And the idiocy continues

As the world continues to watch the unfolding drama of the terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the debate rages over whether we should be worried about whether the reaction to the attack will cause the radicalization of Muslims in France or the attack on free speech the attack represented. Others are busy apologizing to all followers of Islam for what they see as an unreasonable and knee-jerk condemnation of all that is Islam. There have been calls for “no go” areas being turned into “no leave” and, at the same time, calls for understanding and patience.

None of that is unexpected. The SJW crowd has long been known for apologizing for being white or privileged or American or whatever. Where they have crossed the line, at least in this instance and in my mind, is by apologizing for what happened — not to the victims and their families and friends but to those who might be hurt or insulted by the condemnation of radical Islam.

Note that I said radical Islam. Like most folks, I know that there are people who follow Islam who do not agree with the call for revolution and death to the infidels that some of the imams are sending out. These are good people. Some are friends. They are even more upset and angry about what has been done in the name of a religion they believe in than are we. They feel about the radical followers of these imams the same way most of us feel about those who followed the late Fred Phelps and Westoboro Baptist Church.

However, as others have pointed out, the attack on Charlie Hebdo was both an attack on free speech and a religious statement. To the best of our knowledge, Charlie Hebdo and its people were targeted — yet again — because of their irreverent portrayal of Mohammed. This insult, this exercise of free speech and press, resulted in a firebombing of the press’ office four years ago and now in the attack just the other day.

When we no longer have a free press, either through fear of reprisals or fear of governmental intervention, we are no longer free.

That concern is just as alive here as it is in France. The issue here is more subtle. So far, at least, we haven’t had armed men storming our newspaper offices and killing people. Here the attempt to silence the press takes different routes and isn’t limited to the “government”. One of the latest incidents comes from Brandeis University.

For those of you not familiar with Brandeis, it was founded in 1948 and named for Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish member of the Supreme Court. This is the same Brandeis about whom Justice William O. Douglas wrote, “He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible.” In the concurring opinion to Whitney v California (1927), Brandeis wrote, “Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of free speech to free men from bondage of irrational fears.”

Now, with that in mind, consider what the university named after him has recently done.

Daniel Mael is a student journalist at Brandeis. For approximately a year, Brandeis administration attempted to prove harassment against Mael. After finally dropping the investigation — which had been conducted in private — after Mael hired an attorney and started fighting back, Brandeis has now issued a “no contact” order against Mael. This happened after Mael wrote an article “drawing attention to tweets by another student leader who endorsed on Twitter the recent murder of two New York City police officers and declared that “amerikkka needs an intifada.”

It is important to note that Mael was targeted for reporting the comments made by another student on twitter. The student behind the request for Brandeis administration to step in wanted to make sure “the student responsible for the incident be held accountable for his actions.” Funny that the only student I can find that was to be held responsible was the one reporting the tweet endorsing the execution of two of New York City’s finest, the same student calling for an intifada.

Worse, the university complied. The same university named for a man who stood up for freedom of speech while on the Supreme Court.

You see, according to the thinking of the reporting student, one Piccione, Mael should be held responsible for the outrage caused by the statement — not, apparently, the person making it. Piccione isn’t the person who made the tweet but he is the one who is — apparently — afraid because of the “outrage” caused by Mael’s reporting of the Tweet.

And, in this day of touchy feely, let’s make sure we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, the Brandeis administration caved. Whether their failure to prove up the harassment charge against Mael earlier played into their decision, I don’t know. I suspect that it did. However, it is the height of irony that just after telling the Wall Street Journal that Brandeis holds an “unyielding commitment to free speech”, it takes action to squash free speech. Justice Brandeis is probably rolling over in his grave.

Are we now so afraid of how someone somewhere at some undisclosed point in time might react to something that we no longer allow our journalists, student or “pro”, to report the news? Isn’t it more important for a student body to know that they have someone on their campus supporting the execution of law enforcement officers — or anyone else for that matter — and encouraging infatada than it is to “protect” someone from the fear that something might happen in the unknown future because — gasp — people are outraged by the reported comment?

Justice Brandeis wrote that the United States was founded by people “who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty …” How sad that so many of our fellow countrymen have forgotten that.

 

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