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Brown Prof recalls when a real fascist came to campus, calls Ray Kelly shout down “a shameful day”

Brown Prof recalls when a real fascist came to campus, calls Ray Kelly shout down “a shameful day”

Brown U. Prof. to Kelly protesters: “Yours was an act of cowardice and fear, unworthy of any of the causes you claim to hold dear”

There was some real angry ugliness at Brown University Tuesday night, as NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was shouted down and his lecture shut down.

There has been celebration in some circles at Brown, but not from Biology Professor Ken Miller, a Brown grad himself.

Miller wrote a wonderful letter to the Brown Daily Herald about his experience hearing George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party, speak at Brown in the late 1960s, and how it compared to the shout down of Kelly.

Read the whole thing, this excerpt will not do it justice:

I went to scores of seminars and talks during my four years as an undergraduate at Brown, but the one I will never forget took place on the evening of Nov. 30, 1966.The speaker, a Brown alum, had been invited by the Faunce House Board of Governors to take part in its fall lecture series. But once his name was announced, a storm of objections forced the board to withdraw its invitation. Counterprotests ensued citing academic freedom and arguing that our campus should be open to all views, even — and perhaps especially — to those a majority of its members found repugnant.

The speaker was George Lincoln Rockwell ’40, leader of the American Nazi Party.

A new campus group called “Open Mind” was formed. Once recognized by the University, it re-invited Rockwell to campus. Rockwell spoke to a packed house in Alumnae Hall….

For the first time in my life, I understood the allure of fascism, the reason that “good people” could have supported the likes of Franco, Mussolini and Hitler. I also understood why the notion that “it couldn’t happen here” is hopelessly naive. It could happen here, and it most certainly would happen if we forgot the lessons of history, lessons that Rockwell brought to life with a sinister smile that evening in Alumnae Hall. I’m glad I was there. I’m glad the talk was allowed to go on. And I’m glad Brown was an open campus where those lessons could be learned in the most personal way possible.

Tuesday’s shout-down of another speaker makes me wonder about that. Ray Kelly, whatever his misdeeds, is no George Lincoln Rockwell. Rockwell’s idea of racial profiling wasn’t “stop-and-frisk.” It was “round up and deport.” Kelly has been accused of fascism, but Rockwell actually was a fascist — and a racist — and was proud of it on both counts. Yet the Brown community of the 1960s opened its doors to him, to avowed communists, and, at the height of the Vietnam war, to anti-war activists as well as the generals in charge of that war — like Earl Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was a lively and vibrant place.

The crowd who managed to silence a speaker yesterday accomplished something, to be sure. But it wasn’t a blow against racism, fascism or police oppression. It was a step towards a closed campus where mob rule determines who can speak and who will be shouted down. It was a shameful day. And it deprived every member of our community of the chance to hear Kelly and decide for themselves whether his policing methods are indeed the first steps of a Rockwell-like campaign against minorities and the poor in America’s greatest city.

To those individuals, let me put it plainly. Yours was an act of cowardice and fear, unworthy of any of the causes you claim to hold dear….

In a similar vein, fellow Hamilton College grad Lachlan Markay passes along this story of how Rockwell was permitted to speak at Hamilton back in the day, and the crowd of 700 people didn’t shout him down, they rose together in silence and left the room:

George Lincoln Rockwell at Hamilton College

George Lincoln Rockwell at Hamilton College excerpt

The completely politicized hyperbole by those at Brown — including many faculty members — who supported shutting Kelly down says a lot about the difference between campuses then and now.

And how campuses have become that which they purport to oppose.

Related Post:   Brown Prof apologizes for inviting Ray Kelly “especially to my black students and Latino brothers and sisters.”


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This is one of the things that baffles me most about the young and the senseless.

How can one know who one’s enemies are unless one knows exactly what one’s enemies say and what they stand for. There is no such thing as “aural cooties.” Just hearing a speech given by someone one does not like does not lead to automatic indoctrination, subjugation, and submission.

Grow up kids. There is a dangerous world “out there” beyond the hallowed walls. And there ain’t enough germicide around to protect you against the cooties. You’ve got to build up your immune system the hard way. Through exposure to all kinds of thoughts and philosophies and through re-dedication to the principles of freedom and liberty we find in the Founding Documents.

The difference is, Brown and its student body are now the Fascists. The last thing they want to do is allow free speech or allow anyone willing to speak the truth to be heard.

    Oldflyer in reply to Aarradin. | November 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    I wonder if the Brown organizers passed out brown shirts at the door? I wonder how many of those children at the most elite of the elite Universities would have understood the significance?

Miller going in to listen to the Nazi was extremely painful to the Holocaust survivor, but it was because Miller listened, and because of the conclusions he drew that ‘Never Again!’ is possible for he will recognize the danger and can teach about it to prevent it from coming. The young thugs demanded freedom from listening to someone THEY didn’t like ignoring everyone’s right to have freedom to make their own conclusions about things. In showing them up, Miller shows us that ‘Never Again’ is possible if we let the young fascist thugs have their way.

The problem I have with the piece is its implied analogy between Rockwell and Kelly. He uses this as device to rise to his dramatic crescendo. It’s disingenuous.

What happened with Rockwell was and should have been the order of the day at any University — a conscientious debate leading to open discourse and the development of deeper critical faculties; what happened to Kelly was juvenile and ugly, but worse — actually closer to fascist behavior than the alleged fascism it condemns (a point the writer misses). Likewise, the writer fails to observe that shutting down speakers simulates and predisposes us to the conditions of fascism, i.e., a closed circle — and echo chamber — of increasingly ignorant and self-righteous outrage. We’re creating young people so shallowly intent on decrying a “fascism” they know know nothing about that they can’t see — haven’t the critical faculty to identify — the actual fascism in their midst (those who tell them what to think, who to hate and who to worship).

    Midwest Rhino in reply to raven. | November 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    yeah, I credit Miller for denouncing the shout down, but his rhetoric leans one way only, like he is not open to real dialogue.

    And it deprived every member of our community of the chance to hear Kelly and decide for themselves whether his policing methods are indeed the first steps of a Rockwell-like campaign against minorities and the poor in America’s greatest city.

    He doesn’t offer a positive possibility, only whether it is Rockwell like … or what, or just mild racism? Here’s another from the link:

    True fascism doesn’t begin with the shouting, fist-shaking tyrants we see in newsreels of the 1930s. It enters with charm and wit. Its strategy is to beguile and divide, to offer easy answers to problems like crime and poverty. Blame them on the “others” — the blacks, the Jews, the Commies who are spoiling our otherwise virtuous society. It then promises to heal those lesions by cutting them out, figuratively at first, and then literally once the masses are firmly under control.

    It is the soft tones of PBS, or the humor (with distorted facts) of Jon Stewart that beguile and divide today. It is the tea party and Christian conservatives that are being condemned as a group, by the leftists like Obama. It is Obama style lies that promise to fix everything with his easy answers, despite his complete lack of experience as CEO of anything except stirring up division.

    Miller says “Rockwell, whatever his misdeeds”. Can he consider stop and frisk is the proper action, not a misdeed? Just saying we should listen to him politely before “hanging him”, is really not that much better than the shout down.

    In Paris, the police are afraid to enter the suburbs, they were offering money for immigrants to return to Africa, and some 50,000 cars are torched every year. At some point before declaring martial law in gangland neighborhoods of LA or Chicago, perhaps good police work can reach beyond traditional PC religion restraints, and actually effect some change. NYC seems in better shape that way than Chicago or LA. Miller still sounds a little close minded, but makes a good point.

      Well said.

      Radegunda in reply to Midwest Rhino. | November 2, 2013 at 12:06 am

      It seems likely that minorities and the poor are the groups who benefit most from vigorous policing in New York.

        Perhaps it was in the original coverage of the Kelly “Shut Up” but I read that the intervention of the “stop and frisk” policy has saved thousands of lives in the bad (read “minority,” read “black,” read “Puerto Rican,” read whatever you want, except “white”) neighborhoods. One might note that NYC is not even in the top 10 of homicides / violent crime cities.

        So who is not getting murdered? Not just those folks in the tony parts of town.

        As to the constitutionality of the law — let NYC and the courts sort it out and if it is a problem — let the NY cops work at coming up with legal ways to keep people from killing people (usually their own). Maybe what they are doing is not a violation of the Constitution. Without hearing Kelly how would one even begin to formulate a reason based take on it?

        What’s wrong with listening to what the person actually says, not cherry picked Cliff Notes from your favorite late night comedian or un-investigative news sources?

        So much for the lefty bleeding heart for victims.

          LukeHandCool in reply to JAL. | November 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm

          I work with a wonderful Hispanic woman whom I trained at work. Last month, her nephew was standing in a friend’s front yard when a car pulled up and someone in the car called out, “Where you guys from?”

          They immediately realized these were gangbangers intent on violence and they ran for their friend’s front door. My coworker’s nephew was shot in the back and killed.

          He was working two jobs and going to school part time and close to earning his bachelor’s degree.

          Maybe these strident Brown U know-it-alls should have a semester-living-in-a-tough-neighborhood requirement for graduation.

          My coworker’s nephew:

          (She said his friends’ said the LA Times has it wrong when it says words were exchanged; that they all knew these guys were trouble and just ran to get inside the house.)

          LHC (who supports successful, proactive police efforts such as stop-and-frisk … but who knows such efforts must take place under constant, transparent, vigilant oversight)

At Brown and virtually every other mainstream college campus, freedom of speech is tolerated only when you agree with the politically correct leftest dogma.

So much for the constitution…

Having read the full article by Professor Miller at the Brown Daily Herald, I also perused the comments section there as well.

I would say it was about 2/3 in favor of Professor Miller’s thoughtful article, but 1/3 was the typical “You aren’t a minority, therefore you can’t understand” minority victim card playing.

The whole political correctness meme is just fascism in pretty clothes. They claim they are stamping out fascism, but their methods betray the truth of their actions.

    murkyv in reply to Paul. | November 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    from the pictures of the protesters, it doesn’t appear that it was blacks and minorities doing the screaming.

    Looked like a bunch of rich white kids to me

      Radegunda in reply to murkyv. | November 2, 2013 at 12:09 am

      Rich white kids who don’t live in tough neighborhoods and don’t realize how much benefit comes to “minorities and the poor” from vigilant policing. They’re feeding their own sense of moral superiority more than anything else.

RReaganConservative | November 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Yesterdays Nazi Fascism is today’s Liberal Fascism, where dissent, opinion, facts of evidence, and truth that which they dislike, disapprove, and contradicts them-liberal fascists/leftist statists, socialist marxists, etc, etc, is intolerated by the left, because their ideological cultist statist mentality driven radical actions are not challenged by good people of this Nation.

Why is it that cowardice by good decent people of a Nation, whether in a University or a public street forum, is now standard reaction to these fascist thugs. This is the truly sad and ugly “in your open face” commentary and dilemma of a once founded free and independent America society that is crumbling under the intimidation threats of a fascist radicals, that know how to create chaos, and turn into their delusional righteous cause of ideological tyranny.

“As radical Israeli professor Ilon Pappe told Le Soir, “The struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers.” That statement serves as an example of how the left rationalizes their consistent assertions that are either at odds with the facts or are purposefully misleading.”
American Thinker- Heritage vs. ObamaCare
31 Oct,2013 by Dennis Lund

“Progressivism, liberalism, or whatever you want to call it has become an ideology of power. So long as liberals hold it, principles don’t matter.” 
Jonah Goldberg- “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

    I have learned over the years that Leftists respect none of the rights they claim to love and practice all of the wrongs they claim to hate.

    To continue-
    Leftists show their love for free speech by shouting down others.
    They show their love of Blacks by treating them as children.
    They show their love of children by aborting them.
    They show their love of heathcare by ruining it.
    They show their love of females by convincing them to hate men.
    They show their love of education by teaching students What to think instead of How to think.
    They show their love of Country by constantly weakening it.
    They show their love of charity by giving away other people’s money.

Graduated HS in 1973. While in HS I read “Mein Kampf”, “Das Kapital”, “The Communist Manifesto”, “The Bluebook of the John Birch Society”, “The Constitution of the United States”, and “The Declaration of Independence”. And others of that ilk. Along with all the assigned readings in social studies and history. Today reading all those openly, especially the last two, would probably get me sent to the school shrink. Picked up and read the Black Panther newsletters and Daily Worker at 42nd street PA bus terminal- as long as they were being handed out free. And to this day fully realize what others have said above- the best way to know what your enemies are up to is to read what they say.

Which is why I find it difficult talking to anyone who believes Muslims are peaceful, and that Israel is totally at fault for there not being peace in the Middle East. Have they not read what is coming out from mosques and the Palestinian Authority?

Had a very wise HS teacher in religion tell us all to ignore anything Muslims say in public about the burka. It is worn becauee women are evil seducers who with a mere glance can lead a man astray, and men are powerless to resist. Women are covered head to toe to protect men, not the woman inside. And if you read enough about Islam written for Muslims, you find this is true. Kind of opposite of the Western ideal of self control and self discipline. And not compatible with Western civilization.

Stalin was at least as effective as Hitler in suppressing dissent, and today’s left are his spiritual descendants. Differing opinions made one an “enemy of the state.”

This is hardly new. Jeanne Kirkpatrick was being shouted down to stop her speaking over 20 years ago. Having succeeded at that, leftist groups have been shouting down conservative speakers ever since.

This is part and parcel of why conservatives are turned away for the most part in academia, and many must keep their opinions to themselves if they hope for tenure. The left cannot brook a discussion on equal terms because every single tenent of their philosophy has been disproven in multiple times and locations. They only win when dissent is silenced.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Estragon. | November 1, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Conservative professors and scholars should form a secret society to find clever means of dispersing the conservative message with supporting facts anonymously…..until it’s safe to “come out of the closet.”

      You Tube … his whole speech should be on youtube … with full Q&A. And school web sites should link to it as a challenge to the shouters, as a sort of act of contrition by the administration, for the shameful act.
      (and T&A, if that would help the close minded listen 🙂 )

      Far better to come up with something that will compete with leftist dominated higher education.

    ThomasD in reply to Estragon. | November 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Yes, the purpose of the shoutdown wasn’t just to keep Kelly from speaking, it was to let everyone else know that there is only one approved viewpoint and anyone who opposes it will face similar treatment.

    That’s how fascism succeeds – not through constant overt acts, but through a system of sustained intimidation.

Sadly, the progressive horde knows nothing of the intellectual tradition that fought for the opportunity for them to think, question and confront. Philosopher Jacques Ranciere, who anticipated this coming catastrophe emerging from the collapsing Left, had it right in understanding they would quickly become the new fascists:

“What was known forty years ago as critical theory has become a powerful intellectual arsenal against social movements… It is an active attempt at configuring an order of domination able to dismiss any resistance and preclude any alternative by imposing itself as self-evident and inescapable… It’s an intellectual counter-revolution.” – Jacques Ranciere

News Item:

Alec Baldwin to be awarded honorary doctorate degree from George Washington University for successful homophobic “stop-and-slur” policy.

News Item:

Critics stop-and-snort as Ray “The Wonder Pig” Kelly leaves Brown University after flunking Mob Rule Free Speech 101. A prodigy sensation for having saved thousands of minority lives, he returns in disgrace to Hooterville and his radical mentor, Arnold Ziffel.

LHC (who, on a serious note, would ask the Professor to try and contact the “angry face of Brown,” Jenny Li, to chat here at LI. I would love to turn the computer over to my 22-year-old, bi-racial, foreign-born daughter, the product of two simple, hapless peasants who just can’t seem to muster any anger over their paycheck-to-paycheck plight, seeing as they stupidly realize they still live much better than 99% of the people who have ever inhabited this earth. I may be a dummy, but I know enough to know my little girl would rip Jenny to shreds, politely, and smiling all the while. And she’d never embarrass her father by holding a clenched fist in the air. He’d disown her. But, paragon of idiotic virtue that he is, he’d continue to make the payments on her shiny new graduation present. You game, Angry Jenny Li?).

    UncleFester in reply to LukeHandCool. | November 2, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Any chance of getting that chat on pay-per-view? Sounds like fun! (And congratulations on what sounds like a great daughter.)

    if she walk up to you with fist held up in the air soon you know she read this 🙂

      LukeHandCool in reply to dmacleo. | November 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Angry Jenny Li might TYPE ALL IN CAPS!!!! but her main weapon, victory through volume, would be gone.

      Wait until these kids find out that tactic doesn’t work in the workplace. That’s if they are able to find a job.

      LHC (whose daughter is currently mad at him because he refused to let her dump on him the cat her dopey boyfriend bought for her … Luke loves animals but he ain’t no zookeeper in his new tiny apartment. She does read LI on occasion, but I doubt she does recently, given the 12- to 14-hour days she’s been putting in at the office. She looks exhausted … but I still ain’t taking care of that cat)

All the good kids were drinking beer and fighting wit townies.

Thank you Dr. Miller. Yours is a brave and important message, searingly articulated, and very , very urgent. Without a doubt, yours was the most hopeful and honorable message I’ve read in quite some time.

Thank you Dr. Miller. Yours is a brave and important message, searingly articulated, and very urgent. Without a doubt, yours was the most hopeful and honorable message I’ve read in some time.

Somewhere there is a Madame Thérèse Defarge sitting in her rocking chair knitting the noose that will dangle those of us who dare speak out about this. Or, perhaps the guillotine will come back in style, no? The masses are preparing to storm the Bastille at this time, I’m sure. Do you think this is too much? Unless we learn from history, then we are doomed to suffer from history repeating itself over, and over, and over, and…

Didn’t these stugents violate Kelly’s First Amendment rights? They did not have to attend so their act really is mob action.

    No, Jennifer. You may want to (re)read the Constitution. Congress can’t prohibit/inhibit speech, but individuals sure can.

      ThomasD in reply to ellib2. | November 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Not exactly.

      What those browshirts did may not have been a violation of the First Amendment, but only because what they actually did is incite the University into cancelling his speech.

      Had the University not wanted that to happen they could have easily prevented the mob from their attempts to infringe upon Kelly’s civil rights by having them all removed from the facility.


    Unlike the propietor of this blog, I am not a lawyer, but I do not believe you have any first amendment rights at a private university. Even at a state university, I think it would have to be the administration silencing you, rather than fascist sub-human students like this, for you to have a case.

Not defending the behavior of the “students”, but they were obnoxious close minded know-it-alls long before Brown. If privileged institutions care about their reputation in having intelligent, “liberal” and open minded students they need a better screening process. Perhaps including a few questions about the Constitution, what makes for a civil society, how they see America now and in the future, etc.

If the protesters are reflective of the student body in general it explains the kind of people running the current Obama Admin. Great test takers, but no common decency, ethics or morals.

    ThomasD in reply to GoldenAh. | November 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    You are proceeding under tha assumption that the University is not happy with what transpired.

    If it helps, think of the University officals as Brer Rabbit, begging Brer Bear (the protesters) not to throw him in the briar patch (cancelling Kelly’s speech) and it might make better sense.

The “lesson” to be learned does not lie in the text of Professor Ken Miller’s essay.

It lies in the comments that follow.


Further, it should not be lost that Prof. Miller is in total lockstep ideologically with the student protesters, as he makes clear in the comments that follow.

So, this is less about diversity of thought as it is about diversity of mechanisms used to express that thought.

Miller wanted the students to protest via dialog. The students wanted a protest to shut down dialog.

    ThomasD in reply to Browndog. | November 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Given that Miller is opposed to shoutdowns and cancellations I’d hesitate to characterize him as being in lockstep with the censors.

    He’s calling for more speech, they want to dictate the limits of speech.

    A fundamental difference, even if he himself does not fully appreciate it.

      Browndog in reply to ThomasD. | November 2, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      Learn how to read:

      I said he was in lock step ideologically:

      Here’s the
      reality, friends: I don’t like Kelly, and I am totally against stop-and-frisk.
      It’s a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, it’s a socially divisive
      policy, and it poisons relations between the police and the minority community
      by making every member of a minority group feel as though he or she is viewed
      as a potential criminal.

      At the end of the talk, I would have loved to have seen a
      series of pointed questions that made Kelly answer those accusations, and I
      don’t doubt for a second that our students could have put him through the
      wringer. That, my friends, might have had an effect on stop-and-frisk.


      Got it??

        richard40 in reply to Browndog. | November 3, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        Good point. Real dialog and good questions might have allowed everybody to learn something. But shouting him down, all that showed was how fascist those leftist students were.

I have to disagree with Professor Miller. The students that shouted down Kelly were not cowards and they did not act out of fear. They acted with the same boldness the Fascists in the 20th Century did. The 20th Century fascists, black shirts and brown shirts who went out in the streets and beer halls to beat up their opponents were not cowards. They were evil, but not cowards. The Fascists that shouted Ray Kelly down had no concerns about being met with opponents’ fists or even the disapproval of the Brown administration and faculty. In that respect they were less brave than the Fascists that ended up ruling Italy and Germany. Like earlier Fascists long dead, they had the courage of their convictions. They are evil, but they operate in an environment that has already given up the fight for freedom and now cowers helplessly and in many cases approves. The students, administrators and teachers at Brown are the real cowards.

“Don’t know much about history.”

As several have already said, the students in this episode were playing the part of the fascists. If they had read their history they would have known that the fascist movements, in their early stages, used tactics such as shouting down, harassing, and even assaulting, spokesmen for opposing viewpoints. As they gained power their tactics became more violent and more systematic.

But if students knew history they might be more reflective and less eager to repeat it. Maybe that is why the teaching profession avoids exploring large chunks of history.

What is sad is that “stop and frisk” probably protected minorities more so than any majority. All one has to do is take a look at FBI stats and it becomes obvious who is preying on whom.

These so-called defenders of freedom have no idea they are promoting and enforcing social/cultural fascism when they do this kind of thing.

Useful pigs. Hipster brownshirts.

    ThomasD in reply to punfundit. | November 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Some do, most do not.

    But that is part of the system they’ve created – where most are to be kept infantilized and pliable.

I remember this. I was in high school at the time and our English teacher brought a tape of Rockwell’s speech to school and we listened in class.

After listening to it we got a lesson in how to listen to political speeches. It was my first exposure to fallacies and has benefited me immensely. I don’t think I have been able to listen to any politician since without running their words through the same process that we used to examine Rockwell’s

Hello Ken, from your classmate Larry Jurrist. You’re 100% right, and I don’t like either Ray Kelly or Stop and Frisk. But to shout the guy down? What crap! What a bunch of spoiled babies.

Wonderful letter from this professor. Its a pity the other professors and the administrators at Brown do not share his values. For al their talk of diversity and openness, leftists today don’t seem to value diversity of opinion very much. And they seem to value free speech for fellow leftists, but for anybody else, not so much. The real fascists here were the students who shouted down the speaker. Forming a mob to shout down speakers you did not like was a favorite fascist tactic. If you want to ensure Never Again, you should start with these fascist students.