Yale Law School responds to ‘free speech’ complaints by cracking down on free speech
Whenever the mainstream media spends more than a few seconds discussing climate change, they feel compelled to pitch one of the 99% of scientists who believe in global warming versus one of the discredited 1% of scientists who say it doesn’t. is not real. It makes no sense, but climate deniers and industry lobbies have relied on the media for years that “fairness” requires “both sides” of the discussion. It didn’t matter that the scientific community had already heard both sides, conducted experiments and studies to assess both sides, and resoundingly concluded that only one side was correct… and so we get a form of twisted affirmative action of ideas that can’t hack it. Although not to remedy systemic drawbacks, but because they are just bad ideas.
The right-wing “free speech” scam deploys this same strategy. Whenever conservative talking points feel unappreciated – whether protested, or marginalized as unserious academics, or simply not invited to parties – they respond with indignant groans that it’s a infringement on their “freedom of speech” that people don’t like what they say. Then they wait for the tacitly “liberal” cowards to buckle up like the media did.
Some federal judges recently staged a publicity stunt and claimed they wouldn’t hire Yale law graduates as clerks to punish the school for violating “free speech.” Yale reacted as Yale usually does these days, abandoning any semblance of principle to respond to a transparent campaign of intimidation.
And that, folks, is how you use the rhetoric of “free speech” to advance fascism.
The ABA Journal has an article detailing Yale Law’s efforts to appease the hacks behind these efforts:
• In March, the law school “made it clear unequivocally” that attempts to disrupt campus events are unacceptable.
This one requires some context. The underlying event involved tTHE SCHOOL GIVE A PODIUM TO A MEMBER OF A RECOGNIZED HATE GROUP. Apart from everything else, this incident upsets the traditional notion of freedom of expression. Generally, the value of the law lies in the protection of those who don’t have the stadium institutionally provided. This is to protect people who demonstration the narrative spewing from areas of authority like governments, schools, titans of industry, etc.
But that’s the other trick of this right-wing rewrite of the Bill of Rights: the old freedom of speech was about allowing everyone to express themselves without being punished, the new freedom of speech is about demanding that everyone the world Listen or risk punishment. Where once concepts of free speech protected vile speech as a necessary evil of an open democratic society, vile speech must now be celebrated. as the end in itself. It’s not that Nazis should be allowed to march in Skokie, it’s that they should march without protesting, boycotting or criticizing – the new “free speech” demands that they not only speak but be heard. This turn never ended well.
Some students protested the move – and while right-wing media portrayed the protest as a crowd, in reality student protesters dutifully allowed the event to continue while demonstrating outside. It turns out that Yale’s law has reasonable “time, place, and manner” restrictions that give protesters the opportunity to protest while allowing the event to continue. This protest followed each of these rules and the event continued to its scheduled conclusion.
But when the administration responds to the details of that event with an “unequivocally clear” statement against attempts disrupting an event, instead of acknowledging that “all rules were correctly followed and the event took place as planned”, is an effort by the school to cool speech beyond the existing framework.
• The law school has adopted a policy prohibiting the surreptitious recording of meetings and events sponsored by the law school or on its property. And the law school has banned taping in class without permission. No recordings made can be shared or published. The aim is to encourage the f[r]ee expression of ideas.
Editing people out of context to drag them through the mud is bad. And trying to surreptitiously record a private conversation as a “gotcha” moment is morally fishy because there are fewer checks on someone dishonestly editing the material. But banning the recording of public events and lectures is at the heart of censorship.
And that’s where I defend the conservatives, because this policy is primarily aimed at the FedSoc morons who recorded the ‘protest’ earlier this year and sent snippets to the media that made it look worse than it did. ‘was. While these clips fueled the cycle of fascist news that brought us here, I refuse to say that it was not their right to record them. No matter how acontextual these clips may be, in the absence of dishonest editing, isolated incidents have occurred.
But while that may sound unbiased, it’s not. Suppressing protests to hurt libs and suppressing protest registration to hurt conservatives is not an equal trade because they only care about the latter when the administration does not lend its weight to stifling protest.
• The law school redesigned its focus “to focus on discussions of freedom of expression and the importance of respectful engagement”.
Say “re-education camp” without saying “re-education camp”.
• The school has hired a new Dean of Students, who will encourage students to resolve disagreements among themselves, “rather than reflexively turning to the institution to act as arbiter”. She replaces the associate dean who retired after demanding an apology from the student who invited the trap house. The student had secretly recorded the conversations.
In context, “encouraging students to resolve disagreements with each other” means that “the school will abdicate its responsibility to address racialized and sexualized discrimination and bullying.” So when they say the orientation emphasizes “the importance of respectful engagement,” that emphasis stops at the point where the school might put some effort into promoting that environment.
Remember, this is the school where FedSoc folks wore “No They” shirts on Trans Visibility Day. But Yale Law’s position is that trans people have to figure it out for themselves if right-wing trolls want to poke fun at trans lives to their face.
As Yale Law puts it, these steps are part of their dedication to a “vibrant intellectual environment.” And what dynamic intellectual environment is complete without the tacit approval of students attacking the very personalities of their classmates.
As a pure matter of free speech, of course, students can say horrible and bigoted things. But schools aren’t about laissez-faire, accepting every stupid thought someone wants to pop out. At some point, a school—especially a school that is supposed to train advocates—has an obligation to step in to keep the forum open. This is why Yale Law’s framing of the “dynamic intellectual environment” elevates these reforms to farce. Yale’s “vibrant intellectualism” boils down to the fact that hate groups should get a forum and quiet acquiescence, while marginalized students should suck it up if others try to bully them into silence.
Very dynamic. Very intellectual.
It takes a special brand to fall for such a transparent jerk. But, hey, what do you expect from Yale Law? Missing a few internships? There are bigger issues here than your entire “open democratic society”, everyone!
Yale Law School touts dedication to ‘vibrant intellectual environment’ after culture cancellation complaints [ABA Journal]
Earlier: Ban on law school protests to protect free speech marks new Orwellian highs
Yale Law School’s free speech crisis is mostly fake news
Yale law professor suggests punishing students who play by the rules
Joe Patrice is an editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email tips, questions or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe is also Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.