My Tribune op-ed on Bannongate at the University of Chicago

 When I wrote my post on “Bannongate” the other day, which decried some students’ and professors’ attempts to prevent Steve Bannon from debating at the University of Chicago this fall, I thought, “Maybe I should write an op-ed for the student newspaper.” Then I thought, “Go big or go home—why don’t I try the Chicago Tribune?” I’ve never published in the Trib before, and rarely write an op-ed, but now seemed the time. So I dashed one off, vetted it to the paper’s op-ed editor, and—she liked it! It was put online yesterday, should be in the paper paper today, and you can read it by clicking on the screenshots below:

The piece speaks for itself, and says nothing that I haven’t emphasized on this site before. But as the cancer of Free Speech Buttery spreads, we all need to speak up against the repression of speech—and the deplatforming of speakers—because what they say is “offensive”.

 

79 Comments

  1. Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Hear, hear! Well done, sir!

  2. alexandra Moffat
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Yes, excellent. Of Course-
    Will be interested to see the Letters

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what to say here…

    Let’s list the outcomes :

    [thumbs up] : WEIT is a hate site.
    [thumbs down] : …. this one I’m stuck on.

    …. a true dilemma.

    • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      IDK…of the 4 comments, 1 is a repost urging professors to look up the etymology of “university,” and 2 commiserate coyne’s disparaging adjectives for bannon.

      Not sure anyone is getting the point.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Jerry’s article is excellent. The comments in the paper so far should be an embarrassment to those who wrote them.

      It makes me laugh that the guy protesting Jerry’s characterization of Bannon offered a reward not if examples of Bannon’s bigotry could be presented, but it any of his opponents had served in uniform. I guess he’s not that confident in his guy’s integrity!

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Somehow I doubt Bannon was ever in the military. Then there’s Prez Bone-spurs himself…

        Always reminds me of this dubya ‘toon:

        Meanwhile, why am I the only one unable to see Trib comments? grrr…

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          Did not expect just a Google image search link to embed, sigh…

        • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          Bannon served seven years in the Navy and was discharged with the rank of lieutenant.

          • Diane G.
            Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            Thanks, mikeyc. Note to self–always Google first.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

              Given his relationship with Trump at the time, it was more than a bit ironic for Bannon to have lambasted Mitt Romney for skipping out of Vietnam service “hiding behind” his Mormon missionary obligation.

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

                Well, that was…interesting.

                Ironic, indeed, but right in his guess that the Judge Moore section of the Alabama electorate wouldn’t begin to recognize how they were being played. (Nearly wrote, “how skillfully,” but doesn’t look like it took much skill.)

                Thought this guy was supposed to be more of a recluse. Need we fear he might have visions of running for Prez?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 3, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

                Yeah, Bannon was going full Walter Sobchak, Similar sartorial style, too. 🙂

  4. Marilyn
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    It was posted yesterday because I read it last night. I was happy to see it because there had been a ‘letter to the editor’ earlier in the day on the same subject. The author agreed with your summary of free speech, but he also denigrated the U of C and I knew that was wrong.

  5. Kevin Meredith
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    First-rate job, Jerry, should serve as a template against any de-platforming effort

    • Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      There’s no way the University will ban Bannon, though I’m sure they’ll take security precautions to prevent illegal disruption. I was speaking as justification for my view, and, implicitly, for the University’s.

      • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        “I’m sure they’ll take security precautions to prevent illegal disruption”

        I hope this will be the case.

  6. ploubere
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    On point, and should aggravate the regressives. Which will be fun.

  7. BobTerrace
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Said clear and concise. Now we see the responses.

  8. colnago80
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    As I opined in a comment on an earlier post here, maybe the real threat on college campuses is not the left wing SJW but the infiltration neo-fascists.

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/white-supremacist-propaganda-spreading-on-us-campuses-report/

    • BJ
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      It’s actually possible for more than one threat to exist at a time. The existence of one does not somehow preclude the other.

      More importantly, incidents like those in the article aren’t tolerated on any campus. And there aren’t student groups, classes, professors, and petitions preaching the importance of engaging in them.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        “The existence of one does not somehow preclude the other.”

        It often invites the other.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Is this really a big problem? Is white-supremacy and or neo-fascism being adopted by students or faculty at any significant rate? Or are people merely coming on campus and handing out pamphlets and the like?

      If the latter, is it really a problem? Is there reason to worry that this propaganda will be effective at recruiting any significant number of students or faculty to white-supremacist or neo-fascist causes?

      In either case, why would another threat make the left wing SJW threat any less of a threat? Aren’t we capable of opposing many threats at the same time?

      • yazikus
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        I did just see this show up in my news feed… I do think perhaps it is spreading, and on the radio yesterday they were discussing a poll where about half of young people thought diversity was harmful and that evangelicals were a persecuted group. I don’t know what to think other than these are issues we’ll need to grapple with, together, as a society.

        • Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          Most of what goes under the heading of “Diversity” is greatly harmful. Note it was a diversity officer who attacked Lindsay Shepherd.

          When the regressive Left that dominates campus thought wages and incessant war on whiteness and ‘privilege’, when “it’s okay to be white” becomes “hate speech”, and the rational Left and Center stand by silently, it is no wonder that young people are being driven into the welcoming arms of the far Right.

          • Diane G.
            Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Not to mention the antisemitism of the BDS movement.

            • BJ
              Posted February 2, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

              But nobody talks about that. Those are the good antisemites.

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

                Oh, right, my bad! /scsm

      • colnago80
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        The issue is, which is the bigger threat? IMHO, the threat from the neo-fascist right as exemplified by Bannon is far greater then the threat from the left wing SJWs. Never forget that one of the levers that propelled Hitler to power was an exaggerated fear of Communism.

        • BJ
          Posted February 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          ” IMHO, the threat from the neo-fascist right as exemplified by Bannon is far greater then the threat from the left wing SJWs.”

          On college campuses? We’ve seen far more violence in the last few years from regressives on campus than “fascists.” And as I said before, what you’re worried about isn’t being promoted by students, faculty, and even college administrators. I also don’t know of any far-right students shutting down speech.

          ” Never forget that one of the levers that propelled Hitler to power was an exaggerated fear of Communism.”

          Oh, come on. If you’re going to make Hitler arguments, we can also note that shutting down speech helped bring Hitler to power.

          • colnago80
            Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            No you come on. Free speech was stifled after Hitler came to power and all dissent was labeled subversive. All the left and left leaning parties were banned.

            • BJ
              Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

              That’s right, I forgot there was no stifling of free speech in Nazi Germany before Hitler.

              But let’s pretend there wasn’t. Your argument is ridiculous because of what I was trying to demonstrate to you: you can take anything about pre-Hitler Germany, note that it’s present in many countries around the world, choose one of those countries, and then say, “see?!? You’re doing something that led to Hitler!” That is why your argument is ridiculous.

              You know who else had a society with lots of fear regarding Communism? The US. And the UK. And plenty of other Western nations. Somehow, none of them ended up ruled by the next Hitler.

              • BJ
                Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

                *sorry, I meant, Germany before Hitler, not “Nazi Germany before Hitler”

        • BJ
          Posted February 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          And we’ve seen far more open antisemitism from regressives on campus than far-right students.

  9. Janet
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Excellent, supremely logical and compelling.

  10. yazikus
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    A good letter. One of my favorite quotes is ‘there is learning in all things’, and I do believe that is true. The more we try to isolate ourselves from and refuse to listen to the ‘opposing’ side’s view, the more detached we’ll become from what they actually think (leaving us less able to counter the views we deem harmful). For the same reason I listen to left and right radio when I commute, receive emails from both my democratic and republican representatives and read news from sources I don’t usually agree with along with my favorites, we should let Bannon speak.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      IS that quote a PCC(E) original?

      Why does my phone all-cap the first word every time?

    • Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      A shame there is no middle radio.

      • yazikus
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        I wonder if this is also something of a reflection of how our culture values diplomacy. (We don’t seem to, of late).

        • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          We are increasingly polarized as a society. And rage-facilitation sells. But see my response on radio marketing for a simpler etiology.

      • XCellKen
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        It was tried in Houston, Texas in the late 90s. Didn’t last long

        • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          True. I know a bit about radio marketing from my Olden Days. A narrow demographic yields better targeted advertising, so radio programming reflects that. Which is why there are no Blues stations but lots of Jazz stations. Everybody loves the Blues — which is exactly the problem: the radio audience would be too diverse to target. OTOH, you can accurately predict the lifestyle and purchase behaviors of a Jazz fan.

          • yazikus
            Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            The commercials that dominate the air during the conservative host’s show that I listen bug me to no end. Hair loss treatments, sketchy dietary supplements for weight loss, stem cell therapy, testosterone injections, etc.

            To your point about demographics, I wonder how that relates to the decline of Oldies stations (which I love, and can rarely find these days).

            • Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

              That oldies demographic all have Sirius.

              • yazikus
                Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

                I feel neglected.

            • Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

              Hair loss treatments, sketchy dietary supplements for weight loss, stem cell therapy, testosterone injections, etc.

              So, stuff that sounds like a miracle cure, but won’t actually work. Like a wall with Mexico.

          • BJ
            Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

            That’s really fascinating. I had no idea.

  11. Cate Plys
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Fantastic, and now that you know the op-ed editor, the Tribune op-ed page is a go-to for other topics.

  12. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Excellent response to those who wish to suppress and practice censorship. And it goes to the correct place – the city newspaper and not some twitter item.

  13. Bruce Lyon
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Well done Jerry!

  14. Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Very well said and best summarized with the last sentence:

    “The words “I favor free speech” should never be followed by “but.””

  15. Debbie Coplan
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    So well said!

  16. Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Ty, Jerry.
    .
    I am Canadian. I’m a retired lawyer atheist. Been on this ball of dust long enough to see the only true market successfully weed out one bad idea after another.

    The U.S. is an experiment and one that has passed many tests while failing others.

    I lived through Viet Nam and the Civil Rights movement. I’ve watched my American cousins grow up during America’s greatest civil unrest since the 1930s.

    Throughout its history, American civil rights have been tested.

    Nothing bad comes out of debate. Nothing good comes from censorship.

    Dennis Robinson
    Calgary, Alberta

  17. Rebecca
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Good job, Jerry. Thanks for speaking out.

  18. BJ
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Well done, Jerry. Not that I’d ever expect anything less!

  19. Adam M.
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Nice! I imagine rebuttals may be along the lines that Bannon does present a “clear and present danger” because his policies ‘put the lives of people of color and undocumented immigrants at risk’ or ‘normalize the ideology of people that want to erase our existence’. Don’t they always say that letting a conservative speak is going to cause people to die (somehow)? People should be better educated on what the clear and present danger standard really means.

  20. darrelle
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Bannon is one scary dude.

    • Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      He’s weaponized alcoholism in action.

      • yazikus
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        +1

      • BJ
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Ooohhh, I am SO stealing that!

  21. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Best thing in The Trib since Dewey defeated Truman (or at least since Royko went off to the big gin mill in the sky).

    But srsly, a srsly nice piece.

  22. Nicholas K.
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    As some one who hates most everything Bannon stands for, I certainly do hope the U. of Chicago allows him to debate. Debate is exactly what is needed! Make him defend his loathsome worldview. His rancid movement gets much more mileage out of any controversy from attempts to ban him.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      The sign on my lawn scolds you : hate has no home here

      ^^^^i don’t really have a sign, I’m satirizing.

      • XCellKen
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        I don’t really have a lawn

  23. glen1davidson
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    May as well publish it now, before it becomes hate speech that will no longer be tolerated.

    Glen Davidson

  24. Diane G.
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Good job! Alas, it says there are comments but I can’t access them. I suppose they want me to subscribe. (I DO subscribe to a handful of MSM outlets but can’t support all of ’em, much as I’d like to!)

    • Paul S
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I can see the comments with internet exploder, chrome doesn’t seem to work.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that, Paul!

        Crum, I’ve been avoiding MS Edge since MS shoved Windows 10 down my throat…did not realize there would still be a significant difference between two of the most common browsers…decisions, decisions…

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I can see the comments. They’re not worth bothering with.

      Well said PCC(E). Hope it has the effect it deserves.

  25. wendell read
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    If only people could grasp the point made by Obama’s grandmother. Thank you for bringing it out. I am a graduate of Reed college. I wish they could show the same backbone as the University of Chicago!

  26. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Good work. Not many comments [4] at the mo & I can’t see them – just blank space. Maybe my adblocker?

    • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      All 4 favorable so far. Though one at least is rather rude.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Ah–ad-blocker may be my problem, too…

  27. Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Well-said sir, and nice and concise too!

  28. Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I await hearing about responses!

    • Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes, especially from the Regressives at UofC. Should be interesting.

  29. Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Very well composed article, PCC(E). You make excellent points in a clear, concise and convincing manner.

  30. Dale Franzwa
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Great editorial, Jerry.

  31. Posted February 3, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Banning, not Bannon, should be banned. From universities in the first place.

    When reading Jerry’s motive, “Go big or go home”, to write this fine article, I was amused to remember that I learned that advice as a guideline for the third hand player in bridge [unfortunately, I did not advance much in this fascinating game).
    .-


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