Campus Free Speech

After Stanford's Niall Ferguson Controversy, Free Speech Conservatives Need to Practice What They Preach

"Slowly, we will continue to crush the Left's will to resist, as they will crack under pressure."

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Niall Ferguson
Javier Rojas/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Niall Ferguson, a conservative historian and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, resigned his leadership position in a free speech group after it came to light that he had encouraged the College Republicans to dig up dirt on an activist student.

The Stanford Daily published emails between Ferguson and CR President John Rice-Cameron that depict both parties as incredibly hostile toward Michael Ocon, a campus progressive they considered to be a hindrance.

"Some opposition research on Mr. O might also be worthwhile," Ferguson wrote, referencing Ocon. He also instructed conservative students to "bury" and "intimidate" the "SJWs." (That's short for social justice warriors.)

Rice-Cameron was no less militant, writing in an email that "slowly, we will continue to crush the Left's will to resist, as they will crack under pressure."

Ferguson had served as one of two faculty leaders of the Cardinal Conversations steering committee, a group that aimed to support free speech at Stanford by inviting a range of speakers to come to campus. These speakers included Charles Murray, an American Enterprise Institute scholar and author of The Bell Curve, whose visits to colleges have provoked protests and even violence at Middlebury College, the University of Michigan, and elsewhere.

According to Ferguson's recollection of events, he grew fearful that activist students who were offended by the views of people like Murray would try to thwart the Cardinal Conversations, and thus he decided to "mobilize the College Republicans."

In a statement to The Stanford Daily, Ferguson said that he regretted having written the emails. He admitted his tone was juvenile, though he maintained no one ever engaged in any sort of opposition research.

"It seemed to me that the Cardinal Conversations student steering committee was in danger of being taken over by elements that were fundamentally hostile to free speech," wrote Ferguson. "It was, however, rash of me to seek to involve the Stanford Republicans, and reckless to use such inflammatory language."

Now Ferguson has resigned from the committee—as well he should. The pro-free speech side should be trying to win arguments, not get caught looking like it intends to play dirty. If activists pose a threat to the Cardinal Conversations' agenda, the correct move is to debate and challenge them. Denigrating opponents as "SJWs" whose will to resist needs to be crushed is just the kind of uncompromising ideological extremism that the right often claims is all-too-common among the overzealous campus left.

I think leftist students shutting down speakers and harassing professors who disagree with them is a real problem on a lot of elite college campuses. But it's harder to take this problem seriously when people on the right who claim to support free speech engage in behavior that is also appalling.

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  1. Is opposition research considered dirty? Or is it because he’s a professor and it’s considered below him to be involved in student politics?

    1. How about Robby’s false equivalence virtue signaling?

      Note that Ferguson did not advocate suppression of progressives’ speech, much less engage in violent “protests” designed to shut down speech or otherwise employ a heckler’s veto.

      1. I think you mean “#whatabout Robby’s false equivalence virtue signaling.”

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      2. He did advocate “burying” and intimidating political opponents though.

        The right can’t win in the realm of ideas so they smear, cheat, lie, and intimidate.

        1. The right can’t win in the realm of ideas so they smear, cheat, lie, and intimidate.

          Butthead is projecting again.

          1. Why does your side exalt the ratfucking liars then? The James O’Keefe, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity types? They made TV Trump into Wingnut Trump.

            1. As opposed to “your” side that’s squeaky clean?

              1. My side is classical liberalism and we are completely inept insofar as political power is concerned.

                I will remind you that Ayn Rand and FA Hayek (two people I defend) detested conservatism as well.

            2. You’re lumping a lot of different people together and calling them “hannity types”. There are tons of conservatives, notably those at say NRO, who see right-wing firebrands as counterproductive asshats. Do you understand that the right is not a monolith? Why haven’t you talked about exalting people like Shapiro or say Tucker Carleson? Cause you pick the worst of an ideological side and use them as somehow being their only spokesmen while ignoring the more thoughtful speakers on the right.

              1. Progressives can only conceive of the collective, hence they think only in collectivist perspective

              2. A good critical comment, Dookert.

                Yes, I like some on the right like Bruce Bartlett but they have largely disassociated themselves from the modern GOP.

                FYI – I am a Barry Goldwater fan too.

                1. Unsurprising that you like Barlett. After all he’s as ignorant and dishonest as you.

            3. Why does your side exalt the ratfucking liars then?

              Here we have an classic example of tribalism. It’s almost like Bill, Hillary, Kerry, Gore, and Obama (pretty much everybody in his administration) doesn’t exist.

            4. Other than Alex Jones, those people tell the truth. You just don’t like the truth.

        2. The right can’t win in the realm of ideas

          The right can’t win in the realm of ideas when having a debate with ignorant bigots who have no ideas.

        3. You are correct: the Right cannot win in the realm of ideas….

          …because the Left either refuses or is incapable of engaging with them in any such contest, preferring instead to shout their opposition down or to smash store windows or to plant faked hate-crime evidence. But, yeah, keep telling yourself that the Left operates on some fanciful moral high ground.

        4. Hey peanut head, do you have any comment on this?

          It was a PuffHo writer that “doxxed” her.

      3. It’s okay when people I agree with do it.

        1. At least you’re finally admitting that.

    2. Oppo research is weaponized ad hominem. It is not considered dirty by committed ideologues, so that should tell you something.

      1. If a certain antifa progressive has been arrested for assault and assault and battery and malicious destruction of property and has employed force to disrupt speeches, why should a free speech absolutist refrain from expressing such facts?

        1. I guess that depends on whether the free speech absolutist in question is concerned about whether the people he is trying to persuade see him as a well-informed and principled defender of an ideal rather than as a mud-flinging posturing moralizer.

          1. So, it is not the truth that matters, but appearances. Phrased alternatively, the free speech absolutist cannot be a well-informed defender of an ideal if he expresses the truth about a thuggish anitifa member.

            1. Truth claims are dubious considering our necessarily limited understanding of any situation. But if your goal is to persuade people of the value of free speech, telling them that the other guy has been arrested (arrested!) doesn’t really do that.

              It does go a ways toward persuading people that you’re so bereft of ideas that you’ll resort to pawing through your opponents’ dirty laundry looking for scandals rather than respecting your audiences intelligence by articulating your position in a robust and meaningful way.

              1. We’ve come a long way since the days of F Hayek, a scholar who made it a point to treat with the utmost respect his opponents, even if he hated and feared their ideas.

                1. No we haven’t. We’re in the same place we’ve always been, with people such as that being outliers. The very point that you pick him out as distinct in the annals of history makes it true.

              2. If the antifa member is present is attempting to disrupt your speech as you are trying to articulate your free speech absolutism, how is your positioned weakened by adverting the audience to the whole truth?

                1. I’ve already explained twice how it is weakened. So why don’t you explain how airing your opponent’s dirty laundry strengthens your position.

                  1. Ask Steele.

                  2. I’ve already explained twice how it is weakened. So why don’t you explain how airing your opponent’s dirty laundry strengthens your position.

                    If airing dirty laundry doesn’t work, then how can it be denigrated as immoral? You seem to be trying to have it both ways.

                    1. If something doesn’t work, it can’t be immoral? That seems like rather sketchy logic to me.

                  3. Mark Sanford was an amazing governor of my state. He made the DMV here actually quick and efficient.

                    Yet, somehow, mention him and you get the press conference he gave when he admitted to his affair.

                    Odd, huh?

                  4. Some people are motivated to fight for a cause. Other’s are motivated to fight against a cause. Thus… promoting Free speech to motivate the first group is a noble value. Second, to motivate people AGAINST censorship, censors, and statists is also a value.

                    To do one, but not the other, is what would cause one to be less than they could be. To do both, but with honesty, is ideal.

                2. The best thing for any disruptive Antifa thug is to visit a savage beating upon them. Thus teaching them their lowly place in the world. Plus, commie trash require regular beatings.

          2. I guess that depends on whether the free speech absolutist in question is concerned about whether the people he is trying to persuade see him as a well-informed and principled defender of an ideal rather than as a mud-flinging posturing moralizer.

            It also depends on whether his opponent is a rational, honest debater or a mud-slinging extremist. Just to find that out, you need to do opposition research and then prepare accordingly.

            If it’s the latter, you don’t counter a mud-flinging jerk by flinging mud back, but you figure out a strategy for them to reveal themselves to the audience for what they are. For that, you also need opposition research.

            You’re falsely assuming that people use opposition research for mud-slinging, rather than strategizing.

            1. 2016 republican presidential primary

              1. You could see Jeb’s low energy from a mile away.

        2. It’s called tact and diplomacy.

          Now maybe that’s useless on far-left crazy people. But I don’t see it as a great development when people adopt the tactics of those people. Though I’m not surprised either.

      2. Oppo research is weaponized ad hominem.

        It’s only an “ad hominem” if you actually go out and disclose it publicly. That’s a foolish way of using opposition research.

        You want to use opposition research in a way in which your opponent trips themselves up, for example by moving the discussion to topics where they pretend to be experts but know nothing, or by moving the discussion to topics where your opponent turns into a raving lunatic.

        1. That, except where you and reasonable people might see a raving lunatic, unfortunately others see a “revolutionary hero” or some such nonsense.

      3. Oppo research is weaponized ad hominem.

        Either you don’t know what any of those words mean or you’re lying. Neither would surprise me, and both would surprise me even less.

    3. Its the implication.

      The whole piece amounts to using Ferguson’s apology as proof that something very-wrong (as opposed to merely unseemly in appearance) took place.

      its robby. this is what he does.

    4. One side uses violence and the other side looks into the background of the people who commit violence.

      Clearly, both sides or something

  2. That’s some shitty behavior.

  3. Should not the objective of free speech absolutists be the relegation of progressivism to the dustbin of history?

    1. Should not the objective of anti-fascists be to punch Nazis?

      1. So saying bad things is now like punching someone?

        1. You obviously missed my point so let me be explicit.

          Utilitarian ends-justify-the-means thinking is not a principled position, and is certainly not an ‘absolutist’ position.

          1. Did I endorse the employment of any nefarious means to relegate progressivism to the dustbin of history?

            Regarding the end, all free speech absolutists should welcome such a relegation of progressivism.

            1. There can be no compromise with progressivism – only victory or death/subjugation.

            2. That is why I am Open Society (as espoused by Karl Popper and George Soros).

              Popper saw the open society as part of a historical continuum reaching from the organic, tribal, or closed society, through the open society marked by a critical attitude to tradition, to the abstract or depersonalized society lacking all face-to-face interaction transactions.[7]

              In open societies, the government is expected to be responsive and tolerant, and its political mechanisms transparent and flexible. It can be characterized as opposed to authoritarianism.

              wikipedia

              1. “That is why I am Open Society (as espoused by Karl Popper and George Soros).”

                Finally, you admit your status as a Marxist traitor, in league with America’s enemy, George Soros.

              2. Funny you cite the desire for free speech and all…yet side with Soros, who opposes it vehemently.

            3. No you’re right, you didn’t explicitly say “I want to deplatform progressives in order to stick up for free speech absolutism”. It was kinda implied though.

              And if we’re going to adhere to the spirit of free speech, then why should any ideology be relegated to the dustbin of history? All should be free, in the spirit of open inquiry, to discuss their points of view. Isn’t that the idea here?

              1. Progressives may speak; indeed, Tony is my favorite commenter here precisely because his comments perfectly confirm my assessment of progressivism.
                But, as progressives speak, they should be marginalized by the exposure of such ideology as totalitarian socialism, relentlessly and mercilessly disrespected.
                There is room for progressivism in a free society – in a small corner with no power over any who do not wish to participate.

                1. Progressives do indeed have a role to play in our society. Inhabiting prison cells, and awaiting execution for treason. They also will be a footnote in American history as part of a cautionary tale about the evils of Marxism.

                2. I like you, Nardz.

                  *buys you a beer*

                  I’ve no problem with progs having their sandbox outside which they don’t impose their ideology.

                  1. Cheers, potato.
                    To the marginalization of progressivism!

              2. The implication is your contrivance.

                I do not support the state muzzling progressives. Nor do I support free speech vigilantes taking two by fours to the heads of antifa members.

                The idea is that all should be free to speak and none should be free to disrupt the others’ speech. Given that, why should you have a problem with free speech absolutists, in the spirit of free speech, carrying the day to the extent that progressivism collapses and disappears?

                1. Well sure I would want an ethos based on individualism to prevail. I would want all of the collectivist ideologies, such as progressivism, socialism, nationalism, conservatism, communism, and all the rest that require the individual to be subsumed into a collective, to be defeated in the battle of ideas. In the spirit of free speech, I would hope that the individualist argument would be the stronger one in a free exchange of ideas. Glad we could agree on something!

                  1. Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos…

              3. And if we’re going to adhere to the spirit of free speech, then why should any ideology be relegated to the dustbin of history? All should be free, in the spirit of open inquiry, to discuss their points of view. Isn’t that the idea here?

                What we are striving for is a world where leftism is considered so ridiculous that nobody would promote it except as a joke. Because it is really that ridiculous.

                Are you troubled by the fact that nobody here is espousing rule by a priest-king on behalf of the gods, with human sacrifice rituals performed four times a year? Is the absence of that point of view harming our discourse?

                1. So you want free speech for the purpose of shoving one ideology (regardless of which one) off to the side. Not for the sake of free speech itself. That is the problem here.

              4. And if we’re going to adhere to the spirit of free speech, then why should any ideology be relegated to the dustbin of history?

                Hasn’t that train already left the station?

                You are not going to see any defenses of the ideology of Nazism, after all. You shouldn’t for Marxism either…but Progs dislike SOME mass killing. Not all.

          2. The ends don’t have to justify the means if the means are just in their own right.

          3. “Utilitarian ends-justify-the-means thinking is not a principled position”

            Perfectly principled if you’re a consequentialist.

            Deontological “muh moral preening”, though what you claim to be protecting is destroyed, is principled too.

            It puts moral preening over reality, *on principle*.

    2. Doesn’t free speech absolutism include opposition research? This might be the dumbest thing Soave has ever published. And leftist groups do this all of the time and worse and Soave never says a word.

      Let’s wait for all of Robby’s stalkers to come and whine and try and defend him.

      1. I kept ready and waiting for the really bad stuff – like putting on a mask and beating a liberal with a club – and it never came. All I got was the blinding brightness of Robby’s virtue.

      2. Didn’t have to wait long before Akston (who would more accurately be named Wesley Mouch) pooped out his usual non-sequiturs all over the thread.

    3. I would have thought the objective of free speech absolutists would be an environment where the free exchange of words, ideas, and culture is unobstructed by government coercion or the heckler’s veto.

      1. Please elucidate how and where I have argued for the contrary.

        1. Libertymike|6.4.18 @ 6:34PM|#

          Should not the objective of free speech absolutists be the relegation of progressivism to the dustbin of history?

          1. You fail.

            You fail so bad that your failure is not distorting an argument, but just plain stupidity.

            1. Who knew you could win an argument just by ignoring the other guy’s point and declaring yourself the victor? I feel like I’ve wasted so much time.

          2. So you don’t have an example then?

            Did you truncate that comment?

            Or, do you think that one cannot, through reasoned debate, relegate a flawed ideology to the dustbin?

            The obtuse “imply he said something he didn’t by quoting him” isn’t particularly clever or useful.

            1. Did you truncate that comment?

              There’s a link to the original comment in the quote, so you can find out for yourself.

              Or, do you think that one cannot, through reasoned debate, relegate a flawed ideology to the dustbin?

              Sure, that’s one of the things that free speech is for. But defending free expression has, by definition, nothing to do with the content of what is expressed. One can consistently be a free speech absolutist while at the same time being a socialist, communitarian, anarchist, libertarian, conservative, even (gasp) a progressive.

              1. If the content of that Free Expression is to crush the opposing Free Expression … then what?

                Saul Alinsky?

              2. “Sure, that’s one of the things that free speech is for. But ”

                Here we go with the qualifiers.

              3. “There’s a link to the original comment in the quote, so you can find out for yourself.”

                Your comment.

                Your.
                Comment.

      2. Absolute Free Speech: Fuck Hugh.

          1. Progressivism seeks to silence speech.

            Arguing for the relegation of progressivism to the dustbin of history is not inconsistent with free speech absolutism.

            You have a hard time understanding the difference between arguing for the demise of progressivism and asking the state to shut down progressive polemicists.

            1. Progressivism seeks to silence speech.

              Aside from a few idiot college students who are these progressives?

              Again, everyone hates Strawman Progressive as much as they do Right-Wing Terrorist Christto-Fascist.

              1. Your characterization of “a few idiot college students” is, itself, a strawman proposition.

                The progressive problem permeates the academy and is manifest in so many ways. How many post-secondary institutions of higher learning do NOT have speech codes?

                How many post-secondary institutions of higher learning, in the interest of tolerance, and in the spirit of free and unbridled exchange, do not seek to discipline students and faculty who use the word nigger or kike or cunt?

                How many post-secondary institutions of higher learning reject the 2011 Obama “civil rights” guidance regarding adjudications of sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations?

                You know I could go on all night and crush your strawman.

                1. How many? A few dozen? I’m guessing.

                  But these people are not representative of elected Democrats at all while elected Republicans traffic in lies and CT all the time (too many to name).

                  1. It is pervasive. Given that there are thousands of colleges / universities, that means more than a few dozen.

                    One of the best things Reason has done is cover the issue of adjudicating sexual assault and sexual harassment cases at colleges. There was one story last week about the former MSU football player.

                    The progressivism is illustrated by the lack of due process for those accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Everything from being unable to confront one’s accusers to lack of notice.

                    You know you can’t shoehorn me into Team R or make me out to be a Christo-facist. If you have a long memory, you should remember that I have argued that since Christ never said anything derogatory about gays, Christians shouldn’t either.

                    1. LM, it is apparent that there is a problem on many college campuses. But the Democratic Party is not infected with the problem you describe.

                      Dems have enough problems without sticking them with being anti free speech because they are not (even with their misguided campaign reform ideas that George W Bush and John McCain share).

                      And you debate honestly (at least from what I notice)

                    2. If this goddamn message board allowed upvoting or whatever, I’d be hitting each and every one of Libertymike’s posts here with a thumbs up…bravo

              2. Aside from a few idiot college students who are these progressives?

                Everyone who cheered when ABC cancelled the new Rosanne show.

                The people at Google who fired James Damore.

                Anyone who thinks that ruining someone’s career over something they said is good because it will encourage others who might speak the same things to shut up instead.

                1. ABC is a private entity.

                  1. ABC is a private entity.

                    Which has exactly fuck all to do with what I said.

                2. ^Well said

                  1. ^well said, get to da choppah

              3. Aside from a few idiot college students who are these progressives?

                Progressive media, progressive politicians, etc.

                You try saying something bad about Muslims on European TV or in the NYT.

                1. Yes, the left has a blind spot concerning Islam.

                  See ‘the Paradox of Tolerance.

                  The paradox of tolerance was described by Karl Popper in 1945. The paradox states that if a society is tolerant without limit, their ability to be tolerant will eventually be seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Popper came to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.

                  Wikipedia

                  1. The paradox of tolerance was described by Karl Popper in 1945. The paradox states that if a society is tolerant without limit, their ability to be tolerant will eventually be seized or destroyed by the intolerant.

                    Like most paradoxes, this is the result of an incorrect assumption, namely tha “tolerant” can be applied to entire societies and that it is the function of the state to determine what “tolerance” means.

                    When you recognize that tolerance is something interpersonal, individual, and context dependent, the paradox vanishes. The only thing the state needs to do is stay out of people’s lives.

                    1. When you recognize that tolerance is something interpersonal, individual, and context dependent, the paradox vanishes. The only thing the state needs to do is stay out of people’s lives.

                      But what happens when people don’t stay out of other people’s lives?

                      Either you start off with an anarcho-utopia, which will collapse almost immediately because it can’t stop the strongest element from becoming a de facto government, or a minarchy, in which the minimal govt grows slowly but surely.

              4. “Aside from a few idiot college students who are these progressives?”

                Nearly all of you. I can hold a mirror up to you if that helps I’d indentify them.

              5. Aside from a few idiot college students who are these progressives?

                Hate speech = not free speech is not a conservative belief. It is also NOT a fringe belief of Progs.

            2. “Progressivism seeks to silence speech.”

              It does so not so much by utilizing stupid college kids, but by REDEFINING WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO SAY AND WHAT IS NOT. This is not “strawmanning”, it is an actual and currently active tactic right now.

              If you’ll strain your memories, you might even be able to come up with some examples.

          2. “Perfect example.”

            Isn’t it though …

    4. I think preventing progressives from doiminating too much is a more realistic goal. Eliminating ideas from the world is a fool’s errand. Progressive ideology will always appeal to a certain segment of the population. It hasn’t stuck around for 100+ years for nothing.

    5. Should not the objective of free speech absolutists be the relegation of progressivism to the dustbin of history?

      I’m a bit confused as to how Robby’s stance against opposition research is anything but anti-free speech. It’s a deliberate attempt to slew the “right to privacy” into a “right to keep others stupid”.

      At the risk of going full-Hihn:

      The pro-free speech side should be trying to win arguments AGAINST TRUMP, not get caught looking like it intends to play dirty.

    6. I just want to remind everyone that the Reason nonsense standard has gone from “Milo is problematic” to now “Niall Ferguson is problematic”. I got ten dollars on Walter E. Williams becoming problematic by the end of the year.

      It’s amazing to see woketarians become the biggest defenders of political correctness

  4. In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares ? and call them racists.”

    Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian, also tried to rally his fellow members of Journolist: “Listen folks?in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have. This isn’t about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.”

    I believe that Robby is sincere in his concern over free speech*, but it’s harder to take him seriously when his fellow travelers engage in appalling behavior like this.

    *j/k Robby needs the false equivalence or the narrative falls apart. Don’t worry, Robby, I’m sure Ezra will publish the latest talking points soon.

    1. These speakers included Charles Murray, an American Enterprise Institute scholar and author of The Bell Curve, whose visits to colleges have provoked protests and even violence at Middlebury College, the University of Michigan, and elsewhere.

      Baby, you know I love you, but why do you make me hit you like that?

    2. I believe that Robby is sincere in his concern over free speech

      Progressives are always sincere about their concerns; it’s what makes them such a–holes when it comes to actual policy and liberty.

      1. Yeah, sure. But that’s only the “smart ones”, the ones who can actually think a little. There’s a whole ‘nother very well-populated segment of “progressives” who are playing entirely for Twitter Virtue Points (and peepee touches). It’s the most easily achieved virtue since you could buy indulgences.

  5. Denigrating opponents as “SJWs” whose will to resist needs to be crushed is just the kind of uncompromising ideological extremism that the right often claims is all-too-common among the overzealous campus left.

    Which is precisely why the right has to do it twice as hard. It’s literally the only way to win.

  6. Oh, give me a fucking break, Robbie, to be sure.

    Look what those fucktard Antifa SJWs did just today: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018…..rally.html

    Proggies are writing the rules, don’t denigrate those who value liberty over security for utilizing them as well.

    1. Who doesn’t hate the Strawman Anti-Fascist in your mind?

      These people don’t hold office, don’t make laws, and don’t matter in the political world.

      1. “Those people” are the Brownshirts for Ds, entrenched federal bureaucracy, and most (massive) multinational corporations.

        1. Who fight actual Brownshirts then.

          1. I’ve never claimed that they were anything other than Brownshirts fighting (wannabe) Brownshirts. The parenthitical is included because the (wannabe) Brownshirts have nothing backing them and serve only their own narrow interests, while the Brownshirts have a political party and power structure backing them to serve totalitarian interests.

      2. Mayor of Berkeley is notoriously close to them.

      3. “Who doesn’t hate the Strawman Anti-Fascist in your mind?”

        You, apparently.

        You fucktard.

    2. That’s fine, you do you. But don’t call yourself a “free speech absolutist” if your highest moral principle is just aping the left.

      1. There are enough apes on the Left already …

      2. WTF? If someone punches me, and I punch them back, I call that “self-defense”, not “aping”.

        And in this case, what is being done by the right is nowhere near as bad as what the left did first, and indeed arguably not bad at all.

        1. Punching someone back who has punched you isn’t necessarily the best course of action. You would certainly be justified in doing so, but a sensible person ought to consider the longer term consequences.

      3. The problem, I think, is that there is a certain segment of the radical left that will not engage in reasonable debate. They just want to silence people they don’t like. Their whole aim is to shut down speech.
        I certainly don’t support using their own tactics back on them. It just legitimizes it and makes everything stupider. But if they remain completely unwilling to engage intellectually and continue to disrupt and attempt tp silence speakers, what do you do? I think the best thing is to allow them to look ridiculous as they are and to make sure others see how ridiculous it is. But there is a lot of that going on already and I’m not sure how effective it is.

  7. A fishy narrative. Antifa, shouting down speakers, disrupting meetings, blocking speakers even from coming on campus — those are the same as researching someone’s history to point out their pattern of disruptive behavior.

    I expect Mr Soave to next condemn anyone who would look into Harvey Weinstein’s past when considering him for a position of authority, and to condemn anyone who would look into Jesse James’ employment record before hiring him as a bank manager.

  8. Damn. Dwight Clark has died.

    I feel old.

    1. The most famous catch in NFL history. January 10, 1982.

      Do you know who was in the stands that day in Candlestick Park?

      1. Yes, The Catch is all that needs to be said.

        I’m guessing you were there. You’re old too then. Congrats. I wanted to live in SF back then.

        1. No, not me. What, do you think I’m some kind of a self-centered narcissistic Trump?

          Old then? I was 18 years and 359 days on that day. But, alas, I was at home, in RI, watching the game with my dad and my uncle.

          Nevertheless, the answer is TOM BRADY.

          1. That explains the fucker’s ageless black magic.
            Not sure how, but it does.

      2. “Do you know who was in the stands that day in Candlestick Park?”

        Adolph Hitler?

  9. If activists pose a threat to the Cardinal Conversations’ agenda, the correct move is to debate and challenge them.

    That may be the correct move but the MO of the right is to use ratfuckers like James O’Keefe to kneecap their opponents.

    1. By recording their own words and acrions

      1. *actions, actions – whatever

      2. And splicing together words they used to mean something other than what was said.

        Again, the right is completely dishonest and unethical (Obama is a Muslim/Kenyan, Pelosi loves MS-13, etc) – Why the need to lie and cheat if your ideas are so good?

        1. Good question, but evidently misdirected.

          1. Well I don’t know your politics but I assumed you were conservative if posting here.

            1. So you call yourself conservative?

          2. misDIRECTED.
            Pay attention to word choice.

            BTW, ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ have become rather meaningless, other than inaccurate indications of inaccurate directions. It’s why I use the term ‘progressive’ almost exclusively- indicates statist in certain forms, such as communism, Nazism, fascism, socialism – all of which seek to manufacture a “New” Man (hence progressive) through totalitarian central planning

        2. Then there’s Katie Couric’s edited interview with gun people. Some right wing rat fucker must have got in there and fooled her.

          1. Yes, that evil villain Katie Couric who asked those “gotcha questions” of Sista Sarah Palin.

            Bain of the right.

            Lamestream media.

            1. NBC editing the Zimmerman call.

              Dan Rather publishing forged documents.

              Journolists caught openly advocating for dishonest smear campaigns and suppression of truly inconvenient truths.

              O’Keefe capturing liberals exposed with their own words.

              One of these things is not like the other. Dude, you flunked Sesame Street.

        3. You mean like how Trump supports white nationalists?

        4. Ireally don’t buy into the Great Phone and Pen Wielder being anything but Hawiian-born, but I sure as hell don’t know of any non-Muslims studying at Indonesian Madrasas …

  10. slowly, we will continue to crush the Left’s will to resist, as they will crack under pressure.

    Can I use that?

  11. OT – Good for the Super Bowl champs. They won’t attend our fascist POTUS’ propaganda event tomorrow.

    1. I find it funny that you call him a “fascist” when, if he were one, you’d be punished harshly for doing so.

      1. That’s the very bestest, most virtuous kind of virtue! The risk-free, correct-by-assertion kind! You’ll need some straw, of course…

        Seriously, the misuse of ‘fascist’, the redefinition of ‘racist’ and the Twitterverse-level understanding of ‘privilege’ have led to some of the most insane claims, accusations and rants from the progs that I have ever encountered.
        Amusing, sure, but a little scary.

  12. I think leftist students shutting down speakers and harassing professors who disagree with them is a real problem on a lot of elite college campuses. But it’s harder to take this problem seriously when people on the right who claim to support free speech engage in behavior that is also appalling.

    Are you kidding? “Opposition research” is now “appalling”? With that kind of attitude, libertarians and conservatives might as well give up, because it is we who is getting buried.

    enigrating opponents as “SJWs” whose will to resist needs to be crushed is just the kind of uncompromising ideological extremism that the right often claims is all-too-common among the overzealous campus left.

    Only an idiot brings a knife to a gunfight, and the left is fighting with RPGs and automatic weapons.

    1. By the way, “opposition research” doesn’t mean that you go on stage and embarrass your opponent by releasing personal details, that just looks bad; it means being prepared and know your opponents weak spots. It means that if you ask a question like “How do you know?” you already know the answer. It means that if you have a choice of topics or examples to illustrate an issue, you can pick the topic or example where your opponent will be weakest or react the most poorly.

      Going into a debate without such preparation is utter foolishness, in particular with an opponent whose primary strategy is ad hominems, appeal to authority, and name calling to begin with.

    2. “Opposition research” is now “appalling”? With that kind of attitude, libertarians and conservatives might as well give up, because it is we who is getting buried.

      Yeah, but you get to feel principled while they’re destroying the very things you claim to support. And isn’t feeling like you have the moral high ground while they’re beating you into paste what’s most important?

      1. Should we note that Robby seems to using oppo research to attack the Right here?

  13. So Ferguson engaged in an”uncompromising ideological extremism” and “behavior that is also appalling”. Get the fuck out with that fascist thought; fucking please. He was a great moderator and didn’t let people babble on, unlike the physics professor woman who replaced him. I thank Peter Thiel for bringing Ferguson and the ideological dark web thinkers to the forefront to combat this obvious toxic-killing America PC culture. I purposefully use the word fuck in hope that you censor.

  14. Well, Ken’s gotta be on his 4th pair of shorts by now…
    3-0 Caps

    1. And Trump has dis-invited the Eagles to the White House cause only ten or so were going to show up. I have no idea why the rest weren’t going to show; guess they weren’t serious about maybe giving Trump a few of their ideas about criminal justice reform. Sen. Casey says the White House visit was all about politics and then invites them to visit him on Capitol Hill (which is like the last place there’s any of that corrupting political stuff.)

      1. Because chumming with kneelers is going to help the Dems take back the House, or something.

        1. Is authoritarianism the main course, and bigotry the bonus, for clingers on the anthem issue, or vice versa?

          1. Ask the NFL, hicklib, they won’t even let these guys were the wrong pair of socks without getting a fine.

  15. Denigrating opponents as “SJWs”

    “Social justice warrior” started out as a self-chosen, positive term by people advocating for social justice. It has become a dirty word because of who those people actually are. Ditto with “liberal”, “socialism”, “communism”, “fascism”, etc. Groups adopted them because they sounded positive, but as they became identified with the groups that adopted them, their meaning turned negative.

    1. At some point we’re going to run into a singularity where the Left soils their self-appellations faster than they can come up with new ones.

    2. Only in your sick head.

      1. No, he’s 100% correct.

        The term *originated* in the activist-left, and was a label of pride for many years.

        they – and i include Robby in the “They” – only pretend its a slur *now*, because the term has become so useful in describing a very common phenomenon:

        – the ‘hyperaggressive progressive-activist who endlessly finds-fault in every manifestation of language or representations in media or (gasp) hotel-shampoo

        …things so trivial and laughable that every normal person in america wonders, “Who are these idiots?”

        Those idiots are SJWs. The term they invented, the term they adopted, is the same term others know them by. The fact that they now want to burn the term, and declare its use as a “slur”, is just an extension of their same ‘declaring victimhood’ tactics they use for everything (described below as ‘soccer-flopping’)

        There is no reason to stop using the term. At least as long as they continue reinforcing the stereotype, and doing exactly the same things they’ve always done.

        1. … and now “Opposition Research” must contain Russian hookers and peepee.

        2. Well said, GILMORE.

          A similar thing occurred with the term “fake news”. People like to pretend Trump invented it, but it was actually coined by the MSM to discredit non corporate media reporting. They were too stupid and oblivious to realize how easily, and appropriately, that term could be turned back upon themselves – which is exactly what Trump did.

          1. Good post, GIlmore and apt comparison Nardz.

            There’s even some evidence that “liberal” has regained positive connotation from the vast numbers of smart, decent (but ultimately misguided, sry) people moving away from activities the SJWs indulge in.

            And we may now hope to see in the near future a confirmation of my belief that those idiots have played their hand waaaay too early…they don’t even have the “normal people” who call themselves liberal Democrats on board. Too much glaringly obvious insanity.

  16. Reason Magazine, ever in defense of those who would beat people until free speech isn’t even a possibility.

    REASON
    Chained minds and Controlled Markets

    1. Reason: Muh Moral Preening Uber Alles!

  17. “But it’s harder to take this problem seriously when people on the right who claim to support free speech engage in behavior that is also appalling.”

    I’m appalled that the Right never fights back.

    The fundamental moral mistake of the Right, for a century, is mistaking complicity in one way rules as supporting the rules, instead of betraying them.

    One way ceasefire is surrender
    One way rule of law is subjection
    One way civility is subservience

    Fight back.

    1. Robby doesn’t approve of that.

  18. I did some opposition research via Google and found that Michael Ocon was accused during a student election of some kind of affiliation with Turning Point USA, a conservative outfit.

    Now *there’s* a serious accusation!

  19. I am confident there are many outstanding features coming soon. Keep up the good work!
    http://vex3friv.com/pandas-in-the-desert/

  20. Niall Ferguson is one of the few non-retards in Academia in the liberal arts. Dumping all over one of the few non-retards is a shame.

    Perhaps his removal can make room for some Women’s Studies critical theory retard here.

  21. The pro-free speech side should be trying to win arguments, not get caught looking like it intends to play dirty.

    Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. 90+% of journalism is opposition research you fucking halfwit. Had Ferguson revealed something immaterial as a whimsical personal attack, or if he withheld crucial information revealed from the research out of some sympathy or misplaced loyalty, he’d rightly be called a hack. If he’d broken the law in pursuit of personal information, he’d be regarded as a criminal. But he’s done nothing wrong and you’re equivocating him to an opposition that riots on campuses and assaults speakers. Researching your opposition is SOP as the alternative is blissful ignorance of them. Godfuckingdammit, your criticism here completely encapsulates both the mental and physical laziness of the modern media. If only because you’re equivocating when your peers wouldn’t even work that hard.

    1. “”90+% of journalism is opposition research you fucking halfwit.””

      Or, in Robby’s case, treating Vox-characterizations of people they hate as hard-fact

  22. Denigrating opponents as “SJWs”

    Noted:

    between 2011 and 2014, you can find a half-dozen examples of people in the SJW ‘community’ (the nexus between Tumblr + Youtube and various low-budget left-media journos like ur Gawkers/Jezzy and Verge and others etc) calling *themselves* ‘Social Justice Warriors’, and doing so with pride.

    Arthur Chu, Lindy West, Laurie Penny, Randi Lee Harper, the various purple-haired cadre who eventually became stars of Gamergate (Brianna Wu, Zoe Quinn, et al)…. all at various points adopted the label WILLINGLY

    in Chu’s case, he embraced it as a 100%-accurate indicator of their organizing principle and their willingness to use extreme methods. He wrote a now famous facebook post defending the use of the term.

    The fact is is now treated as tho “using it as an insult” is dirty pool? is a case study in the flopping-soccer-player tactics of the aggressive-left, who endlessly redefine language to serve their purposes.

    No: they are SJWs, and it is if anything a generous label that they’ve earned. There is no way in hell i’m taking seriously complaints about ‘terms’ from people who gratuitously refer to anything that bothers them as “nazi”.

    1. ^this^

    2. Superbly put.

  23. Fuck yeah! Niall Ferguson is also now “problematic”. Makes sense, his wife is an “Islamaphobe” because she left Islam and is critical of the faith. Stupid bigot, you can only insult Christians. Anything else would not be “woke”.

    Looking forward to the “Libertarian Case Why George Will is Literally Hitler for Reasons”.

  24. Saying that this behavior is “equally appalling” in comparison to shouting down or shutting down speakers, or rioting and destroying property, is nonsense. “Digging up dirt” is not necessarily wrong; defamation is. If relevant facts can discredit someone, then nothing is wrong with publicizing them. Was it “appalling” to release and publicize the tape of Trump’s old comments to Billy Bush? It was an accurate tape, and people were able to determine its relevance. This is the whole theory behind “impeachment of witnesses” in court: that facts can be used to undermine the position of a witness. In litigation, there are strict limitations on this, but there are, of course fewer in politics. As long as one does not lie, or use facts that are irrelevant to the purpose, then what the people at Stanford did should not be compared to assault and property damage, as practiced by Antifa, or even to shouting down or physical obstruction, as students have done in attempts to prevent speeches by Charles Murray, Heather MacDonald, Josh Blackman, etc.

  25. “He also instructed conservative students to “bury” and “intimidate” the “SJWs.” ”

    Oppo research is fine in preparation for reasoned debate. The problem is that the words he used have coercive implications. If he just said “out-debate” and “convince” or “make them look silly” he wouldn’t be in trouble. That’s probably what he meant, but the words he used sound bad.

    The same wording in intercepted emails composed by “Anti-fa” anarchists would be used as evidence of their inherent violence and irrationality.

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