Rebirth of Reason

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Post 0

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 7:26pmSanction this postReply

$500,000 is a stunning amount to spend on security for some small college speech. But where are the threats of physical violence actually coming from? The "Nazis" -- or the "anti-racism and anti-hate" folks who promote "peace and love"? The people who evidently believe in free speech -- or those intellectually and morally superior people who claim the right to censor and assault "Nazis"?

Post 1

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 5:43amSanction this postReply


He’s not a racist, he says, just an ‘identitarian,’ and he books Richard Spencer’s campus talks


"Under threat of a lawsuit and criticism from both sides, the university agreed to host Spencer, saying it was unconstitutional to deny him speaking space. Padgett will be there Thursday to introduce him."


(Edited by Luke Setzer on 10/19, 5:49am)

Post 2

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 6:13amSanction this postReply

We have been getting somber e-mails like this one with increasing frequency from various levels of administrators since Spencer's first announcement to speak at our university earlier this year:

Dear MAE Students,


On behalf of all faculty and staff members in MAE, please know that we share your concerns about the events scheduled for campus today.   Here are the latest updates from UF:






​With the support of Dean Abernathy, all faculty members have been asked to be understanding and as accommodating as possible for those of you with regard to impact on assignments and class.  Don't hesitate to contact me directly if you have any problems or concerns, and please check Canvas for the latest from your individual professors.  


Please exercise good judgement on and around campus today, we all look forward to moving past this event, and getting back to Gator Engineering at its best.


With best regards,


David W. Hahn

Professor & Department Chair

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering

University of Florida


(Edited by Luke Setzer on 10/19, 6:14am)

Post 3

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 1:07pmSanction this postReply


Richard Spencer at UF: Live updates from Gainesville

Crowds gathered inside an auditorium and began chanting "go home Spencer" while white nationalist Richard Spencer tried to give a speech at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Martin Vassolo For the Miami Herald

Thankfully, the event has progressed fairly peacefully without the physical violence seen in other parts of the country.


I am grateful that my fellow UF students have shown civility and restraint in their peaceful protests against this ... "person" ... and I use that term generously.


(Edited by Luke Setzer on 10/19, 1:12pm)

Post 4

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 9:34pmSanction this postReply

Luke -- However dangerous and evil are the ideas and ideals of Richard Spencer, the more fundamental danger and evil is a systematic or principled attack upon freedom of discussion and debate. Racists are minor threats to liberty relative to censors. 

Post 5

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 4:40amSanction this postReply

At what point do attempts at rational debate with espousers of evil ideas constitute sanction of them as even worthy of debate?


Given that public universities exist at all, what policy should guide best use of taxpayer dollars, especially for uninvited speakers?


If a campus group had invited him to speak, I would have a different opinion of this event.  As it stood, I was grateful the protests were peaceful.  If he were invited through proper channels, then I would have opposed the protests.


As an aside, I have a completely different opinion of the infamous Williams College "Uncomfortable Learning" event unilaterally canceled by the president Adam Falk.  That was a mistake on Falk's part.  I knew Falk as an upperclassman at my boarding high school back in 1982-83.  He was noted as one of the most brilliant students there, and he was quite able on all fronts.  That said, he published a very patronizing article in our student magazine that deeply offended my "sense of life" at the time, though I could not articulate my reasons for feeling offended in those days.  Basically, he said we should scrap all "ideal systems" and proceed with policy pragmatically.  Some things never change with some people.

Post 6

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 3:34pmSanction this postReply



I agree that racists (as private citizens) are a smaller threat to liberty than government censoring speech or press.


You wrote, "Given that public universities exist...." and that is the problem.  With all private property INSTEAD of public universities, conflicts like sanctioning an espouser of evil ideas versus freedom of speech don't arise.


When even 1 penny comes from the taxpayer and goes toward any given ideological exposition, it becomes propoganda.  If instead it stops the exposition of any given ideology, it becomes censorship.


(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 10/20, 3:38pm)

Post 7

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 7:31pmSanction this postReply

Luke -- "Public" schools are communist schools which have no right to exist. Thus the issue of who to invite, or not invite, is by definition unsolvable. All you can really do is try to be "reasonable", but also try to err on the side of allowing a wide variety of views. Even perhaps those ideas and ideals which most people find solidly false and evil.

What's sad about that UF Spencer speech is he was evidently "shouted down". That means censored. Such acts should never happen. Especially not at college. It should be understood by all people that those who choose to censor a speech aren't just attacking the speaker: they're mainly attacking the audience and violating their rights. The shouters and physical intimidators (or literal terrorists) do this by specifically not letting the audience hear those who they've made an effort and free choice to listen to. Thus the do-gooder, fascist "platform deniers" are engaged in coercion and censorship. They aren't truly "expressing their opinion" except as someone who is engaged in a crime might.

Post 8

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 8:43amSanction this postReply


I am not a fan of Vox, but "There is no 1st Amendment right to speak on a college campus" is worth reading.


(Edited by Luke Setzer on 10/25, 8:44am)

Post 9

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 8:48pmSanction this postReply

Hi Luke,


I read the VOX article and made some notes.


The author wrote:


[Members of the university community] have the right to academic freedom, not First Amendment freedom of speech. Academic freedom is defined in terms of the twin missions of the university; it encompasses freedom of research and freedom of teaching. Academic freedom does not entail the equality of ideas. To the contrary, it is defined as the freedom to engage in professionally competent teaching and research.


Freedom is about choice.  Academic freedom has to mean the ability to make choices - in this case, in a university setting - choices that are academic in nature. 


Because the first amendment is a limit on government, it makes no sense to attempt to apply it in a private university.  In other words, if a person owns a building, he does not have to provide the use of his building for speakers he does not agree with.  It is because he is a private individual that it makes no sense to refer to this as "censoring" the speech of others.  It is only the government who can violate the first amendment.  That is why the amendment was written - to protect the individual right to speak ones mind.


It does make sense to examine a decision made by an arm of the government.  That is, to ask if the government is attempting to stop private individuals from speaking their minds.  So, the question becomes whether or not the administartion of a tax-payer supported university is engaged in censorship.  The first amendment restriction on government censorship is what makes possible any legitimate academic freedom.


If a school in a communist state teaches Marxism and a hatred of Capitalism we know that it is propaganda.  The same ugly principle happens when an Islamic state will only permit the teaching of its Islamic theory and censors all other speech.


In a free state, a private school can teach Islam, Marxism or whatever it wants.  But when the taxpayers pick up some or all of the cost, they are paying for propaganda.


The real issue here is that all systems, other than Capitalism, are attempting to force people to think one way and finding ways to use force to stop speech they don't agree with.  Today's progressives have captured much of the educational system and are hiding behind freedom of speech.  They are using claims of academic freedom to deceptively trick the entire nation into accepting a form of censorship.  The cowardice extends to allowing violent protests to disrupt speech that is politically incorrect.


Political correctness is a form of on-going thought-control.  It is being implemented psychologically, academically, culturally - not just through laws or government force.  Drowning the university setting in political correctness is just another means of implementing the ultimate, collective control of every aspect of everyone's life by a centralized elite.

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