The Immediate Benefit Of Musk’s Twitter Takeover: The Left Is Revealing Its Fear Of Free Speech

That depressing exhortation above was released by the president of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson. It is signature significance for a man, and presumably the organization he has led and spoken for since 2017, who favors censorship, content-based control of communications media, and a manipulated political system. It also reveals a leader of an influential organization who sees no danger that his members and his organization’s supporters will react negatively to his open embrace of totalitarian principles.

“Hate speech” is free speech, and groups like the NAACP (and the Democratic Party, and too frequently the mainstream media) define as hate speech any speech that they hate, because it is critical of their positions, agendas or members. “Disinformation and misinformation” have always been welcome on Twitter as long as it advanced progressive goals. “Do not allow 45 to return to the platform”? What is that but a demand that a prominent political figure who was recently President be handicapped in his efforts to seek political office? How would the NAACP have responded to a call from white supremacy group to keep Barack Obama from a communication platform in 2008?

The organization is only about power. It has no integrity or principles.

Or self-awareness. Or comprehension of the words it uses and the concepts it claims to revere. Censoring speech and political opinions along with a recent President and current political leader protects democracy.

War is Peace

Ignorance is Strength

Slavery is Freedom

Silly me, I did not expect the NAACP to reveal itself as such a fan of Big Brother; I somehow thought that last motto would be a deal-breaker.

Well, now we know. It’s sad, and scary, but that’s what’s so great about letting people say what they think.

Among other benefits, we learn who can’t be trusted.

From The “It Doesn’t Quite Speak For Itself” Files…

This sign was apparent seen on the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis campus. 

What’s going on here?

Is Purdue taking a stand against the miserable treatment of free speech on so many other campuses? Is this a student prank? Is it satire? Should we find it depressing or encouraging? If it is the work of students, will Purdue remove it? If it is a statement by the school, will students or faculty protest?

Ethics Quote Of The Month: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Laurence Silberman

“The latest events at Yale Law School in which students attempted to shout down speakers participating in a panel discussion on free speech prompts me to suggest that students who are identified as those willing to disrupt any such panel discussion should be noted. All federal judges—and all federal judges are presumably committed to free speech—should carefully consider whether any student so identified should be disqualified for potential clerkships.”

—Judge Silberman in a letter to his fellow judges, in reference to the disruption of a March 10 panel at Yale Law School that was intended as a debate over civil liberties  hosted by the Yale Federalist Society. About a hundred students attempted to prevent the panel and Federalist Society members in attendance from speaking.

Well, you know: Yale. Equally disturbing, perhaps, was that Ellen Cosgrove, the law school’s associate dean, attended the panel, was present the entire time, and did nothing to restrain the protesters nor remind them of their ethical duties.

The school has a policy that specifically condemns such speech-chilling conduct, but more than 10 days after the event, no consequences appear to be forthcoming for the privileged and arrogant thugs who are going to be entrusted with the task of protecting future attacks on Constitutional liberties.

In an editorial endorsing the judge’s suggestion, the Wall Street Journal wrote in part,

Some readers may think these students should be forgiven the excesses of youth. But these are adults, not college sophomores. They are law students who will soon be responsible for protecting the rule of law. The right to free speech is a bedrock principle of the U.S. Constitution. If these students are so blinkered by ideology that they can’t tolerate a debate over civil liberties on campus, the future of the American legal system is in jeopardy.

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Evening Ethics Illumination, 1/9/22: “Mister We Could Use A Man Like Thomas Paine Again…”

On this date in 1776, writer Thomas Paine published his pamphlet “Common Sense,” making his arguments in favor of American independence from England, thereby uniting a scattering of dissatisfaction into a movement. Only a few publications in our history have had such a profound effect on public opinion; another was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Paine’s most ringing assertion may have been this one:

“Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America.  This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.  Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”

Common sense today is in short supply. A sharp, clear explication and reaffirmation of core American values without the tarnish of partisan politics would be a godsend. But among a public in which a minority could even identify who Thomas Paine was, who would understand it?

1. I wonder if it’s even necessary to finish the post on the hypocrisy of Democratic propaganda about a threat to democracy when this kind of thing keeps happening…GovernorJay Inslee of Washington state called on lawmakers to pass legislation making it a gross misdemeanor for some to “spread lies”about election results. Naturally, he called this suppression of opinion and free speech necessary to protect democracy. Inslee spoke against what he called “a continuing coup” by former President Donald Trump. Wait, don’t we need a law criminalizing false claims of “coups”?

Part of the Democratic strategy to keep power is to use the criminal system to muzzle opinions and positions it doesn’t like. Robert Kennedy Jr. wants to punish “climate change deniers.” Many progressives want to punish vaccine skeptics (a group that includes Robert Kennedy Jr.!), and Democratic allies in social media and Big Tech have been increasingly brazen about banning conservatives, replacing the “more speech” remedy the Bill of Rights set out for dubious opinions with “no speech.”

Would it be fair to conclude that Inslee is an ignoramus? Not only have state laws making it a crime for a candidate for office to lie been declared unconstitutional (because they are,) the Supreme Court case U.S. v. Alvarez,  struck down the Stolen Valor Act, protecting a man who falsely claimed that he had received the Medal of Honor, declared that lying speech was still protected speech. Then there’s the little problem of deciding what is a lie and what is just dumb opinion, like, say, suggesting that a state could ban lying about elections.

If Inslee isn’t ignorant about his nation’s Constitution, then he is grandstanding, equating opinions with crimes to rile up the under-educated and the nascent totalitarians who his party has been courting for so long.

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A “Hard Cases Make Bad Law” Classic: The School Board President’s Kid’s Social Media “Hate Speech”

Cullman City

I’d make this an ethics quiz, but I think it’s too potentially important to treat as a jump ball. This is the kind of extreme mess that threatens free speech, especially when on entire political party is searching for an excuse to ban “hate speech,” once they have defined it just well enough to constrain political opponents.

In Cullman City, Alabama, the school board’s president’s son, who attends the school district’s high school, posted a video to SnapChat in which he could be seen and heard chanting “White power!” and “Kill all the niggers!” The video has been widely circulated among students. The parent of a black student who saw the video has demanded the resignation of Amy Carter (no, not THAT Amy Carter; don’t be silly), the school board’s president. The parent is also demanding that the school take action against the student. “Cullman City Schools would clearly punish our son if he made a video threatening the white students of Cullman High School,” she wrote in an email. “My son is one of a handful of black children in the school. Tell me how he wouldn’t be threatened by KILL ALL THE Ns?! Explain to me how this is not a threat.”

Well, I can answer that last part. Under First Amendment case law, the “true threats” doctrine holds that allegedly threatening speech cannot be punished unless the government can prove that the speaker meant to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual. A chant on a video posted on social media that mentions no specific student will not qualify as an actionable threat. Her previous question is tougher. The school and the town itself has a reputation for racial hostility toward blacks. The mother of the black student says her son has repeatedly been subjected to racist remarks during his four years as a student in the district. I see good reason for the video to be unsettling in that context.

On the other hand, I’m getting awfully tired of the “they wouldn’t treat a black adult/child this way if he/she did X” argument, which is almost never challenged even when it’s bigoted nonsense, as in the race-based attacks on the Rittenhouse verdict. It’s more presumed racism, and a cheat, a device to avoid making a solid argument.

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To Be Fair, MIT Was Probably Corrupted By Being Too Close To Harvard….

MIT

Dorian Abbot, an associate professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, wrote in an op-ed on New York Times exile Bari Weiss’ Substack last weeky that MIT, just a few bocks beyond Harvrad on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Mass., had informed him that his Carlson Lecture was being canceled to “avoid controversy.” He wrote in part,

“In the fall of 2020 I started advocating openly for academic freedom and merit-based evaluations. I recorded some short YouTube videos in which I argued for the importance of treating each person as an individual worthy of dignity and respect. In an academic context, that means giving everyone a fair and equal opportunity when they apply for a position as well as allowing them to express their opinions openly, even if you disagree with them. 

“As a result, I was immediately targeted for cancellation, primarily by a group of graduate students in my department. Whistleblowers later revealed that the attack was partially planned and coordinated on the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program listserv by a graduate student in my department….

“That group of graduate students organized a letter of denunciation. It claimed that I threatened the ‘safety and belonging of all underrepresented groups within the department,’ and it was presented to my department chair. The letter demanded that my teaching and research be restricted in a way that would cripple my ability to function as a scientist. A strong statement in support of faculty free expression by University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer put an end to that, and that is where things stood until the summer of 2021. 

“On August 12, a colleague and I wrote an op-ed in Newsweek in which we argued that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as it currently is implemented on campus “violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment” and “treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.” We proposed instead ‘an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone.’ We noted that this would mean an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants. 

“Shortly thereafter, my detractors developed a new strategy to try to isolate me and intimidate everyone else into silence: They argued on Twitter that I should not be invited to give science seminars at other universities and coordinated replacement speakers. This is an effective and increasingly common way to ratchet up the cost of dissenting because disseminating new work to colleagues is an important part of the scientific endeavor. 

“Sure enough, this strategy was employed when I was chosen to give the Carlson Lecture at MIT — a major honor in my field. It is an annual public talk given to a large audience and my topic was “climate and the potential for life on other planets.” On September 22, a new Twitter mob, composed of a group of MIT students, postdocs, and recent alumni, demanded that I be uninvited

“It worked….”

Observations:

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In Florida, “I Eat Ass” And A Qualified Immunity Ethics Conundrum

i-eat-ass-mask-black

A policeman’s lot is not a happy one, and qualified immunity, the doctrine that exists to shield officers and other state officials from liability when they commit torts in the course of their duties, is under fire because of its role in blocking accountability for cops who engage in police brutality. But without qualified immunity, policing would become even more perilous than it already is.

Take the “I Eat Ass” controversy.

Please.

In Florida, jerk Dillon Shane Webb had a sticker on his vehicle that boasted “I Eat Ass.” (Some may disagree, but Ethics Alarms regards public display of that legend signature significance, as a non-jerk would never do it. Not even once). Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis English pulled Webb over in May of 2019 and demanded that he cover up the message. Webb refused, and he was subsequently arrested and jailed for “obscene writing on vehicles” and “resisting an officer without violence,” because he had refused to obscure the sticker. Reason, the libertarian cite that is usually more reasonable, wrote that Officer English “took exception” to “I Eat Ass.” No, the officer was under the impression that the display violated Fla. Stat. § 847.011(2), which prohibits “any sticker, decal, emblem or other device attached to a motor vehicle containing obscene descriptions, photographs, or depictions.”

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/2021: “Having A Hard Time Keeping Up” Edition

Just a housekeeping note…I am struggling to find a way to keep Ethics Alarms reasonably current and informative at a time when the ethics issues are resembling an avalanche from my point of view. Avoiding the trap of letting political matters eat the blog is also a constant chore; it has been for many years, but the problem seems to be getting worse. The daily warm-up format was developed to help me cover more issues, but it has become an amazingly time-consuming project, usually taking me two hours on most days. That’s still less than it would take to cover each of the four or five items in full posts (tagging, proofreading and completing the links now takes longer than ever, thanks to WordPress “improvements). Of course, posting 8 or 9 posts a day instead of just three or four would help traffic, which depresses me, but unfortunately, I have other responsibilities. Then there are the long-delayed but promised Part Twos and Threes that are staring at me like unpaid debts, making me feel guilty. I can’t believe the Ethics Scoreboard would have an essay a week, and sometimes not even that. I’ll figure it out….

1. Well, this makes me feel a little better...it appears that the commentariat on both Ann Althouse’s blog and the home of Professor Turley’s usually excellent analysis have also become overwhelmingly conservative as the progressives have fled except for a few determined souls. Ann and the professor are both left-leaning, but their integrity has led them to be critical of the progressive hive as well as the news media that nourishes it. Being objective is now the mark of an evil conservative, apparently, or so their critics claim. That’s a horrifying cultural development, but at least the flight of the progressives on Ethics Alarms was not an isolated phenomenon.

2. More on “Peril”...

  • The story in Bob Woodward’s latest book about Gen. Milley’s breach of the chain of command because, apparently, he was biased by several Big Lies about his Commander in Chief only rated page 16 coverage in the New York Times, behind, for example, Squaw Valley changing its name because a lifetime petty criminal was accidentally killed by a Minnesota cop. Meanwhile, this is front page, multiple op-ed stuff over at the Washington Post. It the Post’s Bob Woodward’s claims are true, then it should be a front page story in both papers. If it isn’t, THAT’s a front page story. 
  • Of course, the story may be garbage, but the Post won’t consider that. Example: in a piece by Greg Sargent called “Awful new revelations about Trump and Jan. 6 show Mike Pence is no hero,” this excerpt from “Peril” is cited as factual enough to be called an “awful revelation.” Trump and Pence are supposedly arguing about whether Pence should block the certification of the election:
“If these people say you had the power, wouldn’t you want to?” Trump asked.
“I wouldn’t want any one person to have that authority,” Pence said.
“But wouldn’t it be almost cool to have that power?” Trump asked, according to Woodward and Costa.
“No,” Pence said. He went on, “I’ve done everything I could and then some to find a way around this. It’s simply not possible.”
 
How can these quotes be believed? It was a conversation between two people. Trump wasn’t Woodward’s source, and neither was Pence. Yet we are told that these are exact quotes. Unless Woodward was there, which he wasn’t, the account is hearsay at best, and maybe third- or fourth-hand hearsay. Greg Sargent, however, believes them, and a Post editor thinks that’s enough to justify representing a fabricated conversation as real.
 

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Scared Yet? I Want To Hear A Legitimate Defense Of YouTube Censoring Senator Paul’s Speech…

Spoiler: There isn’t one.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the U.S. Senate’s most passionate libertarian, was suspended from YouTube for expressing his strong opposition to Wuhan virus mandates and calling for widespread citizen resistance. This is res ipsa loquitur: Big Tech is using its corporate power to support government policies and prevent dissent. The argument that YouTube (that is, Google) is a private entity and not bound by the First Amendment is disingenuous, just as similar arguments defending Facebook, Twitter and other social media banning President Trump as well as posts that offer opinions and positions they don’t want the public to see. When corporations use their massive power and influence to suppress speech and control the flow of information, they pose an existential threat to democracy. When they exercise this power to advance the political agenda of a specific group, individual or party, that threat is worse. When they are censoring and distorting on behalf of the government, the threat is dire.

Paul released a rebuttal and condemnation of YouTube’s indefensible action, and it was also taken down by Our Video Masters. You can view it here, on Rumble. If I could embed it, I would.

Let me turn the floor over to Professor Turley, not as an appeal to authority, but because there is no reason for me to write in different words what he has said persuasively already:

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Clemson Must Fire Two Ethics Dunce Administrators, But It Has To Do A Lot More Than That…

Trick Clemson

Clemson administrators Amy Burke and Sharetta Bufford manipulated the university’s pandemic limitations on attendance at events to limit the number of available tickets as conservative group Turning Point USA’s local chapter hosted conservative speakers Tomi Lahren, Brandon Tatum, and Graham Allen for an event on the South Carolina campus in April 2020. Not only did the two women reserve a batch of tickets that they had no intention of using, they boasted about it on social media.

Financial aid counselor Burke wrote, “i’ve reserved my two. and then two for pippi. and two for my work email. and two for my business account. i just realized i have plans though, dang it…” Bufford, who serves as assistant director of recruitment and inclusive excellence, said, “I just reserved 10. I JUST might show up to see what all the fuss is about!”

Obviously “inclusive excellence” doesn’t include students with non-conforming world views.

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