Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Critical Studies Wins.

Back in the 1980s, my law prof Richard Delgado wrote a book entitled "Must We Defend Nazis?"

His answer was "no," and at the time that was considered a fairly obvious bit of heresy.

Now, apparently, without a shot being fired and thanks to nothing more than that educational industry, that's the new conventional wisdom.

//According to a columnist for the Duke University student newspaper, America’s “obsession with the First Amendment” is really just “an expression of white supremacy.”

“I am thinking about how an urgent and overdue conversation about racism—on our campus and across our country — has been derailed by a diversionary and duplicitous obsession with the First Amendment,” graduate student Bennett Carpenter wrote in university newspaper The Chronicle. “I am thinking about how quickly the conversation has shifted from white supremacy to white fragility — and how this shift is itself an expression of white supremacy.”

Apparently unaware of the irony of using a newspaper column to call for restrictions on free speech, Carpenter argued that Americans give too much deference to the First Amendment and should focus more on censoring violent speech.

“Words hurt as much as actions; indeed, words are actions,” he declared. “Within the context of white supremacy, any distinction between a defaced poster, a racist pamphlet and legal or extralegal murder can be only of degree.”//

Of course, that's nonsense - there is a fundamental difference in kind between a debate between two people and one person killing another.

It appears that the wisdom of the ages that taught that we had to defend the rights of the unpopular to protect our own rights was true all along.


Gail Finke said...

I am 51. I was not aware, until recently, of how much liberals and progressive pressed for freedom of expression in the 1960s, when I was but a tot. Embracing the nastiest of political and obscene expression was the height of the sophisticated and right-thinking person because, of course, it was all speech against the hated "establishment." They could call for the downfall of the government, gambol about naked on stage, scream "f- the police," burn flags, call for Black Power and revolutions, etc. and be the bastion of free speech while doing so. Now that they are the establishment, the progressives/liberals suddenly value the idea of forbidding anyone to say anything against their cherished beliefs. People like this graduate student have no idea that their intellectual and political forebears took the opposite position, but that they both have the same aim: to crush all who disagree.

mrez said...

Thank you for your both articulate and astute reply and your reference to your age. I am 58 and I remember these developments as well. Isn't it a terrible shame. Wondering what we can do. I think we are seeing Trump do it with his speech.

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