Ignorance and Bigotry Need Not Be Tolerated

Although the current archives only go back to 2005, I’ve been writing this blog for close to 19 years now.  And over those years I’ve linked to a lot of right-wing sites to show what sort of nuttery is going on in them.

One of those sites is Legal Insurrection, written by a fellow named William Jacobson. Over the years Jacobson has been a reliably consistent apologist for whatever outrageous nonsense the Right is fomenting, and I have commented on his work occasionally, although it’s been a long time. This is one example, from 2009, although I notice the Legal Insurrection post I was commenting on appears to have been removed.

However, Jacobson is also a professor of law at Cornell University, and it seems a couple of his recent blog posts about Black Lives Matter have inspired an effort to get him fired. In a post full of high-minded sentiments about intellectual freedom and the importance of vibrant intellectual communities, he writes, “Those posts accurately detail the history of how the Black Lives Matters Movement started, and the agenda of the founders which is playing out in the cultural purge and rioting taking place now.”

So let’s take a look. This one from June 2 is titled “The Bloodletting and Wilding Is Part of An Agenda To Tear Down The Country.”

Yeah, it’s 2020 and this specimen is still using the word wilding in the context of racial crime..

Let us consider now what Professor Jacobson calls “history.” I’m putting nearly the entire post here, because I genuinely want people to read it all the way through.

This has been a long time coming. At least a generation, maybe two. The left methodically has taken control of key institutions to implement an anti-American, anti-Capitalist agenda.

You send your kids to public schools and college, where they are taught from their earliest years that America and capitalism are the sources of evil in the world, that we are a systemically racist society that consumes ‘black and brown bodies,’ while socialist and communist systems are more equal and fair. It’s all a lie, but it’s a lie told by the teachers, professors, and administrators with power. The real racists are the people who obsess about race, and who judge people based on the color of their skin.

When your kids emerge from the social justice warfare meat grinder, you don’t recognize them anymore. Oh well, you shrug.

There is a concerted effort funded by leftist billionaires and high tech companies to control what you can say, and to silence you through mob action or social media throttling if you get out of line. The large corporate media, with only a couple of exceptions, is thoroughly corrupt and works every day to elect their preferred candidates, always Democrats.

The law enforcement system is being undermined by district attorneys funded by George Soros whose agenda is to prevent enforcement of laws, and politicians whose goal is to see those arrested released immediately without bail. We’re seeing that right now with rioters and looters almost immediately released. The next push is to defund the police.

Hollywood, The music industry. Television. Gone.

We still have the vote and can win elections, despite the disadvantage. But it’s not a guarantee. Which is why the left wants to subvert voting integrity.

All this time, you have seen bits and pieces, and figured that while you might not agree, it wasn’t a threat to our existence.

The wilding and looting should be your wake up call. When seconds counted, the police were pulled back by the policitians.

The goal is to destroy capitalism, and to seek revenge. The Black Lives Matter movement, founded based on fraudulent narratives of the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases, is led by anti-American, anti-capitalist activists. They have concocted a false narrative of mass murder of Blacks at the hands of police, when the statistics show otherwise. They will exploit George Floyd’s death mercilessly to drive that agenda. And they will have some success, because all the institutions listed above are behind them.

There are short term things that can be done, but it depends on the federal government because in the Democrat states where most of the violence took place, the politicians are part of the problem. There needs to be a massive and relentless tracking down of the people who helped coordinate the violence. It needs to start right now. Of course, it will stop on a dime if Joe Biden is elected, but it needs to be started. It should not take more than 2-3 months to accomplish this, and it will take the key criminals off the street in the federal system where activist District Attorney’s can’t interfere.

Democrat states and cities are in a bad way financially due to their own mismanagement of their economies and their tolerance of rioters and looters. They all will be seeking federal bailouts. Just say no, unless there is structural change.

But these are just a short term actions that will not change the rot in our institutions. I wish I had a long-term solution. That’s something that needs to be discussed in the coming weeks.

Amidst all this gloom, there is a ray of light. Most of the country didn’t riot and loot. Most of the people in the country don’t hate capitalism and want a Marxist revolution. Most of the country still loves the country. Don’t lose sight of that. If after two generations the radical left were not able to beat patriotism out of most Americans, there is a chance.

This wackjob is teaching at a major university, mind you.

I’m not going to take the time to refute all this nonsense — mostly, a festival of strawman fallacies — because it would take a book to do so, but in brief Jacobson brushes aside generations of racial oppression so that he can fit the Black Lives Matter movement into his deeper concerns about the Communist Takeover of Capitalism, or whatever. And the destruction of capitalism is all a nefarious plot fomented by “leftists.” It’s not like capitalism is failing on its own or anything. (See also “The Looming Bank Collapse” at The Atlantic, which I just read this morning.)

And, of course, he’s ignoring the way red, rural states are soaking up the tax dollars of those liberal urban centers, Blue states and their allegedly dysfunctional cities have been bailing out the poorer and more rural red states for decades. But let’s go on.

The other post that’s gotten Jacobson into trouble, “Reminder: ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ is a fabricated narrative from the Michael Brown case” does get one point right — a whole lot of forensic evidence discredited the claim that Michael Brown was executed while he had his hands up in surrender.

But it’s not like the police shooting of Michael Brown was an isolated case and that black men and women aren’t executed by police on a dreadfully regular basis. Sometimes law-abiding people are killed by Amerian police while they do have their hands up. Sometimes they are in their own homes and asleep in their beds. And these atrocities keep happening, over and over and over. I can’t imagine how far up one’s ass one must keep one’s head to not be at least a little concerned about this.

Further, Michael Brown’s shooting was hardly an isolated incident in Ferguson, Missouri. A federal inquiry found a long pattern of abuse of Ferguson’s citizens at the hands of police.

The Police Department in Ferguson, Mo., has persistently and repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of African Americans, jailing them for minor offenses far more often than whites, using traffic stops to arrest them disproportionately and subjecting them to excessive force, a Justice Department investigation has concluded.

The investigation portrays a city in which police dogs were set upon blacks but not whites and where blacks were seven times more likely to be subjected to force than whites, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation’s findings.

Officers and municipal court officials in the St. Louis suburb exchanged racist emails, the investigation found, including one from 2008 predicting that President-elect Barack Obama would not be in office long because, it asked, “what black man holds a steady job for four years”? Another email relayed a joke in which a black woman receives $5,000 for having an abortion and, when she asks why, is told that the money came from the citizens group Crime Stoppers.

And even if we assume the shooting of Michael Brown was justified — and I’m not saying it was — this event was followed by absolutely outrageous behavior on the part of St. Louis police, including what has to be called an out-and-out police riot. And while Jacobson might not be aware of it, the Michael Brown incident took place against the backdrop of long-delayed justice for the shooting of  Anthony Lamar Smith by St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley. Will Bunch describes that bit of history here. Although the system let Stockley be acquitted, the St. Louis police board settled a wrongful death suit with Smith’s survivors for $900,000.

But in Jacobson’s mind, those simple black people are not really angry about police brutality and are just being stirred up by unnamed leftists who want to destroy capitalism.

It may be that William Jacobson is not dragging his wackjobbery into his classroom, and that he is competent at teaching whatever part of law he teaches. In that case, Cornell University might be justified in continuing to let him teach, which appears to be happening. It’s really hard to imagine that degree of bigotry doesn’t color the man’s professional work, but let’s continue.

The larger issue is, where is the balance between free speech and yelling fire in a crowded theater? Or, how much do we have to tolerate speech that is clearly harmful to our nation and society?

And then, of course, who gets to judge? Not the government, as a rule, because I don’t want the government to have censorship power. Even though the current White House thinks it does.

But Cornell Univeristy is not the government. Cornell has to consider whether keeping someone like Jacobson on as a professor is damaging the university’s standing and potentially driving better students to other universities. That possibility is one reason I think the Jacobson case requires widespread notice. If I were a recent college graduate with offers from more than one prestigious law school, this story ought to put Cornell at the bottom of the list.

It’s also the case that in the free marketplace of ideas, some ideas are worthwhile, and some are poison. And the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be criticized and ridiculed by other citizens for spewing out poison.

I’ve written elsewhere about how to protect liberal values without violating liberal values. See, for example, Tolerating Intolerance from December 2008. And it’s also the case that the Right perpetually uses every trick in the book to shut down speech they don’t like. See, for example “The Jackboot of Conservative Correctness” from June 2011.

Back in 2006 I wrote a post titled “Being Liberal Doesn’t Mean Being a Patsy.”

Some people don’t understand what tolerance is. It doesn’t mean being a patsy, or not respecting personal parameters. Righties in particular seem to think that because liberals value “tolerance” we’re supposed to stand aside like grinning idiots and approve of everything they do. Some righties think “tolerance” confers on them a right not to be disagreed with.

No; tolerance of public speech means I must not stop someone else from expressing an opinion. But “tolerance” doesn’t mean I can’t express my opinion of his opinion. Tolerance of behavior as a rule means tolerating behavior that is chosen from free will and not harming anyone else. It doesn’t mean I should stand aside if behavior is harming someone else. I don’t know why so many righties can’t grasp that.

And here we still are.