Tyler Durden (the other one) talks about how free speech is increasingly becoming criminalized, and it’s absolutely true, of course. When someone can get jailed for “hate” speech (my favorite kind, especially when it pertains to politicians of all stripes and Marxist politicians in particular), and when simply wearing a T-shirt can get one into trouble (try wearing a MAGA shirt on the Berkeley campus, for example), it’s easy to prove Tyler’s thesis.
I have two anecdotes on the above, relating to my oh-so brief period as a full-time student at a four-year college. (I should mention up front that while U of North Texas is, by Texas standards, an island of PC and Green groupthink, it’s like Hillsdale College by comparison to Yale or Berkeley.)
Anyway, sometime during my second week on campus I was strolling towards the coffee bar at the student union building or whatever they called it, when I saw a small expanse of lawn, maybe forty feet square, in front of which was a small sign designating this lawn as a “free speech zone — permit required” area. I happened to see one of my professors walking towards me, and I stopped her.
“Am I seeing things, or is this the only place on campus where someone can make a speech? And you need a permit?”
“Uh huh,” she replied, clearly oblivious of the trap I was setting for her, “You get it from the Student Affairs office.”
“Doesn’t sound very free to me,” I observed. “If one has to get a permit to speak, it could, theoretically, be turned down?”
“Oh, they hardly ever refuse a speaking permit.”
“Hardly ever doesn’t really seem to jibe with free, does it?”
“Well, they try to avoid allowing anything that would rile up other students.”
“So if I stood up there, permit in hand, and started yelling that women and niggers shouldn’t be allowed to vote, there’d be repercussions?”
She flinched at the sound of the word “niggers”, which was my intention all along. “You’d probably be suspended!”
“So really, it’s not a free speech zone at all, is it?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Exactly how is it free, when I have to get permission to speak, the content is subject to penalty, and where I can speak is constrained by regulation?”
She had no answer to that, but walked off with a horrified look on her face. As did I. I can only imagine the discussion in the faculty lounge later that day. (Despite the evidence that I was a troublemaker, I still got an A for the course because after a few lectures it was clear, both to the prof and to the other students, that I could have taught the class. So why did I take the class, then? It fulfilled a stupid requirement, and as it was an easy A, it freed up time for me to concentrate on Post-WWII German Economic History, which was an absolute monster.)
The second of my many brushes with this free speech foolishness was when I saw a student, a young kid of maybe nineteen, wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt. As we were in a classroom waiting for the professor to arrive, I thought I’d have a little fun.
“Why are you wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt?” I asked.
He looked down, as though seeing it for the first time. “‘Cause it looks cool.”
“You mean, you like the design, or you approve of his revolutionary ethos?”
I think he was a little confused by the word “ethos”, but he replied, “Both. He was a cool dude.”
“You know he was a mass murderer, right?”
The little shit smirked. “He was doin’ what had to be done.”
“Killing his political enemies, without a trial or any legal procedure, just lining them up and mowing them down with a machine gun?”
The kid started looking uncomfortable. “He didn’t do any of that.”
“You know there’s photographic and documentary proof that he did, right? And you know one of his most famous quotes?” (Long ago, I’d taken the trouble to memorize this one, for just such an occasion.)
“To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail.” I paused. “Still think he was a cool dude?”
The kid was saved further embarrassment by the arrival of the professor, but after the class another kid came up to me and said, “Dude! That was awesome! Can you write that down for me, what Che said?”
Maybe, just maybe, I prevented at least one kid from becoming a Marxist. At worst, I exposed the other kids in the class to the reality of Guevara’s barbarity. One at a time, folks; one at a time.
Who woulda thunk it woud be so difficult to dare a kid to THINK on a university campus?
That WAS awesome, Kim. Kids naturally respect their elders – IF they’re respectable. Unfortunately that lets a lot of self proclaimed intellectuals out as well as a goodly number of academic poseurs.
Even if I had to talk over the professor I would have gotten in that Che took particular glee in murdering blacks and gays, too.
It’s like the story of the man who walked on the shoreline, tossing stranded starfish back into the ocean. Every one makes a difference, after all.
Interesting times are ahead.
Good old Doublethink in action. Of course Free Speech is the freedom to mouth the Parti Line. To the denizens of Leftist Cloudcoocooland, Amerikkka is the land of white male fascism oppression of women and minorities. Thus, they need the special, regulated Free Speech zone to speak Truth to Power and Stick it To The Man (even if the Man was Barack Obama, and the Truth the official Democratic Party line).
Kim, a looooong time ago on your other blog you made a post about dictator Augusto Pinochet (or that referred to Pinochet, can’t exactly remember now), and how after he got rid of the most rabid leftists by various unsavory means he was able to turn Chile into a functioning capitalist economy so strong it still endures long after his deposition or abdication (however you want to see it).
The money quote in that old post: “Pinochet was right.”
Granted, I was and still am quite ignorant about this matter…I osmose a lot of my history and admittedly am not a serious student of it, although I do plan to rectify that in the future. Back then the only information I could find on the internet was that Pinochet was Genghis Khan reincarnated and ate babies for breakfast and puppies for supper, and nothing good came from his regime. Any economic and societal good that Chile experienced came after Pinochet, solely because of Pinochet was no longer there. What I read back then was all obviously tainted by strong leftist narrative and since I knew you to be a man of great good sense and a generally fair-minded individual, I dismissed it.
Currently the only readily available, even-handed write up seems to be from the Hoover Institution. They clearly acknowledge Pinochet’s accomplishments and what’s there jibes with what little I remember of the post you wrote.
But even with the good the Pinochet did, it’s still clear he used many of the same means as the worst of tyrants to dispose of or neutralize those who might derail his agenda.
Sooo…how do you reconcile your admiration for Pinochet with your revulsion of Guevara/Castro, given that they used a lot of the same means to achieve their respective ends? Is it all about the ends rather than the means? Does it also have to do with personalities involved (e.g., Guevara was an obvious sociopath)? Etc.
Just curious. Interested to know your more complex thoughts, if you can, and also maybe finer historical points that aren’t readily available on the lefty dominated intarwebz. That long-ago post provoked a lot of thought on my part and has always kind of stuck out in my mind.
Ah Norma, I always flinch when I see you’ve commented because you always make my brain hurt.
My original post wasn’t necessarily admiration of Pinochet — rather, I attempted to give some balance to the rabid leftist trope that he was EEEEVIIILLLL. Why, I thought, was Pinochet still so beloved in Chile (by commoners as well as the middle class) when he was such an evil dictator? In fact, as more information has come out of the era, it’s clear that Allende was an even bigger bastard than Pinochet, but because he was a Marxist, of course the Left glossed over all that and sanctified him in their history.
This requires a post all to itself, and I’ll put one together soon. Thank you for the comment — it makes my life a lot easier.
Cool. Looking forward to it. 🙂
BTW, “admiration” wasn’t the right word, and you caught that. You reminded me that the overall tone was not one of admiration. But my main point was the issue of “rightness”, given the universality of methods used by dictators throughout history.
FWIW, I do think at the end of the day it may not be that complex an issue…regardless of the finer points, sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do. But sane people should parse it all out as a guidepost, against the day that might happen, all the while praying it never does. It’s interesting to read when smarter folks than me parse.
Norma, see tomorrow’s post on this topic, and Friday’s part 2.
Invited the little precious one to the range, too, din’tya?
LOL jsa. You know me too well.
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