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1st Amendment right? What 1st Amendment right?
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, October 05, 2006

I made the claim, earlier in the week, that speech codes on college campuses had been something for which the left was primarily responsible and that the codes were instrumental in fostering a climate which stifled free speech.

I've also been lectured in the past about how dissent is also a right - to which I agree with the caveat that there is responsible/appropriate dissent and irresponsible/inappropriate dissent.

Yesterday "campus groups" Columbia University demonstrated my point about free speech quite well. They did a good job on the dissent side of the argument too.
Students stormed the stage at Columbia University's Roone auditorium yesterday, knocking over chairs and tables and attacking Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minutemen, a group that patrols the border between America and Mexico.

Mr. Gilchrist and Marvin Stewart, another member of his group, were in the process of giving a speech at the invitation of the Columbia College Republicans. They were escorted off the stage unharmed and exited the auditorium by a back door.
Now it is hard to tell here who was dissenting, but if we assume both sides were, it is certainly not hard to tell who was doing so appropriately and who was conducting inappropriate dissent.

Is this what we want to see condoned as proper behavior in the "marketplace of ideas" which is how today's universities and colleges sell themselves?
The pandemonium that ensued as the evening's keynote speaker took the stage was merely the climax of protest that brewed all week. A number of campus groups, including the Chicano caucus, the African-American student organization, and the International Socialist organization, began planning their protests early this week when they heard that the Minutemen would be arriving on campus.

The student protesters, who attended the event clad in white as a sign of dissent, booed and shouted the speakers down throughout. They interrupted Mr. Stewart, who is African-American, when he referred to the Declaration of Independence's self-evident truth that "All men are created equal," calling him a racist, a sellout, and a black white supremacist.

A student's demand that Mr. Stewart speak in Spanish elicited thundering applause and brought the protesters to their feet. The protesters remained standing, turned their backs on Mr. Stewart for the remainder of his remarks, and drowned him out by chanting, "Wrap it up, wrap it up!" Mr. Stewart appeared unfazed by their behavior. He simply smiled and bellowed, "No wonder you don't know what you're talking about."

"These are racist individuals heading a project that terrorizes immigrants on the U.S.-Mexican border," Ryan Fukumori, a Columbia junior who took part in the protest, told The New York Sun. "They have no right to be able to speak here."

The student protesters "rush to vindicate themselves with monikers like ‘liberal' and ‘open-minded,' but their actions, their attempt to condemn the Minutemen without even hearing what they have to say, speak otherwise," the president of the Columbia College Republicans, Chris Kulawik, said. On campus, the Republicans' flyers advertising the event were defaced and torn down.
"Open-minded" people don't try to drown out speakers or rush the stage in an effort to intimidate them into stopping their speech.

These weren't "campus groups". They are gangs of intolerant thugs who go to school there. And they have no desire to allow political free speech with which they disagree. Columbia should be so proud that it is this sort of climate it has come to tolerate.

And, of course, other examples such as this abound, as the commenters who took me to task for my claim know. But this one was so fresh, I figured I put it up here for further comment.
 
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Are there any thigns such as this involving the right side of the isle within the last 10 or so years? I just never heard about such hatred of the opposing ideas to go so far as to try and stop them for being voiced on the right. I truly want to find some examples of this if anyone knows. I would think there must be.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Colleges should and must be for the open expression/discussion of diverse ideas, and behavior that tries to stifle speakers or prevent them from presenting their ideas is immature and completely contrary to academic values. So are "speech codes" or any other attempt to create some kind of "acceptable" standard.

It is up to the faculty and administration at Columbia to respond in a fashion harshly condemning such activity and teaching students that they have an ethical obligation not only not to engage in such thugish behavior, but to do everything they can to assure it doesn’t happen — even if the speaker is a member of the Ku Klux Klan or Communist International. You defeat ideas with ideas and debate if you believe in academic values. You bully and threaten if your values veer to the totalitarian side.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
One more thing: the problem of "speech codes" is far worse at the school level than colleges, in part because teachers are so controlled in what they can teach and do, while college Professors have almost complete independence and can choose in many cases to ignore attempts to create politically correct speech. The book The Language Police by Diane Ravitch is excellent in detailing how idiotic censorship is (e.g., the Little Engine that Could gets rejected because the engine is male — that’s my favorite children’s book because it gives the most important message children can receive), and how it comes from both the left and right. This is an alarming trend, and frankly colleges and universities have to be on the front lines to STOP it, rather than promote it!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Josh b- in general, it’s not the right that tends to turn violent when protesting etc etc. We don’t need to, we can win elections after all...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Excellent article, McQ. I’ve tried to be at the forefront of the academic freedom movement for the past several years. See both of these for further illustrative stories: http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/ and http://www.thefire.org/. Both organizations have been actively working to defeat campus speech codes and intolerance of freedom of speech as is clearly articulated in the sad, but typical story that you have pointed out.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I’ve tried to be at the forefront of the academic freedom movement for the past several years.
Academic freedom, maybe. Where’s your sense of shame or of intellectual honesty?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Maybe Columbia needs free-speech zones, just like the ones that Bush and the Secret Service establish for protesters against Bush.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
"The student protesters, who attended the event clad in white as a sign of dissent"

Just like that other off-campus group of activist dissenters, the KKK. What do progressive student protestors burn instead of a cross? Probably books.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Actually william, that program of "free speech zones" was started or at least used by Clinton, and other democrats. So while it is fairly destestable, it is not a partisan issue, both sides do it.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
White shirts, brown shirts, no difference at all.
 
Written By: Phil Smith
URL: http://
why cant they all wear red shirts?
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
why cant they all wear red shirts?
White is fine. Contrasts well with a black front sight.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
This post is entitled "1st Amendment right? What 1st Amendment right?"

This speech took place at Columbia University. A private university. The First Amendment does not apply to private actors, whether they be the university itself or the students at the university.

It’s got nothing to do with the First Amendment or a right to free speech.
I’ve also been lectured in the past about how dissent is also a right - to which I agree with the caveat that there is responsible/appropriate dissent and irresponsible/inappropriate dissent
Dissent is a right against the government. You have no "right" to dissent against a private actor.

Now, if you want a real example of a violation of a citizen’s right to free speech, you need look no farther than this example. From yesterday:
By Mike McPhee
Denver Post Staff Writer
DenverPost.com

A Golden businessman sued a Secret Service agent Monday, claiming he was subjected to unlawful seizure, unlawful search and retaliation for exercising his right to free speech.

Steven Howards, 54, was arrested during the summer by Agent Virgil Reichle Jr. after he made comments about the U.S. policy in Iraq to Vice President Dick Cheney in a Beaver Creek shopping mall.

"I was handcuffed and arrested in the presence of my young son for simply telling Mr. Cheney that his policies in Iraq are reprehensible," said Howards, an environmental consultant and former director of the Regional Air Quality Council in 1986-1991.

Reichle refused to comment and referred all media inquiries to his boss, Agent-in-Charge Lon Garner, who failed to return phone calls.

While walking his 11-year-old son to a piano lesson, Howards saw Cheney shaking hands and posing for photos. He walked over and told Cheney, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible."

Howards said he walked on, not wanting to cause a disturbance with so many Secret Service agents around.

About 10 minutes later, Howards and his 8-year-old son were walking back through the square when Reichle allegedly walked up to Howards and asked him whether he had assaulted the vice president.

"He came out of the shadows," Howards said. "He didn’t accuse me but asked me if I had assaulted Cheney. I said no, he grabbed me and handcuffed me behind my back in front of my son. As he led me away, I told him I can’t abandon my son. He said he’d call social services."

Howards said Reichle told him he was being charged with the felony crime of assaulting the vice president. An Eagle County sheriff’s deputy drove him to jail, where Howards’ wife bonded him out three hours later.

Howards eventually was charged with harassment, a misdemeanor crime, which Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert dropped on July 6.

"We filed a motion to dismiss the charge because we didn’t think we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt because we had gotten word that the vice president did not wish to prosecute Howards," Hurlbert said Monday. "Originally, he was going to be charged with assault because the information we got from Secret Service was that he had pushed the vice president. We learned later that it had been only verbal."

U.S. attorney spokesman Jeff Dorschner said that if Reichle was acting within the scope of his employment, he will be given the choice of hiring a private attorney to defend him at taxpayers’ expense or to use an assistant U.S. attorney to represent him.

In other words, the DA concluded that the Secret Service was lying.

It’s funny how McQ is apparently more concerned about private actors limiting speech on private property than he is about a government official arresting someone for complaining - verbally only - about the actions of a public official.

But then why should I be surprised? Recently, McQ blasted Olbermann because the latter claimed that the Bush administration was saying that certain speech was not permitted:
When and where has this administration "begun to tell us we are not permitted to disagree with them?"

I want specifics.

I want quotes.

"Not permitted" means something and I want specific quotes in which the administration says certain speech is "not permitted".
You’re right, McQ. The administration did not say we are "not permitted" to disagree with it. Instead, the administraiton simply arrested the guy who said something with which the administration disagreed. After all, why give him a heads up?

Unlike many of the authoritarian types who visit this blog, I am more concerned about a government that arrests someone in violation of the First Amendment than I am with someone who is shouted down at a private function by private actors.

In other words, I am more concerned about this...
I said no, he grabbed me and handcuffed me behind my back in front of my son. As he led me away ....
... than I am about this ...
They were escorted off the stage unharmed and exited the auditorium by a back door.
But that’s the difference between those of us on the left and those on the right.





 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
First, the good news:
There is always a backlash against bad behavior. . Nothing worked better to solidify support for the border fence than the televised scenes of armies of demonstrators waving Mexican flags.

Then, the bad news: Examples of extreme behavior obscure the issues involved. Therr are ’polite’ ways of curtailing 1st Amendment rights.

==The runaway influence of professional lobbyists shuts out the voices of all those whose frantic letters to Congressmen end up in the trash bin.

==People with grievances receive little or no media attention until their behavior shifts to bad behavior. That, after all, was how terrorism was born.

==A man in Colorado was arrested for assault when he told Chenery ’Iraq policies were reprehensible’. It’s certainly understandable why he was stopped and questioned, but assault?

==Mafiosi are often very well dressed and know exactly which fork to use.

——————
This behavior can’t be condoned. But it’s not the only bad behavior in town.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
"Dissent is a right against the government. You have no "right" to dissent against a private actor."

Who was he speaking against? Not the school, but the governemtns lack of proper border control. Basically, they stopped him from dissenting against the government in a forum he was invited to.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
AN EXAMPLE OF GOOD BEHAVIOR:

The Amish commmunity whose children were kiiled in their schoolhouse reacted with

——-FORGIVENESS

Now, here’s a real ’values’ group.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
AN EXAMPLE OF GOOD BEHAVIOR:

The Amish commmunity whose children were kiiled in their schoolhouse reacted with

——-FORGIVENESS

Now, here’s a real ’values’ group.
Though they are somewhat underrepresented on blogs and the internet.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
You know what I’d love to see? I’d love to see those students’ First Amendment rights come into contact with Gilchrist’s Second Amendment rights. I wonder if those protestors would be so eager to storm the podium if they knew the speaker was packing heat!
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
Dissent is a right against the government. You have no "right" to dissent against a private actor.
I’m sure you didn’t mean this as written. Are you saying that no one has the right to disagree with private citizens? You’ll have a hard time convincing anyone of that.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Just when I think MKultra cannot stoop any lower, he does. Trying to change the subject to a totally unrelated one. Trying his best to stick up for his fellow left wingers. What a sad sack you are.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
You have no "right" to dissent against a private actor.
MK is a tool of the corporate elite!
The First Amendment does not apply to private actors, whether they be the university itself or the students at the university.
What if the private university receives over 25% of its funds from the federal government?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
In fact, government grants and contracts are their single largest revenue source.

Try putting these roles in reversal, and see what MK thinks about private actors and rights then.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The First Amendment does not apply to private actors ...
It applies to political speech.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
mkultra, the man in Colorado was arrested because he *might* have been a threat to the VP of the USA. Notice that he was released and that the agent who arrested him will be disciplined. You make it sound as if he was imprisoned for years due to his impolitic remark. You lefties get melodramatic about the strangest things.

Further, you say that private actors have no right to freedom of speech. This passes for brilliant logic on the left, but all you are doing is throwing up a hasty defense of the students’ bad behavior. The speakers were escorted, unharmed, off the stage, but so was that jack@ss in Colorado physically unharmed. How is it that you selectively aim your righteous indignation?

Bad behavior often begets bad consequences. Leftards mostly get a pass on their overwhelmingly-bad behavior...
 
Written By: skh
URL: http://
As an attendee, or rather more than an attendee, I would like to clarify some things before commenting.
The event was co-sponsored by the Columbia University College Republicans (CUCR) and the Columbia College Conservative Club (C4). I was the founder of CCCC and served as its president from 1999-2001.

Mr. Stewart gave a long impassioned and meandering speech, which riled up many students. Between his being an African-American Preacher and his support for both restricted immigration and the founding ideals of this country, Steward really angered people. Some of the attendess interupted him by chanting "wrap it up". Other’s interjected into his speach with historically false assertions such as Samuel Adams’s supposed slaveholding.

53 minutes into the event, just as Mr. Gilchrist began to speak, all heck broke loose.

The protestors were a mix of groups. There were student organizations such as the Chicano Caucus, SPEAK, and the Greens.
There were also outside organizations like the International Socialist Organization, the Spartacists, ANSWER, and Not In our Name.

I should note that communists not only lecture at Columbia but teach there as well.

Frankly, many of the communists and perpetually agreieved were angry that the House Immigration bill had been signed. Unable to take it out on the president, they attacked our event.

In theory the disrupting students, especially those who acted violently, can be expelled from the university.

In 1998, leftists students and outside agitators, with the help the Rupp administration, had an Accuracy in Academia conference kicked off campus. To my knowledge, no student was punished, not even those who tried to break into a private event.

Lee Bollinger who used an affirmative action protest bake sale held by CCCC as an excuse to not only fund the Diversocrats but also to make Affirmative Action a goal in hiring. Whites can be hired provided they promote progressive and tolerant views.

Since the administration is already trying to shift blame on non-student guests, I hate to think what the university will due now.

If I were inclined to use hysterical language, I might be tempted to compare this with the round-up of Jews after Krystallnacht and the fining of Jewish communities for the clean up of the mess.

 
Written By: Ron Lewenberg
URL: http://www.RonLewenberg.com
The Language Police
THANK YOU, SCOTT ERB

This is a clear and present danger. Another no-no is the word ’imagination’, because it stems from the same root as ’magic’. And I thought that imagination was at the root of all intelligent thought.

A related phenomenon is the teacher in Texas who was relieved of her ditues because children on a school trip to a museum were exposed to nude sculptures.

We have hecklers, protesters and an insane policy for school texts and art education. It’s not looking good.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
"This speech took place at Columbia University. A private university. The First Amendment does not apply to private actors, whether they be the university itself or the students at the university."

Two words. Grove City.

*************

"There were student organizations such as the Chicano Caucus, SPEAK, and the Greens."

Recipients, no doubt, of funds from mandatory student activity fees.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Absolutely, but you’re missing the most important issue.

 
Written By: rightwingprof
URL: http://rightwingnation.com
The individuals who stormed the stage and denied the right of Mr. Gilchrist his freedom of speech are, quite simply, hypocrites. They scream, rant and rave about their own rights but when it comes to respecting the rights of those who disagree with them, they consistently refuse to let the other person say what they wish to say. But what can one expect from a gang of children who know nothing about making their own way in the world? The "protestors" (read thugs, bullies and immature idiots), in my opinion, need to get a clue as to how a conversation and the exchange of ideas work. It is not done through denying others the right to speak. It is not done by storming a stage and behaving like the thought police. Rather, it is accomplished by letting the other person speak. That said, who were the real fascists that evening?
 
Written By: C. Ortiz
URL: http://

 
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