Monday, August 31, 2020

How 'Silence is Violence' Can Became Compelled Speech

By Jonathan Turley - August 31, 2020 at 03:35PM

undefined

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the rising concern over compelled speech on our campuses and our streets.

Here is the column:

“Silence is violence” has everything that you want in a slogan: Alliteration. Brevity. Simplicity. It also can be chilling for some in the academic and free-speech communities.

On one level, it conveys a powerful message that people of good faith should not remain silent about great injustices. However, it can have a more menacing meaning to “prove the negative” – demanding that people prove they are not racist.

In a prior column, I warned of the thin line between speech codes and speech commands, as people move from compelling silence to compelling speech: “Once all the offending statues are down, and all the offending professors are culled, the appetite for collective suppression will become a demand for collective expression.”

The line between punishing speech and compelling speech is easily crossed when free speech itself is viewed as a threat. It is not just the many cases of journalists, academics and others fired for expressing dissenting views. Even expressing support in the wrong way can be a terminal offense, like declaring “all lives matter” rather than “Black Lives Matter,” as in the firing of University of Massachusetts-Lowell Dean of Nursing Leslie Neal-Boylan or Vermont principal Tiffany Riley. While most of us support Black Lives Matter, it has become an official position of many schools — and variations are not tolerated. The concern is not only the establishment of orthodox values but the forced recitation of those values.

We are now seeing that fear realized.

This week, a mob surrounded diners outside several Washington restaurants, shouting “White silence is violence!” and demanding that diners raise a fist to support Black Lives Matter. Various diners dutifully complied as protesters screamed inches from their faces. One did not — Lauren Victor, who later said she has marched in protests for weeks but refused to be bullied. The mob surrounded her, and Washington Post reporter Fredrick Kunkle identified a freelance journalist as one of the people yelling at Victor and demanding: “What was in you, you couldn’t do this?”

It is the very mantra of orthodoxy: Failing to utter certain words, prayers or pledges is deemed a confession of complicity or guilt.

That demand for public affirmation was on display again Thursday when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his wife were threatened by a mob after leaving the final event of the Republican National Convention. The couple was ordered to “Say Her Name,” referring to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician shot by police in Louisville, Ky. Notably, some media suggested the mob did not know who Paul was; they just demanded that he say the name if he wanted to pass.

Forced speech can occur in a variety of direct and indirect ways. The University of Southern Maine’s president, Glenn Cummings, proclaimed “we must never tire of declaring that Black Lives Matter” and asked students and faculty to add their names to a public anti-racism pledge. After objections, the school said it would keep the list non-public. The concern was that some faculty and students may not support Black Lives Matters as an organization, or have other disagreements with the pledge — yet, failure to be on the list would indicate they are racist, or at least not sufficiently anti-racist.

The University of California issued a “guidance document” requiring students to reject racism, sexism, xenophobia and all hateful or intolerant speech, including a mandate that students stop others from referring to the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus.” While the use of those terms is controversial, it also is heavily laden with political meaning for people on both sides of the debate over the pandemic.

Syracuse University moved more directly not just to bar but to require some forms of speech. Professor Keith Alford, the university’s diversity and inclusion officer, declared students would be punished for simply witnessing “bias-motivated” incidents and “acts of hate.” That was a response to a student group’s demand for expulsion of “individuals who witnessed the event or were present, but did not take part.”

The transition from speech codes to commands is based on the same notion of “speech as harm.” Just as speech is deemed harmful (and thus subject to regulation), silence is now deemed harmful. UC Berkeley Law Professor Savala Trepczynski, executive director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, wrote that “White silence is incredibly powerful … It’s not neutral. It acts like a weapon.” It is certainly not unreasonable to call out others for not supporting important causes. Indeed, I have criticized faculty for remaining silent as colleagues were attacked or fired for voicing dissent about systemic racism, police abuse or other subjects. However, once both speech and silence are deemed as equally harmful, individuals are subject to public demonstrations of faith and fealty.

Even being insufficiently alert can result in demands for termination. Nearly 2,000 people signed a petition to fire Marymount Manhattan theater arts associate professor Patricia Simon after she appeared to fall asleep briefly during an anti-racist meeting held on Zoom. Student Caitlin Gagnon started a petition which accused Simon of “ignoring … racist and sizeist actions and words of the vocal coaches under her jurisdiction.” The message seems clear: You cannot be woke if you are not awake.

The concern over speech codes becoming speech commands would have been viewed as utterly absurd just a few years ago. Now, even calls for civility in dialogue have been denounced as racist dog whistles. Trinity College professor Johnny Williams condemned those who call for civility as “uphold[ing] white supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalist power.” When MSNBC host Joe Scarborough criticized those confronting people at restaurants and called for civility, University of Mississippi Professor James Thomas denounced civility and declared: “Don’t just interrupt a senator’s meal, y’all. Put your whole damn fingers in their salads.”

It is the ultimate expression of entitlement: People either must conform to your values or face public condemnation and threats. Your salad is no more inviolate than your speech. In a world where silence is violence and civility is complicity, there is little room for true free speech.

Reprinted with permission from JonathanTurley.org.

from Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles

via IFTTT

No comments:

Post a Comment

Merchandise

Ron Paul America Cloud

Site Credits

Ron Paul America

is voluntarily affiliated with

Liberty Operations Group

______________________________

Site created, maintained and hosted by

Liberty Web Services

Tags

#TurnOnTheTruth 2008 2012 4th amendment 911 ACTION Afghanistan war Agency Aggression Principle al-Qaeda Alan Colmes Alert America America's Fault Americans antigun AR 15 assault weapon Audit Authoritarian bailouts Believe Big Brother big government bill of rights Blame blowback bubbles Bush Campaign for Liberty Career Politician Eric Cantor Central Bank Charity China churches collapse Collectivism Commission committee Compassion Congress Conservative constitution Crash dangerous person Democrat Democrats Donald Trump Donald Trump. Planned Parenthood drones economic Economy Edward Snowden End the Fed European Union Federal Reserve Floyd Bayne floyd bayne for congress force foreign interventionism free market free markets GOP Nominee GOP Presidential Debates Government Great Depression gun control House of Representatives housing bubble HR 1745 I like Ron Paul except on foreign policy If ye love wealth better than liberty IFTTT Individual Individualism Institute Irag Iran Iraq war ISIL ISIS Judge Andrew Napalitano libertarian Liberty Liberty Letters Liberty Report Lost mass Media meltdown metadata Micheal Moore Middle East Mitt Romney nap National Neocons New Ron Paul Ad New York Times Newsletters Newt Gingrich No Non non-interventionism NSA NSA Snooping Obama Overreach overthrow Patriot Act peace politicians Pope Francis President Presidential Presidential Race programs prosperity Race Racist Racist Newsletters Rand Paul Read the Bills Act recessions redistribution of wealth refugee crisis Repeal Obamacare Report Republican Republican Nomination Republican Nominee Republicans Revolution Rick Santorum Rick Santorum Exposed Ron Ron Paul Ron Paul Institute Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity Ron Paul Institute Peace and Prosperity Articles Ron Paul Next Chapter Media Channel Ron Paul Racist Newsletters ron paul's foreign policy Ronald Reagan ronpaulchannel.com ronpaulinstitute.org Rosa DeLauro russia Samuel Adams Saudi Arabia Second Amendment Security Senate Senator September 11th attacks Show Soviet Spying stimulate Stock Market surveillance Syria tech bubble terrorist The the Fed the poor US US foreign policy Us troops USA Freedom Act Virginia Virginia Republican Primary voluntarism. Liberty Voluntary Warner Warning warrantless wiretaps YouTube