No, it is not illegal to read Wikileaks

This is also me when a Cuomo thinks he understands the First Amendment

This is also me when a Cuomo thinks
he understands the First Amendment

Chris Cuomo seems to be following his big brother's lead when it comes to the First Amendment.

On CNN, Cuomo said:

"Also interesting is, remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents,” Cuomo says. “It’s different for the media, so everything you’re learning about this, you’re learning from us.”

Mr. Cuomo… I don't say this lightly…. but YOU EAT AT THE OLIVE GARDEN! (I just can't think of a worse insult to lob at an Italian. But yes, I went there.)

I'm not sure if he's confused, lying, or just mis-spoke. But, lets just make sure that no matter what his motivation, you, my dear readers, understand that a) it isn't true, and b) don't eat at the Olive Garden. Lets just skip point B for the sake of brevity.

Lets do this with feeling… ready? Repeat after me:

  1. It is not illegal for you to read Wikileaks.
  2. It is not illegal for you to download documents from Wikileaks.
  3. You do not need to rely on "the media" to spoon feed you the documents from Wikileaks.
  4. The Olive Garden is not Italian food.

Cuomo might be confused because of a couple little things.

In 2001, the Supreme Court held in Bartnicki v. Vopper ,532 U.S. 514 (2001) that the press has a right to report on materials that might have been created or gathered illegally – as long as the media outlet took no part in the illegal activity. In that case, a radio reporter got ahold of the tape of an illegally recorded phone call. Since it was a matter of public concern, the press had a right to use it. So, the Wikileaks documents may have been illegally obtained in the first place, but once the genie is out of the bottle, you can't put it back in. The press can report on it.

Of course, in 2001, the lines between "you" and "the media" weren't so blurred. And, I could see Mr. Cuomo thinking that since Bartnicki addresses the press, that this somehow excludes the rabble from that same privilege. However, the press doesn't actually get any special privileges here, just because Bartnicki did not address you downloading these documents to your hard drive. In fact, it wouldn't make too much sense for it to be legal for CNN to report on the documents, and to publish them, but you could then be prosecuted – unless you can show that you downloaded them from CNN.

Now maybe Cuomo was also confused by a 2010 memo where government employees were warned that they couldn't access leaked classified documents. Yeah, that might be true. If you work for the government, it can probably impose some limits on what you can possess when it comes to leaked classified material. Even if they can't prosecute an employee, they could certainly condition continued employment or continued security clearance on you being a good little doggie. And, perhaps if you're seeking employment with the federal government, you might not want to say "yeah, I did" if they ask if you ever read the Wikileaks releases.

Now what about "receiving stolen property?" Someone steals a car. They drop it off in front of my house with the keys in the ignition and a note that says "a gift from a friend." That doesn't mean I can hope in and go for a spin. But, laws governing receipt of stolen property are a bit hard to apply to documents and information. Further, even if some prosecutor wanted to prosecute you for it, they'd be hard pressed to get anywhere with that when it comes to information that is a matter of public concern — like this information.

And then, you get back to the question of "who is 'the media'?" How do we really draw a distinction there? Luckily, we don't have to. The Same Bartnicki case that we discussed before makes it clear that we "draw no distinction between the media respondents and" a non-institutional respondent." But, this was hardly revolutionary. See, e.g., Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., 501 U.S. 663 (1991) (press gets no special privileges when it comes to laws governing communication); Henry v. Collins, 380 U.S. 356, 357 (1965) (applying New York Times v. Sullivan to non-media defendant); Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 64, 67–68 (1964) (same).

So go ahead. Read those documents. Talk about them. Publish them on your blog or your Facebook feed. And do that no matter who is in office. It isn't just your right, but it is your patriotic duty.

Ask not what you can do for your country; demand to know what your country has been doing to you.

Bad News From Donald Trump

As we're sure Popehat readers know, Donald Trump has announced that he's now open to allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States. There will be no mass deportations. This is what's commonly described as "Amnesty" for illegal aliens.

We contacted a leading fuhrer of the Alt-Right political establishment for his reaction to Trump's betrayal:

Ask Stalin

We're proud to welcome Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, better known to the world as Comrade Stalin, or Koba to old friends, to the crew here at Popehat. Each week, Comrade Stalin will answer your questions on dating, relationships, etiquette, and workplace issues. If you have a problem you just can't solve, why not turn for advice to the 20th century's master politician, Josef Stalin? Email your questions to

This week's question comes from Ronald, in Bloomfield, New Mexico:

Josef Vissarionovich!

Recently I met a woman through a friend, call her Alicia, and have been spending a lot of time with her. Alicia and I get along very well. We have a lot in common, and share a similar sense of humor. We see each other at least two nights a week, and talk on the phone or by text daily. I'm very attracted to Alicia, but she's made it clear that she sees me as "just a friend," and doesn't want to take things further. This is probably because I'm shy and not the best looking guy in the world. I read in "The Art of the Pick-Up" by …

Comrade Stalin

Comrade Stalin

Ronald from Bloomfield, New Mexico:

Stop right there. What is this business of calling me by my name and patronymic, Josef Vissarionovich, as though we're jolly chums from school days at the Tiflis seminary? What sort of creature are you? You may address me as "Comrade Stalin." I'll let you know when you've earned the privilege of intimacy.

As for your reading material, you can throw that garbage into the incinerator. Books can be useful, there is no doubt about that. But books on the art of love between a man and a woman are written primarily by half-wits and good-for-nothings, to separate you from your hard-earned kopecks. And you're going to need every kopeck if you're to woo this beautiful lady Alicia.

As for her, it seems you have the battle half won. Lady Alicia thinks kindly of you, and sees in you a kindred soul. Clearly she is not an Enemy. Now you wish to pursue her as matrimonial material, I am to take it? You are not seeking merely to vent your lusts upon her, like a criminal scoundrel? I cannot abide that kind of thinking. A man needs a woman, for keeping of an orderly home, raising of healthy children, and the other sort of thing. But if you are thinking of simply using this lady Alicia, then throwing her away as just another conquest, you'll get no help from me.

The key thing in wooing a woman is sincerity concerning your intentions. You must show this lady Alicia, through your words and actions, that you view her as your future wife, and that nothing less will satisfy you. You must call her three times a day. You must bombard her with candies and chocolates, and wine, and gifts. Nothing too expensive, of course, because that will create unrealistic expectations when you are married. Nonetheless, give her a brooch. Send flowers to her once each day, alternately at her home and at work. Raise a toast in her honor at every social gathering.

You must break her will, utterly and completely. You must grind her into powder.

Then lady Alicia will love you, and you will be married. I hope that you will name your first son Vissarion, in my honor.

Yours in sincerity,


The Ninth Circuit Offers Prenda Law A Brusque Bench-Slap

The notorious gang of crooked fraudsters and copyright trolls Prenda law — documented extensively here — continues to face bad fortune. Last month we learned that the FBI is investigating them. Now, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the apocalyptic sanctions order that marked their turning point — Judge Wright's geek-reference-laden death blow sanctions order.

We shouldn't be surprised, as the Ninth Circuit oral argument more than a year ago went very badly for Prenda. The Ninth Circuit's languidly decided opinion is worse. You can read it here. It's unpublished, suggesting that the judges didn't view it as presenting sufficiently novel issues to merit publication. It's also relatively brief and informal, suggesting the panel didn't think that any of it presented a close call. It accepts Judge Wright's conclusions as well-supported by the record and repeats them to brutal effect:

Based on the myriad of information before it—including depositions and court documents from other cases around the country where the Prenda Principals were found contradicting themselves, evading questioning, and possibly committing identity theft and fraud on the courts—it was not an abuse of discretion for Judge Wright to find that Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy were principals and the parties actually responsible for the abusive litigation. Similarly, it was not an abuse of discretion for Judge Wright to find that the Prenda Principals were indeed the leaders and decision-makers behind Prenda Law’s national trolling scheme.

. . .

The Prenda Principals have engaged in abusive litigation, fraud on courts across the country, and willful violation of court orders. They have lied to other courts about their ability to pay sanctions.

Prenda's dead. The courts are bouncing the rubble and the FBI is ambling out to slit the throats of the wounded.

Good riddance.

Kosovo Deserves Digital Independence 

When I did my LLM in Italy, I got sat at the “Muslim Table” during a dinner. They plunked down three bottles of wine. I said “well, as long as you guys don’t mind me drinking here, I’ll be happy to be at the Muslim table.”

The guy next to me says "I can not allow an American to drink alone. May Allah forgive me.” Then we drank all the wine. Then we realized that we actually look a lot alike. Like creepily so. A long friendship was born.

He happened to be from Kosovo.

Well, anyhow, I was emailing with him, and noticed that his government email address ended in .com. I asked “what the hell is up with that?” He explained that ICANN wouldn’t give Kosovo its own ccTLD because they don't recognize it as a “real country.”

That grinds my gears.

Kosovo gained political independence, but it remains a digital vassal of its former master, Serbia. Despite Kosovo’s political independence, won through armed conflict and international diplomatic recognition, ICANN denies the new country its online independence by refusing to grant it control of its own top level domain.  ICANN’s refusal to do so does not seem to have any degree of intellectual honesty, but seems more rooted in political expediency and a desire to avoid offending Serbia (and thus by extension, Russia).  After a full exhaustive study of the legal and political issues, I published Kosovo’s Digital Independence: Time for Kosovo’s CCTLD.

In the article, I discuss the fact that this is not just a matter of national pride – although national pride should be a sufficient justification.  The real justification is that Kosovo deserves full digital independence.  A ccTLD is not merely a symbolic indicator of independence, however. Control over ccTLDs allows a nation to control an essential part of their information and technological infrastructure that can affect telecommunications, power grids, banking, and electronic surveillance. National governments recognize ccTLDs as a component of their sovereignty and a vital national interest.

Kosovo broke most other technological ties with Serbia. For example, Kosovo and Serbia agreed that Austria could apply on behalf of Kosovo for an international country calling code as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement.  Up until 1999, Kosovo was covered by the Serbian cell phone network and used the +63 dialing code.   Without its own dialing code but with a need to distance itself from Serbian control, Kosovo could use the old Yugoslavian +381 code or could “borrow” a code from another country.   In 1999, Kosovo began using Monaco’s +377 code.   The Kosovo government essentially regards +63 as illegal since 2008 and kicked out most of the Serbian cell network.

As for its ccTLD designation, Kosovo cannot get out from under Serbia’s thumb so easily.  Kosovo continues to remain under Serbia’s ccTLD, even if as a practical matter Kosovo refuses to use it. Kosovo government websites are all on other TLDs, usually “.com” “.net” or “.org.”  While this is superior to using a hostile foreign government’s ccTLD, it places these TLDs at least partially under the laws of the United States, as they are privately administered by Verisign52 and Public Interest Registry.   Legally, if someone wanted to take action against these domains, they could do so in the Eastern District of Virginia, even though American courts would normally have no place meddling in the affairs of any other independent nation.

Ultimately, this renders Kosovo as an online anomaly. It violently broke free from Serbia, and no reasonable observer can likely see it ever returning to Serbian rule.  Since its official ccTLD remains .rs (Serbia) its online presence is still under the Serb National Internet Domain Registry.  To evade the censorship and cybersecurity issues that would arise from using “.rs,” Kosovo places its online flag in Virginia. Given the revelations of what the U.S. government and U.S. corporations consider to be fair game when it comes to surveillance and the commercial and governmental use of personal information, one might imagine that this is an inappropriate state of affairs for a self-respecting independent country.

While ICANN refuses to give Kosovo a TLD, it lacks any justifiable reason.  Is it controversial?  Of course it is.  But is it any more controversial than granting the Palestinian State its own TLD?  The Soviet Union fell decades ago, but Lenin's old empire remains active online under .su.  East Timor, before and after independence, had its own “.tp” and then “.tl.”  And, most analogously, Taiwan is at .tw, despite being recognized by fewer nations than Kosovo and both it and China continuing to maintain that it is not actually “independent.”  Finally, even insignificant specks of land like Saint Helena Island and Pitcairn Island have complete digital independence, while ICANN refuses to give it to Kosovo.

As Kosovo’s recognition as an independent state grows, Kosovo still has to struggle to fully escape Serbia’s orbit. The Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations provides that as a matter of international law, “it is a bedrock principle that every state ‘has the right freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems.’”  The international and technological communities have the ability to help Kosovo along this path to full digital independence—or to at least get out of the way. Kosovo’s full and complete independence requires that it have its own country code top-level domain.

ICANN could easily remedy the situation by granting a ccTLD to Kosovo as it has done for many countries (and for a number of less- than countries) in the past. ICANN relies on its general practice of using ISO 3166-1 country codes to refute any discussion of granting Kosovo its own ccTLD, although it has also made clear that this practice is not its official standard.  Support from 111 of the UN members and the United States’ backing of Kosovo make it inexplicable that Kosovo remains without its own ccTLD.  Kosovo gained its territorial independence through armed struggle and international recognition. Objections to its independence lack intellectually honest justification, and its digital independence should not be held hostage by old Balkan rivalries. The time has come for Kosovo to be given a full seat at the Internet, international, and independence tables.

The full study of this issue can be found at Kosovo's Digital Independence: Time for Kosovo's CCTLD, Wisconsin Int’l Law Journal, I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

How Inanely Censorious Can College Administrators Get? University of Wisconsin – Superior Will Show You

Over at The Torch at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Adam Steinbaugh reports on a university administration sinking to depths of censorious idiocy that managed to surprise me.

The University of Wisconsin – Superior's student newspaper, The Promethean, ran an April Fool edition for the second year in the row. The entire concept of April Fool's Day is inherently problematic, as it generally involves making fun of someone, even if they are in what they view as their safe space. April Fool's editions by college papers are particularly triggering because of the huge delta between how funny college students believe they are and how funny they actually are. But this edition — linked in Adam's piece above — was awfully mild, with the "edgiest" piece being satire by a Jewish student about being Jewish in Wisconsin.

Tumult ensued.

Tumult is banal. College students gonna college student. Just as satire is free speech, so is hand-wringing, self-to-the-cross-nailing, and caterwauling of every type. This is the time to do that sort of thing, so knock yourself out! Believe me, you're going to have trouble being satisfactorily outraged when you're paying down a mortgage and trying to keep your kids from discovering meth.

No, the problem is not young adults acting like young adults, whether with satire or outrage. The problem arises when nominal adults react in an unprincipled and irresponsible manner. That's what happened here, when university administrators announced they were launching an "investigation" based on a "grievance" filed against the satirical edition by a grad student:

Debbie Cheslock, graduate student and student program manager for UW-Superior's Gender Equity Resource Center, filed the complaint. She is alleging the editors violated university policy on non-academic student conduct and improperly noticed its April Fools' Day edition as satire. She contends articles included derogatory terms that were anti-semitic, racist and misogynistic.

Cheslock's grasp of the First Amendment is idiosyncratic, to put it mildly. She believes that it is censorship for a speaker to refuse to meet with their would-be inquisitor:

So, just to clarify, you are also unwilling to meet with me to discuss this matter? It is unfortunate, indeed, since that would be the very censorship you claim is deadly. The right to free speech also includes a continued dialogue and I am extremely displeased in the lack of regard for others’ opinions.

An "investigation" is in the works:

Meanwhile, UW-Superior is investigating the complaint with assistance from UW System’s legal counsel, according to UW-Superior spokesman Dan Fanning.

"We certainly respect the students who are involved with the newspaper and their right to have free speech," said Fanning. "At the same time, we’ve heard from so many students, alumni and community members and they see what we see. Even though that might have been meant to be satire … it clearly wasn’t funny to everyone, that it offended some people and that it crossed some lines that should not have been crossed. The university condemns that."

I'm sorry, but unless the UW system's legal counsel's response is "get the fuck out of my office, you civically illiterate imbecile," this is offensive and ridiculous. I don't have a problem with the administration participating in the marketplace of ideas by saying, in effect, "you're an jerk, but you're a jerk with free speech." But any "investigation" — meaning, any inquiry carrying the explicit or implicit threat of punishment for obviously protected speech — is unequivocally wrong. So is promoting ignorance about rights, as the administration attempted to do in statements supporting its investigation:

As we’ve said consistently, this was unethical and unprofessional journalism and contradicts the very values of our school. Satire is fine, having a difference of opinion is fine, but disrespectful and offensive language is not fine.

FIRE's letter to UW-Superior leaders is stern, as it ought to be. Hopefully the administration will decide that it ought to be spending money on education instead of on lawyers.

Responsibility is not a zero-sum game. Debbie Cheslock and her ilk are morally and intellectually responsible for being thuggish and censorious. But that does not diminish, in the least, the responsibility of grown-ups in the UW-Superior to resist censorship and thuggery when it is urged upon them by students. The things that these students want are incoherent, unprincipled, and totalitarian:

Cheslock said she wants those involved in the Promethean to be sent a message that the paper’s content was not acceptable and isn’t what UWS stands for. She also wants to ensure that the Promethean staff and faculty advisor go through a cultural competency training about diversity.

Yokel said that with free-speech rights comes a duty to exercise those rights in a responsible way.

“The First Amendment is a right, yes, but you not only have a right to say what you want, you have a responsibility to the people you’re representing,” Yokel said. “This paper is a student paper and I’m a student and this paper does not represent me.”

The administration needs to refuse to violate rights based on such demands. If it won't resist, it should be compelled to do so by force of law.

Harvard Law Student Is A Twit, But Possibly Not An Anti-Semitic Twit

Harvard Law School: 'tis a silly place.

The font of innumerable Supreme Court Justices, its students are capable of a sort of conscious, plodding self-seriousness that would make a performance artist soil herself. Important things are treated stupidly and stupid things are treated importantly and everywhere there are reminders that law is a cold-iron tool, usable for both good and evil. Even revolutionaries wear the cloak of pedantic legalism, as when protesters occupy a public space and then hold votes by "plenary committees" to determine what expression is permitted there. Bad parodies of the rule of law are often effective cloaks for lawlessness.

Maybe it was this stultifying formalism that led a law student to act — if you believe his explanation — like an eight-year-old in public. The Harvard Program on Negotiation held a presentation called "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the U.S.: Negotiation Lessons and Possibilities." One participant was Tzipi Livni, Israel's former Foreign Minister. A Harvard Law School student used the question and answer period to make an articulate argument that Harvard's invitation of Livni endorsed Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians, and that more debate was needed on the very premises of the discussion at hand.

No, just kidding. The student, a leader in the Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine group, called her smelly.


Whoah, sick burn, brah.

The notion that Jews have a distinctive and offensive odor — a trope called foetor judaicus — is an ancient anti-Semitic insult, part of a bigoted bundle that includes things like matzoh made from the blood of Christian babies. Members of the Jewish Law Students Association swiftly wrote a letter to the Harvard Law Record pointing this out. The student has since apologized, sort of.

With regards to what I actually did say, I can see now, after speaking with the authors of this article and many other members of the Jewish community at HLS, how my words could have been interpreted as a reference to an anti-Semitic stereotype, one that I was entirely unaware of prior to the publication of this article. I want to be very clear that it was never my intention to invoke a hateful stereotype, but I recognize now that, regardless of my intention, words have power, and it troubles me deeply to know that I have caused some members of the Jewish community such pain with my words.

The young man's apology isn't "I'm sorry that Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, which attempts to increase discourse and awareness about how difficult problems can be resolved through discourse, invited a former foreign minister and I reacted by calling her smelly to signify what a bold revolutionary and deep thinker I am." It's more "sorry that you thought that my use of a classic anti-Semitic trope was anti-Semitic instead of just, you know, being a smirking dick."

Thanks for that.

Young Smelly McListofDemands assures us that some of his best friends are (odor unspecified) Jews:

Many members of the Jewish community—some of whom hold strong differences of opinion with me—have reached out to me on their own to let me know that they did not interpret my words as anti-Semitic, because they know me well enough to know that that is not at all consistent with who I am as a person. I want to thank them and any others who have given me the benefit of the doubt, and I am writing this note in the hopes that more of you will do the same.

This is, in fact, perfectly credible. Some of the student's online defenders have indicated that they are Jews and that — because they know him — they thought his intent was not to invoke an ethnic slur. One HLS student explained the thinking behind the word, which the student himself did not:

To quickly summarize, the student told me he said "smelly" to protest Livni's presence without legitimizing the event with a real question

If that's his thinking, it — and the defense of it — seem perfectly childish and imbecilic. A person with something worthwhile to say could articulate why they think Harvard's invitation of Livini was objectionable or illegitimate. A mere insult doesn't suggest she's illegitimate; if anything it makes her seem more legitimate by suggesting her critics have no arguments. The same online defender wrung her hands that criticism of his actions might deter people from speaking out in favor of the oppressed — a "your criticism silences me" trope that is familiar but equally foolish.

Did this guy mean to insult an Israeli leader with an anti-Semitic trope? I don't know. He seems a little dim if he didn't mean it that way; "odor" tropes are commonly used against all sorts of ethnic groups. But even if he didn't mean it, he's a punk and an embarrassment to the school, as the Dean's irritated reaction aptly suggested. He does not convey to me "Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine has things to say and I should listen to them." He conveys "Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine is led by a self-indulgent little douche who richly deserves every excruciating second of the soul-crushing BigLaw job he'll probably get effortlessly because he's a Harvard twerp."

I haven't named the unserious twerp in question. [Edited to add: now that the Harvard Law Record has, I have. He's Husam El-Qoulaq.] It's easy to identify him if you want. I don't think he's worth it, and I think he has a hope of becoming a not-twerp. His supporters have very fervently asked that he not be named. I didn't not-name him because of that; I didn't name him in spite of it. I would note that if he used such a slur about just about any other ethnic group but Jews, he'd be doxxed within hours by the Harvard community. All ethnic slurs are not created equal in the hierarchy of outrage. I also think that if he weren't a bien-pensant — someone with the approved viewpoints about the approved things, including Israel — he'd be loudly condemned by name by the Harvard Law community even if he offered the same explanation. But if his apologists want to order their moral lives that way, that's on them, not on me.

Edited to add: Yair Rosenberg, who has pursued this story doggedly but fairly, points out that Harvard has posted the video of the event but carefully cut out the exchange that might help identify and memorialize the student. Oh, Harvard. Don't ever change.

Edited again to add: The Harvard Law Record has closed comments on the post about this incident and has deleted comments that name the student.

Edited again to add: The Harvard Law Record has now printed a letter in support of the student, Husam El-Qoulaq, based in part on his consent to name him. It remains unclear to me why the Record — and Harvard — concealed his name before.

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.