UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

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IU2Bmanoletters
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UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby IU2Bmanoletters » Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:02 pm

Given their upbringing in the post-9/11 "National Security Utopia" we currently inhabit, it's entirely unsurprising yet hugely uninspiring that many late teens and twenty-somethings who attend UW-Madison should value their own "safety" over the ceaseless, unobstructed sifting and winnowing that alone can lead to profound, "revealed truth." Such a fixation on the "need" to remain intellectually unperturbed at all costs is certainly unfortunate. Clarification: in using the term "safety," I refer to the apparent insistence of not having one's orthodoxies rigorously challenged; I do NOT refer to the obvious and real necessity - within the bounds of reason, practicability and the Constitution - of a physically safe environment in which to pursue one's course of study.

Let us not confuse UW's mission, which I assume to be something like scholastic achievement and enlightenment, with that institution's strong emphasis in recent years on policing "errant" ideas; ideas which may conflict with the "common wisdom" held by a consensus of the Bascom Hill hierarchy at any given moment. What's more, the creation and maintenance of a "properly law-abiding" and/or "properly rule-abiding" ambiance on campus is, however lamentably, the purview of the Madison Police Department and UW Police Department; it shouldn't be the overarching focus of students, staff and faculty; their primary goal should be fulfilling the University's academic and (oftentimes questionable, to be sure) research aims.

Returning to the matter of failed speech codes and other supposedly benign policies, however.... the potential for mentally insecure, immature or even sociopathic personalities to extend controversial IDEAS into the realm of concrete ACTS will always be with us, unless rapidly emerging technologies and continually evolving innovation of the most sinister variety succeed in achieving the horrendous goal of nipping "bad thoughts" in the bud - within the domain of the human mind itself.

These supposedly benign policies - which are in reality entirely patronizing and overly-controlling directives - plainly reveal the University's increasingly authoritarian and conformist attitude with respect to the free expression of contentious matters. There's also a disturbing indication, exposed to the light of day by the very terms "micro-aggression," "safe spaces," and "trigger warnings," that a large percentage of these policies' fans are embarrassingly over-protected, thin-skinned individuals.

Those who demand their guaranteed "personal safety" to the detriment of the broader democratic interest and to the detriment of lively debate probably, in the long run, deserve neither security nor safety. Such folks certainly don't deserve the dubious "safety" of the sort that would enable anyone to remain perpetually "unthreatened," even "unoffended" by the loud and even offensive propagation of alien, bothersome, even hostile IDEOLOGIES. In that direction lies McCarthyism - not "Reverse McCarthyism," simply McCarthyism of whichever ideological variety, however "benevolent" its proponents paint their restrictive speech codes. And speech codes these are, whether overt or covert, explicit or implicit. BTW, all the criticisms I voiced above also apply to legislative busybodies and bigots of the Steve Nass variety.
"Speech wars
Can First Amendment defenders and social justice activists find common ground on campus?
by ALLISON GEYER MARCH 23, 2017:"
http://isthmus.com/news/cover-story/can ... on-campus/

P.S. Check it out - the book is hardly one-sided, in that Mr. Abrams includes a healthy amount of intensive debate between himself and his opponents.
"Friend Of The Court; On The Front Lines With The First Amendment:"
https://books.google.com/books?id=xClGT ... rt&f=false

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby bdog » Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:34 pm

From the Netflix / Amazon Prime thread:

bdog wrote:Silenced, our war on free speech

This is on Amazon prime. Courtesy trigger warning for most forons.


Universities are called out.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby IU2Bmanoletters » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:13 pm

Thanks for that, bdog. Generally speaking, First Amendment protections are needed now more than ever, specifically to protect UNPOPULAR speech, speech that YOU or I or SOMEBODY may find OFFENSIVE. The broadest possible application of the First Amendment is urgently required to protect speech that might otherwise be prohibited, by various governmental agencies, especially, whether such agencies be courts of law, public K-12 schools or public universities, or even the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/poli ... /95929564/

Regarding the situation prevailing these days at the UW, and even Madison College (to a possibly lesser degree), as the examples in the article make clear, there is way too much censure - formal, legalistic, if not actually LEGAL censure, taking place at UW Madison. There have been far too many restrictions imposed and punishments meted out to instructors there over the years, too many onerous consequences placed upon professors/teaching assistants who view things "differently." Differently, that is, from some excessively uptight students who are apparently too eager to take offense; differently from staff and faculty who've appointed themselves the final arbiters of what constitutes acceptable discourse. This needs to change.
Last edited by IU2Bmanoletters on Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby bdog » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:01 pm

I'm reminded again of these lines from "A Man for all Seasons"

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!


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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby gargantua » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:24 pm

So, based on your passage there, you support curbs (laws) against offensive speech.
Interesting. Here I thought you agreed with Mano, and then you use a Sir Thomas More quote that undermines his position.
Well played?

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby bdog » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:28 pm

Don't be so obtuse Gar.

Obviously the "laws" in this case are the ones that support the 1st amendment.

Do you understand the point of the quote? It won't always be the Skokie Nazis they try to muzzle, some day it will be the Madison progressives.

You don't want that and neither do I.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby IU2Bmanoletters » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:41 pm

Exactly, bdog. Some day....

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby gargantua » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:54 pm

So, you want to give bigots (the Devil), the benefit of the law. I understand it. Actually, I'm kind of conflicted about it. Thing is, I don't hear about progressives burning crosses or using racial epithets. Got any equivalent behavior by Progressives, and I'll listen. And shouting down conservative viewpoints on a campus is wrong, but arguing about ideas is not the same as attacking someone for who they are. Is it permissible for some UW students to say that African American students don't belong because they're inherently inferior? Want to protect that speech?

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby IU2Bmanoletters » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:49 pm

The answer is "Yes," as difficult as that affirmation is to express properly. Maybe there is no "proper" way to express such a controversial opinion, an opinion of mine that actually makes me cringe. It is permissible for some UW students to SAY that Black students don't belong, even for the most outlandish and offensive "reasons," like the one you cite. It becomes IMPERMISSABLE if and when such fools try to transform such horrendous speech into action. The only "cure" for such very ugly expression is the clear and unmistakable refutation of that bigotry, utilizing the very same First Amendment I've been extolling for hours already.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby gargantua » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:01 pm

IU2Bmanoletters wrote:The answer is "Yes," as difficult as that affirmation is to express properly. Maybe there is no "proper" way to express such a controversial opinion, an opinion of mine that actually makes me cringe. It is permissible for some UW students to SAY that Black students don't belong, even for the most outlandish and offensive "reasons," like the one you cite. It becomes IMPERMISSABLE if and when such fools try to transform such horrendous speech into action. The only "cure" for such very ugly expression is the clear and unmistakable refutation of that bigotry, utilizing the very same First Amendment I've been extolling for hours already.

I think I agree for the most part.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby bdog » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:50 am

gargantua wrote:Got any equivalent behavior by Progressives, and I'll listen.


I'll give you a couple examples that I find offensive but I won't argue about equivalency as that will never end.

- Flag burning. It is free speech.

- Racist graffiti - "The Devil IZ a white man" on the UW campus. It is free speech.

Both should be protected. "Protected" shouldn't mean a get out of jail free card of course. If graffiti is illegal you should still be held accountable. If you start a wildfire while burning the flag you should still be held accountable.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby Ned Flanders » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:12 pm

Didn't Don Donna Shalala start all of this nonsense? According to Wiki, she's now president of the Clinton "Foundation" which seems fitting.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby gargantua » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:01 pm

bdog wrote:
gargantua wrote:Got any equivalent behavior by Progressives, and I'll listen.


I'll give you a couple examples that I find offensive but I won't argue about equivalency as that will never end.

- Flag burning. It is free speech.

- Racist graffiti - "The Devil IZ a white man" on the UW campus. It is free speech.

Both should be protected. "Protected" shouldn't mean a get out of jail free card of course. If graffiti is illegal you should still be held accountable. If you start a wildfire while burning the flag you should still be held accountable.

I agree with you on the arguing about the equivalence thing. I'm having a little trouble with the idea that university imposed restrictions are unconstitutional. Because aren't students a bit like employees. If I work at Channel 15, I have every right to say Channel 15 sucks. But I don't have a right to remain an employee of Channel 15 if I do, right? Universities have rules regulating conduct, which a student can be expelled for violating. I see speech codes as an extension of that authority. Understand, I'm not saying that speech codes as we're seeing them now are wise. I just don't think they're illegal.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:10 pm

The UW is a public university, not a private institution. Free Speech rights are much broader for students because of that.

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Re: UW's failed, unconstitutional speech codes are an affront to the spirit of the First Amendment, at the very least.

Postby PaleoLiberal » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:22 pm

In 1692, one of my ancestors, Rebecca Nurse, perhaps the most pious Christian in Salem, was hanged as a witch.
She was no witch.
But, suppose she had been a follower of the Wiccan religion? She did no one harm as a Christian, and if she had behaved the same way and had a different religious persuasion, she still would've done no harm.
Her hanging was the end of the Salem Witch Trials, because it showed that ANYONE could be accused of witchcraft.
However, my g-x-grandmother was still dead, because supposed Christians broke a commandment against bearing false witness.

In 1952 Senator Joseph McCarthy put out a long list of supposed Communists and Fellow Travelers and security risks.
My grandfather, a prominent attorney who represented extremely wealthy (*) clients who did business with the USSR, was put on that list. Also on the list was Albert Einstein, and some Democratic Senators and Congressmen.
In fact, my grandfather worked with a Christian sect, the Society of Friends, who wanted better relations between the US and the USSR.
That list was the beginning of the end for McCarthy. I read testimony from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and everyone on the Committee, Republican as well as Democrat, condemned McCarthy for that list.
However, some people still supported McCarthy even after his death. My father was not permitted to join the New York Bar for 5 years, because he refused to falsely denounce his father as a Communist.
In other words, supposed Christians punished my father for 5 years because he refused to break two commandments (Honor thy Father and Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness)

In the late 1960s, my family moved to a college town in the south. Some of the members of our church suffered a bit because of their criticisms of segregation, and later of the Vietnam War.

Today, one can follow the Wiccan religion lawfully, and in peace. Today, one can be a Communist, or even work for better relations between the US and Russia. Today, one can be anti-war or anti-segregation without suffering.
All because there were people who believed in freedom of thought, of religion, of the press, and of speech.

Now, there are some who want to bar what they call "hate speech".
Except, there is no perfect definition of "hate speech".
People in Europe have been convicted of hate speech for reading passages of the Koran that make Muslims look bad.
English politicians have been convicted for hate speech for reading passages from speeches of Winston Churchill that criticized Islam.
Animal rights activist Brigette Bardot has been convicted many times for hate speech for criticizing the way animals are killed under Halal.
One of the leading Dutch politicians, Gert WIlders, was convicted of hate speech for advocating lower immigration rates from Morocco. Other leading Dutch, such as Pym Fortun and Theo van Gogh, were assassinated for criticizing Islam. Gert Wilders has been under 24 hour police protection since then.

In other words, hate speech means whatever a judge decides it means. And if the judge doesn't like what you say, it is hate speech even if a reasonable person would think otherwise.

What does hate speech mean?

There is no definition of hate speech. One organization, the SPLC, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars by "fighting hate", so of course their definition of hate expands every year, so they can raise more and more money.

These days, people who said the same things Gaylord Nelson said are labeled as "haters" and "white nationalists" bu the SPLC. Actually, many of their hate groups do not even exist, but they are good for fund raising.

So, was Gaylord Nelson, who worked for civil rights, a white nationalist? These days, he would be labeled as such by the SPLC.

In countries with hate speech laws, all it takes to be arrested for hate speech is for one cop to not like what you are saying. All it takes for a conviction is for one judge not to like what you say.

Limiting speech never works out well. Because every single time, there are good and kind people whose lives are damaged, or destroyed or the people are imprisoned or executed when free speech is limited.

There are some reasonable limits. Speech used to plot a crime is not protected. There are civil penalties for speech which defames someone. Speech used to leak classified information is not protected.

And, all of these limits are already abused. It doesn't take long to think of people who have been persecuted for leaking wrongdoing by the US Government.

Why would we need more restrictions on our speech, when the restrictions we already have are abused?

Limits on "hate speech" helps nobody in the long run. All it does is give more ways for the government to abuse its power.

And, trust me on this one. The pendulum often swings. The people whose speech you may want to limit today will someday be back in power, and they will want to limit your speech.
Have you ever criticized the religious right? That could be called anti-Christian hate speech. Makes as much sense as some other things that people have been convicted for.
Have you ever criticized white bigots? All it takes is one cop and one judge, and that is anti-white hate speech.
Have you ever said "Happy Holidays"?
Some Christians think that means you are participating in the War on Christmas. Hate speech.


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