Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Has Cancel Culture Destroyed Freedom of Speech?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the simple fact that freedom of speech is under attack. Any time that anyone writes or says something that the woke mob does not like, they are ostracized or fired for their point of view. Progressives and the Far Left do not want the public to hear or read conservative viewpoints because they know that people will recognize that conservative ideas are better than anything that progressives can dream up.

            A case in point is William Jacobson, a conservative professor at Cornell Law School. He is also the founder and publisher of a website called Legal Insurrection. He has covered the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement since the Ferguson riots of 2014. He is familiar with the movement and its history, and he noticed the frequency of people marching with their hands raised over their heads while chanting “Don’t shoot” – the narrative from the Michael Brown incident “hands up, don’t shoot.” 

I immediately recognized that to be false because I covered it at the time, I covered the [former Attorney General] Eric Holder, Obama Justice Department report and investigation, which said that never happened, his hands were not raised and he wasn’t saying “don’t shoot.”

In fact, he was shot and killed by the police because he punched a police officer in the face and tried to steal his gun.

So, I wrote a post, which I’d written before. I’ve covered this before and I said, “Reminder, the Michael Brown ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ is a fabricated narrative.” … 

That triggered a reaction at Cornell Law School – where I teach and have taught for almost 13 years – that led to alumni attempts to get me fired; led to letters and emails, I should say, to the dean.

I also wrote a second post right after my first one, which dealt with the rioting and the looting, and I severely condemned it. And I pointed out that this was reflective of the goals of the leaders of the movement – which is to tear down our society – which re Marxist, and which are anti-capitalist.

And so those two posts combined, but it was mostly the Michael Brown one that triggered it, but those two posts combined led to a concerted effort, both to fire me and to denounce me and to otherwise damage me.

            Twenty-one of Jacobson’s colleagues signed a letter denouncing him that was printed in the student newspaper, The Cornell [Daily] Sun. They did not name Jacobsen, but they essentially called him a racist. Student groups organized a boycott of his course. The dean issued a statement saying that he was not going to be fired because he has “academic freedom” and “job security.” However, he denounced Jacobson for writing such horrible things.

            Even though they were attacks on Jacobson, he realized that he was one of numerous non-liberal – not necessarily conservative – professors who had come under attack. He decided to be proactive and wrote another blog that went viral. He grabbed the narrative and framed the issue as “complete intolerance for opposing viewpoints at Cornell Law School, a mob mentality, a fairly classic cancel culture.” He defined cancel culture as coercing “you into not speaking or changing your view or apologizing” to save your job or reputation. “So it’s coercion rather than persuasion.”

            Jacobson’s blog explained what was happening and suggested a public debate with sponsorship from the law school. He offered to debate “a representative of the student groups and whichever faculty member they choose” – basically, two against one. The “offer was immediately rejected.” Progressives are not interested in debating or having an honest discussion. They just want to criticize and silence anyone who thinks differently.

            Jacobson had support from people who would contact him privately but were afraid to do so publicly. He called it “an absolute outpouring of support for me, really, from around the country, but also from within the law school.” He was not fired, but he works in a hostile work environment. The next sign up was normal, and his course filled up.

           None of his colleagues apologized for the way they treated him or admitted that they should have communicated with him personally before going public with their objections. We live in a day where people are ready to destroy anyone who thinks differently rather than listen to opposing ideas. This is a sad day for our republic because free speech is essential for freedom. 

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