The Fight For Freedom of Speech

No, silence isn’t violence; it’s just that here at Ricochet, we’d like to hear what you’ve got to say. As is our wont, we’ve got a few freethinkers to join Rob and James this week – unfortunately Peter is away. First up is Matthew Continetti of The Washington Free BeaconHe’s here to talk about the bewildering politics in a time of competing counter-cultures where both sides think they’re losing.

Next up, Nathan Harden, author of Sex and God at Yale, who in 2012 foresaw how political correctness was suffocating education. More recently, his work at Real Clear Politics has highlighted the literally-dumbfounding phenomenon of self-censorship on campuses. Is the death of free speech inevitable? You’ll have to listen to find out!

And on that note: Rob and James chat about Dave Chappelle’s latest brush with the many “theys”; banter some about both sides-ism, and find common ground on the value of occasionally shutting up – if only for a few moments.

Music from this week’s podcast: Fight The Power by Public Enemy

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  1. Boney Cole Member
    Boney Cole
    @BoneyCole

    I would be interested in his opinion of “Rigged”. 

    • #1
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    By the way, folks, a great big “my bad” for the confusion on the record time today. I was guilty of some really, really bad East Coast/West Coast math. My apologies if you missed the zoom session because of that.

    • #2
  3. VRWC Member
    VRWC
    @VRWC

    Kinda lost me when Continetti claimed that conservatives were citing Victor Orban as a new model for democracy. One or two conservatives may have used that language but the truth is most people who admire Orban do so because he’s one of the few Euro leaders standing up for Western Christian civilization and culture in the face of mass muslim immigration… and not for anything else. And of course, Continetti ignores that fact that Orban does routinely win re election by huge margins… pretty sure that’s still democracy. I’ve heard the same nonsense routinely from NRO’s Jay Nordlinger… very lame and lazy establishment group think attitude from Continetti on that one.

    • #3
  4. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Good on James for pushing back,  Continetti seemed to twist himself into knots trying to equate the entire climate of terror engendered by the fear of losing everything over a 20 year old joke on one side to one Federalist article and one tweet on the other . Also these people who would lecture us on nuance can’t seem to grasp that being against mandates is not the same as being against this vaccine, vaccines in general or science. 

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I don’t remember where I first encountered it, but some time ago I came across this bit of wisdom:  “It’s easy to tell a conservative from a liberal these days.  The conservative is arguing in favor of gun rights, and the liberal is arguing AGAINST freedom of speech.”

    • #5
  6. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):
    Good on James for pushing back,  Continetti seemed to twist himself into knots trying to equate the entire climate of terror engendered by the fear of losing everything over a 20 year old joke on one side to one Federalist article and one tweet on the other

    Yeah, that struck me as a false equivalence. I quickly called up the relevant Federalist article, and it was basically a Christian view – you’re going to die of something, don’t worry, salvation is important, and so on. “For one thing, Christians believe that life and death belong entirely to God. There is nothing we can do to make our days on earth one second longer or shorter.” Is this part of conservative, or even the “counter culture” Red-state message? News to me. Is it as prevalent as Blue-staters writing pieces in Salon about how the Trumpy deniers have to take the blame for COVID? No. Is there racial essentialism on the right? Sure. Does it have anywhere the cultural impact and institutional foothold as left-wing racial essentialism? A break you should give me.

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    The Caitlynn Jenner joke that Rob recounted, I haven’t seen the special but the way I’ve heard it was more like “Caitlynn Jenner has only been a woman for a year, and he’s already a better woman than you!”

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Regarding Rob talking to Nathan Harden, has Rob missed how much college is now just for getting a credential for getting a high-paying job right out of school?  Especially for places like Yale.

    • #8
  9. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Even if a college-age kid is really good at computers, it’s more and more difficult to get a job with a good company without a 4-year degree even if the degree is something totally unrelated.  Typically the HR/hiring managers are simply not allowed to hire or even interview someone without a degree.

    • #9
  10. David Cheney Member
    David Cheney
    @DavidCheney

    Yaay for James! for being polite to the guest but pushing back on what was an inaccurate assertion about …”you know,  both sides do the same”

    • #10
  11. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Rob‘s rather casual dismissal of the Woke effect on culture worries me.  To remind you, what he said (lightly paraphrased) was “If we don’t get to see Olivier’s Othello, we’ll live.  It’s no big deal.”

    Well, you’re right, Rob, we will live.  But it’s also a big deal — huge, in fact — because the Woke suppression of that particular movie is example #7,000,648 of what the New Left is doing to art, publishing, TV, film, theater, education, and discourse.

    This is not to trivialize the harm it is doing to the sciences, by the way — which is terrifying — but Rob, isn’t what it’s doing to the culture equally terrifying?  Or have you got a Chamber-of-Commerce-Republican-circa-2003 attitude toward the issue, which is basically, “Who cares what the kids are doing on campus now?  They’ll grow out of it!  And who cares about movies or TV shows?  Who’s got time to watch ‘em?  I sure don’t!  What matters to me is cutting taxes, law & order, and the market, the market, the market!”

    That kind of attitude is part of what’s killing us.

    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Rob‘s rather casual dismissal of the Woke effect on culture worries me. To remind you, what he said (lightly paraphrased) was “If we don’t get to see Olivier’s Othello, we’ll live. It’s no big deal.”

    Well, you’re right, Rob, we will live. But it’s also a big deal — huge, in fact — because the Woke suppression of that particular movie is example #7,000,648 of what the New Left is doing to art, publishing, TV, film, theater, education, and discourse.

    This is not to trivialize the harm it is doing to the sciences, by the way — which is terrifying — but Rob, isn’t what it’s doing to the culture equally terrifying? Or have you got a Chamber-of-Commerce-Republican-circa-2003 attitude toward the issue, which is basically, “Who cares what the kids are doing on campus now? They’ll grow out of it! And who cares about movies or TV shows? Who’s got time to watch ‘em? I sure don’t! What matters to me is cutting taxes, law & order, and the market, the market, the market!”

    That kind of attitude is part of what’s killing us.

    And it’s not like the Woke are in favor of law & order, cutting taxes, or the market, the market, the market!

    • #12
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    To remind you, what he said (lightly paraphrased) was “If we don’t get to see Olivier’s Othello, we’ll live.  It’s no big deal.”

    I haven’t listened yet, but…seriously?

     

    • #13
  14. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    To remind you, what he said (lightly paraphrased) was “If we don’t get to see Olivier’s Othello, we’ll live. It’s no big deal.”

    I haven’t listened yet, but…seriously?

    “Seriously” what? — that Rob really said that?  Or that I’d care that Rob really said that?

     

    • #14
  15. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):
    Good on James for pushing back, Continetti seemed to twist himself into knots trying to equate the entire climate of terror engendered by the fear of losing everything over a 20 year old joke on one side to one Federalist article and one tweet on the other

    Yeah, that struck me as a false equivalence. I quickly called up the relevant Federalist article, and it was basically a Christian view – you’re going to die of something, don’t worry, salvation is important, and so on. “For one thing, Christians believe that life and death belong entirely to God. There is nothing we can do to make our days on earth one second longer or shorter.” Is this part of conservative, or even the “counter culture” Red-state message? News to me. Is it as prevalent as Blue-staters writing pieces in Salon about how the Trumpy deniers have to take the blame for COVID? No. Is there racial essentialism on the right? Sure. Does it have anywhere the cultural impact and institutional foothold as left-wing racial essentialism? A break you should give me.

    David French likes to do this, too — posit a false Left/Right equivalency on matters of Race, which is so at odds with observable reality as to verge on the idiotic.  Now, since neither David nor Matthew are idiots, I have to assume there’s a kind of self-delusion going on.  (I hope so, anyway — otherwise they’re being disingenuous)

    As you indicated, there are terrible racists on the Right these days.   David and his adopted black daughter heard from several of them a few years ago, and what they said wasn’t pretty. Ben Shapiro heard from them, too. These people are vile and evil and need to be cast out of conservative circles.

    But their ideas aren’t mainstream. Their ideas aren’t finding their way into K-12 education. Their ideas have not been embedded in college curricula, and campus activism, for a quarter century, and we aren’t seeing them in all — literally all — of our scripted media.   (Example:  Show me a program that isn’t at least somewhat Woke where Race is concerned, and I’ll show you a rerun).

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    (Example:  Show me a program that isn’t at least somewhat Woke where Race is concerned, and I’ll show you a rerun).

    Maybe that’s why we should all just be watching Cheers repeats along with Rob.

    • #16
  17. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    David French likes to do this, too — posit a false Left/Right equivalency on matters of Race, which is so at odds with observable reality as to verge on the idiotic.  Now, since neither David nor Matthew are idiots, I have to assume there’s a kind of self-delusion going on.  (I hope so, anyway — otherwise they’re being disingenuous)

    I don’t want to speak for either, but for some, it’s not a matter of idiot or delusion, but pre-emptive insulation: your criticism of the left will be heard and respected if you first admit the sins of your own side. In practical terms, your critic will hear nothing but Charlie-Brown Teacher-Trumpet after you’ve admitted that your side has bad actors. 

    • #17
  18. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The vaccine doesn’t do a damn thing for the transmission through society. That has been the government’s position for three months. 

     

     

    Getting everyone vaccinated isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference compared to simply putting the screws to people that are likely to clog up the medical system. 

    Public health is worthless because they talk to us like idiots and they  throw spaghetti at the wall with government force.

     

    • #18
  19. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I can’t understand why anybody would be unhappy with our “bureaucratic elites”.

     

     

    Fortunately, the Federal Reserve doesn’t have very much power in this country.

    • #19
  20. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Masks don’t do a damn thing as an aggregate, top down policy.  Zero. 

     

     

    There are literally principles first, anti-Trump RINOs that want to vaccinate five-year-olds and force them to wear masks.

    • #20
  21. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Remind yourself to vote. lol

     

     

     

    • #21
  22. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

     

     

     

     

    • #22
  23. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The higher education discussion was really good.

    Higher education ***does not*** ***develop human capital*** ***(however anyone wants to define that)*** ***at a fair price***. It is a cartel protected by the accreditation system. This never mattered until they started charging too much for it. I went to college decades ago, and I could not believe all of the smart people that were angry about being forced to pay for liberal arts classes. Parents as well. The whole thing should be alacarte.

    I think a lot of this work stuff is simply about keeping the people that are likely to go to college at your college.  The administrators and the faculty just want to keep milking this unjust system.

    • #23
  24. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    As you indicated, there are terrible racists on the Right these days.   David and his adopted black daughter heard from several of them a few years ago, and what they said wasn’t pretty. Ben Shapiro heard from them, too. These people are vile and evil and need to be cast out of conservative circles.

     

    • #24
  25. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    As you indicated, there are terrible racists on the Right these days. David and his adopted black daughter heard from several of them a few years ago, and what they said wasn’t pretty. Ben Shapiro heard from them, too. These people are vile and evil and need to be cast out of conservative circles.

     

    Oh my God.  Is that really your reply?

    More to the point, do you actually believe what you indicated just now?   

    • #25
  26. Sheila Coolidge
    Sheila
    @SheilaP

    I would like to add to to the rest thanking James for the respectful pushback of Mathew Continetti. Well done!

    Saying that the right wing crazies have power is absurd. Mathew’s “proof” of right wing counter culture institutions were lame at best.

    Mathew referred to quackery of religious people accepting their fate as destined by their god as saying that dying from COVID is a good thing.

    He said that states and localities doing election audits as “farcical audits.” As if making sure elections are accurate and secure, and also reassuring the public, are somehow bad. That is why these processes are in place.

    His point about Republican Governors imposing anti vaxx rules on business is right as far as it is against conservatives values. But there is a lot of “missing information” as Facebook would say. These laws are in response to fed government overreach, and trying to keep a person’s rights in place. Not to say that that makes them okay, its just not an institutional counter culture, its a response to one thing.

    And WTF Rob?!? Republicans don’t like science? Who sounds like a crazy leftist in this podcast? Rob does. (FYI I am not a Rob Long hater, I just disagree with this comment, and more of his comments than James and Peter LOL.) Conservatives are thinkers, we want to think for ourselves. We do not look at science as a religion, as if it is non failing. Science gave us blood letting, and mercury injections, thank goodness there were people thinking for themselves to get us away from all that.

    • #26
  27. Sheila Coolidge
    Sheila
    @SheilaP

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    As you indicated, there are terrible racists on the Right these days. David and his adopted black daughter heard from several of them a few years ago, and what they said wasn’t pretty. Ben Shapiro heard from them, too. These people are vile and evil and need to be cast out of conservative circles.

     

    Oh my God. Is that really your reply?

    More to the point, do you actually believe what you indicated just now?

    I’m not sure what you think was indicated, could you explain?

    I got that we don’t need to play identity politics and word games like the left. Just like if it said terrible white racists and they need to be cast out of white circles. Another one seen from the left is gun violence, we don’t need qualifiers, the problem is violence and it has nothing to do with guns. There are racists. full stop. They are evil and need to be cast out. Full stop. 

    • #27
  28. Sheila Coolidge
    Sheila
    @SheilaP

    Also, did anyone look at the list of ranked colleges on the Real Clear Politics site? Anyone notice what they did to the religious universities? Not given a rank and a warning added. BYU, Hillsdale and Pepperdine… yep, their politics are real clear.

    • #28
  29. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Sheila (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    As you indicated, there are terrible racists on the Right these days. David and his adopted black daughter heard from several of them a few years ago, and what they said wasn’t pretty. Ben Shapiro heard from them, too. These people are vile and evil and need to be cast out of conservative circles.

    Oh my God. Is that really your reply?

    More to the point, do you actually believe what you indicated just now?

    I’m not sure what you think was indicated, could you explain?

    I got that we don’t need to play identity politics and word games like the left. Just like if it said terrible white racists and they need to be cast out of white circles. Another one seen from the left is gun violence, we don’t need qualifiers, the problem is violence and it has nothing to do with guns. There are racists. full stop. They are evil and need to be cast out. Full stop.

    Except that Mr. Miffed White Male was responding to a comment where I criticized the idea of Continetti-style false equivalency.  Do you understand?  I said that while racial essentialism does exist in certain quarters on the Right (just ask David French or Ben Shapiro), it exists in far greater quantity on the Left.  Furthermore, and just as importantly, I said that it is the modern Left’s — and not the modern Right’s — ideas about Race that are now infecting all aspects of mainstream culture (art, education, politics, discourse, etc).

    This seems unassailable to me.

    • #29
  30. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

     

     

     

     

     

    • #30