4. In fairness, 80s Robbie = *burb* whaaaah!

  4. Robinson is indeed a hateful and loathsome person

    Is he?

    I mean, no links to what he thinks and says so we can decide for ourselves?

    What is this, the Times?

    (A quick search suggests he’s an anti-Islamist, though might be also anti-Islam-in-general.

    The former is certainly not loathsome, though the latter is pathetic bigotry deserving of mockery and protest.)

  5. “Robinson is indeed a hateful and loathsome person.”

    Indeed? Robby, please present facts and reasoned argument regarding Robinson.

    What little I’ve seen of him, I did not conclude this. I see far more idiotic and dangerous morons on the left.

    1. You know who else was an idiotic and dangerous person on the left?

      1. Hitler?

      2. Stalin?

      3. Mao Zedong and Pol Pot?

        #AsianLivesMatter

  6. Kayum Ahmed, an adjunct faculty member at Columbia’s Law School

    Given his opinion on what is and what is not legal, that should soon read “former” adjunct faculty.

  7. Robinson is a far-right European anti-Islamic activist who is legally barred from entering the U.S., which is why he was scheduled to speak via Skype.

    Why?

  8. Robinson is indeed a hateful and loathsome person.

    I consider this professor to be an even more hateful and loathsome person.

    1. Not professor, sorry. Teacher. Assistant. Whatever. Nobody like this man should be allowed anywhere near a law school.

    2. I’d go so far as to say that most people who deliberately make a public spectacle of themselves for political purpose are at least loathsome and likely also hateful.

  9. Robinson said afterwards to the BBC: “I didn’t think a Muslim would confront Mo Ansar because I thought Mo Ansar was being built as the acceptable face of Islam; and that’s everything that I think is wrong. So when I saw this [debate between Nawaz and Ansar], and I read more about Quilliam and I looked at what Quilliam has done?they’ve actually brought change, which is what I want to do. I want to bring change. I want to tackle Islamist extremism, I want to tackle neo-Nazi extremism?they’re opposite sides of the same coin.”[44]

    Sound like he is indeed a hateful and loathsome person. Anyone who wants to take on the Neo-Nazis is not OK.

    1. Problematic.

  10. And of the well of available sympathy, it all goes to the racist freak this time. Nice job with the placards.

    1. Condemnation of a censorious asshole doesn’t necessitate sympathizing with the other asshole he wants to censor, you fuck.

      1. That was an attempt to condemn the censorious asshole and not impugn you people, sorry for the confusion.

        You’ll often find me arguing against free-speech-averse liberals with their “speech is violence” rhetorical mumbo-jumbo.

    2. Robby did the exact opposite of expressing sympathy for Robinson. Learn to fucking read.

      1. I’m trying to say that liberals are counter-productive with this crap.

    3. Also, Does this mean that you’re ‘racist’ against Christians for vocally opposing Christianity?

      1. Everyone fucking knows that being anti-Islam as we usually mean it is not about being in 8th grade and reading Richard Dawkins and hating mystical belief. It’s a “racial” issue for the people who make it an issue. They aren’t for screening true believers out of the immigration process, they’re for screening out people from certain countries who look a certain way.

        1. Each of the two Teams hysterically tilts at windmills of their own design that have little relationship to the other Team. They have no interest in what the other Team thinks, only in proving the other Team wrong, and if that involves making up something wrong and pretending the other Team said it, so be it.

          – Me, today.

          1. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

            Quote endquote.

            1. ^ Case in point.

              1. Well I suppose you can be the judge on whether he’s right or wrong, but I certainly didn’t make it up.

                1. Well I suppose you can be the judge on whether he’s right or wrong, but I certainly didn’t make it up.

                  Please be specific about how this proves your point.

                  *grabs popcorn and pillow*

                  1. What’s my point?

                    1. What’s my point?

                      “Everyone fucking knows that being anti-Islam as we usually mean it is not about being in 8th grade and reading Richard Dawkins and hating mystical belief. It’s a “racial” issue for the people who make it an issue. They aren’t for screening true believers out of the immigration process, they’re for screening out people from certain countries who look a certain way.”

                      – Tony, 45 minutes ago

                    2. Muslims are not a race. Nothing in that quote mentions race. You are refuting your own point.

            2. The actual ban the Trump tried to implement did not affect the vast majority of Muslims in the world, and he took Iraq off the list when Iraq improved it’s documentation standards.

              In related news, Trump must be racist against the residents of New York, Rhode Island, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Louisiana by your logic, because they will need passports to fly domestically.

        2. Tony,

          How does a Muslim look according to the average anti-Islam activist?

          Do you have links to Robinson’s statements that mention physical characteristics?

        3. “It’s a “racial” issue for the people who make it an issue.”
          You mean leftists?

          The Trump administration itself supported (ironically, to the chagrin of leftists) that religious minorities in countries on the travel ban list be given exemption.

          If the only way you can win an argument with someone is to assume they are arguing for something other than what they’re actually arguing for, you should re-examine your worldview.

        4. “Everyone fucking knows…”

          Seems legit.

  11. I find the underlying arrogance of people like Ahmed amusing. What he’s essentially saying is “It’s okay for me to hear this person’s words* because I’m like, smart and stuff! It’s just that everybody else is dumb and will do bad stuff!”

    *I’m going out on a limb here and assuming that Ahmed is familiar with Robinson’s message. Otherwise how would he know that it is “hate speech”? Or am I perhaps being a bit too generous?

    1. Censorship is, by definition, an accusation of stupidity pointed at everyone but the censor.

    2. That’s pretty much the message of the left. “We have to save you by removing all choice from you”. Maybe that resonates on the right too…

      1. I think it resonates in some corners of the right. More than once I’ve heard Moral Majority types speak with utter certainty about the evils of porn; they never seem amused when I ask them how they acquired this expertise.

        1. “Why, some of my best friends were ruined by porn!”

        2. Try asking a question that isn’t sophomoric

        3. How do you know it’s not for eating unless you eat it?

  12. I’ll chime in with the others in saying that the negative labels being applied without proof is piss-poor journalism. While not overly familiar with Robinson, I have listened to a few conversations in which he was involved. He is strongly against the increased immigration from poor European countries and even more against immigration from Muslim majority nations. He sees both as having a negative effect on the native population and culture. I’ve seen him go off on tirades that cross the line into racism, but the main thrust of his criticism is that immigration needs to be controlled better.
    I’m really tired of journalists using terms like “extreme right-wing” and moralistic terms to describe people they disagree with rather than presenting the evidence and allowing readers/viewers to decide. Shikha is probably the worst writer on here in that regard. Can we just have an accurate reporting of the facts rather than putting labels on everyone in order to keep up this childish good vs. evil narrative?

    1. I’m really tired of journalists using terms like “extreme right-wing” and moralistic terms to describe people they disagree with rather than presenting the evidence and allowing readers/viewers to decide.

      ^ This.

      Especially when in our contemporary moment, “extreme right-wing” is applied both to out-and-proud racist Nazis and to those of us who believe in free markets, with the deliberate implication that there is some relationship between those two things.

      1. The economic programs espoused by fascists seem to be almost incidental. It must simply be a terrible accidental confluence of events that has led economic libertarians to be in bed politically with neo-nazis. No big deal–there are only two parties, and they’re gonna be lumped in with somebody.

        This is why I employ the “look around yourself and see how many colors there are” test. If all you see are white dudes in your political persuasion, it’s worth it to wonder if something is wrong that turns off everyone else.

        1. This is why I employ the “look around yourself and see how many colors there are” test. If all you see are white dudes in your political persuasion, it’s worth it to wonder if something is wrong that turns off everyone else.

          But not if you look around your “I’m an atheist who hates bullshit religion” meeting and only see white dudes, amirite?

          Each of the two Teams hysterically tilts at windmills of their own design that have little relationship to the other Team. They have no interest in what the other Team thinks, only in proving the other Team wrong, and if that involves making up something wrong and pretending the other Team said it, so be it.

          1. Politics is about the question of how people should live. It matters whether all types of people are represented, otherwise you get skewed ideas.

            That most out atheists are white males doesn’t make that untrue.

            1. Politics is about the question of how people should live.

              And religion is not? Did you know that Cornell West’s central argument in Race Matters is that a lack of religion is exactly what has been plaguing the African-American community since the 1970s?

              Does he need to be educated by you?

              It matters whether all types of people are represented, otherwise you get skewed ideas.

              You know, quite a lot of people here were quite heavily influenced by Thomas Sowell, whom I believe to be an atheist.

              A guy named Kmele Foster hosts a podcast carried right here on this very website. I kinda think he’s an atheist, too.

              Is your argument that in one way these men think like proper white people (atheist), but in the other they are being race traitors (believe in the superiority of free markets to government-managed economies)?

              What is your point, again, exactly?

              That most out atheists are white males doesn’t make that untrue.

              I agree! I don’t find someone’s race to be particularly relevant to the question of whether or not their statements are true, generally speaking.

            2. Politics is about the question of how people should live.

              I’m not surprised you get something so simple so wrong, but this is sort of a whopper.

              No, Tony: politics is not about ‘how people should live’

              philosophy, religion, etc. are about the “should” bits.

              All politics covers is “a process by which we currently agree to live alongside each other”.

              with emphasis on the “process” and the “currently agree” bits. The former noting that its just an arbitrary structure, the latter noting that its constantly being re-negotiated.

              “Should” has nothing to do with it. “Should” implies overarching, non-temporal, moral imperatives. As though we could arrive at some lasting, universal answers about how everyone else should (and must) live their lives…. via mere politics.

              1. Tony is an idiot, but on this point he is not so much ignorant, but truly wrong.

                He wants politics to be the imposition of his religion upon all others.

                Totalitarian are like that.

              2. Whether women are forced to give birth against their will or not seems very much like an “ought” question, and is rather prevalent in our politics.

            3. “That most out atheists are white males doesn’t make that untrue.”
              But it does make it ‘untrue’ for libertarianism? Christ, Tony, with each post you shit all over the point of your very last post.

              “Politics is about the question of how people should live. ”

              And you wonder why you’re so loathed. You walk into the voting booth thinking, “how should I make everyone live,” and you have the gall to complain about others ‘imposing their morals’ on you? Do you honestly think that you being an atheist somehow makes you less bad than any other theocrat when you put a gun to someone’s head and tell them to do something? I guess it wasn’t a human rights violation when the Communist line Buddhist monks up and shot them, as they weren’t doing it in the name of another religion, or something?

              “Live and let live” is apparently a sexist, racist, right wing sentiment these days.

              1. You want to impose a radical laissez-faire regime on everyone in the country, if not the world, and you think you’re not trying to tell people how to live.

                “But my way is the bestest! I’m exempt from normal rules of logic and diction, because I’m so right about stuff!”

                1. Now that’s novel. Let me see if I’ve got it straight. Letting people live free, under a governmental hands-off policy where people can do what they want, that whole evil laissez-faire thing…is “telling people how to live”.

                  Hmmm. So freedom, the state of individuals having AGENCY, having power over their own lives, can be viewed as a cruel imposition??

                  Yeah, I’ve clearly been indoctrinated, because I can’t visualize the mental/social state people would be pining for after being brutally left to their own devices. Unless it would be the simple “Man, I wish I still got all that free shit like in the good ole days.”.

        2. Politics in general turns most people off so that is invalid

        3. How many tokens do we need to pass that test, Tony?

          1. I’ve asked him before, but the only thing I get is some form of “a lot more than we have,” and then he runs away as people point out what an insufferable racist he is.

        4. The economic views of fascists are almost identical to progressives, Tony. Fascists were big fans of Keynesianism; they loved deficit spending, jobs programs, a heavily regulated economy with govrnment sanctioned monopolies. Just socialist enough to not quite abandon the fig leaf of capitalism. Hell, FDR’s lead advisers greatly admired the Mussolini and Hitler regimes until the late 30s. Once again, you are quite lilterally just making up nonsense.

          “his is why I employ the “look around yourself and see how many colors there are” test. If all you see are white dudes in your political persuasion, it’s worth it to wonder if something is wrong that turns off everyone else.”
          And of course, you only apply this principle to white men. Any other homogeneous group is ok.

          IOW you’re a racist shitbag (and mathematically retarded enough not to know what a confounding variable is).

    2. “I’ve seen him go off on tirades that cross the line into racism”

      You may have answered your own question.

  13. “While I recognize Mr. Robinson’s right to free speech, his presence on campus (albeit via Skype) is a threat to my safety and security since his speech may encourage fellow students to act in a violent way toward me.”

    Sheesh, Kayum, get a grip! His speech *may* encourage fellow students to fuck you silly.

    1. And if Skype counts as “presence on campus,” when do we start removing books from the library, or taking down posted materials that make us uncomfortable?

  14. Robinson is indeed a hateful and loatesome person.

    I have no idea if this is true or not, since there has been absolutely nothing presented about that person’s behavior or views.

    And even if there were: is there no distinguishing between opinions a person holds, and whether that person is – in their actions – “hateful and loathsome”? Kitten-stranglers might be capable of holding generous, right-thinking opinions. And very decent, humane, professional, and upstanding people may hold bizarre and outre views. I’d think the latter could still be treated with respect, while condemning their arguments.

    I know its become de rigeur for journalists to assume authority to pass moral-judgement on everything – but even so, you’d think they’d sometimes provide the bare-minimum of due-diligence, and show their work

    that said…

    Columbia adopts a narrow conception of free speech that ignores the violent physicality of hate speech: Lips move, sound travels, and words penetrate. And sometimes, these words constitute an act of violence or result in physical forms of violence.

    …speaking of “hateful and loathesome” thinking..

    Fuck this guy. If his conception of the jurisprudence of “speech” is this retarded, he should be disbarred.

    1. “is there no distinguishing between opinions a person holds, and whether that person is – in their actions – “hateful and loathsome”?
      I don’t purport to know if many leftists have actually read Carl Schmitt, but, perhaps by accident, their philosophy of politics echos his writing quite eerily. Schmitt argued for the all-encompassing nature of the political realm, for politics and collective identity to be inescapable. A prelude to the whole “the personal is political” thing. “Everything is political”, Schmitt wrote.

      Schmitt was, it should be noted, the most scholarly apologist of Nazi Germany. Come to think of it, Tony’s comments read like a dumbed down version of Schmitt, down to the axiomatic dismissal of moral individualism and the half-baked, junior high Hobbesianism.

  15. A decade ago, Columbia hosted a speech by Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the university’s president introduced him with a speech that criticized him harshly.

    What would happen if the college Republicans started developing nuclear weapons?

  16. “While this neutral approach may seem reasonable, the University ignores the fact that not all voices have equal power and that opposing voices are not equally heard.”

    Does irony and lack of self-awareness get any juicier than that?

  17. So, is Tommy Robinson one of the “White Supremacists” that allies with the Sikh community? A Sikh youth organization invited Robinson to a screening of a film about the alleged problem of Muslim men grooming Sikh females for sexual abuse.

    Perhaps the film has an audience after this summer’s sex abuse scandal in the UK involving Muslim/Asian men and White females.

    Considering that Columbia University settled a case about Mattress Girl this year, Robinson might have thoughts that Columbia University students want to hear.

  18. An update from the Forward says that Columbia University is investigating the protesters that interrupted Robinson’s speech.

    Even thought the Forward is has a left-wing bias, it only says that Robinson is “a prominent British anti-Islam activist who has called the Quran a ‘violent and cursed book'”. If that is the worst the Forward can find on him, I’m not ready to condemn the guy. A few Jews at the weekly Torah study at my local Reform Jewish temple often say the Torah is misogynistic, homophobic, and written by a handful of elite men. It seems like Robinson’s criticism of Islam is within the range of acceptable debate.

    1. It seems like Robinson’s criticism of Islam is within the range of acceptable debate.

      Fortunately Robby said nothing about any ‘criticisms of Islam’. He simply said this guy is a “a hateful and loathsome person”

      that could be because he was once convicted of child-molesting, or because he once embezzled money from retired old-women. Or perhaps he was an executive of a now-bankrupt company that purposely covered up the manufacture of faulty pace-makers.

      Unfortunately, we’ll never know why he deserves to be condemned. We’re simply supposed to take some millenial internet-scribbler’s word for it.

      Which i suppose is fine. Because they seem to do the same thing to each other all the time. – or wait, no. She gave reasons. which turned out to be wrong. Oh dear. Maybe that’s why they avoid being too-specific.

      1. You are missing the links to all those accusations against Robinson.

        Realize that a Google search uncovers different things to different people based on past search history. This is why linking is helpful. Your links would point me to information Google won’t show me.

        1. You are missing the links to all those accusations against Robinson.

          thats because none of them are true.

          I was joking about how – lacking any actual cited reasons – he left a great deal to the imagination about why, exactly, someone should be described as “hateful and loathsome”

          that sort of omission is less of a journalistic sin when they refer to a well-known public figure, involved in well-known incidents that have already been subject to wide public condemnation. for a relative nobody like this Robinson person… its pretty shoddy.

  19. “While I recognize Mr. Robinson’s right to free speech, his presence on campus (albeit via Skype) is a threat to my safety and security since his speech may encourage fellow students to act in a violent way toward me.”

    Actually, I suspect it’s Ahmud’s words, not Robinson’s, that are more likely to encourage students to act violently toward him.

  20. “Robinson is indeed a hateful and loathsome person.”

    You’re a fucking imbecile and an embarrassment to knowledge.

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