Free Speech

Psychologist leaves reporter speechless after her ‘right not to be offended’ remark: ‘Gotcha’

Clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s online popularity is likely to grow after his recent performance with British journalist Cathy Newman. The University of Toronto professor whose YouTube fame exploded in 2016 for his opposition to Canada’s “C-16 bill” — critics deemed him “transphobic” — is making social media waves again in 2018. A combative Channel 4 interview uploaded Tuesday features Ms. Newman literally stunned into silence during an exchange on freedom of expression. “Why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?” the reporter asked at the 22-minute mark of a 30-minute interview. “Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now,” the psychologist answered, The Daily Wire reported Wednesday. “You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable. […] You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.” Ms. Newman paused, sighed and struggled to find a response until her guest interjected, “Ha. Gotcha.” “You have got me. You have got me. I’m trying to work that through my head. It took awhile. It took awhile. It took awhile,” she said with a repetitive concession.

Excellent!  Kudos to Dr. Peterson for calling out this liberal reporter’s idiocy.  To see the exchange, click on the text above.

Pennsylvania family ordered to take down Jesus Christmas display after neighbor said it was ‘offensive’

A Pennsylvania family was ordered by their homeowner’s association to take down their Jesus Christmas display after one of the neighbors reported it as offensive. Mark and Lynn Wivell of Adams County, a Gettysburg subdivision, said they put up their Jesus display last Saturday, FOX43 reported. “As part of our Christmas decoration, we would display the name Jesus to point out to everyone that we in this family believe that the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus,” said Mark Wivell told FOX43. But the homeowner’s association wasn’t having it. On Sunday, the association told the family to take down the sign after a neighbor complained it was offensive. The homeowner’s association also claimed the display was a sign, not a decoration – which is a violation of the rules, USA Today reported. “After taking a look at it, it isn’t in accordance with normal Christmas decorations,” Bud Vance, the Courtyards president, wrote in a statement to the Gettysburg Times. The Wivells insist they are following the rules. “We have ordinances with regard to Christmas decorations, and my Christmas decorations comply with the HOA ordinances on Christmas decorations,” Wivell said. The Wivells also said many others supported their right to display the sign. “When this happened, we were really shocked,” Lynn Wivell said. “We have gotten tremendous support from our neighbors here at the Links and that just makes us feel so good.” The family said they have no plans to take down the sign until January 15, when the association requires all displays to be taken down. Family members said they are unsure which neighbor was offended. “People get offended by different things, but just because something offends you, doesn’t mean the whole world has to change to accommodate you, so I would say please be more tolerant,” Mark Wivell said. Board members told FOX43 in a statement that it was “unfortunate” they were being portrayed as Scrooge. “It is, indeed, unfortunate that our attention has been unnecessarily redirected in this manner with a suggestion that Scrooge is alive and well in our community,” the statement read. “Many of our families will be in church on Monday with their spirit diminished by this attack.”

Well, then you shouldn’t have told the Wivells to take their “Jesus” sign down.  These spineless borad members are idiots.  And, this is the sorta thing that gives HOAs a bad name.  Having spent some time serving on the Board of Directors (BOD) of my HOA, I’ve seen both sides of such things.  And, I can empathize with those who complain when some neighbors do things that may diminish the value of the homes in the community, and/or do things that can be offensive to the majority of homeowners.  But, you need to use a little common sense.  Christmas is a federal holiday.  No, it’s NOT “Winter Solstice” day, or “Winter Holiday..day.”  It’s Christmas.  Period.  And, Jesus IS “the reason for the season.”  Those who have a problem with it need to get the heck over it…or move to another country.  We’re so very grateful to see President Trump supporting the phrase “Merry Christmas” which the White House is now putting on it’s Christmas Cards.  The last 8 years, Obama’s cards said, “Happy Holidays.”  Glad that politically correct crap is behind us..

French: Stop Misrepresenting Masterpiece Cakeshop

Forgive me for starting a piece with the oldest cliché in the practice of law. As the saying goes, “If the law is on your side, pound on the law. If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. If neither are on your side, pound on the table.” In the run-up to the oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on December 5, we’re seeing a lot of table-pounding from the Left. In fact, I’ve never seen a case more mischaracterized in my entire legal career. The actual facts of the case are crystal clear. Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused to custom-design a cake to help celebrate a gay wedding. As a Christian, he finds same-sex unions to be unbiblical and immoral, and he wasn’t willing to use his artistic talents to advance a message he holds to be wrong. In fact, he’d frequently declined to design cakes that advanced messages he found to be offensive. But he never, ever — not once — discriminated against any customers on the basis of their identity. He baked cakes for people of all races, creeds, colors, and sexual orientatons. So why do so many on the left compare him to segregationists? Why do they use hypotheticals that have nothing to do with the facts of this case? Today the New York Times published a perfect example of pound-on-the-table misrepresentations. It’s by Barnard College professor and Times contributor Jennifer Finney Boylan. How does she distort the case? Let us count the ways. She begins of course by comparing Phillips to the owner of a restaurant who claimed a religious justification for denying service to African Americans. Then she compares him to a doctor who wouldn’t care for a lesbian couple’s baby. She talks about landlords, clinics, and other businesses — all of which could deny services to people “because of who they are.” She quotes a law professor (because of course law professors aren’t above misrepresenting cases) as saying, “We’ve never allowed a commercial business to justify discrimination against a protected class based on the First Amendment. We shouldn’t start now.” Here’s the thing — if the court rules for Phillips, it wouldn’t be starting now. Phillips isn’t discriminating against a protected class. I’ll repeat this until I’m blue in the face. He serves gay customers. If a black baker refuses a white customer’s request to design a Confederate-flag cake, he’s not discriminating on the basis of race. He’s refusing to advance a message. If a police officer’s wife refuses a black customer’s request to design a cake celebrating Assata Shakur, a convicted cop-killer and one of the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists, she’s not discriminating on the basis of race. She’s refusing to advance a message.

Exactly!  Well said, David.  David French is an attorney and Army Reserve officer (Major) who was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.  To read the rest of his legal op/ed here, click on the text above.

Starnes: Jesus banned from buses in DC, but gay hookup ads allowed

The Archdiocese of Washington wanted to extend an invitation to commuters to find the perfect Christmas gift by advertising on city buses, but the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) threw up a roadblock. The advertisement depicted silhouettes of three shepherds walking at night with tall canes and sheep beneath a shining North Star. Emblazoned across the ad is the phrase: “FIND THE PERFECT GIFT.” But the transit authority rejected the ad because it “depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion,” according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Archdiocese of Washington against the WMATA. “To borrow from a favorite Christmas story, under WMATA’s guidelines, if the ads are about packages, boxes or bags… if Christmas comes from a store… then it seems WMATA approves,” spokesman Ed McFadden said in a statement. “But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch.” The transit authority might have reconsidered its ban on the Catholic Church’s advertisement had they been selling goods and services, the lawsuit alleges. However, as we all know – the perfect Christmas gift cannot be bought. The perfect gift came from a much Higher Authority. The WMATA issued this statement: “In 2015, WMATA changed its advertising space to a nonpublic and prohibits issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising. The ad in question was declined because it is prohibited by WMATA’s current advertising guidelines.” WMATA’s revised advertising guidelines prohibit “advertisements that promote or oppose any religion, religious practice or belief,” the Archdiocese alleges. “We believe rejection of this ad to be a clear violation of fundamental free speech and a limitation on the exercise of our faith,” general counsel Kim Fiorentino said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our case to affirm the right of all to express such viewpoints in the public square.” And while the Archdiocese of Washington may not be welcome to advertise on public buses, the transit authority is more than happy to promote other enterprises – like gay hookup websites. In 2016 the transit authority defended its decision to allow Squirt.org to advertise citing First Amendment rights, CNS News reported. In other words, the transit authority’s decision to banish the Archdiocese is not nice – and definitely naughty.The Archdiocese of Washington wanted to extend an invitation to commuters to find the perfect Christmas gift by advertising on city buses, but the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) threw up a roadblock. The advertisement depicted silhouettes of three shepherds walking at night with tall canes and sheep beneath a shining North Star. Emblazoned across the ad is the phrase: “FIND THE PERFECT GIFT.” But the transit authority rejected the ad because it “depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion,” according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Archdiocese of Washington against the WMATA. “To borrow from a favorite Christmas story, under WMATA’s guidelines, if the ads are about packages, boxes or bags… if Christmas comes from a store… then it seems WMATA approves,” spokesman Ed McFadden said in a statement. “But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch.” The transit authority might have reconsidered its ban on the Catholic Church’s advertisement had they been selling goods and services, the lawsuit alleges. However, as we all know – the perfect Christmas gift cannot be bought. The perfect gift came from a much Higher Authority. The WMATA issued this statement: “In 2015, WMATA changed its advertising space to a nonpublic and prohibits issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising. The ad in question was declined because it is prohibited by WMATA’s current advertising guidelines.” WMATA’s revised advertising guidelines prohibit “advertisements that promote or oppose any religion, religious practice or belief,” the Archdiocese alleges. “We believe rejection of this ad to be a clear violation of fundamental free speech and a limitation on the exercise of our faith,” general counsel Kim Fiorentino said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our case to affirm the right of all to express such viewpoints in the public square.” And while the Archdiocese of Washington may not be welcome to advertise on public buses, the transit authority is more than happy to promote other enterprises – like gay hookup websites. In 2016 the transit authority defended its decision to allow Squirt.org to advertise citing First Amendment rights, CNS News reported. In other words, the transit authority’s decision to banish the Archdiocese is not nice – and definitely naughty.The Archdiocese of Washington wanted to extend an invitation to commuters to find the perfect Christmas gift by advertising on city buses, but the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) threw up a roadblock. The advertisement depicted silhouettes of three shepherds walking at night with tall canes and sheep beneath a shining North Star. Emblazoned across the ad is the phrase: “FIND THE PERFECT GIFT.” But the transit authority rejected the ad because it “depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion,” according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Archdiocese of Washington against the WMATA. “To borrow from a favorite Christmas story, under WMATA’s guidelines, if the ads are about packages, boxes or bags… if Christmas comes from a store… then it seems WMATA approves,” spokesman Ed McFadden said in a statement. “But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch.” The transit authority might have reconsidered its ban on the Catholic Church’s advertisement had they been selling goods and services, the lawsuit alleges. However, as we all know – the perfect Christmas gift cannot be bought. The perfect gift came from a much Higher Authority. The WMATA issued this statement: “In 2015, WMATA changed its advertising space to a nonpublic and prohibits issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising. The ad in question was declined because it is prohibited by WMATA’s current advertising guidelines.” WMATA’s revised advertising guidelines prohibit “advertisements that promote or oppose any religion, religious practice or belief,” the Archdiocese alleges. “We believe rejection of this ad to be a clear violation of fundamental free speech and a limitation on the exercise of our faith,” general counsel Kim Fiorentino said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our case to affirm the right of all to express such viewpoints in the public square.” And while the Archdiocese of Washington may not be welcome to advertise on public buses, the transit authority is more than happy to promote other enterprises – like gay hookup websites. In 2016 the transit authority defended its decision to allow Squirt.org to advertise citing First Amendment rights, CNS News reported. In other words, the transit authority’s decision to banish the Archdiocese is not nice – and definitely naughty.

Definitely a double standard being exercised by the WMATA.  Thanks to veteran culture warrior Todd Starnes for bringing this story to our attention.

Timpf: College Employs ‘Safe Space Marshals’ to Patrol Speeches for Offensive Content

King’s College in London is paying people £12 per hour to police speaking events on campus and take “immediate action” if they hear anything that might offend the audience. The marshals also put up posters and hand out leaflets reminding all attendees that “this is a Safe Space.” Examples of speech that might violate the policy “could include derogatory comments about someone’s age, disability, marital or maternity or paternity status, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, trans status, socio-economic status, or ideology or culture,” according to an article in the Telegraph. In addition to their pay, the marshals also receive benefits such as free spin classes and free fruit. The Telegraph reports that not one, not two, but three of these marshals were present when Jacob Rees-Mogg, a conservative member of Parliament, spoke there earlier this month. He was no fan of the policy. “It’s absolutely weird to send marshals to check the content of the speech by an elected member of Parliament,” he said. The school’s Libertarian Society has also launched a campaign against the marshals — and the group’s president, Georgia Leigha, claims that it has been “surprisingly” popular. But Momin Saqib, president of the university’s students’ union, still insists that the safe-space policy was simply “protecting” students and speakers. Listen: I’m all for being sensitive, but this has got to be one of the most insane things that I’ve ever heard. For one thing, the list of things that apparently can qualify as “offensive” or “discriminatory” in our politically correct culture seems to be growing by the day — hoop-earring-wearing white girls, trying to make people like the Beatles, and the size of classroom chairs have all been added to the list within the last eight months alone. It seems like it could potentially be quite difficult to get through a speech at King’s College without saying or doing something that the marshals might deem offensive. After all, just think about what kind of person would actually sign up to be “safe space marshal” in the first place. Most likely, these are people who have an obsession with safe spaces and microaggressions, and at least enough sanctimonious arrogance to actually feel that they have the authority to police other people’s speech — in other words, the kind of people who are generally the most ridiculous when it comes to declaring the innocuous unacceptable. Sure, Saquib may brag about how the marshals are “protecting” students from offensiveness, but honestly, if I were a student there, the thing I’d be most offended by would probably be the idea that I was unable to handle sitting through a speech without protection from insensitivity. The vast majority of these students are adults. What adult is not capable of existing in society without protection from hearing words they don’t like? I’m not sure I even want to know the answer to that.

Agreed!!  Thanks to millennial reporter Katherine “Kat” Timpf for sharing this eye-rolling story from across the pond.  Let’s hope this kind of insanity doesn’t take hold here at American colleges and universities…

WSJ: Colleges That Don’t Protect Free Speech Should Lose Funding

An opinion column published in the Wall Street Journal this week argues that universities that don’t uphold free expression principles should lose federal funding. Two members of the American Enterprise Institute argued in a new column this week that universities receiving federal funding should be required to uphold free expression principles. “Here’s a straightforward idea that would be easy to put into practice: Require schools to assure free speech and inquiry as a condition of accepting federal research funding,” Frederick M. Hess and Grant Addison wrote. “In addition to subsidizing tuition and providing student loans, Washington disburses billions of dollars to colleges and universities for research—nearly $38 billion in fiscal 2015 alone.” “Leveraging federal money is one way to discourage campus speech restrictions. Federal research funds should come with contractual provisions that obligate the recipient schools to guarantee open discourse,” they continued. “Colleges should be required to offer assurances that their policies do not restrict constitutionally protected speech or expression and that they will commit to safeguarding open inquiry to the best of their ability. Violating such assurances would be grounds for loss of funds and render the school ineligible for future research dollars.” Hess and Addison argue that those studying engineering and biology would be forced to engage in the campus culture wars because their federal research dollars would be on the line. “Tying research funding to free speech would give a stake to serious scientists in fields like engineering and biology. These scholars traditionally have left the campus culture wars to their more politicized colleagues in the humanities and social sciences,” they add. “Under this plan, they would suddenly have an incentive to help push higher education back to its intellectual roots. The same goes for college presidents, many of whom have found it easier to placate the radical fringe than to defend free inquiry. With federal research funds on the line, they would suddenly face a new financial and political calculus.”

Indeed…     This sounds like a great idea!  Imagine our colleges and universities guaranteeing freedom of speech and inquiry..

French: Progressives Are Now Arguing that the First Amendment Is Profoundly Limited on College Campuses

There are a few ways to respond to radical demands for campus censorship. One is rather simple: Enforce decades of constitutional jurisprudence, and clearly signal to disruptive protesters that lawbreaking is grounds for serious discipline. Follow the law and the debate about free speech won’t end, but the wave of shout-downs will pass. Students, after all, don’t want to sacrifice their shot at a degree to stop, say, Ben Shapiro or Charles Murray from speaking. As a general rule, they’ll do what the college allows them to do, and nothing more. Then there’s the opposite response: A number of progressive administrators, professors, and activists (over the objection of more liberty-minded colleagues) are seeking to redefine and ultimately eliminate the very concept of a “marketplace of ideas” on college campuses. They argue that the ultimate mission of the university is education, not providing a platform for any crazy idea someone wants to share, and that school administrators should thus have the right to determine who speaks on campus and how they speak based on whether the speech in question furthers this educational mission. That, in a nutshell, is Yale Law School professor (and former dean) Robert Post’s argument in an extended piece in Vox. To justify an administrative role in determining not just who speaks on campus but what they are permitted to say, Professor Post says this: “The entire purpose of a university is to educate and to expand knowledge, and so everything a university does must be justified by reference to these twin purposes. These objectives govern all university action, inside and outside the classroom; they are as applicable to nonprofessional speech as they are to student and faculty work.” This is remarkably similar to the arguments made to my colleague Charlie Cooke in a recent and heated debate at Kenyon College. If speech is so offensive, hurtful, or maybe just plain wrong that administrators believe it would impair the educational mission of the university, then, the thinking goes, they should have the power to restrict that expression. There are multiple problems with this argument, but I’ll focus on two: It’s both unlawful and absurdly impractical. First, the law. When analyzing a free-speech case, the first question you need to ask is, “Who is speaking?” In the context of a public university, there are usually three relevant speakers: administrators, faculty, and students. Administrators have the general ability to define the mission and purpose of their schools’ academic departments. They can mandate, for example, that their science departments operate within the parameters of the scientific method and on key issues apply accepted scientific conclusions. But this power isn’t unlimited. They can’t lawfully decide, say, that evolutionary biology will be taught only by atheists. In that case, the speech of the administrators collides with the First Amendment rights of the professors, and the professors win. Similarly, while professors have the right to shape and control their classroom (some permit profanity and insults while others sharply limit discussion) and even have the right to require students, within the classroom context, to defend views they may find abhorrent, their control is not absolute. They can’t mark down conservatives for being conservative or silence Christians for being Christian. They can grade ideas and expression for academic rigor, but they cannot discriminate purely on the basis of ideology or faith. Just as you can’t “punch a Nazi,” you can’t “flunk a Nazi” if their work meets the standards of the class. One of my old cases is instructive. Shortly after California voters passed Proposition 8, a ballot measure that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman, a speech professor at Los Angeles City College walked into his class and declared that any person who voted for Proposition 8 was a “fascist bastard.” One of his students, a young man named Jonathan Lopez, decided to respond in a speech assignment. Lopez was asked to deliver a speech on “the topic of his choice,” and he chose to discuss and define his Christian faith. In the course of discussing the fundamentals of his faith, he briefly addressed marriage. His professor stopped his speech, angrily confronted Lopez, and then dismissed the class. Rather than grade his speech, he wrote on the evaluation paper, “Ask God what your grade is.” The professor’s “speech” thus collided with the student’s First Amendment rights, and the student’s rights prevailed. In sum, individuals at each layer of university life enjoy considerable First Amendment protection. Indeed, no lesser authority than the Supreme Court has decisively declared that “the vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools.”

Exactly..  To read the rest of this outstanding legal op/ed by attorney David French, click on the text above.