That Settles It: Time To Clean House At UC Berkeley

An unacceptable percentage of the University of California at Berkeley are more committed to ideological indoctrination and political conformity that they are to American values and education. They need to be cleared out, as do their compatriots in other universities. They pose an existential threat to our democracy, and cannot be entrusted with the education of young minds, which should involve opening, not closing them.

The letter posted by 200 Berkeley faculty members calls for a boycott of all classes and a shutdown of the campus because on “Free speech day,” three conservative speakers will dare to express their blasphemy in a progressive stronghold. The Horror.

In addition to being a per se violation of the principles of a liberal arts education, the duty to give students exposure to as many ideas and views as possible, academic freedom and freedom of expression, the letter is intellectually dishonest. There is no organization known as “alt-right”; it is a description used to marginalize and discredit all conservatives by lumping them in with extremists, racists, white supremacists and neo-fascists. It’s a popular and effective tactic these days on the Left, similar to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s unethical tactic of designating churches that oppose same-sex marriage “hate groups” alongside the KKK. Ann Coulter, one of the conservative speakers who apparently maims with her words, is just a conservative, albeit an especially obnoxious and cynical one. Yet this execrable letter cites as proof that she and her fellow speakers are dangerous a cherry-picked list of isolated and unrelated incidents, none of which are connected to a single group. The exact same technique could be used, and has been used, to argue that all Muslims are dangerous. Moreover, the faculty is implying that those who would listen to Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon, and the professional conservative troll Milo Yiannppoulis, including students,  are too dangerous to co-exist with “good students.” Why? It’s not because one crazy ran his car into a crowd in Charlottesville. It’s because the faculty members believe extreme conservative ideas are too “dangerous” to allow to be expressed.

I wouldn’t move from my dining room to my living room to hear any of those speakers. Calling them dangerous, however, is an excuse to silence them and intimidate others.

Ironically, these alleged teachers are promoting a theory that is far, far more dangerous to Berkeley, and the concept of higher education, than anything Ann, Bannon and Milo could possibly say in their most outrageous moments. They are also, it seems, completely ignorant (or dishonestly misleading) regarding the First Amendment. Read, if you can stand it, this paragraph:

We recognize that as a public institution, we are legally bound by the Constitution to allow all viewpoints on campus. However, there are forms of speech that are not protected under the First Amendment. These include speech that presents imminent physical danger and speech that disrupts the university’s mission to educate. Milo, Coulter and Bannon do not come to educate; they and their followers come to humiliate and incite. If the administration insists upon allowing the Alt-Right to occupy the center of our campus for four days to harass, threaten and intimidate us, as they did during Milo’s visit in February, then faculty cannot teach, staff cannot work and students cannot learn.

What self-evident dishonesty. “We have to allow all viewpoints, except in this case, when we disagree with the viewpoints. ” I also like the tone: we have to allow all viewpoints. Heaven knows we don’t want to.

There is no authority for their statement implying that mere words become unprotected  because an audience might react to it violently, or those who want to stop the speech. False. Inciting a riot by telling people to riot is unprotected, not espousing ideas that left-wing thugs think  justifies attacking people. What do these faculty members teach, knitting? Nor is there the imaginary exception for  “speech that disrupts the university’s mission to educate.” What would that be like? I guess it would be like a bunch of faculty members trying to shut down the university because they don’t like the politics of some speakers–wait…isn’t that what that letter is trying to do? If shutting down a campus isn’t “disrupting” education what is?

This what we call Ultimate Hypocrisy: unfairly condemning conduct that that the accused hasn’t engaged in while you are engaging in that same conduct. It is, mercifully, rare. It’s hard to do.

University Chancellor Carol Christ said, in an interview  last week, “Free speech has itself become controversial.” It’s not controversial. It’s the law of the land. It is a core value of the the United States of America. If freedom of speech has become controversial in your faculty, then it is no longer trustworthy to serve as teachers in a state institution and a prestige university. A wacko Marxist or anti-American polemicist or two on a faculty is fine. Hundreds of censorious leftists seeking to muzzle opposing view and dissent while rendering students rigid and ideologically doctrinaire before they are 22? Unconscionable, un-American and irresponsible.

Fix it.


Pointer: Washington Free Beacon



Filed under Character, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Research and Scholarship, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President

33 responses to “That Settles It: Time To Clean House At UC Berkeley

  1. Sharon

    “…and if we allow this intolerant and bullying version of free speech to take over our campus, then it can only but come at the expense of the free speech rights of the Berkeley community as a whole.”

    I copied this straight out of the letter written by the faculty at Berkeley. There was not even one member of the faculty who wrote or signed this who didn’t see the hypocrisy with this statement?

  2. After reading that letter it is crystal clear to me that the next thing these lunatic people will be doing is to smear anyone and everyone that opposes their new-found social justice warrior power and counter Constitution ideological views as being dangerous and equivalent to or actually terrorists and direct and indirect supporters of ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Be honest; what could be worse in today’s world than be falsely smeared as an ISIS, Al Qaeda, or Taliban terrorist or a supporter of that ideology? It will start with unprovable conspiracy theories that are impossible to disprove.

    Divide the population along some fuzzy lines, begin to group and better define those fuzzy line in terms of extremes, force anyone between the lines to choose your side or be condemned as the opposition, demonize all opposition in a very public way so it becomes acceptable to the masses, justify actual violence against all opposition because the opposition is “evil”; this is right out of the Nazi playbook. There are groups within the political left are using Nazi propaganda tactics to infect the population and the rest of the political left is justifying it because “the ends justifies the means”.

    We’re doomed I say, doomed.

    It’s becoming more and more obvious what the future of the United States looks like.

    • If such a thing would happen again, the Civil War would look like a cake walk. We talk about about brother fighting brother, but we mostly had two distinct geographic entities. That sort of buffer doesn’t exist this time.

    • If I may be allowed to emit a small innocent-enough squeak here.

      May I politely suggest, with elaborate highly diplomatic Venetian hand-gestures and flourishes, that though there is a great deal of acrimony now I cannot see how any sort of war or civil conflict could take shape.

      Here’s why: the behind-the-scenes intelligence forces are well aware of the situation in the US and, if need be, are more than capable of engineering an Event that will undermine the conflict, perhaps by provoking a war to which the attention of the Nation will be directed.

      I have been reading up on the Phillipine War and the Cuban War and the way that the Nation managed to subvert popular revolt and demand for reform by militarizing the country (and thus subverting the Constitution and the avoid-entanglement strategy on which the Nation’s ideology was based). This was in the transition between the Cleveland and the McKinley presidency.

      The power of the press at that time was in the hands of Pulitzer and Hearst and these fine fellows were intimatley tied up with the industrialists and the power-bosses. Now, tings have advanced to unreal levels and where intelligence liaisons are situated within the offices of the major media broadcasters.

      They will embroil people in law-suits if it is necessary (people of the ‘Alt-Right’ and ‘Antifa’ for example) and they will not stop at targeted assassination if that becomes necessary. If indeed the US is close to some *crisis* they are smart enough to intervene. Or maybe they even have something to do with fomenting crisis? Qui bono, right?

      I think there is more to be gained from stating the truth (to the degree anything can be known about very shadowy organizations) rather than pretending it is not so. There IS an intelligence state standing behind the present State and it is allied to and controlled by the military-intelligence, and the military is allied with a nexus of various corporations. I really don’t know how else to put it or how an *expert* would describe it. In any case, the same organization that was kind and fore-sighted enough to bring on 9/11 and to manipulate perception through psychological terror, if they did it then, can surely do it again. It has worked so many times before.

      Maybe Rocketman is just what we need?

      But a shooting war between two ‘sections’? I don’t think so. I think we have to turn to the more dystopian models such as are presented in movies and novels.

      Absolute power enables a form of absolute control.

  3. Wayne

    Just who is going to fire these progressive jerks? I bet the majority have tenure and if the UC Berkeley Chancellor acts unilaterally against the rest, there will be cries of our academic freedom is being abridged . I suspect he will issue some meaningless statement calling for faculty to respect those whose views you disagree with.

    • Rich in CT

      Tenure does not preclude dismissal for cause

    • They will not be fired. They will not clean house.

      The only entity that can fire the fetid corpse that was once called Academia is the market place. When people regognize the rotting embarrassment that became of the medieval project that became the formerly great Universities, they’ll stop sending their children.

      Then the Universities will collapse and burn on their own. And we can only hope a Phoenix rises from their ashes that are something we can call Education again.

      But that’s a tall order. So many of the institutions of our society are in the strangling clutches of the Left, that I don’t even know if a Market rebellion can fix the problem.

      • A Phoenix university – intriguing idea. But what would it be called, this Phoenix university?

      • Why do employers think university degrees in general have any value?

        • Because there are many things taught in many degree programs that a common intelligent person can’t learn properly in the college of hard knocks.

          • Like ethics, proper spelling and grammar, and email etiquette, all of which seem to be lacking in most of our younger graduates.

            I also learned self reliance in college (had to pay my own way) but it was only as a tangent to the process.

            • Sure slickwilly those are some things that should be learned, I get it, but it truly doesn’t require college to learn those things. The real core things that gives college degrees their value are the advanced details in things like math, science, history, law, medicine, research principles, etc., etc. you just can’t reasonably learn these advanced details outside an academic college setting. There are reasons that most buildings don’t collapse on peoples heads, and it’s really got nothing to do with street smarts or the man swinging the hammer.

              Unfortunately some colleges have shifted their focus to what they think the students should be socially after graduating while making the degrees something remarkably equivalent to a participation trophy. I’ve hired and fired a few college grads that were socially indoctrinated to the Liberal ideological social aspects of life and don’t know enough about their actual profession to do an entry level job; their degrees were false facades of knowledge. After trying to teach what they already should have known, most of these employees get a hardy “your services are no longer needed” and a…

              • Z, we agree on this. My answer was intended to be shallow and nit picky.


                …you just can’t reasonably learn these advanced details outside an academic college setting.

                My engineering understanding does not come from my fine college education. What I was effectively taught is the process for learning, and that you can leverage what others have documented to problem solve. Logical thought was induced by learning how to learn and problem solve.

                Knowing how to adapt past solutions to current problems is what differentiates an engineer from a technical accountant. This is what you might have a problem developing without college. I wonder if it still is taught today?

          • Wayne

            Used to be. Things like exposure to the scientific method, how to write an acceptable term paper, acquiring a body of knowledge in your major uncontaminated by political correctness, and so on.

  4. Other Bill

    Then there’s this adjunct professor of economics at John Jay College, part of City College of New York

    The take over of the American academy by crazies is a tragedy.

    • Other Bill

      And don’t forget, Janet Napolitano is the Chancellor of the UC system for many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. If HRC had won, Napolitano would probably be Secretary of Defense or something.

  5. Steve-O-in-NJ

    I think Neal Boortz hit the nail right on the head when he talked about academia, especially the liberal arts, being filled with people who were opposed to Viet Nam and avoided it by extending their student deferments as long as they could in relatively undemanding fields like English and Sociology and in some cases the expanding area of disciplines that ended with “studies.” These folks were naturally sympathetic to hiring people like Bill Ayers or making someone like Chelsea Manning a visiting fellow, but, they still got, at least for a while, the natural deference that goes with the title teacher – a lot of folks in my generation grew up with our parents still telling us that the teachers knew best or that we could argue with those who already had their degrees after we had our own, although they were really telling us “sit down, shut up, and keep putting forth your best effort in everything we demand of you.”

    Well, eventually this generation of professors became dominant and started to form majorities on the committees that decided on raises, assignments, awards, departmental chairmanships, and that all-important thing called tenure, which insulates academics from criticism for life. The old school professors retired, rising conservative scholars either tried to make a go only to find themselves denied tenure, or they didn’t even bother and instead looked elsewhere (research committees, think tanks, conservative publications, etc.) .

    Eventually academia became something like Montana or Alaska, which are often thought of as places where misfits and malcontents who can’t make it in or don’t fit into conventional society go to be with like-minded people and avoid those they don’t fit in among, or like a commune, where like-minded people flee to be shut of ordinary folks forever (Bernie Sanders was once thrown out of even one of those for his shiftless ways, but I digress). It became a place where those who would fit in nowhere else, because of their limited skill sets or preposterous ideas could go, and where they would not have to change or adapt those skills or ideas much. The medical schools, the engineering and applied science schools, the accounting schools, and so on would have to by nature stay within the parameters of their disciplines, but as far as the liberal arts schools were concerned, anything went, from black separatism to amazon feminism to unreconstructed communism to ridiculous conspiracy theories about the World Wars…thoughts and ideas that would never be taken seriously anywhere else.

    Frankly, a lot of these thoughts and ideas would make practical people look askance at someone who expressed them. If someone really believes that the races should be separate, I’m going to be a little nervous around him and question his ability to deal with those who happen to be of a different race. If someone really believes that the Palestinian cause is a bunch of peaceful people who are just misunderstood, I’m going to think he’s either gullible or stupid. If someone really believes that Pearl Harbor was staged, that 9/11 was an inside job, or both, I’m going to think he’s just plain nuts. If someone believes drug use is no big deal, I’m not going to want him doing anything that might put others at risk if it’s done wrong – we don’t need a locomotive crashing because the engineer was not quite on the ball or a kid getting his eyes burned out because the maintenance guy toked up to relax and put too much chlorine in it.

    Arguably academia has a job just as important if not more so than many others – that of preparing near-adults to take that last step into being responsible citizens with skills to function within and contribute to society. In the last decade they seem to have increasingly abdicated this responsibility, and in the last two years they have abandoned it altogether. A college graduate with a major in a useless field isn’t going to be able to contribute anything to society. A graduate who has learned that everything takes second place to expressing anger and offense isn’t going to be able to function within society. A graduate who has learned not to respect those who differ with him is going no place.

    Yet academia continues to divide students among every conceivable line, aggressively push one agenda while silencing another, and encourage out and out criminal activity by students in response to anything they disagree with. The system may be irretrievably broken, and it may be time to clean house and start al over, but how to do so without a huge disruption to society at large is a very big question mark.

    • Other Bill

      No kidding, Steve. I will say that when (1973) and where I got my BA in English it was a respected major. But as the department head wrote to all graduating seniors, “Just because you like to read doesn’t mean you should get a graduate degree in English.” Sound advice from a WWII Army veteran who’d been put in charge of a bridge building platoon right out of Columbia without knowing a thing about building bridges. As you say, he and all his contemporaries died off and the post Modernists and other lefty crackpots took over.

      • It is pretty clear that White Privilege®™ (as opposed to white privilege) is a hoax, just like White Genocide®™ is a hoax.

        I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match my skin.

        I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

        I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

        I can enroll in a class at college and be sure that the majority of my professors will be of my race.

        I would suspect that the majority of elderly black people would consider these things to be, at worst,. trivial annoyances.

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