UC Berkeley faculty and students call for campus boycott during “Free Speech Week”

Well, “Free Speech Week” (actually only four days: Sept. 24-27) is coming to the University of California at Berkeley, during which the campus will hear from a number of speakers whom the Regressive Left deems offensive and lacking any rights to speak or be heard. Here’s the schedule as given by the student paper, The Daily Californian:

Sept. 24: “Feminism Awareness Day”

  • Miss Elaine
  • Lucian Wintrich
  • Lisa DePasquale
  • Chadwick Moore
  • Milo Yiannopoulos

Sept. 25: “Zuck 2020”

  • Heather Mac Donald
  • Monica Crowley
  • SABO
  • Professor Jordan Peterson
  • James Damore

Sept. 26: “Islamic Peace and Tolerance Day”

  • Michael Malice
  • Raheem Kassam
  • Katie Hopkins
  • Erik Prince
  • Pamela Geller
  • David Horowitz
  • Milo Yiannopoulos

Sept. 27: “Mario Savio is Dead”

  • Mike Cernovich
  • Charles Murray
  • Ariana Rowlands
  • Stelion Onufrei
  • Alex Marlow
  • Milo Yiannopoulos
  • Steve Bannon
  • Ann Coulter

Well, there’s not a progressive in the lot, and nobody can claim that the viewpoints are is balanced here (Free Speech Week was organized by right-wingers: Milo Yiannopoulos and The Berkeley Patriot, a conservative campus organization). Still, there are a few people on the list I’d go to see (e.g., Heather Mac Donald and perhaps Jordan Peterson, simply because I haven’t had any time to learn what the man is about), but all of them deserve to be heard because they’ve been invited.

Those who oppose the viewpoints of the speakers can, of course, counter with their own speech, write editorials, ask questions during Q&A sessions, or mount peaceful protests, but if ever an event was attractive to thugs like Antifa and their violence-prone minions, this one is it. Expect a lot of cops, a lot of angry people, and perhaps some clashes.

What I didn’t expect was that a lot of faculty would call for a boycott of classes on those four days, as well a complete closure of campus. But that’s what another article in The Daily Californian tells us:

In a letter addressed to the UC Berkeley campus and the Berkeley community, 132 campus faculty members from various departments have called for a complete boycott of classes and campus activities during “Free Speech Week,” which will be held on campus from Sept. 24-27.

The letter was co-written by seven faculty members, including campus associate teaching professor of African American studies Michael Cohen. [JAC: Cohen is white.] It calls upon faculty to take three steps: cancel classes and tell students to stay home; close buildings and departments and allow staff to stay home; and not penalize students who are afraid of coming to campus. The letter was also signed by 56 individuals who aren’t part of the UC Berkeley faculty.

“This is a clear threat to public higher education,” Cohen said. “People are coming to humiliate others and incite violence. … The boycott is a refusal to allow this to happen on our campus.”

According to Cohen, most of the students in his African American Studies 27AC class are students of color. Cohen said he believed that for him to ask his students to be on campus during Free Speech Week was unethical and discriminatory.

. . . “We’re not afraid of Milo, Ann (Coulter) or Bannon’s words. We have a deep anxiety over the violence that their followers bring in response,” Cohen said. “Chancellor Christ’s idea that we can have these people on campus is a fantasy and a dangerous one.”

I’m not aware that any of the speakers listed above have deliberately incited violence, but I suspect what violence they do incite will be enacted by Leftists who want to shut the event down. Is that what Cohen is afraid of?  And how is asking his students to simply be on campus to attend classes “unethical and discriminatory”? Are these students so tender of psyche that they can’t even walk onto a campus where there will be people speaking at other places—and probably in the evening when classes aren’t held?

What you really want to see is the list of who signed the letter, which you can find on the letter page. I didn’t count the signatories (faculty and graduate students), but did look at their names and departments.

What’s most interesting are those departmental affiliations. Nearly every signer is from the humanities: gender studies, film studies, history of art, rhetoric, film and media, ethnic studies, English, African American studies, theater and dance performance, comparative literature, and so on. The only people even close to being scientists are one faculty member and one graduate student in anthropology, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, and someone of unspecified rank from the Department of Public Health and Medical Anthropology.  That’s a total of four people not in the humanities, or 3%.

Why do you suppose that is? Where are the biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and so on? Indeed, there’s not even anyone there from philosophy!

I suppose you could say that the scientists are just too busy in their labs, or are apolitical. But the latter isn’t supported by the big turnout in April for the explicitly political Science March, ineffective as that may have been.

No, I think it’s because the departments represented by the signatories have been polluted by postmodernism, which in effect denies that there’s any truth to be found and, by extension, rejects debate, reason, and argument as a way to effect progress. They simply espouse an Accepted Dogma that can’t be questioned. (It’s curious, though, that postmodernists themselves actually advance positions and arguments, incoherent as they may be, as a way to advance their own ideas.) Instead of arguing, their tactic is to simply shut things down.

I may be wrong here, and am surely missing some of the nuance. But I don’t think the absence of scientists signing this letter comes from their apathy about politics.  And shame on the Berkeley faculty who signed this letter, as they want to impede the students’ education in two ways: by closing campus and canceling classes during “Free Speech Week”, and by urging the students not to attend “offensive” talks.

h/t: jj

73 Comments

  1. Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, some parts of anthropology are also infected by postmodernism, so that 3 of the 4 are from anthropology supports your thesis further.

    I’m not aware that any of the speakers listed above have deliberately incited violence, but I suspect what violence they do incite will be enacted by Leftists who want to shut the event down.

    Inciting can only be done deliberately (“urge or persuade …”). Since it matters that people like Milo do not incite violence, it would be better to say “… that any violence that does arise will be enacted by Leftists”.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      I noticed that too, re ‘incitement’.

      (Just to split hairs, even if e.g. Milo was expecting and intending violence as a result of his words, so long as he didn’t explicitly call for it, that would IMO be ‘provoking’ rather than ‘inciting’. But I’m NOT suggesting he is).

      I think a boycott of the speeches themselves is perfectly consistent with free speech (there’s surely an implied right _not_ to listen), though it can’t extend to preventing others from attending.

      (By the way, it isn’t only the left who are a threat to free speech, here’s a case I just tripped over of attempted legal suppression (which fortunately doesn’t stand a chance):
      http://loweringthebar.net/2017/08/you-cant-sue-people-bob.html
      in which the ACLU is firmly and entertainingly on the right side.

      Trying to shut up John Oliver? I’m as surprised as John Oliver that it’s the first time he’s received a Cease-and-Desist letter.)

      cr

      • Posted September 17, 2017 at 4:13 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the link, cr, that was John Oliver at his best, and a good illustration of the Streisand Effect.

      • BJ
        Posted September 17, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        The ol’ “Moooooom, Billy’s making making fun of me!!!” lawsuit is my favorite form of legal comedy 😀

  2. Historian
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    It is remarkable how easily intimidated are those calling for a boycott. They seem to think that through a boycott of the campus and the consequential denial to the students of several days of education is a good thing. It seems that only a small percent of the faculty signed the letter, so the effort will probably fizzle. There is no denying that this event is a right-wing fest and the best way to react to it is to persuade peacefully that attendance should be avoided. The right wing thrives as it becomes in the minds of the public the defenders of free speech. The far left (as distinguished from most of the left) can never grasp this point. This is why they are politically neutered and wonder amongst themselves as to why the American public holds them in contempt. In terms of political savvy, they are some of the dumbest people to walk on the face of the planet.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      That’s what irritates me most of all – their tactical stupidity. If I could design an idea specifically to alienate the majority of European and American voters I think I’d be hard-pressed to come up with anything more effective than identity politics as it is practised by the left.
      And how does the left respond to the tumult of the last twelve months, which was itself at least partly a reaction to identity politics? They double down it. More, more, more. More intersectionalism, more acronyms, more accusations of original political sin. The subdivision of every religion, nationality, race, gender, etc. on earth, whether they like it or not, until everyone knows exactly where they are in the Grand Flowchart Of Oppression, and they can know for sure whether they’re privileged racist scum or not.

      At this point it is the single strongest weapon that the right-wing has, which is why there is a veritable cottage industry of online blogs, channels, sites, all dedicated to collating examples of identity politics at its most divisive, hypocritical and nasty. They know full well what a PR win for conservatives identity politics is and I can’t blame them for capitalising on it so thoroughly.

      • ploubere
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        sub. It’s so frustrating to see these Leftist idiots fall into the trap time after time. They’re going to get played again, and have no clue.

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 17, 2017 at 1:42 am | Permalink

        +2

      • Posted September 17, 2017 at 4:15 am | Permalink

        Well said, Saul.

  3. Barney
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    From the article:

    “Additionally, rental fees for available indoor venues have not been paid, and no venue contracts have been signed.

    “To date a number of key deadlines have been missed,” Mogulof said in an email. “While campus officials and venue managers are working diligently to assist the Berkeley Patriot group with its proposed events, the group’s failure to meet important deadlines is making it increasingly difficult to ensure a safe and secure program.””

    Seems like this is a massive exercise in self-publicity for Yiannopoulos, rather than an actual attempt to organise a series of talks.

    If any of the faculty have urged people not to attend any of the offensive talks (if they really happen), then that sounds like the right response. There are some deeply stupid, as well as offensive, people in that list. Cancelling lectures does seem a bad idea, though. You should never let the presence of, say, Katie Hopkins, stop you living your normal life.

    • Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      If any of the faculty have urged people not to attend any of the offensive talks (if they really happen), then that sounds like the right response.

      So the faculty should treat students like children, and carefully vet talks so that students only encounter PG12 stuff?

      Any faculty member with *confidence* in their view point would say: “Attend and listen if you wish, it’ll be obvious to you how bad these speakers are”.

      • Barney
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        No; I urge everyone to not waste any time watching Katie Hopkins, for instance, because she’s a bigoted idiot whose purpose in life is to make money by being offensive. She is a walking two-minute hate.

        Yiannopoulos and Coulter are more intelligent, but they only do what they do to make money; they have never said anything worth listening to. Coulter has made her career by getting the gullible to hate groups. Bannon is partly responsible for the worst administration the USA has ever had, both ethically and competence-wise. Pamela Geller seems mostly consumed by hate. And so on.

        It’s not children that I suggest this to; it’s adults. I’d urge people to ignore a talk by Ken Ham too. Unless you’re going to study the phenomenon of “why is anyone persuaded by this crap?”, these people are a waste of time.

        It’s possible some of the people I haven’t heard of could be worth listening to, but by agreeing to take part in Yiannopoulos’s circus, we should assume they’re not, and only if there’s positive evidence there’s something intelligent available from them. If Liberty University organises a seminar, you assume the people talking will be awful people, both moral and intellectually.

        • BJ
          Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Is there anyone on the left you resent for being in it for the money? Bill Maher is friends with Ann Coulter, so I assume they both realize that the other is in it for the money and, ultimately, an entertainer. Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly are friends too, I imagine for the same reasons. In fact, this kind of thing is very common.

          It’s interesting you say that people like Coulter have “never said anything worth listening to.” I imagine right wingers would say the same about people with which we agree. Your position leads to nothing but everyone in the country listening only to people who they know will say things that don’t oppose their own views. That doesn’t seem like a recipe for people changing their minds on anything; in fact, it seems like a recipe for maintaining and deepening political divisions in perpetuity.

          And who cares if they’re in it for the money? They speak for a significant segment of the public. If you’re in college and believe yourself to be intelligent and at all unable to be knocked over by hearing views with which you don’t agree, you should be able to withstand this.

          By the way, Liberty University had Bernie Sanders speak during the campaign. And students showed up and were respectful. Nobody protested his presence, least of all faculty. So perhaps Liberty University is more interested in hearing and opposing viewpoints — and willing to subject their students to them — than you are.

          • Barney
            Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I hold George Galloway in the same contempt as Steve Bannon. Luckily, Galloway never got as much power.

            One of the difference between Maher and Coulter is that he is frequently entertaining, while she picks on groups, usually those with little or no power. Stewart is frequently funny, and always comes across as a good person to know, while O’Reilly frequently exhibits bigotry, and seems like the kind of person you’d never want to know personally. Plus he has a long history of sexually harassing women.

            The point is that the public record of the people I’ve mentioned is of putting forwarded stupid and or bigoted ideas. They have never done anything to make them seem worth listening to. A student would have a better bet of hearing something worthwhile by spending an hour talking to the person on their right in a lecture.

            It’s not that these people are right wing; if Mitt Romney came to lecture, he could be worth listening to. It’s that these are the dregs of society.

            “It seems like a recipe for maintaining and deepening political divisions in perpetuity” – it really is worthy maintaining a division from awful people like these. “They speak for a significant segment of the public.” A similarly awful segment – stupid, racist, misogynistic. If you want to see what they think, then read YouTube comments, and you can take a break quickly, rather than being stuck in a lecture theatre for an hour.

            It’s not whether you’d be able to “withstand” it, it’s whether there’s a better use of your time. Reading WEIT, watching the Comedy Channel, talking to friends – all far more likely to be both more informative and entertaining than listening to rubbish from a bigot with a book to sell.

            Sanders is not the left wing equivalent of these people (again, someone like Mitt Romney would be his equivalent). So it’s not surprising Liberty students came to listen to him.

          • ploubere
            Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think it’s fair to lump Coulter and Maher, and Stewart and O’Reilly, in the same basket, or to call them friends. They have them as guests on their shows for the purpose of calling them out on everything stupid and misinformed that they say. They aren’t two sides of the same coin. Stewart and Maher are not cynical manipulators as is Coulter by any stretch.

          • nate
            Posted September 18, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            I don’t know, I think claiming that the best way to talk to a liberal is with a baseball bat (Ann Coulter)sort of removes her from the list of people that I do not agree with yet may have something of merit to say.

      • Harrison
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        I gotta say I agree with Barney. As long as staff aren’t trying to get speakers shut down, they’re free to try to persuade their students that these people are not worth their time. Not forbid or strongarm, but persuade. That is free speech as well.

        • Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          Sure, they’re entirely free to do that. But why would they want to, unless they lack confidence in their own views?

          • Harrison
            Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            I don’t disagree that it’s cowardly, and I agree with those above who point out how tactically terrible it is and how much it plays into their opponents’ hands. Heck, if one considers themselves an opponent of such regressives, one might even ask himself “why interrupt them when they’re making a mistake?”

            But my main point is cowardly or stupid or not, as long as they are not interfering with speakers nor those who wish to hear them, there’s no crime. If the only cause they’re hurting is their own, well that’s the least bad outcome.

        • BJ
          Posted September 17, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Of course they’re free to. I never said they’re not. I just think it’s quite sad on their part, being college professors and all.

  4. merilee
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Crazy, but I do wonder why Milo gets so many times to speak?

    • Barney
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      From the first link about the speakers – “Free Speech Week, a joint effort between Yiannopoulos and a conservative campus publication, The Berkeley Patriot …”

      Many of these people one basic interest and area of expertise, and that is themselves. Milo is doing a 4 day long “look at me!” performance.

    • Historian
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Milo is an entertainer and provocateur extraordinaire. He serves the purpose or riling up those who oppose the right-wing agenda. The more he is shouted down, the more famous he becomes as a symbol for free speech that the far left is trying to suppress. From the perspective of the right-wing, the more events he attends, the better for them. Boycotting him is the best approach to diminish his appeal. But, those on the far left are incapable of understanding this

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        The more he is shouted down, the more famous he becomes

        … and so if he runs his own website (or if things he writes are published on someone else’s website), then the revenue from on-screen advertising increases.
        “Follow the money” is a useful tool.

      • Richard Sanderson
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        It was amusingly ironic that it the free speech afforded to Milo that caused his downfall in the first place – when he did that interview on radio, where he promoted pro-paedophilia views. Extra ironic really, considering he often attacked several SJWS (rightly, actually) over their views on paedophilia.

        • Travis
          Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          Nothing he said was pro-pedophilia.

          IIRC there were 3 statements that blew up:

          1) He said there were hollywood parties he was at where “very young” boys were at. The implication is that they were too young to be there and sexual implications can be drawn. Should he have reported this? Yes, probably. But he admitted that this happened so I can’t see how he is pro-pedophilia.

          2) He said that age of consent was complicated but that he thinks the laws are “about right”

          3) He spoke about his own abuse by a preacher when he was young. He didn’t frame it in a very negative light and really diminished his own victimhood… this is no worse than when Dawkins said he wasn’t greatly affected when he was molested by a preacher. I don’t think it’s a big deal but we can’t forget that MILO is the victim, here, if anyone

          • Barney
            Posted September 17, 2017 at 4:50 am | Permalink

            Here is what he said that is seen as pro-paedophilia:

            Another man said, “You are advocating for cross generational relationships here, can we be honest about that?”

            Milo: “Yeah, I don’t mind admitting that. I think particularly in the gay world and outside the Catholic church, if that’s where some of you want to go with this, I think in the gay world, some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men, they can be hugely positive experiences for those young boys. They can even save those young boys, from desolation, from suicide (people talk over each other)… providing they’re consensual.”

            http://heavy.com/news/2017/02/milo-yiannopolous-pedophilia-transcript-pederasty-video-full-sex-boys-men-catholic-priest-cpac-quotes/

            From his remark just before that, by “younger boy” he seems to mean “somebody 13-years-old who is sexually mature”; he thinks that’s not paedophilia. Most people think it is.

            • Posted September 17, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

              Where does he advocate under age boys having sexual relationships with older men?

              • Barney
                Posted September 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

                There. Read it in context. I didn’t quote his joke about learning how to give good head from a Catholic priest.

    • Chris Lang
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Milo is sponsored by the billionaire Mercer family.

  5. Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I fear for the poor students who, having missed a whole week of African American Women’s Dance Studies of Color, will never catch up.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Sweet.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      It’s America there will be ambulance-chasing lawyers circling in the streets, dorsal fins occasionally breaking the surface, clod dead eyes searching for an opportunity.
      (I apologise to any sharks offended by the comparison.)

  6. FB
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    They believe that Freedom of Speech is a dogma, but it seems to me that that is similar to say that being non-religious is a religion. The difference is that dogmas are laid down by an authority (god, prophet, pope, scientists, nice people) while Freedom of Speech doesn’t require one.

  7. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I support their right to speak obviously, but by golly there are some unpleasant people there. Katie Hopkins??

    I also think when she calls for a ‘final solution’ to the ‘Muslim problem’, and describes the people crossing the mediterranean on the run from the Syrian war as ‘cockroaches’ she’s skirting very close to incitement.

    Say what you like about the illiberal-left…Katie Hopkins and her ilk are of a different order of unpleasantness altogether.

    • Richard Sanderson
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes, there are some nasty characters there.

      But Linda Sarsour has said horrible, nasty things, and she should be allowed to speak if invited, as well. Heck, there are number of nasty characters working as professors in these institutions.

      People potentially offended can go walk the dog, take a trip to the beach, finish that unfinished novel they are reading, etc.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 17, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        I don’t know what the actual legal limits are in free speech, ie. what constitutes incitement, but I think saying stuff like “we need a final solution to the Muslim problem” rubs perilously close against it.

        Katie Hopkins is an unspeakably repellent human being. Linda Sarsour is a stupid, nasty woman, but she’d have to go some to compete. It’s very easy to get lost in these internecine arguments between fellow leftists and liberals – but the last twelve months have reminded me that the foremost enemy is the hard right.

  8. Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    ‘“This is a clear threat to public higher education,” Cohen said. “People are coming to humiliate others and incite violence.”‘

    That’s actually a libelous statement, unless Cohen is talking about antifa. That is the only group that has been inciting and perpetrating violence. Milo has been pointing his lawyers at people who have made false claims about him — while I disagree with much of Milo’s schtick, I would find it amusing if Cohen had to publicly apologize to him.

    • tomh
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      “libelous statement?” Hardly.

  9. Nino
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Listen to jordan peterson on joe rogan podcast. His 1st appereance there was fantastic. Thats how most ppl got into him, atleast I did. I recommend it. Although I suspect you wont like his definition of truth and the ways he reconciles truth and religion. I read your work and am afraid you might dismiss him too hastily. Just give a man a chance and listen to the whole thing.

    • Travis
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      He’s a bit too traditionalist as well as the other criticisms you lay, imo.

      Still, he has a lot of useful information to share and he’s blown up in popularity for sticking up for freedom. There’s the risk that he will be treated as a cult leader, though

  10. poltiser
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Can we just for a moment rehabilitate the tradition of Orwell, Hemingway and Russell?
    Can we drop the name Regressive Left and use more adequate one:
    “Mentally Constipated Sinister”?
    Maybe it is only a game of words, but too many people in the past laid their lives in the cause, misrepresented today by so called “activists”…

    Best regards.

  11. Randy schenck
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The more they are allowed to speak the clearer will be their ignorance and the lower their ratings. Look at the current and equally obnoxious El Presidente to expose the truth of the matter. The more information provided by these speech makers the more dislike and disgust piles up. Why would anyone want to muzzle the stuff they are selling. There is nothing to fear but a group of left winged instructors. Shutting down this group does more for their popularity than anything they have to say.

  12. Richard Sanderson
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Guess what, Jerry.

    One your more persistent critics, Peter Ferguson (Humanisticus) is sobbing and crying over you highlighting this issue, because, unlike a college/university, an open space for discussion of ideas, you ban the odd commentator. Further, these people are invited by groups at the college/university, and simply not comparable to a private blog.

    For extra laughs, Peter is ALWAYS crying, and I mean ALWAYS, crying about “free speech warriors”, etc. Noticeably, he has no qualms at all about the free speech of antisemites. Peter is one of those, what do you call them, oh yes, “fascists”, who believes they decide who gets to have free speech.

    There isn’t anybody listed on those 4 days that I would want to see, so, I just wouldn’t attend. I’d walk my dog instead. But then again, I’m a sensible, liberal, human being.

    • BJ
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      It’s important that it’s a university, since that should be a place where one is exposed to views and ideas they don’t like. It’s even more important that it’s a *public* university, and thus anyone who wishes to ban speakers believes that the First Amendment of the Constitution is wrong and should be rescinded. That is what people like Peter Ferguson really believe.

      I would listen to Jordan Peterson speak.

      • Craw
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Stolen from Iowahawk

        University: we take you out of your comfort zone.
        Also University: Report any discomfort to the discomfort police.

    • Posted September 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Peterson is always a treat who gets you really thinking, whatever the subject.

      I’d like to hear Murray’s actual words, not the regressive left’s strawmanning of him.

      Milo is a performance artist. He’ll say pretty much anything for a rise, and is entertainingly outrageous and unabashedly wrong.

      I haven’t seen Ann since we made out as teenagers. She was kinda cute back then but hasn’t held up well.

      • sang1ee
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Murray has tweeted that he’s not speaking at the event and has no idea why his name is on that list.

        • Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          It’s probably one big prank by Milo.

  13. Richard Sanderson
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    BTW, somebody challenged me recently.

    They asked my why, if “free speech” is such a liberal value, why are the far right suddenly fond of promoting it.

    “Easy”, I replied.

    1. The far left have lost interest in this great tool of liberalism, casually dismissing it as “muh, freeze peach”. The far right are only to happy to grab it, even if they traditionally, they have always opposed free speech.

    2. The far right are happy to use symbols and concepts they historically oppose, in order to spite the left. Hence, I have seen far right racists wave around Israeli flags in front of Muslims, to spite them. They hate Jewish people, yet I have seen them fly Israeli flags. They use “free speech” in the same way – to spite, and not just to utilise it.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 17, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      I think it’s kind of game-theoretical: whoever is in the ruling position in society, whoever controls the media, religion, whoever has the most influence, they will tend to see free-speech as an existential threat.
      OTOH, whoever is challenging them, whoever is trying to make inroads politically, culturally, whoever is the underdog, will tend to see free-speech as a crucial tool.

      For centuries the world has been a conservative place, society has been a conservative place. Therefore free-speech was a liberal invention, because they’re the ones who needed to use it. But post-the-sixties, the liberal-left has been in the cultural and political ascendancy and therefore you see them begin to turn away from it and the right embrace it. My belief is that utilitarian considerations govern the overall appeal of free-speech to either side.

      Of course there are still plenty of left-liberals who regard it as a foundational principle(not just a tool to be discarded once it’s no longer useful)…but not as many as there used to be.

      • biz
        Posted September 17, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Yes, this is exactly it. Aside from a minority of people who are first principles consistent thinkers and therefore support free speech regardless, the vast majority of people support free speech when they perceive that their side is disadvantaged in power and oppose it when they perceive that their side is advantaged in power.

        It is telling that at the moment both Right and Left seem to agree that the Left is advantaged in power.

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for that POV. At first reading it makes eminent sense to me. (You’ve been brilliant in this thread. 😀 )

  14. Harrison
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    If any speaker actually “incites violence,” guess what? That is not and has never been legally protected speech, and they can be arrested for it.

    Oh but wait of course that’s not what actually is happening. Like so many other terms “inciting violence” has been taken in and abused by regressives to mean whatever they wish it to mean at any particular moment.

  15. Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Boycotting classes and closing campus go too far. However, I can totally see boycotting these talks. Don’t go! Don’t participate! And don’t get violent about it!

    These speakers (or many of them) actually want a violent response. Don’t give these people what they want. Just boycott the talks.

  16. Posted September 16, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    What is also concerning here is that faculty and students who choose to go to campus as normal will be called out and ostracized, a ‘la The Evergreen State College.

    • Harrison
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Speaking of Evergreen, breaking news is they’ve now settled their lawsuit.

      This is a good outcome for the Weinsteins and a best case outcome for Evergreen. It is a decidedly bad outcome for those interested in ensuring situations like that at Evergreen are prevented in the future.

  17. roadworker
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps it should be called “Free Speech – Weak”.

  18. eric
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    What’s most interesting are those departmental affiliations. Nearly every signer is from the humanities…

    When I was there in the ’90s, the same was basically true. The students tried to unionize…and the science students didn’t get involved. The students protested this and that…the science students generally weren’t involved.

    To answer your ‘Why do you suppose that is?’ question, I think part of it is that the science departments in Berkeley probably have a much higher grad student/undergrad student ratio than many other departments. The grad students themselves are of course more focused on completing their PhD’s by doing research than they are ‘getting the college experience,’ so they’re less likely to be involved in general campus life. I’d also expect the undergrads don’t show up as much because some of that ‘professional’ attitude rubs off.

    I suppose you could say that the scientists are just too busy in their labs, or are apolitical.

    Well the cynical way of thinking about it is that they’re more self-concerned. They’re receiving stipends to do work, and generally it takes a lot for them to risk that. So challenge the value of science, and they’ll sit up and pay attention. Challenge something outside their labs and stipends, and maybe they won’t.

    ***

    Though as a final thought, we may be reading too deeply into this. With that lineup of speakers, maybe they just don’t care. I know I wouldn’t bother to either protest or go to most of those events. Despite all the press they’ve gotten, I don’t think of Milo et al. as being either interesting enough to go hear or ‘dangerous’ enough to protest. Nor is he IMO an ‘expert’ in any of those fields where I would think his ideas were worth hearing. This is not like getting a published holocaust denier to talk about the holocaust. This is more like getting Bob who Got 1,000,000 Hits On His Offensive YouTube Video to talk about the holocaust.

    Every opinion has a right to the marketplace. Not every opinion is worth buying.

    • Trevor Adcock
      Posted September 17, 2017 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      Good on them I say for not involving themselves in those protests. I think the idea that left wing students have that they speak for everyone is one of the greatest misunderstandings in human history. If people really supported you they would support you no need to make up rationalisations for your failures.

  19. Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    I (and many of your readers, i imagine) would love for you to find out more about Dr Jordan Peterson, and hear yr thoughts about his ideas, particularly evolution biology and religious practice.
    JBP describes himself as a “classic liberal” btw, and is virulently against post-modernist and neo-Marxist ideas.
    I wonder if there would be more left-leaning speakers if they were able to participate anonymously?

  20. murali
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    No Dawkins? I guess he dumped by a local radio.

  21. Gareth
    Posted September 17, 2017 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    Katie Hopkins and Raheem Kassam! Hahahaha
    Can you please give Piers Morgan a second chance? He’d love this sort of thing.

    • Gareth
      Posted September 17, 2017 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      Perhaps I was being too cruel :p

      But its Fresher’s week across the English speaking world, so silly season at Uni, guess we can expect a lot of odd stories over the next month.

  22. Posted September 17, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Four days of closed humanities classes, four days in which humanities classes do not indoctrinate students with their identity politics BS? Sounds like an improvement already.

  23. biz
    Posted September 17, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Another reason, in addition to being more busy and being more objective and committed to the truth, that science faculty didn’t sign: Missing a few days of class can completely throw off a semester for a science course.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 17, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      I missed the whole second week of an accellerated six-week quarter at Berkeley because of poison oak in my eyes. I was too stubborn to drop the two courses and just could NOT catch up. Got a D+ in Genetics and C in quantum chem…Fortunately did well in the courses the following year at Stanford.

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 17, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Ouch!

        Yeah, I missed an oral exam* in grad school when I was in the infirmary with mono. Never did finish that class…

        *an Agronomy exam, not the ultimate oral.

  24. allison
    Posted September 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Yiannopolous, Bannon, Coulter, etc may not be deliberately “inciting violence” but make no mistake – they are hoping with every cell in their loathsome bodies that leftists will respond to their presence with rioting and violence.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 17, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Yep, that would play right into their hands. What ammo to rile up their “base.”

  25. Julie
    Posted September 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    From what I understood as mentioned at a faculty forum, staff and faculty in the departments that are critiqued by Milo and his ilk (Gender studies, African American Studies, Ethnic Studies) are being threatened by hate faxes, hate emails, etc. The staff members are most impacted, as they receive the faxes and answer the phones. Students also threaten and harass their peers, especially over social media. I’m not sure why this is not being discussed more widely. STEM departments are not targets of the “free speech” folks, and so they are not experiencing threat and harassment. Their faculty and students may not be aware of how “free speech” events are being experienced by their colleagues and peers. It’s also interesting to note, in response to some of the comments here, that those are the departments that teach the histories that the Ben Shapiros and Milos of the world wish to deny. Denying those histories of violence is a form of violence itself, it could be argued. With that in mind, shutting down the departments for a week seems like a terrible response, until you understand that there are actual threats against them. There is no good answer here.

    • Posted September 18, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I’d be more sympathetic if there was actual evidence of an onslaught of hate male and hate faxes against those departments. Frankly, I’m dubious, and I’m not willing to accept ANYBODY’S claim, left or right, that they’re being victimized without the evidence. It’s just too easy to say that and make yourself a victim. Where are the threats? Do you have a link that reproduces them?

      As I said this morning, there’s a lot to be gained by saying that you’re being victimized, but I want to see the evidence that Dance Studies and anthropology are being inundated with hate mail. Until I see some of that, and not just the assertions of professors who stand to gain by making those claims, I remain dubious.

      And even so, closing the departments doesn’t solve that. Really? Threats? Is somebody going to attack or shoot the anthropology students, English students, and dance professors? That’s an unbelievable claim.


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