Tag Archives: Repression

Has the university become intolerant and close-minded?

This article by prestigious McGill University ethicist Margaret Somerville is worth reading. (H/T Commenter ECM) She is one of the leading defenders of traditional marriage in Canada. She is a moderate social conservative. Here is a brief summary of her case against same-sex marriage. Her short article in the journal Academic Matters is about the intolerance of the leftist university elites against their opponents.

Here is the abstract:

In this edited excerpt from her Research and Society Lecture to the 2008 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, ethicist Margaret Somerville argues that universities are becoming forums of intolerance. Keeping the university as an intellectually open and respectful place is critical, she says, to finding the “shared ethics” essential to maintaining healthy, pluralistic democracies.

And here is an excerpt in which she discusses the impact of moral relativism on moral disagreements:

That is where political correctness enters the picture. It excludes politically incorrect values from the “all values are equal” stable. The intense moral relativists will tolerate all values except those they deem to be politically incorrect—which just happen to be the ones that conflict with their values.

Political correctness operates by shutting down non-politically correct people’s freedom of speech. Anyone who challenges the politically correct stance is, thereby, automatically labeled as intolerant, a bigot, or hatemonger. The substance of their arguments against a politically correct stance is not addressed; rather people labeled as politically incorrect are, themselves, attacked as being intolerant and hateful simply for making those arguments. This derogatorily -label-the-person-and-dismiss-them-on-the-basis-of-that-label approach is intentionally used as a strategy to suppress strong arguments against any politically correct stance and, also, to avoid dealing with the substance of these arguments.

It is important to understand the strategy employed: speaking against same-sex marriage, for example, is not characterized as speech; rather, it is characterized as a discriminatory act against homosexuals and, therefore, a breach of human rights or even a hate crime. Consequently, it is argued that protections of freedom of speech do not apply.

She illustrates with some examples:

We need to look at what “pure” moral relativism and intense tolerance, as modified by political correctness, mean in practice. So let ‘s look at the suppression of pro-life groups and pro-life speech on Canadian university campuses. Whatever one’s views on abortion, we should all be worried about such developments. Pro-choice students are trying to stop pro-life students from participating in the collective conversation on abortion that should take place. In fact, they don’t want any conversation, alleging that to question whether we should have any law on abortion is, in itself, unacceptable.

In some instances some people are going even further: they want to force physicians to act against their conscience under threat of being in breach of human rights or subject to professional disciplinary procedures for refusing to do so. The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently advised the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to this effect.

Political correctness is being used to try to impose certain views and even actions that breach rights to freedom of conscience; to shut down free speech; and to contravene academic freedom. I do not need to emphasize the dangers of this in universities. The most fundamental precept on which a university is founded is openness to ideas and knowledge from all sources.

She spends the rest of the paper arguing for a system of “shared ethics” that grounds open, respectful debate between disagreeing parties. I hope this catches on before secular-left moves from censorship to outright violence, against those who would dare to disagree with them.

A short bio of Margaret Somerville

Margaret Somerville is Samuel Gale Professor in the Faculty of Law and a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and is the founding director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law. In 2004, she received the UNESCO Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science and in 2006 delivered the prestigious Massey Lectures.

The Family Research Center evaluates Barack Obama’s first 100 days

Has Obama been a good President for Christians? Should Christians have voted for him? How well has he done at fulfilling his campaign promises to pro-life and pro-marriage social conservatives?

Watch this 7-minute video and see for yourself how prudent it was for Christians to put their faith in Obama’s promises. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

The Cloak Room lists the decisions of interest to Christians and social conservatives from the first 100 days of Obama’s regime.

I think we should judge presidential candidates on their record, not on their speeches or their appearance. How did Obama vote before his campaign started? Did the Christians who voted for Obama take the time to find out?

This video follows the story of the Democrats’ Hate Crime bill, which allows the government to imprison bloggers and Christians, (much like Iran’s theocratic government). My original post on Obama’s attempts to intimidate Chrysler’s creditors, thereby undermining the Constitution and the rule of law, is here. And it has now been corroborated over at Hot Air, here.

Regarding the intimidation of Chrysler’s creditors, Hot Air has a follow-up story from the Business Insider:

Creditors to Chrysler describe negotiations with the company and the Obama administration as “a farce,” saying the administration was bent on forcing their hands using hardball tactics and threats.

Conversations with administration officials left them expecting that they would be politically targeted, two participants in the negotiations said. …

The sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed to cajole them into acquiescing to plans to restructure Chrysler. One person said described the administration as the most shocking “end justifies the means” group they have ever encountered.  Another characterized Obama was “the most dangerous smooth talker on the planet- and I knew Kissinger.” Both were voters for Obama in the last election.

One participant in negotiations said that the administration’s tactic was to present what one described as a  “madman theory of the presidency” in which the President is someone to be feared because he was willing to do anything to get his way. The person said this threat was taken very seriously by his firm.

Hot Air comments:

Well, that’s certainly reassuring.  The man at the helm during one of the biggest economic crises in decades is a madman who will act in an unpredictable and irrational manner if he doesn’t get his way.  It sounds like they paint Obama as either a lunatic or a petulant child.

The “madman theory” of the Presidency? Is that what uninformed Christians who voted for Obama expected?

UPDATE: Ace has more here and here. (H/T Commenter ECM) And Hot Air (Ed Morrissey) has more here.

Bill H.R. 1966 would make blogging a crime, punishable by up to two years in prison

UPDATE: Welcome readers from Small Dead Animals! Thanks for the link, Kate! Canadian readers, this post that I wrote is an index to most of my recent posts on your free speech troubles with the Human Rights Commissions. I hope and pray that you guys can get your civil liberties restored, and be the True North Strong and Free, again!

UPDATE: If you are looking for the story on the hate crime bill that adds pedophiles to the list of “protected” groups, see here.

Wow, check out this story from OpenMarket blog.

Excerpt:

Under a recently-introduced bill, H.R. 1966, bloggers would face up to two years in prison if they “harass” public figures by criticizing them in a “severe, repeated, and hostile” manner, and thereby cause them “substantial emotional distress.”

I guess fascism is coming along faster than I thought.

U.C.L.A. Law Professor Eugene Volokh, the author of a First Amendment treatise, has concluded that the bill is unconstitutional. I agree, as I explain here. As a federal appeals court noted in DeJohn v. Temple University (2008), “there is no harassment exception to the First Amendment’s free speech clause.” Speech that causes emotional distress can be protected,as the Supreme Court made clear in barring a lawsuit by Jerry Falwell over an offensive parody.

Wow, it’s like the left is doing everything they accused Bush of doing, which he never did. The fascist policies they imagined were all projections onto Bush of what they intended to do themselves! Now I get it. It wasn’t conservatives who were in favor of government control of private lives, it was the progressive left.

The bill is a telling example of how the American Left has turned against free speech and civil liberties. The bill’s sponsor, Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and nearly all of her 14 co-sponsors are liberals. All of them backed the federal hate-crimes bill passed by the House yesterday, which is designed to allow people who have been found innocent in state court to be reprosecuted in federal court. (That bill has been criticized by four members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, including law professor Gail Heriot, and by civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer. Advocates of the federal hate-crimes bill once cited the defendants in the Duke Lacrosse case, who were innocent, as an example of people who should be prosecuted in federal court).

And don’t forget about the hate crimes bill: I wrote previously about the two ways in which that bill is unconstitutional.