The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


At CUNY Law, "I Saw What Might Well Happen"

The mob tried to cancel me, but they failed.


I encourage everyone to read Eugene's post. It leads off with a Russian song, but the buried lede is really important:

 I see the Great USC Chinese Homonym Panic and I see what might well happen to a vast range of other teaching that some ideological groups might label "trauma[tizing]" or dangerous to "mental health" or "harm[ful to] psychological safety."

My experience at CUNY Law in 2018 was formative and frightening. Dozens of students took time out of their day to protest my talk on free speech. They called me a fascist, Nazi, and white supremacist. They said my ideas "harmed" them. That my mere presence on campus was a form of "violence" that "traumatized" them. The hate and vitriol in the room was palpable.

Perhaps in 2018, this sort of response was on the fringe. But at CUNY Law, I saw what might happen at other campuses. Over the past two years, this movement has spread throughout the country. And it has become the new normal.

If this movement continues, the academy will consume itself. There will be purges of ideas and reigns of ideological terror. Thankfully, there will be no no guillotines. But people will be summarily cancelled.

The CUNY mob tried to shut me down. They tried to disrupt me. They failed. And I am not afraid of them, or other mobs. No tweet or comment or protest will deter me. I am the judge of my own actions; not some nebulous court of history which others can define.