Enforcing freedom. @danhenninger @opinionjournal

Oct 13, 04:35 AM
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10-13-2017

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Mario Savio on Sproul Hall steps at UC Berkeley in 1966. This picture was taken in 1966 at a rally in Berkeley. The University had banned the distribution of political material on campus; the rally protested this ban. Mario Savio made an appearance and deliberately handed out material on steps as a part of the protest. Photo taken and owned by the poster. )

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Enforcing freedom. @danhenninger @opinionjournal

After years of campus speech-suppression incidents, not least Berkeley’s recent $800,000 outlay to protect a campus event, some universities are admitting they have a big problem. Their problem includes pushback from state legislatures and now a Justice Department that doesn’t have an implicit bias in favor of the speech suppressors.

Some also no doubt noticed a Trump tweet in February: “If UC Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view—NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”

A threat to their federal funding is the one reality university administrators recognize. That financial threat by the Obama administration explains the schools’ universal adoption of Title IX sexual-abuse Star Chambers in 2011.

It would be nice to think the universities could reaffirm the First Amendment for reasons other than their federal-funding dependency. That may not happen, though, for one reason: Donald Trump.

That’s clear from an article in academia’s trade publication, the Chronicle of Higher Education, which explored the reaction to the Sessions speech at Georgetown.

Some said Mr. Sessions’ speech concerns are legitimate. There is a much talk, though, about “reframing” the “free-speech narrative,” as in this from Williams College President Adam Falk : “This framing of the problem as free speech—I don’t think that’s the issue. . . . It’s the quality of campus discourse. Once you make this about free speech, you’ve actually given up the narrative from the very beginning.”

When academics, and the media, start talking about “narratives” and “frames” and “discourse,” you know you’ve slipped into the postmodernist swamp of intellectual shape-shifting.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-free-speech-wars-1507763446

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