Sunday, November 20, 2005

Another Example of Cultural Fascism

Would a Republican Leader get away with saying this? via Dr. Sanity.

And yet another example of cultural fascism--this time from a professor at a community college who responded to a student's announcement that a soldier would be speaking about the accomplishments in Iraq at the college:

Young America’s Foundation exposed Warren Community College’s radical Professor John Daly, who in an email to student Rebecca Beach, vowed to intimidate those students who host conservative speakers and called for American soldiers in Iraq to murder their superiors.

Instead of admonishing the professor’s intemperate attack on a student’s right of free expression, Warren Community College President William Austin said Prof. John Daly has “first amendment rights” to harass Rebecca. Furthermore, the President is trying to bully Rebecca into silence. He said Rebecca, not Prof. John Daly, is ruining the college’s name by going on talk radio and television exposing Daly’s mean spirited email.

Now, turn the tables and imagine that a left-leaning Democratic group of students was able to get Michael Moore or some socialist leader like Fidel Castro to speak at this so called establishment of higher education--not only would the faculty probably not object, they would be kissing this would-be speaker's ass.

So if you believe that the political correctness police do not punish right-leaning citizens for their views--think again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Begin rant.
It should long since have become painfully obvious that radicals, extremists and fanatics (different flavors of the same species) do not feel bound by traditional social conventions like fairness and truth. Their tactics, which range from mild misrepresentation to extreme physical violence, are implicitly justified by the same argument - our cause is just or, in conventional terms, the end justifies whatever means we employ to support our ideology.

Another characteristic of the species is immunity to reasoned argument or contradictory fact. Such temporary obstructions to furthering the cause are deemed irrelevant BY DEFINITION, and if they cannot be twisted and misused, will simply be ignored.

Does this put the radical Left, Muslim extremists and the MSM into one wretched heap? If we can know them by their behavior, and the behavior is consistent - varying only by degree - then I submit that it does, and to believe otherwise is borne out of a wistful fantasy of a world other than the one we presently inhabit.

One crude definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different outcome. Attempting to sway an extremist et al with reason and fact falls squarely into this dysfunctional behavior pattern. The outcome is utterly predictable - failure and frustration. Watch this happen over and over on talk shows, blogs, the floor of the House and Senate, in a UN assembly or any other forum where APPARENT debate takes place.

THIS FUNDAMENTAL CONFLICT BETWEEN REASON AND FANATICISM IS NOT GOING AWAY. The only solution is reduction or elimination of destructive elements in both local and global societies. This can happen at the ballot box (preferred) or on the receiving end of a bullet (aka war), but history teaches us that the status quo cannot survive relentless activism by ignoring or denying the threat.
End rant.

12:22 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

There is a simple rule at play here. When I call you a fascist, it's free speech. When you call me a fascist, it's intimidation and suppression of free speech.

12:40 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, Greg, except that fanatics do not recognize such antiquated concepts as "rules." And fascism is just another variation on fanatical behavior which encompasses intimidation and suppression of free speach as milder means of eliminating perceived opposition.

1:25 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree Greg. Calling professor Daly a fascist might be hyperbole, but it's not intimidation. Personally, I think Professor Daly was within his rights to say what he did, but coming from a professor his email might be something that could be intimidating, and it's certainly something that makes me think less of him as a scholar and more of him as an ideologue.

The important thing here is to note that, even though Daly was within his rights, technically, to send the email (presumably he just hit reply to a campus-wide email the student sent out), it was the sort of thing that is obviously going to cause some bad feelings no matter what.

Calling the group "anti-people" is pretty foolish, and fallacious on many levels. Mr. Daly also seems totally willing to engage in fallacy in attributing deaths to "CAPITALISM," the US, and his other targets of interest. Attributing a hundred-million deaths to "Progressive" social movements is also eliding reality / oversimplifying, but in a way that expresses a much firmer grasp on causality than Mr. Daly does.

The basic thing is, that if Mr. Daly perceived the students to be well-intentioned humanitarians who believed Communism/Socialism were ills to be corrected, he could have responded to them in a way that tried to respond to the claims the group made and emphasized the social ills solved by Socialism/Communism. Instead, Mr. Daly seemingly could not conceive of these students as "pro-people" individuals who wish good for others above whatever political system they may believe in. That reflects an intellectual narrowness on Mr. Daly, and a willingness to perceive political opponents as enemies of "people" as a whole.

Personally, I'm partial to Monarchism, but I can see why people like Communism, Democracy, and so on without needing to turn them into Morlocks. As far as I can see, neither the posters the campus group posted ever implied anything about the people who practiced Socialism/Communism (other than calling attention to an uncomfortable reality that proponents of Socialism/Communism need to grapple with). And again, while we may be hyperbolizing Mr. Daly's response here as being an example of fascism (ie, intolerant and intimidating), it's Mr. Daly who saw fit to poison the environment at the college. He can assuage criticism quite easily by expressing himself next time in a way that doesn't presume the students are "anti-people."

1:37 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elaborating a bit on what I just said above here:

What we're talking about here with the terminology of "Cultural Fascism" (in my understanding) is not a primarily political phenomenon, it's a phenomenon that has to deal with how some people respond to political disagreements in ways that deserve scorn.

If you want to take a look at, say, Pat Robertson saying, that the people of Dover "voted God out" (and are thus heretics/godless/whatever), that's a pretty obvious example of what I mean when I talk about "Cultural Fascism." Pat Robertson, though, is pretty much denounced by everyone as not representing Christianity when he tries to claim that the people of Dover aren't Christian for rejecting ID. When the same sort of thing occurs on college campuses (primarily) or other left-leaning organizations there's a blindness to it (a blindness which dismisses the criticism as politicized when it is not intended to be).

2:07 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger katzxy said...

One can imaging the academy having a "Rosa Parsk" moment, where someone refuses to knuckle under to the prevailing political correctness and left leanning bias. Instead of provoking the usual moment of outrage, this becomes the cause around which those of us who want openness rally.

It's a dream, but still, it could happen.

3:09 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved katzxy's comment above. He or she is correct: there does need to be a "Rosa Parks" for moderates and conservatives in academics.

Americans love the concept of "fairness," and my guess is that when the rank and file public see what is going on on campus clearly, they will support other points of view loudly.

The problem is that, no matter what you may hear, or what you think is right, faculty members who openly disagree with the PC wisdom on campus are fired (if untenured) or marginalized (if protected).

Remember that any tenure evaluations can be biased with a few words (always kept confidential, I remind you). It is a soft form of intellectual fascism, just as sexism and racism were allowed in the Bad Old Days without directly referring to race or gender ("....the candidate just doesn't fit in, and won't be a happy and interactive member of the faculty....").

And when I say "openly disagree," I only mean the right to speak up to the extent that hardleft opinions are spouted about on campus.

I have seen it frequently, and experienced it personally.

Remember ANIMAL FARM, by George Orwell? He knew of what he wrote. And while ANIMAL FARM is a parody of the Russian Revolution and the early Soviet Union, something very similar---without death camps and bullets---is taking place on college campuses.

Pay attention to for information on quashed rights (regardless of politics) currently on campus. BRAINWASHING 101 is a great film that underscores this discussion.

If you are a moderate or conservative academic like me, don't give up. But sooner or later, we will need to intellectually fight over the right to express our opinions without repercussions. Either we have freedom of speech or we don't. I just want the same rights as the hardleft folks on campus. For now, I don't have that right.

Until then, I have to keep my mouth shut, except as an anonymous person. And isn't that a shame, in America?

-"Eric Blair"

3:58 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

To Eric Blair,

Yes, that is a shame--I hate to see people keeping their mouths shut out of fear--many of our academic institutions are a joke in terms of freedom of speech. I am so glad that I have the freedom to say what I want as I am not in an academic setting--that is sad.

What I especially loathe is the tendency for those on the left to pretend that none of this bias exists--they will call you simple, trite etc. if they do not like what you write or say--and as the gatekeepers of journals, books and the political milieu in general at many schools, this means that the institutional discrimination against right leaning professors, students etc. is rampant.

I really enjoyed Brainwashing 101--it was a great expose of the hypocrisy of left leaning campuses.

4:34 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

You might think at first glance that Young America Foundation has completely proved its case, in that it provided the e-mail message from the instructor. But at second glance, YAF has also accused William Austin, the campus president. They hid the distortion in their story pretty well; it comes only in the two words "instead of". They make it sound like Austin did nothing and said nothing in defense of YAF or Rebecca Beach.

But that is not true:

WCCC President Dr. William Austin personally welcomed guests to the event, held on Thursday, and introduced Rebecca Beach, president and secretary of the newly formed club. Lt. Col. Rutter’s talk was well received, and deemed a success by attendees.

I don't think that "kissing the speaker's ass" is a polite way to say it, but it seems that President Austin received Rutter with exactly the deference that Helen claims he would have extended to Fidel Castro. Austin already gave Beach her Rosa Parks moment at the central event, the campus lecture that she promoted.

So what more does YAF want? Well, it's clear enough. They want Austin to fire Daly, who is actually not a professor but an adjunct instructor. They want to say that not only is their view of the war in Iraq protected speech, it's also correct. They want to claim the other side, which they identify with with the hot-headed Daly, is not only wrong, but also crosses the line from protected speech to threats. Wouldn't it be nice if free speech was always that simple, if all wrong-thinking people abused it and all right-thinking people stayed within bounds and needed protection?

Some of my friends where I work are conservative/libertarian/non-liberal types who also see cultural fascism on university campuses. They put up American flags on their doors after another campus incident somewhere. If they are waiting for their own Rosa Parks moment, they have been disappointed, because no one cares if they have flags on their doors. Actually, I have an American flag on my bicycle too (and a flag cell phone case), although it's for somewhat different reasons.

6:24 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Oh, also, concerning the side statement by Pelosi. I don't know what is meant by "get away with". Is it protected speech? Yes. Should people step up and criticize Pelosi for saying it? Some people already have. Should she lose votes for it? Beats me.

If the question is what Republican leaders can "get away with", here is something that Jesse Helms said in 1994, when he was chair of the Senate foreign relations committee:

Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He’d better have a bodyguard.

That was after saying that Clinton was unfit to serve as commander in chief. Well, saying that the president is unfit to serve as commander in chief is protected speech, undeniably, although I would be interested to know how many senators have said it about Bush. Advising the president that he needs a bodyguard — well it is not clear to me if that is protected speech or not.

But again, it is not clear to me what "get away with" means. People did criticize Helms for threatening Clinton (even if it may have been a protected semblance of a threat). On the other hand, he didn't lose his Senate seat for this, or even his committee chair positions. I'm sure that he's happy now that his protege John Bolton is ambassador to the UN.

6:55 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

To Greg,

When Jesse Helms said that statement in 1994, it was all over the news shows-what I object to is the way these statements are handled--especially by the media. People say this kind of thing about Bush on a daily basis--even my own profession made disparaging remarks about the administration at their convention--that is just par for the course. In the left's mind, those nasty Republicans deserve everything that people say about them because hey, they are Republicans.

7:23 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Greg and Helen:

We all know the reason for the asymmetry, don't we? The far left thinks that they are so completely correct in every way that anyone at all who disagrees with them must be insane. And they *run* academics.

Look at what is going on at Wisconsin Eau Claire, right now:

Basically, the university has forbidden resident associates ("dorm leaders") from conducting Bible studies in their own rooms on their days off. They can do it off campus, of course.

If they violate this rule, they will be FIRED.

This is expressly because the university fears that non-Christians might feel slighted or uncomfortable by having an openly Christian RA. The university officials went on to say that they have forbidden any and all types of political or partisan activities on the part of RAs.

Which was a demonstrable lie. One of their RAs organized, helped to put on, and hosted the Vagina Monologues---and get this---as a dorm activity.

But what about Christian students feeling uncomfortable?

Well, we don't care about that. All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others, quoting Orwell again. This all derives from that awful critical race studies nonsense that states that a non-white is incapable of racist behavior.

Moving on. Was Jesse Helms an idiot? Of course he was. And Helen is right besides---look at the offensive nonsense said daily about Republicans. Look at how folks respond to Michelle Malkin....they don't simply say "we disagree with you" and make cogent points. They attack her personally, using vulgar sexist and racist language. And this is from the "feel good" Left!

So to argue that both sides are guilty of groupthink is both correct and beside the point. It shouldn't be taking place at all....and defending leftist groupthink by parading Helms around is like saying that chicken poop tastes "less bad" than horse poop.

It's still poop.

Sorry for the rant.

"Eric Blair"

7:44 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

To Eric,

Your point is well taken. Thanks!

7:51 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when I wrote one politically incorrect sentence on a paper and the very left professor retaliated with a D- and a suggestion I needed remedial English instruction.

The same week the professor was in the hallway and overheard the department head congratulating me on my outstanding score on the English portion of the GRE. He said they rarely saw a score that high, and he understood I had been invited to apply at Harvard.

My class grade improved rapidly after that and there was no more mention of remedial English classes.


8:08 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are all kind to at least listen to other points of view. I have been feeling cranky again.

It is good to have a forum without name calling and vitriol.

Thanks to all....

"Eric Blair"

8:10 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lefties know the rules and how to use them.

They have no intention of abiding by them, which would be a different thing altogether.
It makes no sense and wastes time arguing with them over differential application of rules as somehow "unfair". Of course it is. That's the point.

Simple take them as partisans of tyranny and act on that basis.
Forget asking them to play nice.

9:54 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Helen: Well okay, when Jesse Helms threatened Clinton, it was all over the news. But was this a serious problem for Helms? I don't see it. I don't see that Helms was more than slightly stupid in anything he has ever said. Ugly, sure, but not stupid. Not only did Helms win re-election in 1996, he eventually saw his protege appointed as ambassador to the United Nations. It's really quite an achievement, if you hate an organization, to have your own man appointed as the American representative to it.

It is true that some people, out of sheer ugly frustration, sarcastically threaten Bush the same way that Helms threatened Clinton. But are they in the Senate?

We can step back from that to Helms' more calculated comment that Clinton was unfit as Commander in Chief. Maybe that was in the news too, but I really don't see that it hurt Helms in any way to say it. I think that really he was defining himself in a way that only helped him. Moving forward to today, I am actually undecided whether Bush is fit as Commander in Chief. I think that it is at least a fair question. Has anyone in the Senate discussed it?

9:56 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Greg:


So you are saying that no one in the Senate right now has ever said anything nasty about George W. Bush?

If you are really making that claim---think of Reid, Kennedy, Pelosi, etc---I'm happy to dig out quotes from Senators (and Congresscritters) claiming that Bush wants to take us back to "segregated lunch counters" and so forth. And that is off the top of my head.

There are even claims by one Senator---it rhymes with "Cherry"---attacking Bush's intelligence (when he himself isn't precisely a brain trust).

As usual, I see a degree of selective memory.

It comes back to what I said before: the Left claims that it is all nice and accepting, and when called on that particular lie, all they can come back with is "well, Republicans do it too."

It's the poop argument, all over again.

Do any of us need to list for you irresponsible and inaccurate quotes about Bush from the Senate? Congress is even wackier.

Respectfully, why don't we just move on (if you will excuse the pun).

"Eric Blair"

10:15 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Blair: I did not ask whether anyone in the Senate said anything nasty about Bush. I asked whether anyone in the Senate threatened Bush, as Helms threatened Clinton. (Although presumably he was just being ugly rather than serious.)

I don't know who exactly you mean by "the Left" claiming to be all nice and accepting. Or responsible and accurate. I make no such claims.

10:50 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

To get back to the post itself, the more I think about it, the more that I agree that it is a missed opportunity not to publicize Nancy Pelosi's accusations against the Republicans. I'm sure that she meant to be heard. She should live with the consequences of it, good or bad. I hope that Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity jump all over it.

10:56 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

To Greg,

One of the problems is that the MSM typically thinks that this exposure will be a negative one for whoever they wish to smear--usually the President. Well--unfortunately for them, sometimes this strategy backfires like you suggest it did in the Helms case.Sorry the MSM tactics did not work to your satisfaction but that is beside the point. The point is, they take every opportunity to diss the right and many Americans don't buy into it. This does not mean they did not try, only that they did not get away with it.

7:28 AM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

No, there was no backlash. The backlash, if you want to call it that, had already happened. Helms threatened Clinton just two and a half weeks after the Republicans won Congress in the 1994 elections. Helms was in line to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Basically it was the sore winner syndrome. Helms had a hand with three aces and a queen right then and he was telling America who would soon be in charge.

Nobody ran to Helms' defense when he said that Clinton needs a bodyguard. It was absolutely reprehensible and there was no way to defend it. Nobody in North Carolina or anywhere else said that the media should stop picking on poor Jesse Helms. The most that anyone could do — as it played out in some reports in the "mainstream" media — was to claim that the rhetoric was getting bad on "both sides". The most that they could scratch up right then was that someone like Robert Reich had criticized corporate welfare that week. Well, obviously there is nothing out of bounds about the term "corporate welfare"; it is now widely used in Washington. Whoever at the AP decided to equate Reich with Helms was either a Republican partisan or a coward.

So as I said, there wasn't any backlash. The issue just died. Dole gave Helms his Foreign Relations Committee chair anyway. Some of the Democrats pointed to Helms threatening and undermining Clinton and suggested that Helms was not the best choice. Dole just assured everyone that it was going to happen, and it did.

10:58 AM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, the refrain seems to be "...well, Republicans do it too!" Sigh.

I have seen members of Congress basically accuse Bush of being behind 9-11. Of bombing levees in New Orleans. Of stealing elections and damaging democracy. Of....well, lying. I have seen this constantly and without pause take place.

Knee jerk response will be "what about Clinton?" Oh my aching head.

Can we not agree that any such nonsense---from either side---is evil, toxic, and serves to fatten the coffers of both national committees? Neither the DNC nor RNC have our best interests in mind. They WANT us to think of our political opponents as evil mindless thugs.

The truth is far more difficult, and doesn't fit onto a bumpersticker. I hope that our politics, even when we disagree, is just a tad more complex.

I think Jesse Helms is an idiot. So is Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, and that Klansman Robert Byrd. House, Congress, Executive, Judicial....all of them have good people and bad people on both sides of the fence. But right now, the moderates do NOT speak up (other than poor Joe Lieberman), and when someone accuses one side of saying something nasty, the only retort is, again, " do it, too."

Again, let's "move on," shall we?

"Eric Blair"

11:36 AM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm concerned that the Council of Churches has a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of government. From the article:

'The role of government is to protect its people and work for the common good.'

That is emphatically not the role of government. The role of government is to ensure personal liberty and provide for the common defense.

11:45 AM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Eric: Let me repeat the first complete sentence at the top of this blog entry: "Would a Republican Leader get away with saying this?" Is this meant as a question or not? My answer is, yes, Jesse Helms got away with as much and more. If you don't like the answer, don't ask the question. (Granted, it was Helen's question, not yours, but still.)

I wouldn't have asked this question myself. I have no interest in excusing Nancy Pelosi's comments with the argument that the Republicans do it too. Frankly, I don't know what part of Pelosi's rant is really out of bounds, but if there is something there, by all means, fire away. If you can do her the courtesy of quoting her without distortion, please go ahead and rake her over the coals. I'd like to know what is so terrible about her speech.

Moving on would be fine too. But not after complaining that Democrats "get away with" things that Republicans don't "get away with", because that's just not true.

12:30 PM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Greg. Today's attacks on Bush by Democrat senators and MSM are comparable to the attack by Helms on Clinton.

2:26 AM, November 22, 2005  
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