Please see Daniel Nexon and Crooked Timber.
i liked popehat’s response better. frankly it takes some nerve to call for people to be treated as terrorists because they support different politics than you then complain that your first amendment rights are being violated.
Of course I agree this is bullshit, and should be treated as same. However, I seem to recall that a lot of folks in the liberal blogosphere were up in metaphorical arms about the use of “targeting” rhetoric (and sites!) on Palin’s stupid map after the Giffords shooting. So I guess what I am trying to say is, I’m sick of fake outrage, and I’m sick of fake outrage at the fake outrage. They’re all full of shit all the way up to to their eyeballs.
Aren’t you the guy who suggested that Brennan call his new book “My Struggle” yesterday? Well, guess what? I took that as a threat, because obviously you are quite literally calling for the establishment of Reich 3.1.
Unless you can bring forward some evidence to show that you were being flippant, jocose, humorous, waggish, comic, or funny…unless there is something in your character or identity to make me believe you were treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor…well, I’m afraid I’ll have no choice but to notify the authorities.
and i should that had a conservative responded to an al-qaeda attak by saying the same thing that loomis did about CAIR instead of the NRA i think the left wing would have reacted the same way.
As far as I’m concerned the key passage in the CT post is this:
‘Even to suggest that Loomis’s tweet constitutes a “threat of violence” is an offense against the English language. We are dismayed that the university president completely fails to acknowledge the importance of academic freedom and of scholars’ freedom independently to express views (even intemperate ones) on topics of public importance. This statement—unless it is swiftly corrected— should give alarm to scholars at the University of Rhode Island, to scholars who might one day consider associating themselves with this institution, and to academic and professional associations that value academic freedom.’
I’m not part of Team Left or Team Right and have no interest in playing tu quoque games. Nor do I have any interest in defending anything Loomis said. I’m an academic and have an interest in universities responding appropriately to controversies around the speech of their professors.
That said, neither death threats nor this kind of university cowardice are springing to mind as reactions to right-leaning commentators in any of the cases I can immediately remember.
I’d just like to point out that while a belief in academic freedom certainly helps to guide one’s reaction to this incident, such a belief is not necessary to arrive at the correct conclusion.
For that, a simple hatred of ridiculousness will do.
jacob here’s one example: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/19/jerry-buell-florida-high-_n_931941.html
Sorry but the CT statement it mealy-mouthed and weak. There’s no question whatsoever that Loomis was engaged in protected speech. It wasn’t a threat and it did not constitute something for which he should be sanctioned by his employer. That said, his tweets went far beyond what CT acknowledged. Last week he claimed gun rights advocates should be “beaten to death” and after the initial pushback he’s continued to claim that gun rights advocates should be jailed for their political advocacy. Such speech, while protected, is quite reactionary and illiberal, and merits condemnation — not formal sanction, not loss of a job, not investigation by the police, but condemnation, a point on which the CT post also equivocates. As far as I’m concerned, Ken’s take at Popehat is far better.
Ken has now put up an addition to his post that reads “Here’s a statement from the folks at Crooked Timber. I think they minimize what Loomis said and ignore his rhetoric that is, as I argue, fundamentally anti-free-speech. But I think they are completely correct in their call for protection of his First Amendment rights by both the university and society as a whole.”
For what I take to be the immediate problem at hand, which is URI’s stance and the protection of Loomis’ freedom of speech, an overlapping-consensus statement that neither condemns nor endorses the content of his speech seems to me the right answer. In my own e-mails to the URI administration today I will note that I reject both his underlying views and the tone in which he expressed them, and that that’s irrelevant to URI’s responsibility or to the legal status of his speech.
Yes, I think Loomis’ speech is contemnible. But, no, I don’t think that defenses of freedom of speech need to have the condemnation added in.
Since the “beaten to death” thing is making the rounds, we should be clear that that was a retweet, not Loomis’ own language. And, as a popular post last week insisted (http://gawker.com/5967552/22-terrible-things-that-must-end-in-2013) “Retweets do not equal endorsements” should by now be assumed as the baseline for twitter (so much so that we don’t need to see that sentence over and over again). Now, I suspect Loomis did intend endorsement here. But a RT really shouldn’t keep showing up as exhibit A in an account of someone’s obnoxious or vicious speech. It’s the equivalent of a Glenn Reynolds “Indeed” link; we don’t then describe him as the author of the linked material.
URI ‘s overreaction is simply an natural offshoot of the very illiberal speech codes and the general condemnation of “hateful” speech which we have seen growing like a cancer on academia for decades. I find it ironic that a very left wing professor who was probably (I am assuming) in favor of these codes is now hoist by his own petard.
Why is his stupid and absurd speech protected, but not the stupid and absurd speech of URI?
Also, I don’t know why discussing firing a professor is looked at as equivalent to murder or arrest. It is not aggression to fire a person. We don’t have to establish that he’s a criminal to fire him. We just have to establish that he isn’t fit to deliver a proper educational program.