Attorney general declares war on speech critical of liberal ideology

Painting: "Freedom of Speech" by Norman Rockwell
Painting: “Freedom of Speech” by Norman Rockwell

This is from the Daily Signal.


Last week, a line was crossed in the ongoing campaign of liberals to criminalize freedom of expression. The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands subpoenaed a decade of materials and work by a private advocacy group that had dared to question the orthodoxy of climate change.

The group is the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the attorney general is Claude E. Walker, who had recently signed on to a campaign of over a dozen attorneys general to ferret out so-called climate change “deniers.” It is possible that CEI was being targeted by Walker precisely because one of its attorneys, Hans Bader, had criticized New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was leading the campaign.

This is all part of growing chorus of officials willing to use their powers to condemn climate change skeptics. A few weeks ago, for example, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had asked the FBI to look into the matter of whether climate change-denying scientists could be accused of fraud for not toeing the line.

There is no other way to characterize these moves. They are blatant attempts to bend the law—in Schneiderman’s case, by using consumer protection and securities laws—to shut down free and open research. It is but another example of the new illiberal attempt by progressive liberals to use the power of the law to intimidate and coerce those with whom they disagree.

[…]According to this mindset, it would be a “thoughtcrime” merely to question why the real-world results of global temperature change don’t match up with predictions by computer models.

What’s going on here? The problem is that progressive liberals see too much freedom of speech as injurious to their cause. It’s not only the egregious abuses that happen regularly on college campuses. It’s increasingly mainstream liberals who are surrendering to a “yes but” strategy on freedom of expression—saying, in effect, “yes, we support it in principle, but not so much when it conflicts with our ideology.”

Is this going to get better in time? Only if the next generation of college graduates respect free speech and disagreement. Well, do they?

This is the raw data is from the leftist Pew Research Center.

It says:

American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.

We asked whether people believe that citizens should be able to make public statements that are offensive to minority groups, or whether the government should be able to prevent people from saying these things. Four-in-ten Millennials say the government should be able to prevent people publicly making statements that are offensive to minority groups, while 58% said such speech is OK.

[…]In the U.S., our findings also show a racial divide on this question, with non-whites more likely (38%) to support government prevention of such speech than non-Hispanic whites (23%).

Nearly twice as many Democrats say the government should be able to stop speech against minorities (35%) compared with Republicans (18%). Independents, as is often the case, find themselves in the middle. One-third of all women say the government should be able to curtail speech that is offensive to minorities vs. 23% of men who say the same.

Furthermore, Americans who have a high school degree or less are more likely than those with at least a college degree to say that speech offensive to minority groups should be able to be restricted (a 9-percentage-point difference).

Why are the students do opposed to free speech that they disagree with? It’s because that’s what their professors are teaching them.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the professors teaching the impressionable, captive students are almost all on the secular left:

According to data compiled by the Higher Education Research Institute, only 12% of university faculty identify as politically right of center, and these are mainly professors in schools of engineering and other professional schools. Only 5% of professors in the humanities and social-science departments so identify.

A comprehensive study by James Lindgren of Northwestern University Law School shows that in a country fairly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, only 13% of law professors identify as Republican. And a recent study by Jonathan Haidt of New York University showed that 96% of social psychologists identify as left of center, 3.7% as centrist/moderate and only 0.03% as right of center.

I spent a few hours on the weekend talking to a reader of the blog who is in graduate school. She was told in her classroom by a liberal professor that all the students will be taught liberal views of economics, that classroom participation will be required, and that no dissenting views will be tolerated. I spent 4 hours on Sunday digging up information for her to counter a liberal text book she was assigned, which was written by two non-experts and misused statistics to push a liberal agenda. She was told all these things about forced participation and no dissent only after she had already paid for her tuition, of course. That’s what happened to free speech and tolerance.

2 thoughts on “Attorney general declares war on speech critical of liberal ideology”

    1. This is one reason why I may not marry. I don’t want to get trapped into paying income tax until I am 65 so that it goes to pay the salaries of people who have no respect for my Constitutional liberties. Call it planning to go Galt. Obama ran up 10 trillion in new debt, and they will have to raise taxes at some point to pay for it. I don’t want to be working at that time and paying into their system.

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