Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on May 15, 2014 by Allahpundit

Forget about their students not making it to graduation. Now colleges have to wonder whether their speakers will.

From former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the head of the International Monetary Fund and the ex-chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, the list of commencement speakers backing out following student and faculty protests continues to grow…

“We refer to it as disinvitation season,” said Robert Shibley, senior vice president at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, who sees the move toward getting — or trying to get — controversial speakers kicked off programs intensifying…

“The students absolutely have the right to protest decisions,” Shibley said, “but given how often this happens, you start to worry that this is going to make it very difficult to ever invite anyone who’s even the slightest bit controversial to speak on a college campus.”

***

While controversy over commencement speakers has made headlines, it’s not entirely new. Back in 1990, some Wellesley College students protested their school’s decision to invite Barbara Bush to speak at commencement. And, in 1998, Ted Turner backed out of speaking at Macalester College’s graduation after students protested the use of an Indian mascot by the Atlanta Braves.

“I think we are seeing a disturbing trend,” says McCartney of Smith College. “I’ve been describing it as a lack of tolerance for a wide variety of views.”

Lawrence Bacow, the former president of Tufts College, says the uptick in back-outs is worrying. Universities are meant to be environments that promote free speech and open-mindedness, but, he argues, by protesting, students are self-selecting speakers who only reinforce what they believe.

“The role of a speaker — any speaker — who seeks to educate the audience that they’re speaking to is to challenge their beliefs and not necessarily to reinforce them,” Bacow says. “And so if the test for giving a speech on campus or commencement speech is that one has never offended anyone by virtue of anything ever one has done in public life, there are going to be very few people who can give commencement speeches.”

***

The commencement speaker purity bug has hit Smith College.

The Northampton, Mass., women’s college announced Monday that International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde has withdrawn as the school’s 2014 commencement speaker due to faculty and student protests over the IMF’s policies…

Lagarde is one of the most accomplished and powerful women in the world. She has made history several times — as the first female head of the IMF, the first female finance minister of a G8 nation and the first female chairman of international law firm Baker & McKenzie.

***

Haverford College on Tuesday joined a growing list of schools to lose commencement speakers to protests from the left, when Robert J. Birgeneau, a former chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, withdrew from this weekend’s event.

Some students and faculty members at Haverford, a liberal arts college near Philadelphia, objected to the invitation to Mr. Birgeneau to speak and receive an honorary degree because, under him, the University of California police used batons to break up an Occupy protest in 2011. He first stated his support for the police, and then a few days later, saying that he was disturbed by videos of the confrontation, ordered an investigation…

Michael Rushmore, a Haverford senior who was one of the authors of an open letter to Mr. Birgeneau, said his critics were not setting an unfairly high standard, though, “I think that’s a fair concern.”

***

How ironic that the persecutors this time around are the so-called intellectuals. They claim to be liberal while behaving as anything but. The touchstone of liberalism is tolerance of differing ideas. Yet this mob exists to enforce conformity of thought and to delegitimize any dissent from its sanctioned worldview. Intolerance is its calling card

In the 21 years leading up to 2009, there were 21 incidents of an invited guest not speaking because of protests. Yet, in the past five-and-a-half years, there have been 39 cancellations.

Don’t bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as “a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully” and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a “psychotic mass murderer” and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.

The self-serving capriciousness is crazy.

***

Rice occupied one of the most important offices in the whole country. But you’re right, kids, she probably has nothing interesting to say or any good advice because she was involved in a senseless war.

Colin Powell (also: Iraq) is scheduled to deliver the commencement at High Point University. Sean Combs is going to address the graduating class at Howard University. I am personally offended by both of those people, but you know what? I bet they’ll both have something interesting to say—even if I don’t agree with every item on their CVs.

Millennials have grown up in a world where you are never forced to see, hear or read anything that you haven’t personally selected. 7,000 TV channels, a DVR to skip commercials, millions of websites—we have been able to curate our own little worlds using technology, wherein nothing unpleasant or offensive can creep in. So when we’re forced to sit through a commercial or, heaven forbid, listen to someone talk who isn’t Mary-freakin’-Poppins, we can’t handle it.

***

Why is such moral preening so common in the university? Why are professors so prone to ostracize those who they disagree with? Especially when it accomplishes nothing whatsoever beyond convincing the protesters of their own moral superiority?

I don’t know the answer. But I do know that when students are repeatedly taught to take precisely these kinds of self-important moral stands, at least some of them listen…

The point is that getting the IMF’s managing director disinvited from a college commencement ceremony brings us not one millimeter closer to either goal. Making that progress would be hard — enormously harder and less instantly gratifying than a passing act of cathartic moral posturing. To be done right, it would require expertise in numerous specialized subject areas and not just the admirable but utterly insufficient desire to make the world a better place.

And that’s what might be the most disheartening thing of all about this year’s commencement protests — how each of them grows out of a longing to simplify the world, to wish away our conflicts and deny the need to get one’s hands dirty. Fighting for the rights of women can be morally messy. The same can be said of serving as America’s leading diplomat. And overseeing the global economy.

***

Here’s the short explanation: You’re all conservatives now.

Years ago, when the academic left began to ostracize professors identified as “conservative,” university administrators stood aside or were complicit. The academic left adopted a notion espoused back then by a “New Left” German philosopher—who taught at Brandeis, not coincidentally—that many conservative ideas were immoral and deserved to be suppressed. And so they were…

The slow disintegration of the humanities into what is virtually agitprop on many campuses is no secret. Professors of economics and the hard sciences roll their eyes in embarrassment at what has happened to once respectable liberal-arts departments at their institutions. Like some Gresham’s Law for Ph.D.s, the bad professors drove out many good, untenured professors, and that includes smart young liberals. Most conservatives were wiped out long ago…

Still, it’s a tragedy. The loonies are becoming the public face of some once-revered repositories of the humanities. Sic transit whatever.

***

You are right, of course, that an “invitation to speak at a commencement is not an endorsement of all views or policies of an individual or the institution she or he leads,” and that “such a test would seem anathema to our core values of freedom of thought and diversity of opinion.” What I want to suggest is that protesting a commencement speaker is not an endorsement of censorship or in opposition to academic freedom. I have trouble understanding what constitutes a free exchange of ideas when a commencement speech inherently and explicitly does not include space for a response. In this context, protest is the only means of responding, and opposition becomes a vigorous, if unwieldy, expression of the kind of exchange institutions like Smith should prize.

And this protest does not represent an unwillingness to hear differing viewpoints. Lagarde’s prominence ensures that her ideas are in wide circulation. I suspect that most of those who objected to the invitation are familiar with Lagarde’s views—and I suspect that many in the Smith community, and elsewhere, are far less familiar with the views of those who oppose her…

These students exemplify the meaning and value of a Smith education. They understand that they cannot wait for an invitation to speak up. They know, as Frederick Douglass wrote, that “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.” We should applaud those who face the dais (and sometimes turn their backs to it) as much as we applaud those who speak from it; sometimes we should applaud them more. To speak back to the place you love—to the place that has been your home—requires courage, insight, and intelligence. We should be proud of them.

***


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A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: “Talking Dog For Sale” He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

“You talk?” he asks.

“Yep,” the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says “So, what’s your story?” The Lab looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA. In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.”

“I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down.

I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.

I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. “I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.”

The guy is amazed.

He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

“Ten dollars,” the guy says.

“Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?”

“Because he’s a liar. He never did any of that stuff.”

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 6:38 AM

This is not going to go away easily nor quietly. Lawyers and big money are involved lol

non-nonpartisan on May 16, 2014 at 6:24 AM

Ah, yes, lawyers.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 6:40 AM

That’s the way it usually is: one person is “offended.”

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 6:28 A

Why didn’t they just change that one costume. That’s a great song and you can get the audience involved.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 6:36 AM

Or they could have simply dressed up like a real American Indian: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=american+indian+jpegs&qpvt=american+indian+jpegs&FORM=IGRE

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 6:41 AM

Who was tha, Portman? He always was a liberal.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 5:48 AM

He was my congressman in the 1990s, but I can’t say that I followed him closely. He always had a nice conservative Cincinnati story. His dad was a WW II vet. I think he got a college education on the GI Bill. Then went to work as an equipment salesman. Around 1960, he struck out on his own, and built a very nice equipment sales business in the following 40 years. Good enough to send Rob and siblings to a swanky local HS (Cincinnati Country Day). But the boys had to work in the warehouse during HS and college summers. From what I heard, no special treatment. Indeed, I worked a polling place the year of his election, and I met an older blue collar guy who worked at the company for years and remembered Portman from his youth. He raved about him.

I suppose Portman is establishment, but he always seemed fiscally sound. I thought of him as a Judd Gregg type. But the SSM flip soured me, and I suspect that he’s very squishy in amnesty, given that he’s tight with the Bushes.

BuckeyeSam on May 16, 2014 at 6:43 AM

You’re a sick senior citizen and the government says there is no nursing home available for you. So what do you do?

New Medicare Program – Part G

Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. You are allowed to shoot four Politicians.

Of course, this means you will be sent to prison where you will get three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating, air conditioning and all the health care you need!

Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That’s great. Need a new hip, knees, kidney, lungs or heart? They’re all covered.

As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you as often as they do now.

And who will be paying for all of this? It’s the same government that just told you that they cannot afford for you to go into a home.

And you can get rid of 4 useless politicians while you’re at it.

Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don’t have to pay any income taxes anymore. Is this a great country or what?

Case in point:

The Pentagon tries to transfer convicted national security leaker Bradley Manning to a civilian prison to treat a gender disorder while veterans suffer and die waiting in vain on phony Veterans Administration lists.

Or should we say Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the name chosen by the convicted leaker of sensitive classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Manning has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman and the Pentagon is trying to help.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month gave the Army approval to try to work out a transfer plan with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which, unlike the Defense Department, does provide such treatment to inmates, two Pentagon officials not authorized to speak on the record told the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C.

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/051514-701066-veterans-die-on-va-waiting-lists.htm

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 6:51 AM

Ah, yes, lawyers.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 6:40 AM

It’s huge deal with many implications. I am extremely interested to see how it plays out.

non-nonpartisan on May 16, 2014 at 6:53 AM

There’s a knock on the door, and when Harry answers it, he looks down and sees a snail looking up at him. So he kicks the snail as far as he can.

Two years later, there’s another knock on the door. Harry answers the door, and there’s the snail.

The snail looks up and says, “What was that all about?”

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 6:55 AM

I just played the CNN clip, and Santorum’s anecdote about his commencement speech at St. Joseph’s is very interesting. They tried to convince him to withdraw, but he refused, telling them that they’d have to disinvite him. So, as he began his speech, he told the audience that they could have a few moments to leave if they wished. He said four students of 1,000 students left. In contrast, three-quarters of the faculty left. Santorum is right: That tells you what’s phucked up in this country.

BuckeyeSam on May 16, 2014 at 6:56 AM

I suppose Portman is establishment, but he always seemed fiscally sound. I thought of him as a Judd Gregg type. But the SSM flip soured me, and I suspect that he’s very squishy in amnesty, given that he’s tight with the Bushes.

BuckeyeSam on May 16, 2014 at 6:43 AM

Yeah he’s squishy but he probably thinks he’s pragmatic or something. He keeps a low profile. You never hear of him doing anything. Brown is Democrat but he’s always out there doing things. Boehner had a conservative upbringing too.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 6:57 AM

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 6:55 AM

:)

BuckeyeSam on May 16, 2014 at 6:56 AM

indeed

cmsinaz on May 16, 2014 at 6:58 AM

BuckeyeSam on May 16, 2014 at 6:56 AM

Good for Santorum. This is the way to handle things. Those teachers must have looked stupid.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 6:59 AM

Good for Santorum. This is the way to handle things. Those teachers must have looked stupid.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 6:59 AM

What did CNN say about it?

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM

You know, it used to be that you went to college to expand your world view, to apply critical thinking and reach conclusions about various issues, to become an educated member of society.

Nowdays, it appears that colleges are merely extensions of the socialist incubators known as the public school system. It doesn’t so much matter what your degree is in so long as you adopt a rigid liberal ideology as your own.

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 7:12 AM

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.~Vladimir Lenin

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 7:14 AM

Or should we say Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the name chosen by the convicted leaker of sensitive classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Manning has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman and the Pentagon is trying to help.

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 6:51 AM

I believe the word the author was going for is Inmate Manning or whatever number is associated with the filthy traitor whose handiwork could well have killed American soliders. But now the freak gets government-paid treatment to be a female? Let the bastard worry about that when he gets out of prison.

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 7:15 AM

You know, it used to be that you went to college to expand your world view, to apply critical thinking and reach conclusions about various issues, to become an educated member of society.

Nowdays, it appears that colleges are merely extensions of the socialist incubators known as the public school system. It doesn’t so much matter what your degree is in so long as you adopt a rigid liberal ideology as your own.

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 7:12 AM

And the U. S. Military.

davidk on May 16, 2014 at 7:16 AM

You know, it used to be that you went to college to expand your world view, to apply critical thinking and reach conclusions about various issues, to become an educated member of society.

Nowdays, it appears that colleges are merely extensions of the socialist incubators known as the public school system. It doesn’t so much matter what your degree is in so long as you adopt a rigid liberal ideology as your own.

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 7:12 AM

iow, education vs. indoctrination. Illiberals don’t like hate independent thinkers.

non-nonpartisan on May 16, 2014 at 7:18 AM

Good Morning, Patriots! And, Trolls.

The Clinton Marriage couldn’t be more about convenience if there was a Slurpee Machine at the foot of the bed.

– Dennis Miller

My take: Bubba Spills the Beans About Hil’s Head Injury

kingsjester on May 16, 2014 at 7:46 AM

My take: Bubba Spills the Beans About Hil’s Head Injury

kingsjester on May 16, 2014 at 7:46 AM

IMO, the medical problems were/are more serious than just a head injury. Remember toward the end of her tenure as SecState when she pretty much let herself go? But now, thanks to Rove, she’s out there trying to show just how healthy she is. It’s going to be an issue that keeps coming up as we head into 2016- and it should for any potential candidate as ancient as Killary.

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Bubba says she’s working out. Working out is relative. I suspect she’s following a program on PBS called “Sit and Be Fit”. It’s exercises mostly involving sitting in a chair and is probably geared toward people in nursing homes.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Don’t forget that most college teachers are blazing liberals and teach their ridiculous doctrine to young adults who will believe anything as not having had real life experiences. Thus, they protect with the push by these teachers to reject any objective views or conservative stances. Sad, because this pushes OUR America further from its Republic values into communism. These young adults will soon find out that the garbage they have been taught and fed will not feed them nor free them. Coming way too soon for all of us! Parents did not inquire about the quality and value of the education, merely that it is a “good” college living on its past and not exposing its destructive future of today. Parents need to truly inform themselves 1) if their child or children really need college, 2) would be better off with a real vocational position, or 3) do they want them to be real Americans rather than fools. I always recommend Hillsdale College as THE college for good education and grounding in America and its values and not that of rabid idiots who call themselves teachers in our schools today!

Roselle on May 16, 2014 at 10:47 AM

so why am I told to STFU?

KOOLAID2 on May 16, 2014 at 1:22 AM

Except that you weren’t. See what Lance wants.

I love nothing more than a circular squad, from the right.

The moron about “go to the headlines” displayed the same logic as the Cuban escapee, whom the Castro brothers miss. Figure it out.

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM

The moron about “go to the headlines” displayed the same logic as the Cuban escapee, whom the Castro brothers miss. Figure it out.

This was not for you, KOOL. Take care.

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

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