Let’s start with this false headline from the Times: “West Point Strips Racist Motto From Its Football Team Flag.” The motto is ” “God Forgives, Brothers Don’t.” There is nothing racist about that motto, in meaning, history or intent. The Times implies that West point has been flying a racist motto since the line was added, about 25 years ago. Wrong. Fake news. Dumb reporters.
But that’s not all. Do you see any motto on that flag above? No? Perhaps it’s because there is no motto on it, just the initials of the motto. Is “I.G.W.T” a motto? How about “L.F.O.D”? Here, look closely at where the skull’s lip would be, if it weren’t a skull:
When the academy discovered that slogan that those initials represented was now being used by the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, a violent white supremacist prison gang where male members refer to one another as “brothers” and call their female associates “sisters,” it became all scared and stuff about being criticized by race-baiters and mean people, so it removed the words. Yes, this is how a venerable military academy thinks now. I know I feel safer.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement, “Once informed of its context, it’s good that the team recognized the slogan as a potential red flag and immediately took action.” Sure he did. Any words that someone might think is racist must be censored, whether they are or not. That’s the Progressive Way.
“The academy immediately discontinued using it upon notification of its tie to hate groups,’’ West Point’s statement on the matter read. “Ideology, actions, and associations of hate groups directly conflict with our values and have no place at this institution.” Huh? The initials and the motto they stood for had no “association” with hate, or hate groups. Is that all it takes to get a motto banned? If a hate group begins using “God Bless America” (G.B.A.), “Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue,” (H.F. T. R. W. A. B.) “Veritas” (V.?) or “Have a nice day!” (H.A.N.D), they all will have to be banned? If a hate group starts using “proethics,’ does that mean my ethics company is associated with hate groups, and I have to change it?
Regular readers here will immediately see this as a Niggardly Principle problem. Which one applies—Niggardly Principle 1, 2 or 3?
The answer is Niggardly Principle 3:
“When, however, suppressing speech and conduct based on an individual’s or a group’s sincere claim that such speech or conduct is offensive, however understandable and reasonable this claim may be, creates or threatens to create a powerful precedent that will undermine freedom of speech, expression or political opinion elsewhere, calls to suppress the speech or conduct must be opposed and rejected.”
West Point’s craven capitulation gives extremist groups far too much power to manipulate and control our language and institutions.