Campus Free Speech

Putting Limits on Acceptable Scholarship


I have a new post up at Real Clear Politics on emerging proposals to monitor and discipline professors for publishing scholarship that is deemed "racist." Unfortunately, the most prominent version of such a proposal comes from a faculty letter at my home institution of Princeton. The letter has a long list of demands, but one in particular stands out for its creativity and implications for the future of academia.

11. Constitute a committee composed entirely of faculty that would oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty, following a protocol for grievance and appeal to be spelled out in Rules and Procedures of the Faculty. Guidelines on what counts as racist behavior, incidents, research, and publication will be authored by a faculty committee for incorporation into the same set of rules and procedures.

This proposal has gotten some attention, and it is not clear how many of the professors who signed the letter actually support its most notorious demand. If we are fortunate, it will be abandoned as a bit of irrational exuberance from the long, hot summer of 2020.

Unfortunately, the proposal to carve out an exception in protections for academic freedom for research is a natural extension of longstanding proposals to regulate "hate speech" on college campuses and beyond. If such an exception to the acceptable range of scholarly research is accepted at leading institutions of higher education, it would certainly be a big step forward in the campaign to convince American courts to discover a new exception to constitutional protections for free speech.

Here's a taste of the Real Clear Politics post:

Given today's expansive and nebulous scope of what might qualify as "racist," it's not hard to imagine such a broad exception to academic freedom being used to remove professors who find themselves on the wrong side of this committee of public safety. Any number of legitimate but controversial questions of scholarly interest could run afoul of such an exception to academic freedom, even if everyone involved was acting in good faith. On matters related to race, the proposal advises scholars not to follow evidence wherever it may lead but rather to question whether the evidence serves the desired political narrative. Substandard or unprofessional research and teaching are in most cases already subject to sanction by universities—but asking an interdisciplinary committee to evaluate whether research in specialized fields of study is professionally incompetent invites politicized investigations.

Read the whole thing here.

NEXT: Mask Mandates and the Right to Vote

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  1. If you have to ask the committee if it's's racist.

    If you're not conscious of any racism, you're racist *and* in denial.

    1. That is circular logic, and it was used for years against the LBGTQ movement -- until they organized and got themselves established as a protected class. And perhaps that's what White heterosexual males need to do as well.

  2. Totalitarian attitudes are in ascendence at Universities. If you want to research something, research how to defeat totalitarian ideologies. How was the Inquisition defeated? How was McCarthyism defeated? How is cult indoctrination countered? How can regular people defend or protect themselves?

    1. For starters, you need to drop the idea that McCarthy was a totalitarian.

      1. Non sequitur. Didn't say he was.

        1. So, you were saying, research how to defeat totalitarian ideologies, and how they successfully beat back efforts to defeat them, then?

      2. Nor that McCarthy was wrong -- the access to the Soviet archives that we gained in the 1990s showed just how right he was.

        Now as to him being drunk -- him being a hopeless alcoholic by even the standards of his times -- sadly, that is true. While it was covered up, as such things were back then, historians generally concede that the bottle killed him a couple of years later.

    2. Read Allan Bloom's _The Closing of the American Mind_ (1987).

      He saw the trouble coming more than 30 years ago, and at this point, I don't think that academia can be saved. We need to shut off the Federal largess, eliminate legal barriers to alternative credentialing (including the ABA ones), and let the whole damn thing crash & burn.

      From the wreckage will emerge that which has legitimate value.

  3. Another reason to defund higher "education."

  4. Academia has already been captured by the left, and converted to the end of indoctrination. It's almost certainly too late to save the institutions already taken over, our best hope is new institutions, with a very strong attention to Conquest's second rule of politics.

    1. One of my colleagues audited a class at the local college with his son. He was interested in the subject and had a case where having a little academic background would help him effectively guide discovery. He was absolutely shocked how a hard science course could have been so rampant with PC dogma. The instructor used the first 10 minutes to talk about the "Daily Diversity Minute" and largely class time would devolve into rants about Trump. After a few weeks he asked his son if that was representative of the rest of his classes and the son said, "oh yeah thats why we don't go to them...I just go because you wanted to attend this one..."

      The swamp doesn't just need to be drained. Removal of all of this is going to be a Superfund style project.

      1. I believe this thirdhand anecdote wholeheartedly.

        1. I do -- I've been there and seen it.

          Worst part is the minority students who genuinely want to learn and who don't have family & friends to explain the stuff that the professor isn't.

          1. Now I believe it even less.

          2. Starting to not believe you're really working at a university.

            I've been to maybe 1200-1500 science/math/engineering lectures as a student, taught maybe 3000-4000 myself, and sat in on maybe 100 as either a peer advisor, casual visitor, or as part of a team. I've seen anything like what Jimmy the Dane claims he heard about.....exactly zero times.

            Not going to say it never happened anywhere, but I do think you and Jimmy are both engaging in the common rhetorical strategy of saying "always" when you really mean "it happened once and that's unacceptable to me".

            1. Well those numbers surely make you an expert at the current goings on in university classes w.r.t wokeness.

              1. Plenty of wokeness going on in Title IX offices and social sciences. However, the claim was that regular science classes have been taken over, and it just ain't true.

          3. Of course you believe it. You believe any anecdote, ever, that confirms whatever priors you're carrying around at any moment. In two weeks you'll be regurgitating this story as if you lived it. Why do you think nobody (and I don't mean on this website) ever listens to you?

      2. “'oh yeah thats why we don’t go to them…'"

        The two dirty little secrets on college campuses: absenteeism and alcoholism, tied together by a common thread -- the desire to escape from a nightmare universe.

        1. "The two dirty little secrets on college campuses: absenteeism and alcoholism..."

          My god you're about to blow the lid off the biggest secret in history. College students drink alcohol and don't attend class? Who else have you told???

    2. High-quality academia is operated by and for the liberal-libertarian mainstream in America.

      Conservatives control plenty of low-ranked schools, however, and are welcome to create even more fourth-tier, censorship-shackled, nonsense-teaching, dogma-enforcing goober farms that discriminate against reason, science, and most people.

      1. Kirkland -- you're talking 10% of the population here.

        And remind me why Apartheid was bad & wrong?

        1. Which 10 percent of which population?

  5. That’s a moronic proposal from the Princeton faculty, but let’s remember that most academic research is worthless, so it doesn’t matter much. As a practicing attorney, law review articles by professors are about the last source I would consult. I’d bet it’s been 10 years since I read one.

  6. Imagine when race theory comes to engineering schools. If you don't let scientists follow where the data leads them, we will end up with disasters. By analogy, look at the possible warping of the Three Gorges Dam (and other possible problems with that structure).

    1. I haven't heard that but am not surprised.
      Likelyhood of catastrophic failure?


        I'm not an engineer either, but if it is not hitched to the bedrock, in a geologically active area like that, I doubt it's going to last 50 years...

        1. The Chinese officially stated those "after" photos 'might' be photoshopped. It's pretty bad when your own propagandists can't bring themselves to be definite about something like that.

          Besides Covid 19, they're also apparently dealing with serious food shortages. If that dam goes, it *might* be enough to topple the Chicoms.

          But I'm probably just being overly optimistic.

          1. I'm with you that China has some threats coming down the pike. I look at their demographics myself.

            1. That, too. Turns out that once you disrupt childbearing like that, it's hard to get it started back up again.

              My biggest fear on the demographic front is that they'd start a war just to improve their sex ratio.

          2. We've been waiting a long time to finally unleash Chiang Kai-shek.

  7. "...the proposal advises scholars not to follow evidence wherever it may lead but rather to question whether the evidence serves the desired political narrative."

    This is the formula of the new Lysenkoism in every field of intellectual endeavor. This summer it is about race. The prohibition will include atmospheric sciences next year, and epidemiology soon thereafter.

    Don't be surprised when such rules become the subject of advisory letters from the Harris Department of Education.

    1. If 350 prominent members of any community signed anything remotely as stupid of this that could be considered "right wing" the media would be all over it reductionist logic like "well it wasn't that many" wouldn't matter.

  8. Yeah, this is pretty idiotic, but before we start panicing about a takeover of Princeton, let's note that, as Friedersdorf points out Princeton has 950 full-time faculty, and the letter garnered only 350 signatures, a fair number of them students and staff, so fewer than one third of the faculty signed.

    It's also worth noting that some of the signatories don't agree with all the demands, especially the one Whittington highlighted. Now, they should have read more carefully, of course, but still.

    I suspect this will get a polite response with some minimal action taken.

    1. Well, that shows admirable sang froid. But let's just change the political test. Suppose it was "just 350" signatures at Princeton for setting up :

      "a committee composed entirely of faculty that would oversee the investigation and discipline of un-American behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty, following a protocol for grievance and appeal to be spelled out in Rules and Procedures of the Faculty. Guidelines on what counts as un-American behavior, incidents, research, and publication will be authored by a faculty committee for incorporation into the same set of rules and procedures."

      And to judge the prospects of such a proposal being adopted, in whole or in part, in due time, let me stipulate a Princeton faculty that is politically the mirror image of what the real one is - ie a vast predominance of registered Republicans and Republican donors, many of them enthusiastic Trumpists, and a great many considerably further right than that - many more than the tiny sprinkling of registered Democrats or Dem donors.

      Now, how froid is your sang ?

      1. Still pretty froid. Maybe unwisely so.

        I think the storm will pass.

        1. I think the storm will pass, too. Leaving ruin in its wake, though.

    2. These things as universities are run by committees and faculty who care enough to get involved.

      350 out of 950 is probably enough to make this happen.

  9. OMG. Reading that thing from Princeton is reminiscent of China's Cultural Revolution. Is that where we are heading?

    I always sneered at the alarmists who stock up on AK47s in the face of such news. Now I wonder if I was wrong.

    1. AR-15 a superior weapon.

      1. Reason, education, tolerance, modernity, science, and inclusiveness are the winners.

  10. Its a cult jim. Modern 'Progressivism' is a cult. The takeover of schools and other institutions is basically the same as if it was taken over by Scientology or Heaven's Gate or any other tinpot group. Being a larger group maybe the rhetoric is a bit more refined but the censorship and degradation and misery caused in the end would be the same or greater.

  11. It would be unreasonable to expect professors actually to read and understand something they signed. Virtue signaling was all they cared about.

  12. The title had me interested. But it was another shameful anecdote. With some RCP totes nonpartisan analysis added on.

    And then the comments are the usual massive generalization - all schools are liberal indoctrination and should be ended, liberals are all authoritarians. Only missing Ed coming in and worrying bad petitions will result in right-wing violence.

    It's not a conversation, it's an angry hug-box.

    1. So you're saying colleges being significantly leftwing vs the general population is an extremely rare anomaly and theres this hidden vast majority of colleges which are bastions of centrism or conservatism mirroring the political distribution of the country that we never hear about for some reason?

      1. The fallacy is that partisans who can't control themselves think no one else can either.

        Most professors, you don't know their politics in class.

        1. If colleges were forming boards to ensure profeminist or proBLM research isn't published or actively discriminating against women and Colored-oops I mean People of Color and holding classes about Black Fragility or Gay Fragility and teaching how blacks and gays are the root of all problems in civilization and instituting mandatory training for all employees and students to learn this you and your ilk sure as sugar would be raising the roof on these specific things.

          You wouldn't be puttering around and trying to divert attention to 'look at the bigger more general picture'. Its actually kind of insulting that you think people here would be dumb enough to buy this.

          1. Love it when people let me know the speculative double standard they think I have.

            Oh...that's all you got?

            Well, come back when you have something beyond what you angrily imagine I'd do.

            1. Okay fine, link to me one past example where you minimize rightwing 'extremism' to the same extent as you regularly minimize leftwing extremism.

              1. Amos, I condemn all this illiberal nonsense. Which I do every time something like this is brought up, regardless of the politics of the professor in charge.
                Which is more than I can say for you.

                How about when I said that the comentariat at the VC doesn't represent the rest of conservatives; y'all are a lot more crazy. Which is good, considering the number that think it would be rational to kill liberals before they put you into camps or something.

                1. You can't find even one example....or at the very least its difficult for even you to find one. Got it.

                  1. This blog does not cover right-wing extremism very much, Amos.

                    I have been consistent that mass shooters, even ones against Dems, are motivated by being nuts, not by partisanship.

          2. His whole shtick is to play Internet Ostrich.

            He doesn't want you to believe what you see with your eyes.

            1. Or maybe your whole thing is to be melodramatic about everything and wallow in confirmation bias.

              1. You're the guy who seems to believe all these riots, Burnings, Lootings, and Murders aren't happening and there are just peaceful protests going on.

                1. Yeah, we've all been saying there are no riots, only sunny days.

                  You've excluded the middle to a very impressive extent.

        2. if they teach physics that is true.

          1. You went to college, I presume. Did you know your English prof's politics? Your history prof's?

            I was last in school in 2015, and too history and business and science policy and lobbying and saw very little politics. And what I did came through informally before or after class.

            I see no sign that has changed in any general way.

            1. Erika Christakis and Keith Whittington have more and more recent experience than Sarcastro, and they disagree. So why should we trust him?

              1. Keith says there's an emerging trend he doesn't like.
                He's not fulminating at modern indoctrination centers or anything like that.

                Also faculty will naturally have a different perspective than students. People here are speaking for students.

                And, finally, Real Clear Politics is not itself free from an agenda, so beware confirmation bias when reading their stories.

                1. Prof. Whittington is a conservative sufficiently motivated by movement conservatism to join the Volokh Conspiracy.

                  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it makes him a dedicated partisan in this context.

                  1. And I guess Allison Stanger is a right-wing zealot also, who got what she had coming?

                    1. Bad guess.

                2. And, finally, Real Clear Politics is not itself free from an agenda

                  An agenda to routinely post stories on both sides of controversial issues?

                  An agenda to present all polling statistics instead of just cherry-picking certain ones?

                  An agenda to provide a platform for voices across the political spectrum -- from Obama to Trump to Pelosi to Gingrich?

                  Or were you talking about a different RealClearPolitics?

                    1. Is this your attempt at a PizzaGate? That you can demonstrate bias in the content on RCP by means of a completely different site with an unapologetically different bent that has an older version on the Internet Archive that had some Google Analytics Javascript code that a journalist at the Daily Beast thinks is the same as the code on RCP?

                      I do think you've officially proved confirmation bias -- just not from the source you were hoping to.

                    2. RCP acknowledges it was their website. Do you believe their explanation?
                      An October 2019 article in The Daily Beast reported that Real Clear Media manages a Facebook page of "far-right memes and Islamophobic smears." Anand Ramanujan, Chief Technology Officer for Real Clear Media, responded that the company created the website that was affiliated with the Facebook page "as part of an effort to understand the flow of traffic from social media—particularly Facebook—to political websites."


                      Hows about a quote from the Founder:
                      "In a 2003 interview with the conservative magazine Human Events, McIntyre described the philosophy behind the website as based on "freedom" and "common-sense values". Said Bevan, "We think debate on the issues is a very important thing. We post a variety of opinions". He further stated, "we have a frustration all conservatives have", which is "the bias in media against conservatives, religious conservatives, [and] Christian conservatives"

                    3. Well, no, RCP didn't admit anything, much less about the content of RCP. Reread your own cut-and-pastes if you need to. Again, you're playing PizzaGate: "Dude, look at all those DOTS!!!"

                      It's also amusing that you're presenting as evidence of smoking-gun bias a quote from the founder that says: “We think debate on the issues is a very important thing. We post a variety of opinions."

                    4. the company created the website that was affiliated with the Facebook page

                      Do better.

                      The quote espouses a conservative oppression worldview, and sees RCP as a way to address it. If you're not worried about liberal points of view, bias is baked in.

                      But you knew that. You're just trolling now, methinks.

                    5. Do better.

                      Says the one choosing their own conspiratorial adventure from a haphazard factual slurry. Do better indeed.

                      The quote espouses a conservative oppression worldview, and sees RCP as a way to address it. If you’re not worried about liberal points of view, bias is baked in.

                      So lemme get this straight: the standard we are now going to apply--across the board--is that a group that seeks to balance out the voice of a marginalized minority is actually baking in bias against the non-marginalized majority.

                      Ready to sign your name to that?

                3. Well Sarcastr0....There is truth to what Professor Whittington wrote or there is not. I guess that is the question. The letter is public. So which is it?

      2. "So you’re saying colleges being significantly leftwing vs the general population..."

        Is what you would expect from any industry that serves customers who are significantly leftwing vs the general population. Right?

    2. "But it was another shameful anecdote."

      There sure are a lot of shameful anecdotes happening at Universities now, eh? I can certainly see why you want to shift focus.

      1. Anecdotes are anecdotes. I treat them as such.

        Or at least I try to; I have my temptations to generalize based on them, but unlike those here who lean into it, I try to do better than that.

        1. You just generalized the comment thread based on a few comments.

          1. Come off it, TiP. That evidence is right here in front of you; it's not a few comments.

            1. The evidence is right here in front of you, it's not just a few riots.

              1. I have an easy baseline - the total number of comments in this thread.

                You don't want a baseline. Because you want to push a narrative you feel, not actual facts.

                1. Did you hear about Kenosha last night? Mostly peaceful protests, right S?

                  1. ...You think that's a good story for the police side?

                    1. I think it's a worse story for the rioters' side.

                    2. It's never a good story for the rioters.

                      But the protests about police violence were not harmed by another brick in that narrative.

                      Though IMO the tactical thing to do would be to stop protesting and be ready to restart the time the police kill someone who is unarmed. This looks like it's going to fade into the background.

            2. Says the pot to the kettle

    3. Yeah but can you actually make the case, straight faced, that 99% of colleges or universities are NOT indoctrination centers? I don't think you can without being a sociopathic liar since that is exactly what they are in the end.

      1. LOL, great argument.

        1. I noticed you didn't even try to prove me wrong which would be impossible because I am 100% right.

          1. You didn't make an argument, you just called me a liar.

            I came here for an argument; that's just abuse.

          2. You didn't even try to back up your claim, which came straight out of your ass.

            1. Common sense backs up such a claim. One generally does not have to prove the sky is blue or the fact that 99% of colleges are liberal indoctrination sleep away camps.

  13. So to try for more interesting issues off of this, is it okay to hold some viewpoints unacceptable and who should therefore not be hired?

    Like someone who thinks the Nazis were good, actually. I do not believe schools must be forced to hire a guy like that.
    While I do want wide latitude of inquiry, I do think think there are civil bounds of conversation that come into place at some point.

    1. Is employment discrimination acceptable on principle? Or is it only acceptable for things that match your personal worldview?

      1. Not what I asked, Sam. Don't make it partisan; are there limits to what someone could think where you don't believe a school should hire them?

        I mean, you seem to think being gay means you're a pedophile - do you think being gay should be acceptable in those who teach our children?

        1. Can you quote me where I said that? I recall saying something along the lines that gay culture has a problem with pedophilia, as evidenced by things like the cultural term "chickenhawking" or the recent Pedophile Protection Act gaining traction in California.

          That seems different than what you claimed

          1. Does [gay's] child grooming make you equally sad or are you okay with that in the name of tolerance?

            1. "Does [gay’s] child grooming make you equally sad or are you okay with that in the name of tolerance?"


              " you seem to think being gay means you’re a pedophile"

              0 Results.

              Good try.

              1. Glad you're not doubling down, but rather weaseling out. Shows social progress.

                What do you think grooming refers to?

        2. ...are there limits to what someone could think where you don’t believe a school should hire them?

          Yes. The advocation for, and/or practice of pedophilia is off-limits. The active advocation for the physical extermination of a class of people (i.e. gender, race, religion, ethnicity) is off-limits. The active advocation for the violent overthrow of our Republic is off-limits.

          Those are three examples that I think are disqualifying for me.

          1. That is a phenomenal list. It covers just about everything I was mulling over.

            I'd also throw Holocaust denial in the mix. It's not quite advocating for physical extermination, but it's close enough for me.

            1. Me, I don't hire the Holocaust denier. I smile, thank them for their time and politely show them the door. Look, people believe all kinds of stupid shit. If belief in stupid shit is disqualifying, then we are gonna have a lot of unemployed people walking around.

      2. Is employment discrimination acceptable on principle?

        Come on. Employment discrimination is entirely acceptable if it's the right kind-- for example, based on skills and experience. Law already prescribes the wrong kinds.

        1. So, if the law were to change, so would your principles. Got it.

      3. Is anything OK? Does it forward a leftist idea? If the answer is "yes" then "yes it is OK." If the answer is "no" then "no it is not OK and is probably some kind of -ism."

        1. Try again. This time consider the policy question and don't digress into how victimized you are.

      4. " Is employment discrimination acceptable on principle? "

        Conservative-controlled institutions are ardent viewpoint-based discriminators. Conservative schools discriminate -- against reasoning people in particular -- with respect to hiring, admissions, administration, and firing. From gardeners to students, faculty members to janitors, basketball coaches to librarians. When a Catholic institution refuses to hire anyone other than a Catholic to wash dishes in the cafeteria, some people seem not to mind employment discrimination.

        That's because they are low-quality people.

        1. "Conservative-controlled institutions are ardent viewpoint-based discriminators."

          You must have zero self-awareness.

          1. Dunno what you're thinking about. RAK often says stuff like 'bigot clingers deserve rights too.'

            1. All of the liberal-controlled institutions who are currently engaged in rampant viewpoint-based discrimination?

              Or is that another thing you have your head stuck in the sand over?

    2. "Like someone who thinks the Nazis were good, actually."

      What about someone who thinks Communism is cool? That would be a more relevant comparison.

      This used to be an issue, with some people wanting to keep Communist Party members from college campuses and others for making them just as eligible for professorships as Democrats or Republicans.

      Guess which side won?

      1. I tried not to make it partisan.

        Also Communism is a much broader and varied thing than Naziism.

        Also the right finds Communism many places where I would not.

        Lets stick with Nazis.

        1. Why is Communism more partisan than National Socialism?

          There was an actual controversy about Communist Party members. Ronald Reagan tried to get Angela Davis fired for her CP membership, for example.

          Would you say that firing a National Socialist would warrant the following criticism (quoted in the article): "Setting aside the relevant evidence in order to appeal to their unsubstantiated fears about politically indoctrinating the students is not only unfair: it is procedurally irregular, at odds with the interests of the students and the university, and frankly absurd. I’d like to believe that nothing like this strange episode could happen now."?

          1. I explained why Communism is not the same as Naziism. Communism is a much broader and varied thing than Naziism.

            So, anyhow, do you think there are any limits to what viewpoints are acceptable, or are you just going to turn the subject to partisanship whenever you can.

            1. I don't see why Communism is more partisan than National Socialism.

              "do you think there are any limits to what viewpoints are acceptable"

              When hiring professors? At a private institution, I'd love to see limits on hiring the various flavors of totalitarians, including National Socialists. I'd probably like to see them refuse to hire believers in racial discrimination (without entering into a debate on whether racial discrimination is always racist depending on the goodfeels of the person doing the discriminating).

              1. How do you define Communism is an open and debatable question.

                How do you define Naziism is not.

                I agree with you in principle about private institutions having some limits, though almost certainly not about what they should be. Which requires the contours be very, very wide for us both to agree.

                1. "How do you define Communism is an open and debatable question.

                  How do you define Naziism is not."

                  WTF? Seriously, what do you mean by that? As far as I can tell, the people going around saying you should "punch a Nazi" define "Nazism" as "Not a left-winger", if not, "Whoever I feel like punching."

                  In terms of canonical "Nazis", actual members of a Nazi party, there are basically none. Ditto for people self-identifying as such. If you're talking about "Nazis" in the present day, there's absolutely question about how you define it.

                  1. I'm not counting Internet Goodwinners, which I'm pretty sure you could have figured out.

                    There are not a lot of modern Nazis in percentage terms. And by that you and I seem to agree we're talking about people who endorse and adhere to the Nazi Party's policies, with the only question being whether those people think the Holocaust was real and good or fake and...still good.

                    Lots of people like that? No. That's why I picked them for a hypothetical about extreme outlier views.

                2. S-0,
                  "How do you define Communism is an open and debatable question. How do you define Naziism is not."
                  Are you serious? OR do you have a hidden agenda with such a comment?

                  1. Yeah, I'm a hidden Communist.

                    What's your issue? I'm not a fan, but Communism has it's sects and flavors. And where does Marxism fit in? Socialism? Democratic Socialism?

                    Naziism is vastly simpler.

                    1. Look, your statement is either trivial or wrong.
                      Trivial in that Naziism is understood as German nationalist socialism while communism makes a pretense of being internationalist and in any case has appeared in multiple countries.

                      Wrong in that your are overlooking the gross similarities in the doctrines of all communist parties and even the similarities with so-call right wing fascism.

                      As for hidden agendas, I am always suspicious of intellectual dishonesty

                    2. It's the trivial one.

                      Communism started as a philosophy, it was interpreted and implemented in a number of countries in a number of different ways and was horrific in a number of different ways and magnitudes.

                      China today is awful. And Communist. But it's also not quite Mao's Great Leaps Forward. Lumping it together is reductive.

                      If you're going to go and compare Communism and Nazism, you're being a narrativist jackwagon and completely ahistorical. They are different extremes.

              2. "@DonaldJTrumpJr: "Our kids' futures -- our grandchildren's futures after them are dependent on not letting this country go full commie."

                What the heck does that mean?!

                1. Maybe you should ask @DonaldJTrumpJr, he's the one who said it.

            2. "Communism is a much broader and varied thing than Naziism."

              That makes it good!

              1. It makes it more problematic to blanket ban.

                1. There may be some version of Communism that isn't a problem. No, I'll say that there ARE a few versions that aren't a problem, in the sense that the damage, while present, is self-limiting. The sort of communism that doesn't think other forms of social arrangements are immoral, and can justifiably be stamped out.

                  I don't think those are the sorts of "communism" that tend to infiltrate and take over institutions like university faculties. In fact, non-aggressive communism has pretty much died out, just because it didn't work, and wasn't "spreading faster than it killed its own hosts." Communism has evolved for virulence.

                  1. So lets restart McCarthyism and purge university faculty.
                    You know, to protect freedom.

                    You are at the same time arguing that Communism must be unacceptable and arguing for an expansive definition of Communism to include Professors teaching Marxist theory or whatnot.

                2. Which version of communism isn't bad?

                  1. You exclude the middle once again. Lots of things are bad and not be 'you shouldn't be hired as a Professor' bad.

                    For instance, the Democrat Party, which people like you can't stop calling communist.

        2. Well, sure: Communism is more virulent, it spread wider and diversified, while Nazism's appeal was local. Further, Communism regrettably benefited from being on the winning side of WWII, even though it started out on the losing side. So the defense against it wasn't thorough enough, the Communists were not effectively purged from positions of influence the way the Fascists were.

          "Also the right finds Communism many places where I would not."

          Well, you're deep in de Nile, and it's dark down there, hard to find anything.

          1. That, plus the Left tends to "find Nazism" whenever anyone opposes it. Wasn't the Tea Party supposed to be Nazis?

            1. If you hate that (and you should - it is indeed dumb and devalues the actual horrors of the Holocaust), you should also hate Brett's reflexive overuse of redbaiting.

              1. My position is that there hasn't, historically, been ENOUGH "redbaiting", that Communists should have been treated exactly like Fascists, hunted down and purged from all civilized society. All the distinctions between Communism and Fascism point to Communism actually being worse.

                1. Redbaiting brought us as close to fascism as America ever approached.

                  1. Sheesh. Did purging the fascist sympathizers have that risk, too? Would you argue that we shouldn't have engaged in a Nazi hunt?

                    The left talked a good game about freedom of speech, and academic freedom, to spare Communists in positions of influence. We can see how much of that was really principled now that they're in a position to censor: Damned little of it. It was just tactical.

                    Now, here we are, we didn't purge the Communists, and now the universities are churning out Antifa thugs, and the reds themselves conducted their own slow motion purge by ceasing to allow conservatives to be hired everywhere they were in a position to do it.

                    Seems to me that the failure to "redbait" is what really brought us the problems.

                    1. I don't recall a blacklist about fascist sympathizers. Nor HUAC going against fascists. Your analogy only shows how different and ridiculous the red scare was.

                      Of COURSE you think the only reason the left likes or liked free speech was to protect Communists. Without any support other than your conviction bad faith is everywhere but on you.

                      Your paranoid styling of Antifa thugs and Communist professors would lead us to a land of secret police and thought crimes. And given how much bad faith you suss out everywhere you look, the purges would be brutal.

                    2. "I don’t recall a blacklist about fascist sympathizers."

                      Yeah, it was fairly uncontroversial, didn't generate any famous allegorical books that a couple generations of school kids would be forced to read, or movies of miraculously innocent victims. But the House Committee on Un American Activities did go after fascists, too. With much less push back and drama, in part because it was happening during WWII, while going after the Communists while allied with Stalin would have been a bit dicey.

                    3. I think you may be conflating being pro-German with being fascist.

                      Disloyalty is not an ideology.

                    4. Disloyalty isn't an ideology, but an ideology can certainly be disloyalty. HUAC did go after fascists, too. It just wasn't as controversial, especially after the war got started. So the job was pretty much done by the end of the war.

                      You can see in this article I linked to part of the problem here: They mention Hiss's claim to have been innocent, without any mention that there is, in fact, no question AT ALL that he was guilty as charged. The left has successfully created the general impression that the "Red scare" was a 'witch hunt' for spies and infiltrators who didn't really exist. This is a total perversion of history, the US government actually was lousy with communist moles, and you'd be hard put to find many people ruined in the "Red scare" who weren't actually communists.

                    5. In 1934, the Special Committee subpoenaed most of the leaders of the fascist movement in the United States. Beginning in November 1934, the committee investigated allegations of a fascist plot to seize the White House, known as the "Business Plot".

                      This is not quite the same as the though policing and blacklist of the post-war HUAC.

    3. Sarcastro: Like someone who thinks the Nazis were good, actually. I do not believe schools must be forced to hire a guy like that.

      The Nazis murdered around 11 million people in the Holocaust.

      Communists murdered over 100 million people in the various countries they ruled for decades.

      Should a school be forced to hire a Communist? There are far more Communist sympathizers than Nazi sympathizers around today, for sure.

      1. Yeah, someone who says the USSR is awesome would also be questionable.

        Now, willing to consider the policy question?

        1. People tend not to defend actual Communist regimes, they just claim that every single Communist regime that ever existed "wasn't really communism". And that it could work if only the right people were in charge.

          1. Any thoughts about actually answering the question, Brett? Lets take your theoretical-and-also-always-bad-and-everywhere-on-the-left Communism paradigm. Do you think it's okay not to hire someone espousing those views? If so, what kind of limits do you put on what's sufficiently outside of the mainstream to disallow.

            I think there are limits, but I do have trouble with the line drawing. And no, saying 'if it means advocating killing people' isn't enough, because I've been on here enough to know how the right can turn most anything into a death threat against them (and same on the left, btw).

            1. So, as long as they don't admit to advocating killing people, while promoting an ideology that always ends up killing people, you have to give them a job?

              That's how you get black clad stormtroopers burning your cities while the local government orders the police to leave them alone. By tolerating a murderous ideology in your schools, even allowing known terrorists to take teaching jobs.

              1. You're now in thoughtcrime mode. Bad thoughts lead to mass murder.
                This is how you get fascism.

                Thanks for being an example why you need to be very clear and very broad what the acceptable areas of discussion must be.
                And that speculative future harms are way too easily extended to be a useful metric.

              2. I think of it as "by their fruits you shall know them" think.

                If there ever was a case for Communists in academia being not a big deal, the events of this summer have refuted it.

                1. Unrelated.

                  Though I do like how you've now rationalized an ideological purge, and how your prophylactic crisis logic argues for worse than that.

                  Your posts are exactly spot-on the anti-Communist fascist rhetoric we saw in the 1930s.

                2. How is the universities churning out violent revolutionaries unrelated to whether it was a bad idea to let Communists remain in the universities?

                  1. Because universities are not doing that.

          2. I am going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there.

            The USSR may not have as many defenders as it once did, but look at Cuba. American Leftists couldn't get enough of El Comandante en Jefe. And how many Che t-shirts do you still see around.

            Then you have Noam Chomsky and his paeans to the Khmer Rouge -- the Khmer Rouge!

            In more recent times you have Tom Friedman and his love affair with the CCP -- they know how to get things done over there!

            1. Most I've seen in the past 20 years was Michael Moore using Cuba as an indictment of American healthcare.
              The fact that Cuba is an indictment shows the left is not like super into Cuba.

              I hadn't heard about Chomsky. But it looks like he's withdrawn his initial analysis from 1977. Also, he's one guy.

              Friedman is many things. A member of the left is not one of them.

              1. If you think Castro doesn't still have a lot of fans in the US, you haven't been paying attention. Look at this 2016 press release from Karen Bass (D-CA). You'll probably argue that she is just one loony congresswoman, but read down to what John Kerry (then SoS) had to say:


                Rep. Bass Statement on the Passing of Fidel Castro
                November 28, 2016 Press Release
                Washington, DC - On Monday morning, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) issued the following statement regarding the passing of Fidel Castro.
                "As Cuba begins nine days of mourning, I wish to express my condolences to the Cuban people and the family of Fidel Castro. The passing of the Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba. I hope together, our two nations will continue on the new path of support and collaboration with one another, and continue in the new direction of diplomacy."

                Excerpt from Statement by President Barack Obama:

                "...Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro's family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America."

                Read President Obama's full statement here.

                Excerpt from Statement by United States Secretary of State John Kerry:

                "We extend our condolences to the Cuban people today as they mourn the passing of Fidel Castro. Over more than half a century, he played an outsized role in their lives, and he influenced the direction of regional, even global affairs..."

                1. Yes. Those statements are not diplomatic, they are actually ideological endorsements of Communism.

                  Good lord, man.

                  1. When a dictator dies, why is it diplomatic to express your condolences to his victims?

                    1. Because telling a country's people that they're victims is what you do when you're at war with them, not when you're trying to normalize relations.

                      You've read enough history to know that.

                    2. "Because telling a country’s people that they’re victims is what you do when you’re at war with them, not when you’re trying to normalize relations."

                      What, you think the Cubans aren't aware that they're Castro's victims? You think maybe they LIKE living in a communist police state, an island prison? Having to worry about being disappeared if they say the wrong thing in front of the wrong person?

                      You can express solidarity with the people of Cuba, or their government, but you can't do both at the same time. Because the latter is the enemy of the former!

                      Offering the people of Cuba condolences for the death of their oppressor is an insult to them.

                    3. Yeah, I think plenty of Cubans don't think of themselves as victims. Plenty of Russians under Stalin didn't think they were victims either.

                      The idea that a Communist government and it's people are not aligned ignores how nationalism works. It's a childlike view of the world.

                  2. I tried to post this before, but it got “flagged for review” immediately. I don’t know why, but if I am saying something out of line, let me know.

                    Old post:

                    “They were just being diplomatic” is a total cop-out. Castro was a mass-murdering dictator, an avowed enemy of the US, and for many on the Left, a positive symbol of resistance to capitalism and imperialism. Had he not been so, Obama and Kerry would never have been so “diplomatic.”
                    This is what the US said when Kim Jong-Il died:
                    We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong Il is dead. The President has been notified, and we are in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan. We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies.
                    This is what we said when Khomeini died:
                    [link omitted]
                    The White House issued a guarded, noncommittal reaction to the news of Khomeini’s death, reflecting what aides describe as President Bush’s pessimism on the issue: “With (Khomeini’s) passing, we hope Iran will now move toward assuming a responsible role in the international community.”
                    I haven’t been able to find any official US statements on the passings of Ian Smith or P.W. Botha, but would be very surprised if they included statements of how those gentlemen played “outsize roles” in the lives of Zimbabweans and South Africans, and how they influenced “regional and even global affairs.”

                    1. Yes, we treat Cuba more kindly than North Korea.

                      This is not a scoop.

                      Those quotes were not secret endorsements of Communism.

  14. My first objection to a proposal like this one is that it's obnoxiously authoritarian. My second is that it's a gift to the crowd that gets more worked up by well-intended but overreaching efforts to mitigate racism than they do by racism itself, ample evidence for which abounds in these threads.

    1. "My second is that it’s a gift to the crowd that gets more worked up by well-intended but overreaching efforts to mitigate racism than they do by racism itself, ample evidence for which abounds in these threads."

      You don't think people would be worked up if a third of the Princeton faculty wanted to form a committee to investigate and discipline people for being a particular race? The partisan blindness exhibited by you and Sarcastro is astounding.

      1. I'm moved by your indignant implication that you would criticize a type of racism nobody anywhere believes would happen in 2020. On the other hand I'm straining to remember the last time you got this worked up about an instance of actual racism.

        Yeah, I stand by what I said.

        Look, I don't believe you're racist. I just think it's noteworthy what bothers you enough to yell about and what doesn't. As for you being a critic of blind partisanship? There was a time I'd have said you have the standing to make that complaint. That time is long past.

      2. " You don’t think people would be worked up if a third of the Princeton faculty wanted to form a committee to investigate and discipline people for being a particular race? "

        When a conservative-controlled school fires a professor for saying something nice about Muslims, right-wingers seem not to mind.

        That is why conservatives don't stand a chance in America's culture war. Conservative can't stand modern America's decency.

        1. haha yeah, like how indecent it was for that little 5 year old white boy who rode his racist white bike into his better's yard! Our Culture War betters executed him in the street like the bigot he was!

    2. "well-intended but overreaching efforts to mitigate racism"

      Perhaps the anti-vax movement is a well-intended but overreaching effort to mitigate disease?

      1. Actually I believe many anti-vaxxers are well intended. But there's an important difference between an ill-advised movement which expresses itself in resolutions that get debated and voted down, and one which, by refusing to follow medical best practices, takes other people's lives in its hands.

        1. "an ill-advised movement which expresses itself in resolutions that get debated and voted down"

          Which movement are you alluding to, which respects the outcome of democratic procedures?

    3. "...the crowd that gets more worked up by well-intended but overreaching efforts to mitigate racism than they do by racism itself, ample evidence for which abounds in these threads."

      You're right. Between A, who espouses racist views, but otherwise minds his own business, and B, who wants to prevent A from espousing his views / to punish A for his views, I am more concerned about B. I do not find B's intentions benign. Ayn Rand said that a "good dictatorship" is a contradiction in terms. In my book, a "well-intentioned authoritarian" is also a contradiction in terms.

  15. Is the determination of racism to be made using critical race theory or using traditional concepts of rational inquiry and logic which assume the possibility of objective knowledge? If the former, doesn’t racism permeate society to such an extent that one cannot escape it? In that case, what is to be decided? According to Robin DiAngelo (author of White Fragility): “the question is not ‘did racism take place?’ but rather, ‘how did racism manifest in this situation?’”

  16. To the Left, racism and fascism are defined as “You don’t agree with me on absolutely everything”, so almost everyone is racist or fascist.

    1. And just who is this "Left" you're referring to? Is it just the campus activists behind proposals like the one at Princeton? The Susan Sarandons who won't vote against Trump because even Hillary Clinton isn't progressive enough for them? Everyone who believes Trump is a reprehensible POS? Everyone that refuses to lick his boots and pretend he's doing an even minimally competent job? Because the size of your "Left" varies potentially by orders of magnitude depending on just who you have in mind. I'd think that would matter to the accuracy of the point your trying to make, wouldn't it?

  17. Anyway, what about Biola?

  18. If we're not going to abolish the Dept of Education as being outside Congress's powers, the Trump administration ought to use it to issue clarified definitions of racism/sexism/etc. that uphold the rightful purpose of having color-blind institutions, and forbids any school to either teach or enforce the bogus new intersectional definitions that say you have to hate whites to be "anti-racist" and hate men to be "anti-sexist."

    The whole current spree of BLM riots suggests that the phony definitions are already being taught in our K-12 schools. This needs to not be allowed. If regulations don't stand in their way then litigation is needed.

    1. And see, that's an instinct that bothers me, because I'm starting to feel the same. Principles have always been a liability in that they prevent you from doing whatever you want to do, but they have been worth it in trade because they create a world that is better to live in for everyone (including myself). Now though, it's starting to feel like all principles do is require me to stand by and let those without them create a worse world that is worse for us all.

      I want to remove the levers of power that allow others to interfere in people's lives, but it feels like there is no way to actually do that. And all that is really happening is levers are just standing idle for a hot millisecond before someone willing to use them shows up to screw over people they hate.

      1. Healthy attitude. Truly one that ends in freedom trumphing.

        Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

    2. Ah yes, the natural follow-on from 'schools are being used as indoctrination centers I tells ya!' is 'we need to use schools as indoctrination centers to combat all the indoctrination!'

  19. I support all these demands. Sooner the last few weak kneed conservatives and moderates are purged, the sooner we can start taxing the endowments.

    Right leaning cons at Ivy schools just provide cover. Value prestige over self respect.

    1. No need to tax endowments. Just let schools with largess pay their own way. No more indentured servitude student loans. No more taxpayer boondoggles. If the value of an ivy league education is so great the people will shell out the money to go and don't need government backed subsidies.

      1. Not enough. They need to be punished.

        1. The politics of a party without a platform.

          Just punish the libs.

          You know, historically, when reactionary parties like you proudly embody win, it's a nightmare for everyone.

          1. "You know, historically, when reactionary parties like you proudly embody win, it’s a nightmare for everyone."

            I am a restorationist. Reactionary is just a word a corrupt left establishment uses to libel its opposition.

            1. What's the difference?

              1. Restore the Old Republic. Open to all this time. Teddy Roosevelt-ism sorta.

                A true reactionary wants to go back to the situation that led to the terrible "reforms" in the first place. Ultras in 1815 France.

                1. Where does punish the schools fit in? Because that's textbook reactionary.

                  A true reactionary has no principles, they just want to fight the other side and win because the other side is bad.

                  Which sounds mighty familiar.

                  1. You have to break some eggs ...

                    Ivy schools are a mainstay of the current corrupt establishment. When then established segregated colleges were intergrated, was that "reactionary"?

                    1. Wow. They were integrated due to a principle, not for punishment.

                      It's like you're so steeped in being reactionary you can't see anything but.

            2. " I am a restorationist. "

              You are a clinger and a loser. In America's culture war, guys like me figuratively wipe the soles of our shoes on guys like you.

              You get to whine about it all you want, though.

              1. haha yeah, also literally guys like you literally kick guys like him in the head after he would have been attacked by guys like you and he was laying defenseless on the ground

  20. The totalitarian professors of today are the inevitable product of the preceding progressive professors that generally controlled student indoctrination from about 1970 through 2000.

    1. How did you make it out of school without somehow being indoctrinated? How did just about everyone on this site?

      Seems like it's a pretty shoddy indoctrination.

      1. Some of us can smell b.s. at 100 yards.

      2. "pretty shoddy indoctrination"

        What is 100% successful? Every system will have rebels.

        1. Unfalsifiable, eh?

          1. Nope, the victims of progressive educators here are apparently totally oblivious to their condition, but for the rest of us they simply do not pass the smell test.

  21. Now, here we are, we didn’t purge the Communists, and now the universities are churning out Antifa thugs

    Yeah, the "universities."

    1. Wait, you think there's some contradiction between, "Communists in universities are churning out Antifa thugs", and finding that said thugs have some connections to Russia?

      Antifa is an international communist movement.

      1. Pssst, that wasn't Antifa.
        It wanted you to think it was Antifa, because Russia is trying to spin up right-wing yahoos.

      2. What sarcastro said.

        And I think I see a meta problem here, Brett. You haven't read a newspaper in 30 years, have you? That's gotta be it, because it's been that long since Russia was communist.

        Whoo boy, have you got a lot to catch up on. There's this thing called the Internet, which is going to blow your mind... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Starting out slow, in 2020 Russia is a capitalist oligarchy, which our president, Donald Trump -- no I'm not kidding -- keeps trying to get invited back into the G7(G8), out of apparent obligation to his BFF/lover/dominatrix taskmaster, Russia's kleptocratic president for life, Vladimir Putin.

        Let that sink in. It should be enough for today. Tomorrow we get you up to date on O.J. Simpson, climate change, and this absolutely batshit crazy thing you will not believe, "birtherism."

  22. Cancel culture is real, and in Texas:

    Greg Abbott
    · Aug 23
    A teacher in a Texas public school comparing police officers to the KKK is beyond unacceptable.

    It’s the opposite of what must be taught.

    The teacher should be fired.

    I’m asking the Texas Education Agency to investigate and take action.

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