Editor’s note: Outrage over the muzzling of certain ideas in our school classrooms and government offices is the common thread of this week’s collection of correspondence from The Daily Signal’s audience. Write us at [email protected]—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: How is the bullying and threatening of a Boise State University political science professor, Scott Yenor, over the transgender agenda—or any other person by someone or a business or organization, by use of a position of power—any different than the Harvey Weinsteins of this world (“This Professor Is Under Siege for Challenging Transgender Orthodoxy”)?
Isn’t the coercion described in Jarrett Stepman’s commentary the kind that has eroded free speech and common dialogue? Why does one person and his or her oh-so-valuable opinion rate esteem while another is cause for derision?
College campuses have become the most fascist places on earth, and those same people who have been deprived of the opportunity to form thoughts and opinions of their own will be turned loose on society in the near future.
The sexual predator uses intimidation, as does the boss at the office, the mechanic with a female customer, the doctor who frightens patients into compliance, the editor who frightens readers to form agreement, the fashionista who condemns a style of clothing to make more money.
All of these and many, many more types of pressure are applied to force compliance in our lives. If we are truly to be a free people, we first need to shake off this role of fear in our lives and simply stand up for the truth.
Bullies lose their power if we are brave enough to think for ourselves. Evaluate the evidence and choose what you believe to be right. If you are a moral individual, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Nancy Reagan might have said it too often, but there’s nothing wrong with just saying “no.” We don’t all have to share the same opinion, and you are free to leave the room if you wish. Grow up!—Donna Patterson
A brief study of Saul Alinsky’s handbook “Rules for Radicals” will pinpoint exactly what is occurring not only on college campuses but in the media. (And an even closer observation will see President Trump’s using that tactic of isolating and demeaning against the radical left.)
Trying to revisit or rewrite history is not going to win in the long run, because the left’s idea that the God-fearing, gun-toting rubes in Middle America are stupid but will find out we will only be pushed so far.
The half of America that still believes in the experiment of self-governance granted by God and laid out in the founding documents also still believes that it’s a better approach to remain a citizen than to become a subject in any other form of government. For the dimwits reading this, that means socialism has been tried before; just glance to Cuba or Venezuela for confirmation.—Carl Smith
I’m an old man and have seen many changes in my lifetime, some good and some bad. But one thing that has not changed is the right of everyone to have an opinion on anything or subject.
If we lose freedom of speech, there will be no diversity. I have read most of the comments on this article and it seems to me both sides have an argument. But only one side gets hammered for their thought process and that’s the professor’s side.—Chuck Faraci Sr.
What I’ve noticed about the left’s agenda in our country: They have been targeting our children behind the backs of the parents for years now. It’s as if our school system has been taken over. It’s just one of the reasons, in a long list of reasons, why our education system is failing. And our morals too.—Melissa Schmidtbauer
— The College Fix (@CollegeFix) October 14, 2017
Just another example of students, faculty, and administration at an American university stifling the expression of any viewpoint other than that of the “herd,” their herd.
Every time we have to suffer through the “argument” that a teacher or professor expressing a counterview has committed something called hate speech, those screaming “Nazi,” “hater,” and “bigot” are devoid of credibility, simply because they have nothing to counter the debate with.
Just more groupthink, groupspeech, and mindless following of successful programming. Young Democrat Joe Goode’s statement in Jarrett Stepman’s commentary—”We want to show that our university stands for more than hate, we are a community of equality and inclusivity”—is missing an essential follow-up: “especially if it doesn’t follow what the mob decides is right.”—Richard Head
Education is not merely a discussion of the sum total of human experience. It consists of disciplines fulfilling a purpose. It is to be formative and, literally, lead a person out of ignorance—especially willful ignorance.
The artificial term “transgender,” with respect to human beings, makes no sense. One is, biologically, what one is. To attempt to change that will never produce an equivalent being of the opposite sex with the same innate capabilities as the opposite sex. The idea that “freedom of choice” transcends natural law and natural consequences is provably absurd.
Since it is, the purpose of education must be to demonstrate that the benefits of the fulfillment of purpose are worth more and are more rewarding than the consequences of a choice to deny them.
The proposition that nonbiological “predeterminedness” of the psyche with respect to sexuality—”orientation”-—prevents a person from having free-will choice has troubling legal implications. The concept of free moral agency must accept a critical differentiation between right and wrong with respect to behavior as a matter of choice.
Discrimination on the basis of criminal, wrong choice can be taught and, for the majority of society, it is practiced with overwhelming success.—John D. Beach
It is a shame when our freedoms and opinions are labeled and attacked by the very people who claim they are being inclusive. Wake up, America, and don’t let the real haters squash everyone’s right to freedom.
Freedom especially for the American family to raise our children in a safe and protective environment. An environment that is nurturing and loving until they are physically and mentally ready to face this crazed and hateful world that demands attention for misguided behavior.—Cheryl Fortin Young
It’s obvious the hate speech and vile actions are totally from these left-winger hatemongers. Bravo for Scott Yenor, and bravo for Boise State University for not caving in to the left-wing crazies and firing him.
It’s imperative that we stand up for free speech, particularly when it is direct conflict with the left-wing hatemongers’ agenda to shut up differing moral values and integrity. The LGBT movement is not about families and values, it’s about controlling our kids and our values, removing the family unit and allowing them to control our society. Something we must never allow.—Tricia Harris
When liberal fascists destroy professors for speaking the truth, then the liberal fascists are practicing what they claim to be fighting against. The truth has no agenda, it simply is what it is.
Liberals do not recognize truth, only their false narrative of it. Professor Yenor, after all these years watching academia turn communist, you should have known you’d be persecuted for speaking the truth. My prayers are with you, that you might weather these onslaughts from the left.—Jerry Roth
Any disagreement with the left is called “hate speech” and anyone who disagrees with a position championed by the left is branded as a racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobe, xenophobe, Islamophobe—take your pick. Name-calling is an effective way of shutting people up. You don’t have to provide any real evidence of your defamation, just name-call and put your target on the defensive and make him or her try to prove a negative.—Jerry Zacny
The Professor Yenors of the academic world absolutely must be allowed to speak, or else freedom of speech has lost all meaning. Whatever happened to diversity of viewpoint? Of debating those whose views you disagree with? If any given professor or student at Boise State (or elsewhere) doesn’t like the content of Yenor’s publications, then why not challenge him to an honest, healthy, give-and-take debate?—Janet Helwig Fortney
The quote in Jarrett Stepman’s commentary from Professor Lynn Lubamersky gave me pause when she stated that the majority of students at Boise State were either women or “transgendered.” I would be shocked if this were in fact, true.
I also am pretty sick of the term “hate speech” being tossed around almost as much as the word “racist.” Hate speech doesn’t include an opinion with which you disagree. In fact, the term should be very narrow in its interpretation.
A lie is just that, an untrue statement. A fact is a statement that is grounded in actual research or empirical data, and opinion is nothing more than how a person views a situation.
My opinion is that the left has a problem discerning these three things, so “hate speech” is their go-to. Unless a person’s statement causes harm physically, financially, or reputation wise, he or she should have the right to make that statement without fear of job loss, home loss, or physical violence.
As adults, college students, and apparently teachers, need to close their mouths, open their ears, and listen to all sides of a dialogue. Getting a thicker skin might help—and a helmet, because life is tough.—Teresa Barrett
— Paul D. Gallagher (@paulgallagher) October 19, 2017
Banning ‘Mockingbird’ in Mississippi
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Daniel Davis’s commentary, I am older than 60 and have read a lot of banned books (“Why Pulling ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ From the Classroom Hurts Kids”). What I see today is a coddling of young ones that is only going to cause them greater pain when they get older and don’t have the constant caring of overzealous educators.
Life is not a situation where everyone is going to be kind and understanding to the sheltered individual. Instead of trying to hide all of these issues, why don’t educators be just that—educators?—Bill Peddie
Some profoundly weak school districts exist in Mississippi, but oddly, Biloxi is not one of them. It ranks No. 9 out of 162 school districts in the state. It does, however, rank No. 1 for “diversity.” That might explain the school board’s still foolish decision to ban “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
One wonders, who are these board members who would respond to a parent complaint by removing the Pulitzer Prize-winning book from the eighth-grade curriculum? Answer: Gavin Schmidt, president; Kenny Holloway, vice president, Philip Goudy, secretary; Jane Meynardie, member; Jim Wallis, member; and Col. Danny Davis, Keesler Air Force Base liaison.
As it happens, five of the six are white, and only one is a woman. Yet, unlike its school board, the district itself ranks No. 1 for “diversity.” I have a theory: These people are appointed by Biloxi’s mayor to five-year terms.
The most recent appointment, in February by Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich (a Republican), was Jim Wallis, 70, owner of a roofing company inherited from his dad and previously a high school baseball coach.
Biloxi probably would get a better school board if the positions were elected, rather than appointed by the mayor.—John Levin
The plot of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is about a white lawyer, Atticus Finch, courageously fighting unjust and false accusations made against a poor black man, even in the face of ridicule and danger to him and his family. It is a great book. It should bring blacks and whites together, not divide them.—Joe Tropea
Making someone uncomfortable means that you’re making them think. They are uncomfortable because some of their old, ingrained beliefs are being challenged, and they need to come to grips with that, not avoid it by edict.—Harry Pearson
The Biloxi school board is appointed by the mayor, and that somewhat changes my views. I guess the mayor is the Man, and has a lot of say in what goes down.
I don’t know him. I don’t know them. However, I’m pretty sure that whoever is responsible for this decision caved to bullying from forces that want our children “dumbed down” to fodder ripe for their harvest.
We are witnessing the sacrifice of our education, morality, culture, and liberty on the altar of political correctness, which is fast transforming into fascism.—Joanna Brannon Jones
No education for our kids now. Just let them think they should be offended by everything, and it changes.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a wonderful book that speaks volumes about what is being protested today. But it is a more reasonable answer: Working things out. Talking to each other. Not burning down and destroying businesses and homes.
I am saddened. And in Mississippi of all places.—Tonie Lesia Dalton
— emfvet1 (@emfvet1) October 19, 2017
Trump and the Deep State
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Jarrett Stepman’s commentary, if the swamp is to be drained, then the size of our government must be reduced (“Why Trump’s Not Replacing Bureaucrats Enables the ‘Deep State’”). The only way to effectively do that is to reduce individual department budgets so they will have to declare a RIF, or reduction in force, and lay off the most recent employees (likely from the Obama era).
It is a tough thing to have to do, but it must be done. It will also actually reduce the federal budget instead of simply reducing its rate of growth. To my knowledge, the budget has never been reduced.
We also need to change Congress, actually change the Republican Party and eliminate Democrats. Steve Bannon is doing good work getting new candidates and obtaining financing for them to run against incumbent Republicans.
That needs to be done, but we must do our part. We need to purge swamp-rat Republicans in the primaries and dump despicable Democrats in the general election. This will take several elections, but we must do it if we are to save our beloved country as we know it.—Randy Leyendecker
Until the swamp can be fully drained, the problems will continue. We certainly should have now learned that we must remove Democrats from public office at every level, plus from our courts, our schools, our borders, and our wallets. While we have been busy working, control-freak Dems have been busy taking over our lives and ladies’ rooms.—Nick Pasq
Eliminate the unions for federal employees and it will be possible to drain the swamp. The problem is that the government is run by the permanent employees and the Congress becomes simply a figurehead with no real power.
A simple phrase generally included in any bill allows the agency to promulgate any such rules and orders necessary to implement the new law or agency. A prime example of this is the income tax code. It started out as basically three lines and is now about 30,000 pages of Byzantium rulings and laws without benefit of it being passed by the Congress and signed by the president.—James G. Thompson
The FBI’s Mark Felt gave leaking an enormous leg up in his role as “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal. His act now garners media admiration and approval similar to that bestowed on the likes of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, and even Ambassador Joseph Wilson and the “yellowcake” expose.
It is standard operating procedure for much of the media to farm for leaks ranging anywhere from simple gossip and low-grade forms of espionage to outright theft of national secrets. Essentially, under the First Amendment of the Constitution, much of the media believes it is licensed to spy in pursuit of an audience under cover of political transparency.
The son of an owner of a now-defunct New York newspaper told me that his father once counseled him to choose between writing about policy and politics in the press or joining the government and making policy. That dividing line is now blurred, if it ever existed. The media herds voters to act in support of the media’s policies and politics while remaining secure in their unelected and unaccountable role in governance.
These days, the risks from terrorism or mob political violence amplify and make the role of the media and leaks dangerous. Newsweek’s Quran fiasco in 2005 is a case in point. The publicity and support given to mob demonstration politics, be it by student riots over Vietnam, Tiananmen Square, or globalism cast the media in its preferred role of a Pontius Pilate, proclaiming its innocence, if not indifference, over mob sentiment by rinsing the stain of guilt from its hands over the violence it celebrates.
Consequences from media acts cannot be assuaged as “no fault” journalism when reporting is loaded with finding fault. Lord Acton’s warning that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” ought to resonate on the halls of journalism. It is displayed daily in the press.
A second point relates to those in public service who leak to the press. Professional public servants need to be reminded what their responsibilities are, or should be. They form a “Praetorian Guard” that, among other things, provides a basis for predictability, trust, and stability in governance. These expectations deserve more than casual commitment. It ought to be clear that, in our democracy, their role is not to create policy.
While most entrants to public service come with a calling to make a difference, they learn, or ought to learn, that their responsibility is to advise and then carry out the decisions of elected officials. If they can’t, they always have the option to quit.
Interventions by the unelected, when aimed at effecting serious policy changes satisfying personal preferences and beliefs, overstep the role of professional public servants. More likely than not, these acts are expressions of personal hubris and arrogance. For those who view their service as critical to responsible governance, these acts violate their covenant of honor, integrity, and commitment to the Constitution and its system of divided powers that they are sworn to uphold.
Such acts, frequently tolerated or excused by the media for their own reasons, weaken the essential trust between the people, their elected representatives, and the career public service. Those who abuse these tenets, more likely than not, turn out to be untrustworthy and deserve to be remembered for such a character failing—forever.—Jaime L. Manzano
Responsibility and transparency are the keys to controlling all levels of government. Regulators should have to sign their work and bear the stigma of unanticipated results, even to the point of termination. If each agency and department and office of the government had a public spreadsheet disclosing each and every transaction, there would begin to be accountability and some inclination toward common sense.
What fun it is to muse over the possible categories: salaries, office supplies, office equipment, equipment maintenance, rent/lease space, property maintenance, training, education benefits, vehicle/transportation expenses, lodging, retirement benefits, communications equipment.—Michael Watson
I worked for the feds in my last job before going on disability. I was shocked at some of the stuff that went on. Once someone gets past the three years’ probation period it is nearly impossible to terminate him. Many join the union at the three-year point, and those in minority groups immediately scream “racism” for any disciplinary action.
This for people who refuse to meet the minimums in their job. Some actually spend most of day surfing the internet or yacking on the phone, even sleeping at their desks, and little can be done. That needs to be addressed. I worked at state and local government level, and they didn’t put up with that crap. If you don’t do your job, then you should be fired. No ifs, ands, or buts.—Chris Vaughn
Casey Ryan helped compile this column.