• VERY good news on university free speech: Honoring student Matt Foldi

    The national organization that does the best job promoting free speech is FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. It is tenacious in fighting for students’ and faculty rights to speak freely and to listen to varied viewpoints.

    This year they have selected three outstanding undergraduates for their “remarkable dedication to advocacy . . . to protect free expression and due process in higher education.”

    One, Brittany Wilson, is from UNC-Charlotte.

    Another, Natalie Bao Tram Le, is from Harvard.

    And one is my friend and former student, Matt Foldi, at the University of Chicago.

    Here’s what they say about him (the whole article is here):

    Bravo, FIRE.

    Bravo, the University of Chicago, which is now in the forefront of supporting free speech, with the strong backing of students like Matt, faculty like Geoff Stone and Randy Picker, and administrators with backbone, including Pres. Bob Zimmer, Provost Dan Diermeier, Dean of the College John Boyer, and Dean of Students, John Ellison, whose letter to incoming students a year ago, clearly stating the university’s support for free-and-open discourse, stimulated a national conversation.

    And bravo to Matt, Brittany, and Natalie.

    Your fellow students don’t always know it, but you are really helping them to get a better education and a better platform to enter a world where people have different viewpoints–and need to learn how to engage each other intelligently. 

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

     

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Sunday, June 25

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ Speculation grows that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will announce his retirement.

    The current Court year ends Monday, and any announcement would come soon after.

    Kennedy is 80, was appointed by a Republican, and has served 29 years on the Court, recently as a crucial swing vote.

    There are several elderly Democrats on the court, but they want to hang on (if health permits) in hopes of another Democratic president.

    Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane, have lawyered up to defend against allegations of bank fraud(CBS)

    When Jane was president of Burlington (VT) College, she got big bank loans for an expansion project that ultimately failed and bankrupted the college.

    The investigation is (1) whether the loans were based on Jane’s false representations about the college’s fundraising and (2) whether Bernie used his office to pressure the bank to make the loan.

     The battle for post-ISIS Syria is shaping up

    The background: the Obama Administration did nothing in Syria and pulled out of Iraq, opening the door wide for Iran to control Baghdad and Damascus (the Assad government) and providing political space for ISIS to build its “caliphate” for Sunnis.

    The change: Trump dramatically altered US policy, and, under the leadership of Mattis at DOD and McMaster at NSC, the US has been taking the fight to ISIS.

    The result: Iran is closing in on ISIS from one direction, the US from the other.

    There are three big issues in this end-game:

    1. Will ISIS turn to move civilian attacks in Europe (and possibly America)?
    2. Will US and Iranian forces be able to avoid direct military confrontation as they converge on ISIS’ last strongholds
    3. Who controls what territory in post-ISIS Syria?

    An excellent primer on the emerging issues is Udi Dekel’s “East-West-North-South: The Race for Syria after the Islamic State” from the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS, Israel)

    The current race for control of territory in Syria now appears to be a competition between Iran and the United States, which have established two respective axes – with a vertical American (north-south) effort on the one hand, and a horizontal Iranian (east-west) effort on the other hand. In practice, this is another stage in the shaping of Syria in preparation for the day after the Islamic State. In the meantime, the country’s southwestern region, from Daraa to the Golan Heights, remains open for activity and influence by Israel and Jordan, which must begin taking action before it is too late. Contacts are apparently underway to formulate a joint Israeli-Jordanian-American strategy aimed at preventing Iranian influence and the presence of its proxies, especially Hezbollah and Shiite militias, in the southern Syria. –Udi Dekel

    ◆ Political correctness to stop free speech in Arkansas? Yep.

    But the University stepped in and did the right thing.

    The Univ. of Arkansas’ King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies decided to hold a symposium on honor killings.

    The Center’s director, a geosciences professor named Tom Paradise, included Prof. Phyllis Chesler (from CUNY) on one panel since she has published widely on the subject, arguing that scholars have underplayed the role of Islam in these killings.

    Three Arkansas professors raised holy hell about it, saying the could never “countenance” Chesler’s participation, even though it would simply be a Skype call.

    The Center caved and disinvited Chesler, according to an editorial in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

    Now, the University has done the right thing.

    They removed Prof. Paradise from the center’s leadership, saying “The decision to disinvite a participant for his or her views is not reflective of the values and practices of our institution.”

    Comment: The university did the right thing.

     Palestinians “disappointed” after “tense meeting” with Jared Kushner, Trump’s special emissary (The Hill)

    Key disagreement: US wants Palestinians to stop paying terrorists for killing Jews.

    Palestinian Authority likes paying them. Abbas told Trump it would stop and simply assumed the president knew he was lying.

    Trump held him to account.

    The PA has also been adamant about keeping incendiary, anti-Semitic materials in their school textbooks.

    The larger problems for Abbas: no succession lined up, and the Middle East is moving forward without them.

    Comment: My guess: Trump will look at Kushner’s report of the meetings and decide this is not a good time to push forward with negotiations.

    Trump has always understood something about these negotiations that most presidents don’t: the US can help if both parties want an agreement. But it cannot force an agreement on parties that don’t want one and aren’t prepared to make serious concessions.

     Oklahoma doctor prescribed so many painkillers, she’s being charged with murder in one patient’s death  (Washington Post)

    The patient, Sheila Bartels, received

    what drug addicts call “the holy trinity” of prescription drugs: the powerful painkiller Hydrocodone, the anti-anxiety medication Xanax and a muscle relaxant known as Soma.

    In total, pharmacists handed her 510 pills that day — all legal, because she had a prescription with the signature of her doctor, Regan Ganoung Nichols, scrawled at the bottom, according to a probable cause affidavit. –Washington Post

    Comment: Cracking down on excessive prescriptions is crucial in this fight.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Sam Stubbs
     for the Sanders bank fraud story
    ◆ Gregg Roman for the University of Arkansas speech-suppression story

     

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Wednesday, June 7

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

     ISIS attack at the heart of Iran’s government is stunning. ISIS, a Sunni group, has been under attack by the Iranian-led Shia forces in Iraq and Syria, and now they’ve struck back.

    The spectacular event is designed to humiliate the Iranians and show that ISIS can strike anywhere, even hard targets in a hostile country.

    Comment: More as it develops. 

     Qatar Qrisis: Trump suggests he led Saudis to act against Qatar’s support of terror (New York Times)

    Comment: True and dumb. True because Trump’s meetings in Saudi Arabia were a key to the new pressure the Arab states are putting on Qatar. Not smart to trumpet the US role when you are relying on others to lead. Makes them look like lap-dogs. 

     Two big stories broken by ABC News:

    1. Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered to resign because Trump was furious Sessions had recused himself in Russian investigation
    2. Former FBI Director Comey will not say Trump tried to obstruct justice

     Sessions offer to resign (ABC) Jonathan Karl reports:

    The relationship between President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has become so tense that Sessions at one point recently even suggested he could resign.

    The friction between the two men stems from the attorney general’s abrupt decision in March to recuse himself from anything related to the Russia investigation — a decision the president only learned about minutes before Sessions announced it publicly. Multiple sources say the recusal is one of the top disappointments of his presidency so far and one the president has remained fixated on. –ABC News

    At a White House press briefing, Sean Spicer would not say whether Trump still supported AG Sessions.

    Comment: First, Sessions was right to recuse himself.

    Second, it’s over; he’s already done it; let it go, Donald.

    Third, if your earliest and strongest supporter from the Senate is not comfortable in the Cabinet, who will be?

    Four, this is still more evidence that, in this ship of state, everybody is rowing in different directions and the captain keeps changing course. What’s missing: self-discipline and a solid staff, given some authority to create order.

     Comey will stop short of saying Trump obstructed justice in Flynn probe (ABC)

    Although Comey has told associates he will not accuse the president of obstructing justice, he will dispute the president’s contention that Comey told him three times he is not under investigation.

    The president allegedly said he hoped Comey would drop the Flynn investigation, a request that concerned Comey enough that he documented the conversation in a memo shortly after speaking with the president. In the memo, according to sources close to Comey who reviewed it, Trump said: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” during a February meeting.

    The request made Comey uncomfortable, but the source tells ABC News that Comey has told associates he will not accuse the president of obstructing justice.

    “He is not going to Congress to make accusations about the president’s intent, instead he’s there to share his concerns,” the source said, and tell the committee “what made him uneasy” and why he felt a need to write the memo documenting the conversation. –ABC

    Comment: Here’s how I read that. Comey cannot say the president tried to obstruct justice without creating big problems for himself. He would be legally required to report it and, if he had any integrity, would have resigned. Also, he subsequently testified to Congress that no one had tried to obstruct his investigation.

    Given those constraints, he will do everything in his power to destroy Trump.

     Comey himself is being sued over an alleged coverup; a whistleblower says he gave Comey evidence of a huge, illegal surveillance operation on Americans by the CIA (using FBI computers) during the Obama administration (Circa)

    A former U.S. intelligence contractor tells Circa he walked away with more than 600 million classified documents on 47 hard drives from the National Security Agency and the CIA, a haul potentially larger than Edward Snowden’s now infamous breach.

    And now he is suing former FBI Director James Comey and other government figures, alleging the bureau has covered up evidence he provided them showing widespread spying on Americans that violated civil liberties.

    The suit, filed late Monday night by Dennis Montgomery, was assigned to the same federal judge who has already ruled that some of the NSA’s collection of data on Americans violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, setting up an intriguing legal proceeding in the nation’s capital this summer.

    Comment: Circa’s Sara Carter and John Solomon have done first-rate reporting on potential violations of civil liberties by US intel agencies.

     Why did Trump decline to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as he promised during the campaign?

    Because he thought it would hamper his goal of an “ultimate deal” between the Israelis and Palestinians, says Eytan Gilboa  (Begin-Sadat Center, Bar-Ilan University)

    Trump completely reversed the attitude of Obama, which verged on hostility, towards both the pro-American Arab states and Israel. –Eytan Gilboa

     Excellent news: One of the country’s staunchest, most experienced advocates for free speech, Adam Kissel, has been to head the Dept. of Education’s higher ed programs  (Inside Higher Ed)

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

     

  • Yale Limbos Under the Lowest Standards for Free Speech and Integrity. It Honors Students who Bullied Teachers over “Halloween Costumes”

    Remember when a couple of faculty members who supervised a Yale dorm were run out of their position by screaming bullies? (The supervisory position was called “College Master” until recently. That term was dropped because students said it reminded them of slavery. You can’t make this up.)

    Remember what the bullies were so mad about? It was an email from the College Master who gently told them they could choose whatever Halloween costumes they wanted and, if they saw others wearing costumes they didn’t like, they should try to shrug it off.

    Sensible advice? If you think that, you clearly have no moral compass. You are certainly not fit for today’s Yale.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    The “Halloween episode” occurred in 2015, and, when the students bullied, Yale’s most senior leaders immediately buckled. The bullies won.

    Now, it has doubled down on its mistake. It has showered the bullies with honor. They were recognized and rewarded for their “exemplary leadership.”

    Yale has awarded them the Nakanishi Prize for the “two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.”

    You can easily imagine the committee that picked the winners.

    • Burgwell Howard, Chair, Assoc. Vice President for Student Life, Dean of Student Engagement
    • Risë Nelson, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, Afro-American Cultural Center
    • Kelly Fayard, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, Native American Cultural Center
    • Eileen Galvez, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, La Casa Cultural
    • and so on

    If you think these administrators want to stop the screaming and bullying in the Holy Name of Social Justice, you would be sadly mistaken.

    They have just demonstrated they wish to honor it. They think it “enhances race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.”

    If they knew the intellectual heritage of their position–a doubtful proposition–they would trace it to the Frankfurt School of cultural Marxism, which teaches that speech can and should be suppressed for a higher goal, that of staunching the power of existing elites and ultimately overthrowing them, violently if necessary (as it surely will be), to create a better society.

    “Who determines this better society?” you ask. “Who determines who get to speak?”

    “Shut up,” they thoughtfully reply.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    James Kirchick tells the contemptible story in The Tablet:

    Yale Cements Its Line in the Academic Sand by Awarding the Student ‘Truthtellers’ Who Bullied Faculty

    In 2015, an email over Halloween costume propriety prompted a public debate over free speech and race. Its conclusion is telling.

    The professors being bullied were Nicholas and Erika Christakis, masters of Silliman College at Yale. The low point came when a student mob surrounded Mr. Christakis, not to engage in rational discourse but to demand an apology:

    Of the 100 or so students who confronted Christakis that day, a young woman who called him “disgusting” and shouted “who the fuck hired you?” before storming off in tears became the most infamous, thanks to an 81-second YouTube clip that went viral. (The video also—thanks to its promotion by various right-wing websites—brought this student a torrent of anonymous harassment). The videos that Tablet exclusively posted last year, which showed a further 25 minutes of what was ultimately an hours-long confrontation, depicted a procession of students berating Christakis. In one clip, a male student strides up to Christakis and, standing mere inches from his face, orders the professor to “look at me.” Assuming this position of physical intimidation, the student then proceeds to declare that Christakis is incapable of understanding what he and his classmates are feeling because Christakis is white, and, ipso facto, cannot be a victim of racism. In another clip, a female student accuses Christakis of “strip[ping] people of their humanity” and “creat[ing] a space for violence to happen,” a line later mocked in an episode of The Simpsons. In the videos, Howard, the dean who wrote the costume provisions, can be seen lurking along the periphery of the mob.

    Of Yale’s graduating class, it was these two students whom the Nakanishi Prize selection committee deemed most deserving of a prize for “enhancing race and/or ethnic relations” on campus.–James Kirchick in Tablet

    Kirchick has another article on the 2015 episode here.

    Here’s one of the videos, of Shrieking Girl. This is not just a terrible viewpoint, backed not by reason but by emotion.

    It is simply bullying, cloaked in the impregnable armor of victimhood-as-moral-righteousness.

    She yelled “who the fuck hired you?”

    A better question would be to the admissions department.

    The Simpsons captures this zeitgeist perfectly:

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Comment: This is Boolah Bull Shit. To honor it is worse than disgusting.

    It shows the people who run this university do not understand the most basic feature of a serious educational institution has to be the right to speak and inquire freely and to dispute others’ views through rational discourse, not shouting and bullying.

    That the heads of student affairs and various victims’ studies departments don’t understand this is not surprising. That’s par for the course on college campuses these days. They either agree with the shouting students or don’t want to risk irritating them and imperilling their jobs.

    What’s shocking is that senior administrators at Yale let this continue. Worse, they actually defend their spinelessness with transparently false statements that they support free speech. They don’t.

     

  • NOT APPROVED: “Students for Free Thought” rejected at Lawrence University

    You read that correctly.

    A voluntary student organization at a liberal-arts college was rejected by the student government because some students had watched a movie recently screened by the organization, “Can We Take a Joke?” and answered “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! We cannot.” They said they were “triggered” by it, whatever that means. The story is here at Campus Reform.

    What being triggered means in this case is grabbing an ideological hammer and smashing in the heads of everyone who disagrees.

    Surely, some adults will step in. And they did . . . to help with the suppression.

    In a campus-wide email two days earlier, however, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Kimberly Barrett supportively acknowledged the “understandable anger” that students felt, adding ominously that she was “certain” that the issue would affect the prospective club’s application. –Campus Reform

    Quick Tip: Vice Presidents for Diversity and Inclusion are Kafkaesque creatures. They oppose diversity of thought. They are all about excluding the people they don’t want. They are essentially union-reps for rent-extraction politics on campus, giving special benefits to approved groups and helping them crush others.

    Special moment of Irony: Lawrence University is in Appleton, Wisconsin, the home of Joe McCarthy. They have adopted his tactics of fear and smear. It’s no more appealing from the left than it was from the right.

  • Students Boo Betsy DeVos at College Graduation: My Take (UPDATED)

    The story is here: “Students boo Betsy DeVos as commencement speaker at historically black university” (Washington Post)

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Students booed, and many turned their backs on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as she gave the keynote address at Bethune-Cookman University’s commencement Wednesday afternoon.

    The speech was part of an ongoing effort by President Trump and DeVos to reach out to historically black schools. But many students and alumni had objected to having DeVos as speaker in part because they said that outreach is an empty gesture. But the president of the university defended her work as a philanthropist and her commitment to education.

    –Washington Post

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Comment: I want to offer a both a defense and criticism of the students.

    I make that defense even though I disagree with their political view and consider their behavior discourteous.

    Still, as long as they did not disrupt the speech itself, threaten others, or use violence, their protest is within their free-speech rights.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    UPDATE and CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE:

    I have now listened to several tapes of DeVos trying to speak. The student boos drowned out her calm speech and seemed like a clear attempt to prevent her from speaking and others from hearing her. THAT IS SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Let’s consider a harder case. What if the students stood silently, perhaps with signs, perhaps simply with their backs turned, during the speech?

    To me, there are a couple of issues here. One is whether the actions made it difficult for others to listen to the talk. Those other people have rights, too, and so does the speaker. Second, is the talk essentially a voluntary-attendance event. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go inside. Almost all college events are like that. When they are, it violates others’ rights and tramples on free speech to go inside the auditorium and make it difficult for others to listen quietly. It is fine to protest peacefully outside the event. A brief, peaceful protest within the event might be okay, too. For example, students could stand and leave en masse.

    But this was not an ordinary, come-if-you-want speech. It was a commencement talk, which all graduating students wish to attend, not stand outside.

    A brief protest that did not affect others would have been fine. Booing when she was introduced would have been within their rights, however rude. But shouting over her is simply wrong.

    That said, these Bethune-Cookman students are far superior to the thugs at Middlebury, Berkeley, and other universities who deliberately shut down all speech they don’t agree with. The left-wing hecklers always get a veto.

    The Bethune-Cookman students also deserve censure for attempting to squelch the talk before it happened. According to the Washington Post:

    Here at Bethune-Cookman, alumni and others delivered petitions this week to administrators with thousands of signatures demanding that DeVos not be allowed to speak. The state’s NAACP chapter called on the university president to resign, and a national teachers’ union amplified the opposition, as well. –Washington Post

    Interesting to see the NAACP is in the pocket of the teachers’ union, but, hey, solidarity forever and the kids’ education be damned.

    The college itself also deserves credit for going beyond the usual list of speakers to pick Sec. DeVos. Why Brandeis tried to do that by inviting Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak at commencement, the anti-free speech crowd forced a spineless administration to back down and disinvite her.

    The administrators at Bethune-Cookman stood up to the bullies. Good for them.

    Bottom lines:

    • Fine: Peaceful protests that allow others to speak and listen.
    • Not fine: Violence, threats of violence, and active disruption
    • Not fine: Attempting to block speakers from appearing because you don’t like their views.
    • Kudos: to Bethune-Cookman administrators for inviting somebody whose views are different from the standard list of graduation speakers and for standing up to the bullies
      • You won’t find that sort of apostacy at Wellesley, Wesleyan, Brown, or Brandeis. Only approved, politically-correct views–and they call that an education.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

     

     

  • Berkeley: A Feckless Administration Caves, in advance, to the Heckler’s Veto

    Why not free speech at colleges?

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has the story here.

    Since [the riots protesting a planned but cancelled speech by Milo Yiannopoulo], the Berkeley College Republicans’ property has been destroyed, the group cancelled a speech by conservative activist and Berkeley alumnus David Horowitz after the administration threw up numerous roadblocks, and now it has been told that conservative commentator Ann Coulter may not speak as planned due to the danger posed by potentially violent protesters.

    This is a chilling and dangerous precedent. –FIRE

    FIRE has it exactly right, as usual. They are a politically-neutral organization that supports free speech and does more than any organization to promote it.

    Hecklers should never receive a veto. NEVER.

    At Berkeley, the hecklers and rioters not only have a veto, they have established an effective deterrent threat. They can merely threaten to go berserk and prevent speech they oppose.

    The rights (and limitations) surrounding the First Amendment should apply fully on campuses, even at, gasp, the University of California, Berkeley.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    The three keys:

    1. Universities need to state strong free speech principles. Those are essential, and it is essential to state them without weasel words. But even the best principles are not enough. Berkeley falsely stated its commitment to free speech in cancelling speeches.
    2. Universities need to enforce those on the ground through its deans and safety officers
    3. Students and outsiders who violate those rules need to face sure and serious punishments.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    To see the right example, look at Purdue, Chicago, or others. I have some positive examples and a wonderful video here. And remember…

  • A WONDERFUL video on the value of free speech at universities

    The University of Chicago doesn’t hide its defense of free speech and open discourse in the footnotes. It puts free speech front and center, in a video directed at all students thinking of applying to the University. It states our university values forthrightly, explains why they matter, and shows that we have held them since the university was founded, sometimes against rich and powerful opposition.

    What’s amazing–and disheartening–is that these same values are not adopted by every college and university. What’s their principled objection to diversity of thought and free speech?

    A few may have such principled objections, based on their notions of “social justice.” They know what is socially just; they know what is not; and they know the whole topic is just too important to debate. So, they reason, agree with us or at least have the courtesy to keep quiet.

    DePaul is like that. It took away the students’ chalk last year after someone had the temerity to write “Trump 2016” on a sidewalk. This Catholic school banned a poster, “Unborn Lives Matter,” for fear it would upset black students. There’s more robust debate on the back of a cereal box.

    But most university administrators have no principled objections to free speech. They just go with the flow, unwilling to face the opposition from students and faculty that would greet them if they urged a hearing for unpopular viewpoints.

    The poster boy for this invertebrate position is Peter Salovey, president of Yale. It’s bad enough he fails to defend free speech. He goes further, patting himself on the back for supporting the First Amendment. “Lux et Veritas” may be the university motto, but only if the lux is environmentally-friendly and the veritas is approved by local truth squad. Otherwise, not so much.

    Salovey’s stance is similar to most college administrators. They simply do what successful career bureaucrats always do: protect their positions and that of their institutions from any controversy. That may keep the campus quiet, but is that really the highest goal of education?

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦

    I’m reluctant to post too much about my own university, despite my great admiration for its intellectual traditions and commitment to free speech.

    It seems too much like preening.

    (CAVEAT: Even at Chicago, there are some departments and centers that fall well short of the aspiration of diverse viewpoints. They are the same ones that rot and stink in the sun on all campuses.

    There are also student groups that are happy to stomp out speech with which they disagree. The misnamed “Students for Justice in Palestine” leads this vile pack, as they do on many campuses. They show no signs of accepting John Locke’s 1689 “Letter Concerning on Toleration,” or the Enlightenment ideals that build upon it and serve as this country’s foundation.

    Even with these gaps and missteps, Chicago’s values in principle and in practice are far better than at places like Swarthmore, Yale, or Berkeley, where free speech and discordant views go to die. They are buried in unmarked graves, unmourned by students who fritter away hard-won constitutional freedoms so they can signal their higher virtue.)

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦

    This University of Chicago video is exactly what all schools should be saying to their prospective students. The punchline comes in the first 3 minutes, but the whole 10 minutes are worth watching.

    Kudos to the university’s faculty and administrators who put free speech and diversity of ideas front and center. Kudos to the Dean of the College and the admissions department for underscoring these principled commitments.

    Kudos, too, for adopting the informal motto: 

    Audiatur et Altera Pars: Listen Even to the Other Side.

     

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Saturday, April 15

    Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

     North Korea displays new missiles but holds off another nuclear test (Washington Post)

    Comment: The situation is incredibly dangerous. North Korea’s leader is not only bellicose. He may well be mentally unstable. No one is sure.

    South Korea’s capital and largest city, Seoul, is very close to the DMZ, and very vulnerable to attack–including a nuclear attack by Pyongyang.

    China could put the squeeze on North Korea, but that does not mean it has control over the Kim regime’s actions. Beijing knows that China’s population is also threatened by North Korean weapons and that the two countries have a complicated, sometimes fraught history.

    My hunch is that Beijing would prefer to engineer a change of leadership that is friendly to China, less bellicose, and willing to pursue a Chinese-style market opening. But trying to achieve that is very risky.

     Good news on free speech at one college, Wichita State They tried hard to do the wrong thing, but they eventually got it right.

    An embattled student group at Wichita State University is finally free to engage in on-campus activism as a registered student organization. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the Wichita State University Student Government overturned the Student Government Association’s unconstitutional decision to deny recognition to Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian student group, because of the group’s belief in First Amendment principles. –FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

    Comment: If you support free speech and don’t already know about FIRE, you’ll be happy to learn about it. It is truly even-handed, defending right and left alike.

     Related Story: Meanwhile, at Wellesley, a very selective liberal arts college, the student newspaper writes:

    Wellesley is certainly not a place for racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia or any other type of discriminatory speech. Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. (The Wellesley News via HotAir)

    These students actually say that the “Founding Fathers” (a phrase that must stick in their craw) “put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised . . . [and] suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.”

    Comment: The First Amendment does not mean “anything is acceptable.” As everyone knows, you cannot yell fire falsely in a crowded theater. Nor can you take a bullhorn and wake up the whole neighborhood at 3 am with your rendition of “I did it my way.” There are, in other words, some legal restrictions on the time, place, and conditions for speech. There are legal remedies for “damaging” speech, if it is false and defamatory (and perhaps known to be false when uttered).

    But for Wellesley students to actually defend their speech suppression as being true to the First Amendment is either disingenuous or historically clueless. Either way, it is wrong. 

     Two data-driven opinion pieces on wealth disparities between blacks and whites with college degrees

    Comment: The disparity is troubling and thoughtful, open-minded discussion is valuable.

    Going back to the previous two stories: this kind of discussion is much harder to have on campuses where everyone walks on eggshells, fearing a wrong word might offend.

     How deep is the Clinton camp’s denial?

    Well, Hillary’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, told a Yale audience “Ukraine and the horrible ISIS beheadings” were “sort of manufactured press stories” (Daily Caller)

    There were the obvious crazy things happening like the website melting down, Ukraine, and the horrible ISIS beheadings; these sort of manufactured press stories that hopefully you all have forgotten about. –Daily Caller

    Comment: Those manufactured stories were nothing compared to that fake moon landing.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Many thanks to Christopher Buckley for the Wellesley story