At Columbia, Free Speech Chilling Takes A Great Leap Forward

The assault on free expression as well as the speech-chilling practice of seeking to publicly crush those who do not observe the social justice dictates of progressives in power advanced ominously yesterday. Unsurprisingly, the episode at issue occurred at an Ivy League University, as our educational sectors have been among the trailblazers in speech and idea suppression. Unsurprising to me at least was that it involved Twitter. Just like in the Illya Shapiro controversy at Georgetown Law Center, a scholar didn’t use quite the words he should have (to be safe, and safety is everything these days) according to the Democrats’ Little Red Book. This time, however, the hammer fell harder.Jeffrey A. Lieberman, the chair of the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, was moved by this photo of Nyakim Gatwech.  an American model of South Sudanese descent (that’s also her above), to tweet, “Whether a work of art or freak of nature she’s a beautiful sight to behold.” Wait, Marlon wants to butt in again, but I can’t blame him…

For that innocent tweet, Columbia suspended Lieberman yesterday. who specializes The doctor, who specializes in schizophrenia and is considered one of the leading psychiatrists in the nation, was also fired from his position as psychiatrist-in-chief at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He also resigned as executive director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute on Tuesday evening.

All of this for a tweet intended as a compliment. The taboo word this time was “freak,” which the word police deemed “racist” when applied to a black woman. This isn’t just hypersensitivity and “gotcha!” race politics, it is a deliberate effort to intimidate those who will not bow in submission the “antiracism” bullies.


  • All super models are freaks, defined as “persons, animals, or plants with an unusual physical abnormality.” That’s why they are famous and earn millions of dollars; if models looked normal, they wouldn’t be models. Have you ever seen one in a crowd? I have, a couple of times. It’s like seeing a unicorn in a supermarket.
  • Gatwech’s publicists have dubbed her “The Queen of Dark” for her remarkable skin shade, which one does not see every day in the United States. That title is a deliberate effort to label her appearance as unique. Persons, animals, or plants with a unique appearance are freaks by definition. Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, has been called a freak, and nobody had a cow, especially Phelps. I have called my son a freak, since he never gets sick and can fix electronic devices by looking at them. He isn’t insulted. Describing someone as a freak doesn’t mean you think he or she is going to start chanting “Gooble gooble! One of us!”
  • This is Twitter, where the whole idea is to make quick and short comments and observations. Adding to this a life-or-career death rule that such comments must be cleared by all levels of the Totalitarian-a-Sphere for possible breaches of political correctness and “violence” to sacred groups makes tweeting impossibly dangerous as well as difficult: write it quick, but choose your words with the care of a Melville or Hemingway, or else!

Lieberman, unfortunately but predictably, having been long marinated in the warped, woke victim culture of U.S. academia, responded to the on-line furorwith an epic grovel. In an email to his colleagues on the day before he was suspended, he apologized, describing the tweet it as “racist and sexist.” He said he was “deeply ashamed” of his “prejudices and stereotypical assumptions,” and added,

“An apology from me to the Black community, to women, and to all of you is not enough. I’ve hurt many, and I am beginning to understand the work ahead to make needed personal changes and over time to regain your trust.”

Yes, the good doctor is a pathetic weenie. Like so many caught in the Left’s traps, he is unworthy of the individual rights guaranteed to Americans, as he sides with those who are now working to dilute them. There was nothing whatsoever “sexist” about describing a model as “a work of art.” Of course the “gotcha!” feminists accused Lieberman of “dehumanizing” Gatwech, who sells her body and image as art to product promoters, fashion designers and advertisers. It is an absurd accusation. Nor was there any hint of racism in the tweet. But Lieberman is a perfect progressive toady, and as such an enabler and an ally of the attack on free expression that was unjustly aimed at him.

I can’t find much sympathy in my heart for cowardly individuals like Lieberman. They are “Good Germans” whose lack of principles and respect for core American values threaten the rights of us all. The episode, however, is frightening. We are not witnessing merely an effort to chill free speech, but an escalating  attempt to freeze it solid.

12 thoughts on “At Columbia, Free Speech Chilling Takes A Great Leap Forward

  1. I’m annoyed at this one.

    When someone is adequately set up for life, when they no longer need to work, there is significantly less pressure to conform, there aren’t the same incentive structures, your have a nearly consequence-free ability to say “this is dumb, you’re being dumb, I’m not going to be dumb, I’m going to make the dumb thing you’re planning to do as difficult and public as I can.” So failing to do the right thing when it’s fairly easy is, I think, worse than when you have someone literally staring down destitution do the same.

    Why would someone so well set up, looking down into a comfortable early retirement regardless of what they do right now, go quietly into that good night?

    • Because they are weak, have been raised to avoid conflict, and are cowards. Bullies and totalitarians have always counted on people like this, and of course, you’re right. They are in a perfect position to take a stand, and that they don’t is disgusting. But not surprising in that culture.

      • He was born in 1948, so he’s 73 or 74. He’s gone fishin”.

        Why would anyone his age even be on twitter? I bet the young guns at his place of employment have been gunning for him for decades.

  2. So what we have here is Leftist on Leftist crime.

    It’s very hard for me to passionately defend a person who has no interest at all in defending himself. Yeah, we can (and should) lament the state of things and bring harsh opprobrium against the perpetrators, but until we can protect speech in private employment (the very concept of which brings to mind the Gordian knot), all we can do is tsk, tsk, tsk.

    So tsk, tsk, tsk. What a blatant trashing of ethics by a university, and what a sad little person who couldn’t be bothered to defend his obviously innocent speech. Alas, just another in an ever-growing and seemingly endless list of transgressions against reason by our supposed elites in academia.

  3. Jack says:
    I can’t find much sympathy in my heart for cowardly individuals like Lieberman. They are “Good Germans” whose lack of principles and respect for core American values threaten the rights of us all.
    Yes, the good doctor is a pathetic weenie.
    But Lieberman is a perfect progressive toady, and as such an enabler and an ally of the attack on free expression that was unjustly aimed at him.
    A Good German indeed. What a disgrace.

    Every time I read one of these nearly insufferable episodes of the thought police doing what thought police do; I am always the most infuriated by the groveling sniveling apology provided by the target who knows fully well is a lie. A statement of appeasement is more accurate.

    I have a proposal Jack: endeavor to balance the stories of all the Good Germans that live among us with those who stand up to the fascist woke bullies because otherwise you fuel a sense of hopelessness regarding the oppressive Left agenda sweeping across not just the USA but globally.

  4. hi everyone, longtime lurker first-time commenter:
    I just wanted to chime in here about this latest leftist S&M episode where an academic says something vaguely stupid on Twitter, has his whole life destroyed by the bloodthirsty mob and then engages in the standard debasement ritual.
    I’ve seen a few people here say ‘Well, he’s 73, obviously has enough money to live on, why doesn’t he have some dignity and stand up for himself?”
    I think what many people are missing is that this prof or anyone who steps on a race&gender landmine isn’t just facing the loss of career and assets, but an almost total SOCIAL DEATH (which will also have consequences for his wife, his children, and his grandchildren).
    I am someone who lives his entire life inside the arts/media/academia bubble of NYC/SF/LA and basically these people treat dissenters and/or apostates the same way Scientologists do, or maybe more like how Jim Jones treated anyone who asked to leave Jonestown.
    For instance, my friend who’s a Brooklyn mommy was in a social circle where her children socialized w Alan Dershowitz’ grandchildren–but when Dershowitz helped Trump all the Brooklyn mommies blackballed the Dershowitz kids, as well as their families. (I know it’s no surprise at this point, but Team Tolerance is viciously intolerant of anyone who may be seen as retrograde or (yikes!) Conservative.)
    So when the man grovels and refuses to stand up for himself or any principles of a free society, he may not be thinking of himself but of his family and how having a husband, father or grandfather branded as a bigot, etc, could have severe negative consequences for all of them (both financially and socially).

    • And how the fuck did this vicious crew rise to power, George? Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. Who would want their family beholden to these assholes? Wouldn’t it be better to paint houses or hand drywall than have to live in a massive penal colony? Man, am I ever glad Mrs. OB and I fled the northeast when we were young. Whew.

  5. All true George but consider the consequences of continued capitulation. This is just the beginning if more people do not wise up. The suffering from standing against fascist behavior now, will be nothing compared to when/if these power drunk neo-fascists really gain power.
    Chinese Americans are already warning the similarities between their homeland and what is happening here.

    He should have simply kept his mouth shut if unwilling to stand up for himself.
    It is obvious by now that apologies only serve to encourage more oppression and discourage the good guys. Fear is the primary leverage of our homegrown neo-fascists and therefore is the real battleground within each and every one of us.

    “In an email to his colleagues on the day before he was suspended, he apologized, describing the tweet it as “racist and sexist.” He said he was “deeply ashamed” of his “prejudices and stereotypical assumptions,”
    Everyone knows he is lying to appease. That is quite an example he is setting for his kids/grandkids etc.

    How many fingers do you see?

  6. Hey,
    I just wanted to add on here and say that I (personally) do not support any of this cowardly groveling, in fact since Twitter/Trump/Floyd etc turned our society into one giant playpen for emotionally disturbed infants I have revised our species name to Homo “Tell me what I need to say to keep my job” Sapiens.
    I was just trying to provide some context for people who maybe aren’t as ensconced in the Blue Tribe culture bubble as I am.
    It’s a scary time ova here….

  7. Not directly related, but I consider as an ethics hero the Ukranian soldier on Snake Island (aka Zmiinyi Island) who when asked to surrender by the crew of a Russian warship, responded “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.” I’m reminded of the response of Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, commander of the Airborne 101, when surrounded in the siege of Bastogne, part of the Battle of the Bulge in WW2. His response was simply one word, “Nuts!”

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