Some College Thick-Skin Advocates Need A Thicker Skin

If you want to fight the culture of victimhood, you can't wallow in it. If you're going to be an effective advocate for thick skins, you can't have a thin skin. If you're going to fight against the pernicious notion that people have a right not to be offended, you shouldn't be easily offended.

Why do I even have to say these things?

Dateline: Ohio University. College Republicans write "Trigger warning: there are no safe spaces in real life! You can't wall off the 1st Amendment" on the school's "graffiti wall." They're fighting against the culture of victimology, the culture of safe spaces, the culture of trigger warnings, the culture that treats speech as violence and justifies censorship.

Or are they?

In fact, OU College Republicans' rhetoric, and the rhetoric of their supporters in the media, sounds eerily like the rhetoric of triggers and safe spaces.

“It’s our First Amendment right,” Parkhill, a sophomore studying business management, said. “We feel like we’re being silenced and we feel like people are putting our point of view down, which is what we don’t want, so we’re going to fight back and we’re going to say this is our point of view.”

Well, no. You're not being "silenced" if your views are condemned or ridiculed. And "putting your point of view down" is part of the marketplace of ideas. The fact that you feel it doesn't make it true. Isn't that your point?

Members of the OU College Republicans, Parkhill said, feel their opinions are not welcome on campus.

Isn't "we feel unwelcome on campus" exactly what censors say to try to suppress speech they say triggers them?

The OU College Republicans naturally got pushback against their expression. Over at The College Fix, they were treated as oppressed victims in need of succor. The rhetoric is largely indistinguishable from that used by safe-spacers and the perpetually triggered to call for censorship: "they are under siege" "barrage of cyber harassment." And here's Parkhill again:

“Granted, I knew what I was getting into, but I didn’t think it would be that much hate,” he said. “We are basically a minority on this campus. Our opinion is so put down and so crushed, it’s almost like we don’t have a say.”

No it's not, you nauseating tremulous zygote.

The College Republicans point out, quite reasonably, that it's dishonest and ridiculous to say their reference to "trigger warnings" was a "threat," as some imbeciles have said. It's ridiculous to treat their message as some sort of dangerous assault on the delicate feels of their peers. It's preposterous to call for an investigation based on their message. But the OU College Republicans are relentlessly undermining that truth by adopting the very language of thin skins and weak minds that they're criticizing:

“We can’t have a viewpoint on our campus,” he said. “Conservative or even moderate views on campus is considered racist, is considered bigoted. … We are a lot of good people, we just believe in conservative, Republican values. … [But] it’s just unbelievable the amount of scorn we get.”

You have a right to call people weaklings if they demand safe spaces; they don't have a right not to be called that. They have a right to call you a racist; you don't have the right not to be called that. The marketplace of ideas may decide you're full of shit.

Now, can we make a plausible argument that students are too quick to cry "racist," too swift to use scorn instead of reason against conservative ideas? Can we say victim culture is out of control on college campuses? Absolutely. But can we make that point without adopting the rhetoric of the culture we're criticizing? Can we say "people would like to silence me but they won't succeed" instead of "I feel silenced," and "we have a right to express unpopular opinions" instead of "we feel our opinions aren't welcome"? Can we cut out the feels, please?

By indulging in the very rhetoric they are criticizing, the OU College Republicans and their ilk are not helping the fight for more open dialogue on campus. They're hurting it. They're buying into the underlying premises: you're silenced if you feel silenced. You have a right to be welcomed, not just to speak. You have a right not to be "put down" and ridiculed and condemned. By adopting the rhetoric of those premises they are promoting them. The result is that they've built up the culture of victimhood they're criticizing.

Look, guys: you need to cowboy up.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. That Anonymous Coward says

    No one is allowed to have special treatment that we deserve. Because they got something, we have to point out they are mean to us and demand the same treatment.

    The whole trigger warnings and safe spaces thing is getting out of control, and its truly sad that rather than point out why its bad, they resort to demanding those same things.

    My opinion is mine, and I get called out on it and I'm able to defend myself. I don't need the world covered in nerf to protect me from bad ideas, and the world doesn't need safe spaces to hide from ideas they don't share. Refusing to discuss the topic by demanding others be silent so you can be "safe" isn't how the world works and encouraging this sort of thing sets society back. If you don't like that they are saying, engage in debate or walk away… don't demand a cone of shame be put upon them for all time.

  2. dave hood says

    When I read Tyranny of Silence by Fleming Rose, in which he repeatedly makes the point that no one has the right not to be offended, I thought he was massively over-belaboring the obvious, at least to US readers. Boy, was I wrong!

  3. Shieldfoss says

    @That Anonymous Coward

    the world doesn't need safe spaces to hide from ideas they don't share

    "Need" has nothing to do with it – on my property, I can make whatever rules I want to. The problem arises when you try to make the rest of the world conform to the rules of your own house.

  4. Brice says

    Irony burns hot, melting though the soft permeable skin of the feeble minded. It smells when it burns. A pungent smell of hypocrisy that assaults the nostrils with its peculiar odor.

  5. Mostro says

    I think they're trolling the safe spacers. What can the fascist-victim crowd do if their own censorship is triggering and therefore deserving of being censored? I hope it's a clever ploy to silence the silencers, they'll be backed into a corner where either everyone can say what they want (within the broad confines of protected speech, obvs), or nobody can say anything at all.

  6. Ryan Evans says

    Hello! My name is Ryan Evans and I am the Vice President of the College Republicans. We very much appreciate the feedback on what we wrote on the free speech wall here at OU.

    So to first address your point that we are claiming to be silenced when in fact it is simply ridicule. Here at Ohio University, a couple days before we wrote what we did on the wall, an anonymous fraternity wrote "Build The Wall" and "Trump 2016". Soon afterwards, emergency meetings were held by other greek organizations to discuss the "harassment" that was put on the wall. In response to what was written on the wall, greek week here was restructured to be more inclusive to the Latino community who felt that the phrase "Build The Wall" was singling them out. As part of the restructuring of greek week, a public forum was held where a panel of people involved in different organizations pertaining to greek life was created to help answer questions on this topic. This panel ended up being made of individuals who only supported the left side of the argument. Many of the members of the crowd who addressed the panel from the pro wall side of the argument were met with harsh criticism. This ended up turning what was supposed to be a civilized debate into a group of individuals who were telling people of differing opinions why they were wrong. This in itself is not that big of a deal. It only pertains to greek life and those organizations which OUCRs (Ohio University College Republicans) is not apart of. But to follow that up, the President of the University released a statement saying "Indeed, this wall is a place of free speech and expression; however, the words painted were troubling because they had a very different meaning to some than they may have to others viewing the message or even to those who painted the message." He follows this up talking about the impact words can have on people. This gives a clear stance from the University on this leftist point of view. This was what Dave was referring to when he said "We feel like we’re being silenced." A body that is supposed to support all students taking the side of the offended.

    As to your point on playing the victim. That isn't the message that we are trying to make and I'm sorry that it came of this way. Rather we want to make sure that everyone knows that this conservative viewpoint is still here on campus and we encourage people who are unsure of their political beliefs to talk with us and debate with us. Those who don't agree with us are more than welcome to voice their opposition. We are advocating for free speech for everyone whether you agree with the opinions expressed on the wall, want to debate and discuss what was put up there, or want to call us racist and compare our club to the KKK. We just want people to recognize the hypocrisy in telling us our speech was hateful by relating us to the Klan.

    I hope this has shed some light on the situation that is occurring here on campus. Regardless, thank you for your post. The views and opinions I have expressed are my own and are not a representation of OUCRs as a whole.

  7. Martin says

    You need to cowboy up

    Blatant sexism. Cowgirls are also tough as hell.

    (Source: I married a cowgirl)

  8. Deniable Sources says

    This was what Dave was referring to when he said "We feel like we’re being silenced." A body that is supposed to support all students taking the side of the offended.

    Well, yes, and in other news, it's Monday. Not only do THEY not care, but _I_ don't care. And I even agree with some of what you have to say, more or less. Just not the feelings part.

    Or, to make it simpler, in what conceivable universe could articulating your feeling that it's "almost like we don't have a say" have ANY positive effect, given the issue at hand and the side of it you've chosen?

  9. says

    " This ended up turning what was supposed to be a civilized debate into a group of individuals who were telling people of differing opinions why they were wrong. "

    A debate where someone tells why someone else is wrong? You're quite correct. Civilization as we know it has ended.

  10. Brian Z says

    @Ryan Evans

    We just want people to recognize the hypocrisy in telling us our speech was hateful by relating us to the Klan.

    First, despite what we are all "supposed" to believe, some people don't value free expression. Don't assume, ask.

    When people claim they value tolerance but subsequently claim they abhor murderers, the error is imprecision rather than hypocrisy.

    If they claim to value free expression but somehow think your ideas are beyond the pale, help them tease out exactly what they mean by that. You'll probably find they believe that a person's right to free expression doesn't supersede another person's right to be free from hurtful words. This doesn't make them a hypocrite; this simply means that they value both things but they place one higher than the other. And in so choosing, it also makes them wrong. Educate them on why a society which values free expression more than an offense-free existence is better, even knowing that sometimes free expression is hurtful. Hell, you could just reduce it to the utter impossibility of an offense-free society.

    Your university president is not wrong to suggest words can be "troubling" or "impact people." But if he or anyone else suggests that this is the criterion under which free expression is subordinated to some fantastic notion of social harmony, challenge them!

  11. Guy who looks things up says

    @Ryan Evans

    To paraphrase Lincoln, it's better to be called a nauseating tremulous zygote than to speak up and prove it.

  12. Tradegeek says

    This is an example of why this subject really doesn't have a political home. Much of the "safe space" rhetoric originates from college campuses, so it's assumed that it is well entrenched in left leaning philosophy. I think it's much more of a deep cultural shift towards a sense of entitlement that ones butt shall be free from hurt.

    I hear over and over again from evangelical friends that Christians are under siege. Their voices and "1st amendment rights" are being violated. Typically, the 1st amendment argument is actually just a sense that lots of people don't like, and therefore ridicule them, over what they believe about gay people. Which isn't a 1st amendment issue at all. People are just judging them. Which, ironically, is also what they wish to have the freedom to do. Judge and ridicule gay people without being judged and ridiculed themselves. It makes my head hurt even writing that.

    When I hear a relatively wealthy, white evangelical Christian whine about being persecuted I have the same nagging pain in my brain that I get when I hear some 22 year old go on about "safe spaces". I dream of slapping them in the face. I will never act on that impulse, but I can dream.

    I think this is just the age of butt-hurt.

  13. princessartemis says

    It's really hard to get one's head outside a worldview one's been steeped in. They're seeing the edges of a different way of looking at the world, but still stuck describing what they see in terms that don't quite fit.

  14. inthegame says

    @Ryan Evans

    But what if I do think the fraternity's views are noxious and racist and that comparing them to the klan for holding them is accurate? That's a perfectly legitimate view to hold right? Since Donald Trump's plan for building a wall and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants would necessarily involve human rights abuses on a massive scale against a minority population, I think I can accurately assume that anyone supporting his position is in fact advocating for those abuses. In which case, I'd say calling them a racist is no less civil than advocating for jack-booted thugs tracking down and forcibly relocating 11 million people (with all the beatings, killings, rapes, and thefts that would likely entail). So if the start of the "civilized debate" is Trump's position, I don't think calling people racist and comparing them to the klan makes it any less civilized.

    You've got a better point about the University President taking sides. His statements clearly indicate which side of the issue the instution is on, and it is not yours. However, he might have a point since you obviously don't think that the fraternity was advocating beatings, killings, rapes, and thefts on a massive scale when, to many people, that's obviously what they're doing. But since universities have never been apolitical, as long as the administration doesn't retaliate against your club in some way, your free speech rights haven't been violated.

  15. Lulex7 says

    I agree with everything except the "marketplace of ideas" jargon. This concept limits the type of speech to strictly political instrumentality and not the moral value of equality. This positioning further plays into the argument about 'functioning' free speech versus unfettered. It's a concept advocates should do away with.

  16. Michael Gorback says

    "Trigger warning: there are no safe spaces in real life! You can't wall off the 1st Amendment" on the school's "graffiti wall.

    Oh yes they can, under Title VII and Title IX, and those laws are being (ab)used to bludgeon anyone who doesn't read from the PC handbook.

    Mr. Parkhill was probably speaking extemporaneously. Anyone who has read deposition or trial transcripts should understand how awful that sounds when transcribed.

    Cut the kid a break. It wasn't a prepared written statement and he didn't need to be taken to the woodshed. Pointing out the irony of using the language of victimhood would have sufficed, instead of lowering yourself to name-calling.

  17. echo says

    The point of a right-winger using the victimhood strategy is to force the opposition to say, loud and clear to everyone, that it's not for you to use.
    It dispels the illusion the left has crafted that their rules are simply about "treating people with respect", and proves that, no, the only real rule is "do what we say or else".

    Of course, from a far right perspective, this is ridiculous. All you're really proving to the audience is that A) you're weak and need to beg for institutional power, and B) leftists have complete institutional power, and they'll use it against anyone speaking out against them.

    It's like pointing at a beachside bully and going "ha, you're the kind of meanie who always gives me a wedgie and kicks sand in my face!"
    It's not going to impress anyone. He's just going to laugh, call you a weenie, and rub the sand in your eyes this time, like Ken is doing.
    And everyone will nervously laugh along with him, happy they're not a weenie git like you.

  18. sinij says

    At some point only independently wealthy would be able to afford to state a controversial opinion. At that point free speech will be effectively dead without any involvement from the government.

    While Ken is likely justified mocking this instance, the underlying problem of social acceptance of disproportional response that goes beyond speech acts deserves another consideration.

  19. Tradegeek says

    "tracking down and forcibly relocating 11 million people (with all the beatings, killings, rapes, and thefts that would likely entail"

    Yes. Everybody who supports a wall is by proxy supporting "beatings, killings, rapes and theft".

    Personally, I think Trump is an moron. His immigration policy is rediculous. Practically, pragmatically and ethically.

    But everybody you disagree with is not a Nazi. If you conveniently twist any statement you disagree with to imply sympathy for the most logical extremes then you absolve yourself of any guilt associated with a rediculous, illogical overreaction and justify the melodramatic demand for outside intervention.

    Vegetarians hate Jews. Why? Hitler was a vegetarian. So animal rights activists want to save animals and commit genocide against people.

    See, I can do it too.

  20. Tradegeek says

    This really comes down to not being afraid to have an argument. And not taking everything personally. I watched the first football game last season with a friend who is an ordained evangelical minister. I'm an atheist. We agree on nothing in that regard. That pailed in comparison because it was a Packer V Bear game. I'm a Bear fan, he's a Packer fan. The whole god v no god thing pails in comparison to that rivalry.

    I give him endless crap. He's pretty good at giving it back. Especially given his handicap of trying not to use prophanity and vulgarity (there are linguistic advantages to atheism).

    He's has his opinions on lots of things. I disagree with allot of them. And I don't pull punches that I think some of his views are damaging to society. He feels the same about mine. We argue. We debate. But we are obviously more friends than enemies.

    Why are people afraid of disagreement? Are we so thinned skinned we have to hide among the like minded for security?

    Grow a pair. Enjoy a good argument.

  21. Michael 2 says

    "But the OU College Republicans are relentlessly undermining that truth by adopting the very language of thin skins and weak minds that they're criticizing:"

    It is a strategy (I hope), one that sometimes works. It works better one-on-one; you speak their language, play tit-for-tat and sometimes that is all that works.

    If the administrators have demonstrated weak-knees for bad feelings, well then express some bad feelings! Balance the scale. It is not good strategy when the dealer has his hand on the scale. You can take the high road and maybe there's a God that will balance the scale in the next life.

    Or you can put your own hand on the other side of the scale and try to balance it. That is what Affirmative Action is all about; a hand on the scale to tip it, to balance real or imagined offenses that took place 150 years ago.

    But the hand never leaves the scale. You can either try to remove the hand, all hands, from the scale and let them balance (or not); or you can put your own hand on it.

    I've done both in my life. Sometimes using your opponents strategy is what works. It helps if Republicans study a little bit of Saul Alinsky; ridicule works very well on those for whom it was designed — the left wing.

    Once the scale is balanced, more or less, then you can try to introduce a bit of civility; but it is a social contract and lasts only as long as the participants choose.

    Will both sides ever agree that the scale is balanced? Probably not. So get your dibs in while and when you can.

  22. Sami says

    Yeah, just… no.

    See, I'm in favour of safe spaces, but they're not supposed to be *everywhere*. When I was at university, the "safe space" thing applied to ONE ROOM. Everywhere else, yeah, you can have your ideas that we might find upsetting, but in this ONE, SINGULAR ROOM you will be unwelcome.

    It is genuinely exhausting sometimes to live prepared always to be demeaned or worse because you're a woman, or not white, or gay, etc. Even when we're willing to argue against that, sometimes we would like to be able to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and chill in an environment where we can relax, safe in the knowledge that in that place, we don't have anything to prove, we're not going to be judged, we don't have to be on alert less we make some kind of slip that will let other people feel like they can dismiss us.

    One. Fucking. Room.

    If you try to extend that across an entire campus, you're going to achieve this-is-just-bullshit status in a dozen different ways within a day.

    And yes, if your counter-argument to the safe space idea is "but MY FEEEEELINGS" then shut up.

  23. inthegame says

    I mean, Donald Trump has been pretty clear about deporting all the illegal immigrants and history is pretty clear about what forcibly moving 11 million people looks like on the ground. So its a little more direct than the PETA to genocide connection. More like politician promises genocide then, genocide.

    If I assume these youngins (OU College Republicans and the frat bros) have thoughtfully and intelligently evaluated this issue in light of their values, then that's what they're supporting and being called racist isn't all that uncivil considering the overall context of the debate.

    I'm willing to concede that they might just be dumb kids trying to make a joke or something. In that case being called racist for building a large racist joke art installation is just part of learning people skills. The President would almost be obligated, as an educator, to say something to try to make them smarter.

    Either way the academic system is working pretty well in this particular case.

  24. says

    history is pretty clear about what forcibly moving 11 million people looks like on the ground

    And the reason free markets don't work is that they've never been tried. The idea that there's some other way to achieve the result of 11m people leaving the country, without being irretrievably bad along the way, is not definitionally insane. Maybe every way would involve civil rights violations or atrocities, in practice. But it's just not a matter of logic to reach that conclusion.

    (I don't like Trump, myself. I don't think a wall or the people to patrol it is a good use of money. Nor would this wall be magically and massively effectively. And I don't see how 11m people can ever be made to leave the country. All the moreso when politics means working with a portion of the country that doesn't want to make them leave. But to claim anyone who argues for a wall, actively wants one possible set of consequences, under one possible outcome, that isn't inexorably a matter of logic, is blinkered partisanship.)

  25. Guy who looks things up says

    @Jeff Walden

    Why would any rational person think that Donald Trump would take the trouble to devise a humane way to move eleven million people?

    @Tradegeek
    If you support the same candidate as the Klan and advocate for one of the candidates whackball racist ideas, it seems fair to ask how you are different from the Klan.

    @echo
    More whining? Admittedly it's a little more clever than most, but it's whining all the way down.

  26. Amadan says

    Why would any rational person think that Donald Trump would take the trouble to devise a humane way to move eleven million people?

    Well, he certainly claims he can do it. No one who hasn't drunk the kool-aid thinks this is realistic (I doubt even Trump's supporters really believe a wall and mass deportation is going to happen), but I don't think Trump himself actually wants "rapes and genocide." I think he imagines he can actually make 11m people leave by being really tough and letting them know he means business.

    The point here is not that mass deportation wouldn't result in large scale human rights violations, the point is that preemptively labeling everyone who thinks mass deportation is morally and legally defensible (if pragmatically unfeasible) as a pro-genocide racist (as opposed to unrealistic and short-sighted) is rhetorical bombast and demonstrably untrue.

    IOW, running around screaming "Nazi! Nazi!" at Trump supporters might feel good, but won't convince them or anyone else that they are in fact Nazis.

  27. inthegame says

    "And the reason free markets don't work is that they've never been tried. "

    Except this has been tried so we've got a fair amount of evidence of what it looks like. Its of course possible that Donald Trump will give us the classiest, most rights-respecting, due-process having forced relocation in history but I must have missed the section on public defenders and internal affairs investigations in the plan he just released. So the idea that the Sherriff Joes, Officer Hotlzclaws, and random people looking to settle scores would act the way you'd expect them to isn't "one possible outcome." It is the obvious "most likely outcome."

    I don't think its unfair to assume that anyone supporting the plan has weighed the risks and just isn't bothered by them. It would probably be more insulting to assume they hadn't. I understand the idea that some people stake out the maximalist view in the hopes of bringing policy as close to it as they can, but unless someone tells me otherwise, I'm going to assume that they want the thing they say they want.

    Also, I realized in my earlier post that I mixed the OU College Republican graffiti wall thing with the Tulane University Kappa Alpha wall thing. Just too many dang walls.

  28. says

    If we were talking about a career politician rather than a flaky TV reality-show host suddenly changing careers, we could disparage the worst overtones of the 11- million policy by saying, "It's a *campaign* promise!" (like "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor")

    A professional politician elected on an anti-immigration platform would tighten things up here and there, but then ease up when the pushback reached a certain level, probably long before we had evening broadcasts of 4-year-olds with yellow stars on their coats and hands raised. Some anti-immigration voters would shout "betrayal!", but the politician would answer, "You still got more from me than you would have from my opponent."

    Mr. Trump has no track record as a politician, however, so who knows what he means.

  29. Argentina Orange says

    Two things:

    1. Some who can simultaneously believe that it would be "impossible" to deport 11 million people without "genocide" and that Obama has deported a quarter of that while actively limiting deportations please explain their thought process.

    2. You got trolled Ken. There is a common expression "You cannot tear down the master's house using the master's tools." The expression is utter bullshit. Claw hammers are very good for both driving and removing nails.

  30. Dan Weiner says

    This ended up turning what was supposed to be a civilized debate into a group of individuals who were telling people of differing opinions why they were wrong.

    So… a debate??

  31. Timothy A Wiseman says

    @Ryan Evans

    But to follow that up, the President of the University released a statement saying "Indeed, this wall is a place of free speech and expression; however, the words painted were troubling because they had a very different meaning to some than they may have to others viewing the message or even to those who painted the message." He follows this up talking about the impact words can have on people. This gives a clear stance from the University on this leftist point of view. This was what Dave was referring to when he said "We feel like we’re being silenced." A body that is supposed to support all students taking the side of the offended.

    I must respectfully disagree. From your description, the President of the University expressed a message about how expression can make people feel. You may disagree with the tone of this message, but he clearly has every right to make it as an individual and (depending on policies at the school) may even be well positioned to deliver that message as a representative of the school. Perhaps, at least in his official capacity, he should work harder to be neutral between Republicans and Democrats and other political parties, but that does not silence you. You have not alleged that he has punished anyone, threatened to punish anyone, or attempted to suppress further speech. In other words, you are fee to speak even if your speech is not well received.

    Further, as Ken White says, saying you "feel silenced" as opposed to taking a stance of refusing to be silenced (or even simply continuing to deliver your message) adopts the language of victimhood. This is rarely productive and is a bit hypocritical if you are arguing against a culture of victimhood.

    Also, if I may stray slightly on a tangent, I would like to point out that a lot of Republicans do not support Trump's Wall. I am a moderate Republican and I strongly oppose the Wall on both ideologic (we should foster good relations with Mexico) and pragmatic grounds (it will be highly expensive and won't work).

  32. Tom Scharf says

    RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

    This is what this exercise is all about I think. In even a more perverted example of this, OSU kicked BLM out of their administration building because they claimed their employees were feeling threatened.

    I agree with the concept of "don't practice what they preach", but I am also very interested in a morbid curiosity kind of way in watching the left tie themselves into moral pretzels justifying a one-way application of their rulebook.

  33. Guy who looks things up says

    @Amadan

    Sure, he claims he can do it. But what's his reaction to protesters? Force. What's his reaction to being beaten in the state conventions? Threats of force.

  34. BDub says

    The rhetoric sounds familiar precisely because the academic left has, in Orwellian fashion, so narrowed the available vocabulary to express political opinions that students come-of-age in that environment are unequipped to adequately express such enlightenment concepts as freedom of speech.

  35. Ze Madmax says

    BDub:

    The rhetoric sounds familiar precisely because the academic left has, in Orwellian fashion, so narrowed the available vocabulary to express political opinions

    Doing so would necessitate academics to agree to a set of appropriate terms. If you think that's possible, you haven't met many academics, left or otherwise.

  36. BDub says

    No, I don't think that's possible. I was trying to explain the apparent deficiency in the rhetoric that the author was commenting on. I don't think its necessarily a failure on the part of the free speech advocate, so much as a failure of discourse in general, brought on by the academic led erosion of the language of enlightenment principles and understanding.

    I specifically invoked Orwell because of his 1984 theme of reducing language to a form that renders dissent meaningless, and irrelevant, if not impossible altogether.

  37. Artor says

    As Amaden points out, tRump et al. may not believe that mass rapes, beatings and looting will necessarily come from an attempt to deport millions of immigrants, so calling them all Nazis is probably uncalled for. However, while they may not be outright fascists, they are still clearly dangerous idiots, and should be opposed by everyone with more than two brain cells to rub together.

  38. Murder Hobo says

    @Astor,

    To be fair to Nazis, if you believe their testimony most of them just wanted a strong military, a return to a position where Germany was respected by other nations, and–abstractly–the removal of certain groups of people to some place where they would no longer have a detrimental effect on German society. Except for the leadership, they didn't realize the full scope of the plan until they'd already gone along with it too much to back out.

  39. CHH says

    @Ken:

    This may have already been mentioned, but teal deer, and all that. Apologies.

    But the OU College Republicans are relentlessly undermining that truth by adopting the very language of thin skins and weak minds that they're criticizing.

    I've worked in IT for a while, fixing various clients' problems. (By Wes Borg's timekeeping, I'm not a vet; I'm an ancient.) During my tenure in this field, I've tried not just to fix problems, but to explain to my client why a problem was happening. (A sometimes-futile attempt at preventing the same problems from recurring.)

    One of the biggest things I learned about client interaction is this: the best chance I have to get them to understand something is to explain the problem in terms they're already familiar with.

    Is that not what's happening with the OU College Republicans? Are they not trying to explain a situation to their opponents with terms their opponents are already familiar with? Are they not trying to use their opponents' weapons against them?

    That's what I took from this, anyway. Not that they're being whiny, but that they are attempting to use quotes from the opposing sect's translation of their holy book against them.

  40. roryTate says

    To be fair though, their rhetoric is that they're fighting to have their voices heard, not fighting to have the other side's voices silenced, or saying that the other side's speech is hate speech.

    Fundamental difference.

  41. tehy says

    College Republicans: We feel as though we're being silenced because insane people will scream 'racist' at us for disagreeing with them. and the college will back them up

    Ken White: well get a thicker skin fam

    -100

  42. Total says

    No, I don't think that's possible. I was trying to explain the apparent deficiency in the rhetoric that the author was commenting on. I don't think its necessarily a failure on the part of the free speech advocate, so much as a failure of discourse in general, brought on by the academic led erosion of the language of enlightenment principles and understanding.

    You do realize that your first sentence contradicts the rest of the paragraph, don't you? And, really, if your argument is that "the left" has somehow eliminated your ability to think up words to express your thoughts, then I'm pretty sure that "the left" isn't your main problem.

    To be fair to Nazis, if you believe their testimony

    You know, I'm pretty sure I can through my life without for one second thinking that starting a sentence "To be fair to the Nazis…" is a good idea. But you did it, and then included the main flaw in your argument in your next sentence. Well, yes, if after the war you asked individual Nazis whose fault it was, I'm pretty sure that they weren't going to include themselves.

  43. Murder Hobo says

    Total, before you hurt yourself patting your back on that one, look at the context, and remember that satirical comments/ridiculous comments not meant to be taken too seriously have been brought up numerous times.

    Also if you want to take my statement seriously, I suppose I should try to do so as well.

    Umm okay, you're right. We should never take an uncorroborated statement at face value, especially if that statement serves the speaker's self-interest. At the same time, we also shouldn't assume that a statement is false merely because it's in the speaker's self interest.

    (Sidenote, @Ken, what's your opinion on the validity of the whole statement against interest hearsay exception? It's pretty much predicated on the assumption the contrapositive of what we're talking about)

    IIRC, after the war the Allies did find it credible that some of the rank and file Nazis didn't fully realize the scope of Hitler's final solution until the end. Obviously they didn't automatically believe it every time someone made the claim, but I don't think they automatically dismissed it.

    The more important takeaway from the trials was that it didn't really matter in the end. Maybe on the abstract they were less culpable at the beginning, but there was a substantial period of time after these guys knew or really should have known what was going on, where they could have resisted or backed out, or done anything at all other than remain willfully complicit.

  44. Chaos-Engineer says

    Are they not trying to explain a situation to their opponents with terms their opponents are already familiar with? Are they not trying to use their opponents' weapons against them?

    It might be better to say that they're using "cargo cult rhetoric", where they parrot the basic structure of an argument while ignoring the broader context. So they'll say something like "Intolerance is wrong, therefore it's wrong for you to be intolerant of my bigotry". Or "All sides of an argument must be considered, therefore you can't say I'm wrong until you've watched this 100-hour collection of Youtube videos." Or "It is polite to respect the cultures of different groups, therefore you're being rude if you criticize any aspects of the culture of my group."

    Of course the problem is that details are getting dropped. "Intolerance is wrong" isn't something that got carved on a piece of stone and brought down from a mountain. It's a summary of a whole set of rules that have developed over the course of thousands of years of cultural evolution, and it's packed solid with exceptions and counter-exceptions and rules for creating new exceptions. You need to learn the whole set if you want to function as an adult member of society. If you pretend that you don't understand the rules, then people might be patient with you at first, but sooner or later they'll decide you're being disingenuous.

    College Republicans have a bit of a reputation for being disingenuous already, so they need to be *especially* careful about avoiding this sort of rhetoric.

  45. Tradegeek says

    I think what is being missed in allot of the comments is the core point.

    Regardless of the validity of any of the points made by any of the students on either side; there is this consistent push to classify rhetoric as something physically threatening. That the words themselves are akin to "silencing" or "de-legitimizing". That expressing an opinion that on its surface seems relatively mild, is in fact an act of enticing, endorsing and otherwise laying the foundation of support for rape, murder, theft, genocide and subjugation. Since the rhetoric is supposedly the moral equivalent to terrible acts of violence and injustice it is then justified to demand institutions of authority take immediate action! The potential victims of the hate speech are already being "silenced" and "de-legitimized", rape, genocide and violations of civil rights are just around the corner! Something must be done!

    "Build the Wall" = rape and genocide. Wouldn't you want institutions and/or the government to take action to stop rape and genocide?

    The right does it too.

    "Income inequality" = Marx, Lennon, Stalin, Pol Pot.. killing fields, religious persecution and gulags! Tolerating those socialists is akin to getting some dirty pajamas and marching for the Khmer Rouge! Wouldn't you want to the authorities to take some action to stop the next mass leftist genocide?

    It's dumb as shit. And these people need to be ridiculed and made to look the fool. Not by any entity, institution or government but by regular people telling them to stop being such whinny little tards.

  46. echo says

    akin to getting some dirty pajamas and marching for the Khmer Rouge!

    I mean, there's actually a history of that at top american universities, so the hyperbole doesn't really work.
    Here's what the Harvard Crimson has to say about the Khmer Rouge:

    "Cambodia will eventually return to peace and national sovereignty under the leadership of the revolutionary Khmer Rouge."

    "The new government of Cambodia may have to resort to strong measures against a few to gain democratic socialism for all Cambodians. And we support the United Front [i.e. the Khmer Rouge] in the pursuit of its presently stated goals."

    "The Crimson has supported the Khmer Rouge in its efforts to form a revolutionary government in that country. But for the past 3 years, little or no information about the Khmer Rouge reached the West. In the vacuum of information we made certain assumptions about the Khmer Rouge that in retrospect, were illusory. Because the Khmer Rouge had ties with the Republic of China, it was assumed that the Khmer Rouge’s policies and social programs would have affinities with Maoism."

    Although finally, once the whole genocide thing came out:
    "Although The Crimson has yet to commit itself, I continue to support the Khmer Rouge in its principles and goals but I have to admit that I deplore the way they are going about it."

    It's funny when you look at the employment histories of the editors. One of them became a dean at Columbia, and many have written for the NYT, Slate, and The New Republic. I wonder how many have written about "income inequality"?

    So yes, they were marching for the Khmer Rouge, but only because they thought they were wonderful Maoists. And hey, at least they didn't wear tacky pajamas.

  47. Total says

    Total, before you hurt yourself patting your back on that one, look at the context, and remember that satirical comments/ridiculous comments not meant to be taken too seriously have been brought up numerous times.

    Oh, good. It's the "I was just using Nazi Germany for a bit of light parody" defense. Taking your word for it just makes you look like more of a twit. Next up: you use the Rwandan genocide for musical theater.

    And then, because Murder Hobo Can't Quite Stick With The Parody Story, he slips and argues that what he said was ACTUALLY TRUE, SO THERE:

    IIRC, after the war the Allies did find it credible that some of the rank and file Nazis didn't fully realize the scope of Hitler's final solution until the end. Obviously they didn't automatically believe it every time someone made the claim, but I don't think they automatically dismissed it.

    Please stop. I realize you're trying in your own painful way to recall a dimly lit half remembered mention by a professor you didn't like decades ago, but it's so far from the actual history as to be distressing.

    But, in any case: Dude, settle on a story and stick with it.

  48. Trent says

    I have to wonder if you people talking about the red scare liberal left in higher education understand how utterly ridiculous you sound? Do you realize you sound like a McCarthy lackey during the height of the hearings?

    Colleges like everywhere else in the world have a mix of political opinions and leanings. Humanities and art programs tend to have left leaning professors and can on the extreme end have professors that would fit in with Stalin and Pol Pot. But other areas of the same school, mostly in the sciences, business and economics schools will have professors that would make McCarthy himself look like a card carrying revolutionary communist and Ron Paul a liberal hooligan devoted to the destruction of America. Universities are diverse places with a wide array of views. Some schools lean one way or the other but none are wholly of one view point or another unless you go to one of the very tiny arts and humanities schools or one of the church owned conservative colleges.

    The entire point of Tenure at universities is to allow these diverse views to thrive, in that the administration cannot act against professors with diverse views and enforce mandatory group think. Yet you fools act like all universities are communist training grounds. I can only think you are either elaborate trolls, engaging in some performance art or fools who've never set foot on a university and have hatred for everything you don't personally understand. You should consider how ridiculous you sound sometime.

    Moving on to the main post. Safe spaces and the whole butt hurt about people saying mean things. This has no basis in either right or left. There is going to be a lot of research on the rise of this feeling and it's origins at some point in the future but I place a lot of it's origin with the internet. The internet for the first time allowed people to group up and talk about unpopular things like they weren't unpopular and do so with no backlash or social consequences. For example your average teeenage boy can get on 4Chan and say horrible and terrible things without any fear of being punished by their parents, peers or society. After nearly two decades of this existing people have begun to believe that you should be able to say whatever you want and that it's not free speech if your ideas are ridiculed or you experience social consequences for your speech. In effect the internet has created this idea of safe spaces.

    Personally I think those people who support free speech need to be attacking this safe space idea as aggressively and as often as possible. The view is pervasive on all sides of the culture war even though every political view is trying to blame the other while demanding their own safe space. A broad social view of speech is developing and if we aren't careful, it's going to come to dominate.

    Keep up the great work calling out the fools Ken.

  49. echo says

    "Universities are diverse places with a wide array of views."

    You almost had me thinking you were serious until that bit.

  50. Guy who looks things up says

    @echo
    You should have kept reading until the second paragraph. He anticipated you.

  51. Tradegeek says

    "I mean, there's actually a history of that at top american universities, so the hyperbole doesn't really work.
    Here's what the Harvard Crimson has to say about the Khmer Rouge:"

    You are actually proving my point. It was RHETORIC!
    I don't even need to check. Harvard did not have a mass exodus in 1975 of students dropping out of school to join a Marxist paramilitary organization in the jungles of Cambodia and Laos. Nor did they meaningfully support them, beyond said rhetoric (even if they wanted to, I'm pretty sure the Cambodian jungle is lacking in Western Union locations). Harvard students did not organize an American Khmer Rouge.

    Che Guevara and Mau T-shirts are not evidence of an imminent threat of the systematic genocide of suburban bourgeois. They are the stylistic symbols of young, stupid, ideological kids (and their professors who never grew up) displaying what they believe to be a radical statement of…. whatever.

    Sporting a Trump T-Shirt about building a "wall" is no different. It's a largely rhetorical statement of anger and frustration about government doing or not doing… whatever.

    These things should spark debate, not fear.

  52. echo says

    "in that the administration cannot act against professors with diverse views and enforce mandatory group think."
    Being reported to the safety committee as a racist for marking down students' spelling errors is just facing the natural consequences for your speech, right? There certainly no viewpoint enforcement going on.

    "The internet for the first time allowed people to group up and talk about unpopular things like they weren't unpopular and do so with no backlash or social consequences."

    Yes, because salons, churches, clubs, hobby groups, covens, and associations have never been places where people could gather and discuss ideas that would get them shunned or executed in normal society. Sure.

    So somehow this "safe space" nonsense that relies on an intellectual framework built in the 80s and early 90s, and was created by professors in their 50s… is somehow all the fault of millennial 4chan anons.

    fools who've never set foot on a university and have hatred for everything you don't personally understand.

    Because nobody else became a conservative by going to a liberal arts university and noticing "wow, these activists throwing paint at people and setting up mock checkpoints for jews seem really unhinged"?

    I agree with Tradegeek the the proper solution is mockery, rather than crying.

  53. Tradegeek says

    "Because nobody else became a conservative by going to a liberal arts university and noticing "wow, these activists throwing paint at people and setting up mock checkpoints for jews seem really unhinged"?"

    I don't know about that. There is still a part of me that believes that drum circles really can solve any problem. Look at Occupy Wall Street. If it wasn't for drum circles and yelling, no Wall Street CEO would have gone to jail. They went to jail, right?

  54. echo says

    You triggered a wonderful memory of undergrad tours. I visited Pitzer for fun, since it's only a short walk from the other Claremont colleges.
    The only report my dad got was "paddle faster: I hear bongos".

  55. Tradegeek says

    Echo

    LOL

    I'm the only male member of my family in two generations who didn't attend Pomona college. Not Pomona Pitzer. Pomona College, my father and brother would demand I differentiate. (I'm the black sheep, State school and going into business)

    Pitzer has always been Pitzer.

    That said, downtown Claremount has some cool stores which probably wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for the enduring myth of the drum circle.

  56. echo says

    Depending on when you did undergrad, you might have dodged a bullet. I was really lucky to go right after they started offering free rides for poors, and finished right before the Privilege Checking 101 graduation requirements started coming in.

    A prof mentioned our econometrics performance was pretty much identical to the state schools he'd taught at, so the only real benefit to lib-arts was that "well-roundedness" the administration plays up so much. Judging by what the class looked like senior year, most of that came from the dining halls. >_<

  57. ravenshrike says

    It really wouldn't be that difficult to get the majority of the 11 million deported or to just leave without human rights abuses. The most difficult part would be cracking down on sanctuary cities. Of course, it would also require things like holding companies responsible when they use illegal immigrant labor and denying outgoing international banking transfers unless you're in the country legally. So not exactly going to happen any time soon, but it's still eminently possible. Especially if you legalize consumption and wide scale production of marijuana, which would cut a significant portion of income away from the cartels, as well as cause a major reduction in their need for border traffic. Combine this with a seismograph equipped wall, and locking down the border would not be a particularly difficult concern.

  58. jdgalt says

    When lefties have to fear this kind of exclusion merely for disagreeing with righties, then I'll listen to people saying the right shouldn't be using victim-rhetoric either. Until then they are simply telling the truth, even if you're too insulated from it to accept the fact.

  59. Trent says

    What exclusion is that? Did you bother to read the link you just posted?

    Maybe you think it's exclusionary when he will only be interviewed if the author of the post will put the N word as the first word in the resulting article and the author refuses so he refused to be interviewed. And as a result he can't get his voice out there because the author won't put a racial slur in their article.

    Not exactly the sort of behavior that makes me trust anything he said.

  60. Mike says

    Gee jdgalt, your single anecdote of a second hand report with unknown sourcing of uncertain details surely does prove beyond doubt that you are oppressed.

    I am trying to set up an Underground Railroad so that you brave and true Galtian heroes can find a way to safety in Norway. Or maybe a floating island in the Atlantic.

  61. Bart Simpsonson says

    "greek week here was restructured to be more inclusive to the Latino community who felt that the phrase "Build The Wall" was singling them out." They are only singled out if they are illegal aliens, or, in my opinion, supporting illegal aliens. Illegal aliens are criminals, period. They are not immigrants. They are stealing American welfare, American jobs, not supportingAmerican culture (such as it is at times), reducing American security, and getting special treatment in sanctuary cities and states, stealing American tax $$$ by whatever means they can while failing to fully assimilate and integrate and creating their third world $hithole no-go zone enclaves while waving the flag of the nations from which they came, instead of the American flag……………And don't get me started in their failure to learn and speak English fluently in the manner of immigrants from earlier times, instead choosing to speak their native language. The only reason for ANYONE living in America is to be able to fool Americans. There is ZERO downside to being proficientand completely fluent in English in America. ZERO……