Protests against Trump at the University of Chicago

I read the twice-weekly University of Chicago student newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, and have noticed over the past few years a clear movement towards identity politics and Regressive Leftism. There is pretty much a unanimity of opinion among its writers, with little attempt to present alternative viewpoints, and many of the op-ed pieces are written by privileged students bewailing their marginalization. I think this reflects the views, by and large, of the student body itself.

Case in point: the headline piece in Friday’s issue, which described a discussion between Robert Costa of the Washington Post and Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager (until June of last year) of Donald Trump. Highlighting Lewandowski, it was sponsored by the University’s nonpartisan Institute of Politics (IOP), and was held at the Quadrangle Club, the University’s faculty club that has small rooms for talks. The press wasn’t invited, but that’s protocol for all IOP talks.

The students protested, as is their right, gathering across the street, chanting, and holding signs.  It’s the nature of their protest that I want to discuss here.

First, there’s the photo accompanying the article; here’s the caption from the paper:

Outside the Quad Club on Wednesday afternoon, a crowd of protestors gathered where Donald Tump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was giving a talk.  Many of the demonstrators were associated with campus organizations including UofC Resists, Fascism Now, and Graduate Students United. In this picture, a child takes aim at a piñata effigy of Donald Trump that was roped over a tree.

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Photo: Feng Ye

That image disturbs me, for it explicitly endorses violence, and the hitting is being done by a child, presumably with the approbation of the crowd. Was the kid urged to do it? Most likely, since somebody had the idea of bringing a Trump piñata. And, of course, it was not Trump who was speaking across the street. The whole scenario is disturbingly reminiscent of a lynching.

As I said, I have no beef with peaceful protests that don’t interrupt the speaker, but in this case the demonstrators couldn’t restrict themselves to just having a protest across the street. As The Maroon reported:

Seven students entered the event with concealed posters, and were asked to leave after holding up the signs minutes into the talk. Third-year Ryn Seidewitz held a pink poster that read “Hate Speech ≠ Free Speech,” and was asked to leave after holding up the sign. After she came out, she spoke to the crowd, saying that the people in the event could hear the protesters outside. “They keep patting themselves on the back for how great they are at free and open discourse, but they just kicked us out of the meeting,” she said.

Umm. . . free and open discourse doesn’t include interrupting a speaker. Has Ms. Seidwitz not absorbed the University’s Statement on Principles of Free Expression, which includes this:

Although faculty, students and staff are free to criticize, contest and condemn the views expressed on campus, they may not obstruct, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe.

And of course there’s her poster: “Hate Speech ≠ Free Speech,” which is not only wrong (even true hate speech is free speech so long as it’s not intended to incite immediate violence), but erroneous, for, according to the paper’s report, Lewandowski didn’t emit anything close to “hate speech.”  (That term, of course, really means “speech with which I disagree.”) Finally, it disturbs me that students so explicitly endorse violating the First Amendment.

Seidewitz went on:

“This kind of event makes it clear where the University stands on Trump, and we wanted to show them that they can’t hide behind this idea of free and open discourse and neutrality, because in times like these there’s no such thing as neutrality,” Seidewitz told The Maroon.

Again we see a common misconception: a university’s providing a venue for a speaker does not imply endorsement of that speaker.  And in times like these there is—and should be—such a thing as neutrality, at least on campuses. Regardless of the personal feelings of faculty and the administration, they simply cannot say, “We will host only speakers who endorse a liberal and progressive viewpoint.”

Seidewitz isn’t the only student with misconceptions about freedom of expression. Here are two more:

Other students also expressed frustration with the IOP’s platform of nonpartisan neutrality.

“It’s time that the University get rid of its neutral bullshit dedication to free speech and neutrality, when in reality there’s nothing neutral about inviting a speaker to your campus that represents hate,” second-year Mary Blair said.

“It’s a dangerous normalization of Trump and his ideas to extend an official platform to someone like this,” first-year Philip O’Sullivan said.

Remember that while Lewandowski was indeed Trump’s campaign manager, and is pretty much a diehard conservative, he is not Trump, and in fact was fired by Trump last year.  As for what both students said, including the dismissal of free expression as a “neutral bullshit dedication to free speech and neutrality,” I have no words. This is the censorious attitude of young people that I often worry about, for these students will take those attitudes with them when they leave, and may someday be in a position to enforce them.

Finally, some of the views expressed in the peaceful part of the protest were pretty extreme, in line with the Left’s tendency to characterize all its opponents as Nazis and racists. As the paper reported:

The demonstrators chanted slogans including “No CPD [Chicago Police Department], no KKK, no fascist USA,” “Fuck Corey Lewandowski, fuck white supremacy, fuck the bourgeoisie,” and “Shame on U of C, sold out for publicity.”

Shortly after the event began, second-year JT Johnson encouraged the crowd to enter the building and stop the event. Demonstrators approached the entrance of the building en masse, but Chicago Police Department (CPD) and University of Chicago police blocked the doors.

That speaks for itself. Such signs may express opposition and rage, but do they accomplish anything? They are, for one thing, inaccurate (do they really want to do away with the CPD? Is Lewandowski a member of the almost-extinct KKK?), but they also express the kind of distortion that makes the demonstrators seem unhinged.

92 Comments

  1. Cindy
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    “Jeeves, bring me my pitchfork and my tophat, please”

    • DrBrydon
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      LOL

  2. Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this phenomenon simply reflective of having received a poor education, particularly in US/world history, civics and critical thinking?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I suspect a reflection of being children. Being uninformed. Easily persuaded by the group or people you associate with. All those things and more.

      • Cindy
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        Not possible guyz, sorry.

        It’s only people who voted for Trump who are uninformed, childish, ignorant etc.

        Anyone who identifies as “Democrat” and who votes in accordance with my ideology is pure as the driven snow. Is always well informed, never ignorant, and is never guilty of wrongthink.

        • Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          I’m a child who was the grandchild of a generation who survived WWI and escaped to immigrate to the US. They in-turn raised a family that experienced, first hand, the horrors of world economic collapse, the ascension of European fascism and the insanity of cult fanaticism in Asia. My relatives had captured Nazi and Rising Sun paraphernalia hanging as reminders of their experience inside of their garages.

          Many of my high school teachers we veterans of WWII. They got to be teachers by taking advantage of the GI Bill. This was the same generation to create a Marshall Plan in order to fly over another band of morons in order to feed a country that was starving before their very eyes.

          By the time I exited high school, I was in fairly strong possession of these events. The details that I’ve acquired after leaving HS only strengthened my knowledge of that era, an era I was lucky enough to miss by only a couple of years.

          The farther we move away from that date, and other historical, made-made catastrophes, and are not constantly educating young people of their occurrence (and their lessons), the more behavior of this sort will likely become the norm.

          I wonder how many of those students ever heard of Krystallnacht and the Executive Order drawn up by the Herr Drupfenfuhrer of the time that sparked doom for millions of innocent, peace-loving people.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            “I wonder how many of those students ever heard of Krystallnacht”

            I think kids should be taught the horrors of the Nazi era but also about the pitfalls of socialism.
            Thus both Kristallnacht and the Soviet Gulags should be part of the curriculum.

            The fact that they shout “no fascist USA” and “fuck the bourgeoisie” indicate that they might have a superficial knowledge of Facism but knows very little of communism.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

              Both those things were taught as part of the standard curriculum when I was at school (NZ) and afaik still are. I remember my nephew being quite disturbed at the age of c. 10 (17 now) when he learned about what the Nazis did at school.

              • FiveGreenLeafs
                Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

                They are in Sweden as well but the problem is (as far as I understand it) rather in the details, of exactly what, and how, this information is presented and learned.

                If you ask young people today, they know that Nazism was a manifestation of privileged white European men, that they were patriarchal sexists xenophobic swines and did not treat LGBT people very nice.

                They learn postmodern “stories” but know very little about the historical specifics. Vice premier Åsa Romson, did (famously) for example not know that Auschwitz was situated in Poland, and compared the refugees dying crossing the Mediterranean, to Nazi death camps.

                They don’t seem to learn about the dates, the persons, the numbers, motivations, the arguments, the events, Reserve Police Battalion 101, Primo Levi, or that for example the Arabs collaborated with Hitler and so on.

                Their knowledge, are today (in my experience) often very shallow, and ideologically warped.

          • Cindy
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            I posted this on the other thread and it is worth repeating:

            The Third Wave was an experimental social movement created by California high school history teacher Ron Jones to explain how the German population could accept the actions of the Nazi regime during the Second World War.[1][2] While he taught his students about Nazi Germany during his “Contemporary World History” class, Jones found it difficult to explain how the German people could accept the actions of the Nazis, and decided to create a social movement as a demonstration of the appeal of fascism.

            Over the course of five days, Jones conducted a series of exercises in his classroom emphasizing discipline and community, intended to model certain characteristics of the Nazi movement. As the movement grew outside his class and began to number in the hundreds, Jones began to feel that the movement had spiraled out of control. He convinced the students to attend a rally where he claimed the announcement of a Third Wave presidential candidate would be televised. Upon their arrival, the students were presented with a blank channel.

            Jones told his students of the true nature of the movement as an experiment in fascism, and presented to them a short film discussing the actions of Nazi Germany

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Wave_(experiment)

            • Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

              Thanks for the link. Muy interesante’.

            • chris moffatt
              Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

              well it’s an interesting experiment that reveals quite a bit about human nature but it’s not the whole story. For instance if one spoke out against the regime there was always the danger of being betrayed by a neighbour or family member, arrested by the GeStaPo and ending up in Dachau or Buchenwald or other camp where “arbeit mach frei or, later on, just being executed. A powerful incitement not to rock the boat. Also it wasn’t just the germans. A lot of atrocities were, sad to say, carried out by Balts, Ukrainians and Poles for example. Sometimes under german direction, sometimes before the germans had even arrived in territory. It’s no accident that many guards in the camps in the General Gouvernement were ukrainian, the Trawnikimaenner. But it’s the german civilians who get all the blame for having not wanted to know at a time and place where wanting to know and act on that knowledge was very dangerous to one’s health and longevity.

              Note that neoNazi organisations in Ukraine today, such as Azov Battalion and Right Action are now our close friends and allies in the democratisation of Ukraine after the overthrow of the elected Yanukovich a couple of years back; yeah did I just hear Summer-the-stripey-cat laugh out in the kitchen?

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Do not underestimate the potential for stupidity amount educated intelligent people.
      We are all apes at the end of the day.

  3. dargndorp
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    All misbehaving aside, I find the irony of a trumpian piñata delicious.

    • BJ
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I find the irony of a bunch of privileged college students chanting “fuck the bourgeoisie” even more hilarious.

      • Cindy
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        They are Starbuck’s Marxists

        They wear their Che Guevara t-shirts manufactured by slave labour in Bangladesh.

        • Kevin
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Starbucks Marxist. Nice.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        I was about to make the same observation. Hey students paying for the privilege of going to a private university – you’re the bourgeoisie! You aren’t exactly working in a steel mill for a living!

        Basically, their chant just told them to go fuck themselves.

        • eric
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          People rarely think of themselves as being wealthy or privileged. You also see this sort of thinking amongst western Christians. A US salary of about $30k/year is relatively modest by western standards, but still puts the recipient in the top 10% of wealthiest people on Earth. Probably most of your middle class Christian friends make at least that – but ask them if they’re the rich man Jesus was talking about, and they’ll sincerely say no. How can that be? How can they be in the top 10% of wealthiest people on the entire planet and yet not be the ‘rich man’ Jesus says isn’t getting into heaven? Cognitive dissonance is how. 🙂

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            30K for a married couple in the U.S. is getting pretty close to poverty and if you live in California or NYC it is. So telling them they are in the top 10 percent in the World has little meaning.

            • eric
              Posted February 21, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

              If their god is real, I somehow doubt he’s going to take “sure I had enough extra cash to prevent 100 people from slow starvation…but I lived in Mountain View!” as an excuse.

    • Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Isn’t the piñata cultural appropriation?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Meta identity politics. 😀

      • Sue Sommers
        Posted February 21, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        They are manufactured in Mexico. Seriously.

  4. fizziks
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    When it comes to these type of actions, do the participants / instigators actually believe that they will do something positive as far as getting Trump voters to reconsider their votes or undecided people to decide they don’t like Trump?

    Or is the goal – not just a side effect but the goal – really just to create a climate of Orwellian speech codes enforced by social sanction and/or mob violence within the campus? And if it is the latter, again, do they really think that in this will help win elections or affect the change they want to see politically?

    Is there any long-term or strategic thinking at work in the campus activist segment of the regressive left?

    • Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Watching the anti-Trump protests around the country, I muse “If only they had put as much passion into getting out the Dem vote in PA, MI and WI.”

      • eric
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Statistically, it’s probable that about half the adults in that picture didn’t bother to vote themselves.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          At their age, probably even less than that. If all those on college campuses in swing states who are complaining about Trump had voted, the result would have been very different.

    • eric
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Is there any long-term or strategic thinking at work in the campus activist segment of the regressive left?

      The far left’s long-term strategy appears to be “don’t know thy enemy.”

    • FiveGreenLeafs
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      I think, that if you took a tribesman from a hunter-gatherer society (previous or current) and placed him in front of this group, he would have no difficulty whatsoever to immediately identify what is going on here.

      The first question he would probably ask is, who is this enemy they are going to try to kill?

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      long term or strategic thinking? No. Strategic thinking would reveal that Trump is the POTUS; there will be another election in 2020. If they succeed in forcing Trump out of office Mike Pence becomes POTUS. Will they like that any better? I doubt it. And if they get rid of Pence somehow then doG help us it’ll be that little arrogant turdwad from Wisconsin Paul Ryan.

      Be very careful what you work for you might get it.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I don’t think smashing a pinata is advocating violence. Burning people in effigy is a time honored practice. As long as they keep to mere representations of their targets, it’s fine. I also wouldn’t assume that The Maroon (“What a maroon!!”) represents most students. The folks who go into college journalism are self-selecting, and, in my experience, tend to be pretty left of center. I have a fair number of college age relatives, and talking to them about campus politics reassures me that identity politics is not the common lens through which students see the world.

    • Cindy
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Speaking of effigies, I believe that the producers of HBO ultra-violent series ‘Game of Thrones’ actually put GW Bush’s head on a pike in one episode…

    • Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Would you favor allowing Palestinian kids to mock murder effigies of Jews with toy guns? (They do in fact do that.) It’s the fact that a kid is doing this that bothers me more than anything. Is he old enough to understand what’s going on?

      • FiveGreenLeafs
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        It bothers me deeply as well, and it absolutely infuriates me that they have a kid doing it.

        I immediately think back to Nazi Germany, or Rwanda, or, any other atrocity in human history really.

        You almost never (as I see it) start with killing people outright, you always start with denigration and ways to try and take away your opponents humanity.

        And, you do it in organized form, binding your (social) group together in intent.

        This is (I believe) for humans probably ancient, and I don’t think they really understand what they are playing around with here, and that they are (possibly) running an ancient cultural, social cognitive script, which is designed to make you capable of killing and eradicating you enemies.

        And, when you have started to walk down this road, it is very easy to continue going forward, but (I think) not always that easy to turn around and retrace your steps, and undo the damage done.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        The borders of free expression are not coterminous with those of wise parenting.

        Hanging someone in effigy (which may be the purest expression of public opprobrium) is no different in kind from drawing an insulting or blasphemous cartoon of the same individual.

        I don’t think Palestinian parents should be encouraging their children to do the former (anymore than they should encourage them to draw Der Stürmer-style cartoons).

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I’ve always found the whole idea of piñatas disturbing, especially when it’s an effigy of a person. I’ve only ever been to one child’s party that had a piñata, and one of my sisters and I stood aside feeling very sick and uncomfortable throughout, muttering to each other about how much we didn’t like it. Our youngest sister was the host!

      • Luis Servin
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Breaking a piñata is great fun. I guess you have to grow with it as a child to understand it . I have no idea how this Mexican tradition has been “translated” when done in the US, but here in Mexico there is not a negative connotation regarding the effigy depicted in the piñata. In children’s birthday parties it is most likely an effigy of something the child LIKES. It could be their favorite superhero or their favorite character in a movie. In fact it is usually the child who chooses the piñata to be broken. It is filled with presents and sweets, so by breaking it the effigy is actually providing joy and lots of presents for the children. Around Christmas the piñatas are star-shaped, to represent the star of Bethlehem, and again there is no negativity in breaking it, and it is considered a source of joy, presents and sweets. Nowadays, and usually amongst adults, piñata effigies have become politicized, but that is really an exception.

    • Posted February 20, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Somehow I thought of this from Babylon 5:

      Alfred Bester: If I had my talent working, I could have warned you when he was coming.
      Michael Garibaldi: And if I had a baseball bat, we could hang you from the ceiling and play piñata.
      Alfred Bester: A piñata, huh? So, you think of me as something bright and cheerful, full of toys and candy for young children? Thank you! That makes me feel much better about our relationship.

  6. Eric Grobler
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Prof Coyne, I really respect the fact that even though you despise Trump you also despise the hysteria and dishonesty from the regressive left.

    I think the fact that you criticize madness (while trying to be objective) irrespective whether it is from the left or right is extremely valuable and seems totally lacking from the mainstream media.

    I was a daily reader of the Guardian for over 20 years but I cannot stomach the editorials and opinion pieces anymore.

    • Cindy
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      I do too.

    • BJ
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      It’s exactly why I read his site, and several years ago stopped reading all media like The Guardian. This is one of the few sites/writers I can expect to take an approach that’s as objective, dispassionate, and logical approach to issues regardless of their political affiliations. And it has great science and cat posts!

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        So you have also been infected by some parasite that compels you to worship cats?

        • bluemaas
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          Toxoplasmosis gondii ?

          from wikipedia’s text thereof, Mr Grobler: “Crazy cat-lady syndrome” is a term coined by news organizations to describe scientific findings that link the parasite Toxoplasma gondii to several mental disorders and behavioral problems.[76][77][78][79][80]

          Although researches found that cat ownership does not strongly increase the risk of a T. gondii infection in pregnant women,[81][82] the suspected correlation between cat ownership in childhood and later development of schizophrenia suggest that further studies are needed to determine a risk factor for children.[83]

          The term crazy cat-lady syndrome draws on both stereotype and popular cultural reference. It was originated as instances of the aforementioned afflictions were noted amongst the populace.

          Cat lady is a cultural stereotype of a woman, often a spinster, who compulsively hoards and dotes upon cats. Jaroslav Flegr (biologist) is a proponent of the theory that toxoplasmosis affects human behaviour.[84][85]”

          Blue

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Just like bacteria have positive and negative affects on the human body I would not be surpised if some parasites are somewhat beneficial especially if you consider that we co-evolved with parasites for millions of years.
            I just find the idea that parasites can effect the host’s behaviour facinating.
            But I know very little about the topic – perhaps some people here can comment.

            If T. gondii caused me to love cats I consider it as a beneficial side effect 🙂

            • Posted February 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

              There is solid evidence that T. gondii modifies rodent behavior, removing the natural reaction (fear) to the smell of cat urine. This of course increases the likelihood that the rodent will become cat snack. Good for the parasite: cats are the definitive host, rodents (and many others) are intermediate hosts.

              I do not think there is solid evidence about such effects on humans. The studies I’ve read seem to use dubious methods. And I do not get their logic. They simultaneously claim that Toxoplasma infects almost all people and that it has profound effect on psychology & behavior. I see contradiction here.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    No one ought to interrupt the lawful free speech of another (at least as long as there are other available means of protesting the speech).

    And I abhor violence in protests. But we should draw a keen distinction between violence and simulated violence, especially simulated violence of the unrealistic sort. I kinda get a kick out of a Trump piñata, especially since it looks more like a blow-up Donald sex doll (not that I know what such a thing looks like 🙂 ).

    • merilee
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      barf…I can’t imagine anyone wanting to have sex with a Trump doll:-(~

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Not sure, I often hear them chanting “f*ck Trump”.

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    On protesting:

    The latest thing is “paid protesters”, and discrediting the protesters/activists themselves. One thing this does is shut down/redirect attention from the object of the protest. I personally think this nests with the “it’s not your fault” subtext of, say, F*x “news”. I think it is a mistake to ignore the notion that e.g. George Soros paid all the women to march, but I still think such a response by e.g. F*x “news” is revealing.

    Example:

    https://www.google.com/amp/nypost.com/2017/02/18/obama-linked-activists-have-a-training-manual-for-protesting-trump/amp/

    … I can’t find the “manual” for the above link.

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      As someone who lived through the Vietnam war protests, and listened to the Nixon people calling the protesters “outside agitators”, I’ve seen this movie before.

      Those making that accusation just cannot fathom that others might have a legitimately different viewpoint from theirs. They must be “influenced” by money or charlatans.

      If those people think they have the correct argument, they should make that argument clearly and forcefully, and let the content of the argument be the convincer. The fact that they cannot do that, but must denigrate those who differ from them, speaks, in my opinion, for itself. L

  9. Eric Grobler
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The demonstrators chanted slogans including “no KKK, no fascist USA… fuck the bourgeoisie,“

    They are looking for a group to demonize.
    During the 1930’s they would have shouted “kill the Jews” or during the Cultural Revolution they would have beaten teachers and intellectuals.
    Lord of the Flies mentality.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Down with broccoli!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Really? You don’t think it a bit overheated to compare these kids to Nazis and Maoists?

      More accurate referents for those phenomena would be a leader who labels a free press “the enemy of the people” and whose followers scream “Lügenpresse!

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        “You don’t think it a bit overheated to compare these kids to Nazis and Maoists?”

        Perhaps yes.

        But my point is that if an individual is prone to ideological exterminismin in the name of a good cause then they will be drawn to any cause that is available in their current environment.

        I do not think they would have stayed at home during the Culrural Revolution.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          I think there is a bit of a “follow the leader” mentality here. It’s common throughout politics. We all need to feel a part of something and there are always those who can be persuaded to just about anything to feel included. It’s how religion works.

          Most people will not be the first to stand against a group, especially a group of their peers. The majority usually just stay away which makes the protestors think they’re the majority.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            “I think there is a bit of a “follow the leader” mentality here.”

            Yes and reflecting on it more I think the problem is that a disturbing form of tribalism has entered US politics.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

              Yep. I always feel a bit scared when I see a crowd mindlessly celebrating anyone, but especially when they’ve lost touch with truth or reality or principles like freedom of speech or freedom of the press.

              It’s happening a lot. All the Trump examples are obvious. The student examples too. And the look of perverted pleasure on General Michael Flynn’s face when the crowd started chanting, “Lock her up!” He was salivating, his eyes were gleaming. You just know it was personal – at some point she’d somehow made him feel inadequate as a man and he was getting his own back.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 20, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

                Flynn said if he had done “a tenth of what [Hillary] did,” he would be in jail.

                Wonder how he likes that threshold now.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted February 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

                He will be one of those that rationalizes what he did. He won’t think what he did was wrong.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 20, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

                Hey Heather — I hear that former Cosmo centerfold (and the Massachusetts senator who got turned out of office by Elizabeth Warren), Scott Brown, is due to be nominated as US ambassador to NZ.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted February 21, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

                Oh no! We had a really nice US ambassador in the Obama administration. Scott Brown is a (word I shouldn’t use). He won’t go down too well here unless he has an attitude transplant.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted February 21, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

                Yeah well we might get Sarah Palin!

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted February 21, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

                I heard that. I admit, you got the worse deal!

  10. eric
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    They are, for one thing, inaccurate (do they really want to do away with the CPD? Is Lewandowski a member of the almost-extinct KKK?)

    Briefly reading up on him, nope. In fact it seems that prior to Trump he was a pretty spectacular failure at politics, both in terms of failed runs of his own and in terms of the politicians he worked for not getting re-elected.

    AFAIK he’s still getting paid by Trump and is still operating under a contract not to say anything negative about Trump, so I’m not sure he was all that good a pick for an invited speaker; you know what he’s going to say, and it’s probably out of date information anyway. OTOH I couldn’t see myself getting worked up over the invite either. Corey Lewandowski is a minor GOP functionary who had his 15 minutes of fame; it’s not like he’s Genghis Kahn.

  11. merilee
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/13/becoming-steve-bannons-bannon

    The latest New Yorker has an article about a seemingly very bright young female U.of Chicago philosophy grad who is now in the White House and is being called Steve Bannon’s Bannon.

  12. Sastra
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Seven students entered the event with concealed posters, and were asked to leave after holding up the signs minutes into the talk.

    I also “have no beef with peaceful protests which don’t interrupt the speaker” and, as far as I can tell, holding up protest signs, even at the talk, qualifies as peaceful protest. The speaker can still talk, he can choose to address the signs, or ignore them, whereas a chant might drown him out. So I don’t see a problem here.

    • Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      I consider signs disruptive, for it’s a visible sign of dissent that remains for the speaker to see. I know if I gave a political talk, I would be thrown off my game if I had to see people holding up signs impugning me or my talk (would you allow signs denigrating the speaker, too?). In that sense it’s a disruption, and I don’t favor it.

      • Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        I suspect the student wasn’t just thrown out for showing a poster.

        This sounds like half a story.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think free expression requires that a speaker be free from being “thrown off [his or her] game.”

        If supporters are allowed to bring signs, then protesters should be allowed to, too. (If, on the other hand, signs are prohibited because they obstruct viewers, then they should be prohibited for both sides.)

        Any “rules” in this regard should be viewpoint-neutral.

        • eric
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          “No disruptions and signage at the talk” *is* viewpoint neutral.

          Personally I think it’s just common courtesy. Your fellow talk-goers have donated their time (and in some cases, money) to hear this person speak. Respect their right to get what they paid for. If I go to a talk and you stand up with your sign, my first thought is that nobody came here to get *your* opinion, so sit down and let us hear the person whose opinion we *did* come to hear.

  13. nay
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    “they also express the kind of distortion that makes the demonstrators seem unhinged.” Like Trump at his now-infamous press conference.

  14. Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I fascinated by slang so subscribe to the Urban Dictionary. It used to be fascinating but for the last few months every new entry has been Trump-related. It’s just boring now.

    I’m nostalgic for inventive new terms for penis.

    • Craw
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      “I’m nostalgic for inventive new terms for penis”

      Imagine the fun if we could get “Islamophobia” used for that.

  15. Christopher Bonds
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    A question for those who destroy in effigy their enemies: Is it OK for their enemies’ supporters to destroy your heroes in effigy? Are you shocked and outraged when that happens?

    • Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is no “freedom from outrage.” If there were my blood pressure would be lower. I am outraged every day after reading the news.

      • Merilee
        Posted February 21, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Freedom from outrage…Tell it brother/sister(?)!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      That’s the same question that was asked of the Danish cartoonists.

      The answer to your first question is: Hell yes!

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      “Is it Ok…?” Of course.

      “Shocked and outraged”–probably not. Depending on the “hero,” maybe sad, depressed, angry, etc.; but we can’t forget the vast difference between symbolic violence and actual physical violence.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        It why do. we hate the donkeys? Why. Hate. Donkeys? 😝

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          But not it.

  16. Taz
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    “…they can’t hide behind this idea of free and open discourse and neutrality, because in times like these there’s no such thing as neutrality…”
    ————-
    “It’s time that the University get rid of its neutral bullshit dedication to free speech and neutrality…”

    Do these people really think that if such sentiments become widely accepted it would work in favor of marginalized groups?

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Breaking news: the American Conservative Union has rescinded Milo Y’s invitation to be keynote speaker at this year’s CPAC based on Milo’s pro-pedophilia wisecracks.

    • Cindy
      Posted February 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I think Milo has cooked his own goose with this one. Well, we can hope.

      I guess it depends on how braindead the media is – over whether or not they continue to give him the coverage he craves.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Yeah Milo has touched the third rail of American discourse (and seems to have actually said something transgressive for the first time).

        This will dry up his invites from College Republicans. His book will probably be boycotted, too. We might not be hearing much from MiYi anymore.

        • darrelle
          Posted February 20, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          What little I learned of the issue at that link has changed my perspective on Milo. I now feel sorry for him. It seems very likely that his viewpoint regarding child molestation is a consequence of himself being molested by a Catholic priest.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Looks like the right-wing snowflakes ain’t as pro-free-speech as they pretended to be, huh?

  18. Marc Aresteanu
    Posted February 21, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    This isn’t in the least bit surprising. Social science, Gender Studies in particular, are basically Regressive Left indoctrination camps. The Orwellian abuse of language tells me there’s no more reasoning with these people.

    You want 8 years of Trump? Ignoring or trivializing the SJW issue will get you that.

    • Simon
      Posted February 21, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Press support of SJWs is one major issue. The bigger issue in my opinion is that the mainstream news media have completely lost their professional standards and are more interested in pushing narratives than clearly reporting facts. The result is two opposing media camps slinging hyperbolic mud. The anti-Trump media are their own worst enemies. They are too busy calling everyone Nazis and whining about being “marginalised” by the Trump administration to do the necessary, which is to calmly, without resorting to exaggeration, expose the incompetence.

  19. Posted February 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Okay, i’m going to go out on a limb here and say what we’re seeing here is intolerance of a government that’s out of control. I agree with the free speech concerns, but not necessarily with the motives of the students.

  20. Posted February 21, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    edit: I think i worded that last line incorrectly.

    ” I agree with the free speech concerns, but i also agree with the motives of the students.”


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