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“you tried to hurt me, but you ended up hurting the law school and you ended up hurting the students”

“you tried to hurt me, but you ended up hurting the law school and you ended up hurting the students”

My appearance on the “Cancelled” podcast with hosts Rob Rosen and Desma Simon.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed on the podcast Cancelled, hosted by Rob Rosen and Desma Simon. My segment was about 30 minutes long, and we covered not only my situation at Cornell Law School, but also developments more broadly in higher education.

The photo of me sent to me by Rob makes my face seem bloated, while he and Desma look sharp. Thanks Rob! I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.

The podcast focuses on cancel culture and free speech. You could say I’ve been cancelled, and I considered that for the title of this post, but people might misinterpret such a headline.

Have I been cancelled, or just attempted cancelled? I guess it depends on what you consider to be the essence of cancel culture — is it the process that is the punishment, or only the result?

You can listen to the podcast at the embed below (or the link above). Scroll forward to minute 32 for the start of my segment.

Here are some excerpts (mostly auto-transcript, might be some transcription errors):

WAJ: I think there’s no question that that is one of the things that has contributed to this, that there is a concept out there, which has developed over time, that if your words make me uncomfortable, therefore that is something I have a right to stop. I have a right to be free from that discomfort. There are people who use the term that your words actually are violent. Your words are causing physical harm to people. Uh, and I faced this because I gave a speech several years ago, 2017 at Vassar college. And it was after Charlottesville. And I felt it was very important to explain why even what is commonly called hate speech is both constitutionally protected and is better dealt with by more speech than shutting people down. And the reaction to my appearing at Vassar was an attempt to stop my appearance, um, that that was considered a, to pose a physical threat to people on campus that I would want to talk about constitutional protections for what some people call hate speech.

* * *

Q. So two questions for you, one, why do you think people are afraid of open and honest dialogue? Because I mean, clearly it’s not, it’s not something that’s practice anymore, and I’m curious to know your opinion on it. Why are people afraid to have a face to face conversation about topics that they may not see the same see eye to eye on?

WAJ: Well, I don’t know. I, it’s very strange to me, particularly at a law school where we’re taught about the adversarial system in court and that the way you reach a higher truth or a better truth, or maybe the truth, whatever that is, is by two sides, arguing it out and taking opposing views and the judge or the jury hearing those opposing views gets to reach it. So I think it gets back to the why they won’t do it. And I can only speculate. I mean, they they’d have to tell you, I think the why is that they are not used to people on a college campus are not used to having their views, challenged….

Q. Gotcha. And then the other question I had is, you mentioned that some of the complaints that you got was the timing that you wrote  these posts. And, and I am curious to know, you know, because I mean, these are very sensitive subject matters, you know, especially to George Floyd murder, but I’m curious to know why, why did you write these so soon? I mean, did you, why?

WAJ: I think it was all over the news and it was something I was familiar with and I’ve written about controversial things in the past. You know, we’re a website that deals with what is happening now, and that was happening now. And I did write about the George Floyd killing and, nobody’s complaining about what I wrote about that….Nobody’s criticized me for that. And that’s the same approach we’ve taken. We have covered self-defense shooting cases dozens of times over the years, and sometimes we’ve come out and we do not believe there was an excess excessive use of force. And other times we’ve taken the other view. We go based on the evidence,

* * *

Q. So last question, give us some hope, what can happen? What can we do? Is there any reason to be optimistic that once again, debate, free speech, free exchange of ideas will become something that’s valued again, in the society and on campus?

WAJ: I consider myself a hopeful person. I don’t like false hope. I think the situation is extremely bad right now. I think that it has been getting worse over the years. I think there is a backlash building, but it is a repressive environment on many college campuses. And I think it has gotten worse in the last three months.

Q. So, real quick, one last question for me. What would you say to all of those people, the faculty that signed the letter against you, the students, all of that, what would you say to them? Knowing that they attempted to get you fired.

WAJ: I’d say to them that you tried to hurt me, but you ended up hurting the law school and you ended up hurting the students and that you’ve done serious damage to the institution and that you need to reflect on your own values and your unwillingness to engage with people.

For my next appearance, I will be appearing on the podcast “Burned at the Stake.”


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WAJ: I’d say to them that you tried to hurt me, but you ended up hurting the law school and you ended up hurting the students and that you’ve done serious damage to the institution and that you need to reflect on your own values and your unwillingness to engage with people.


I’m holding out for the does he float test perfected by Monty Python. Heh.

You ask: “I guess it depends on what you consider to be the essence of cancel culture — is it the process that is the punishment, or only the result?”

That’s the crux of the issue. The goal is two-fold: fire, cause to quit, or otherwise silence wrong-thinkers, while at the same time discouraging further wrong-think.

The goal is not to survive but to thrive, to show others how, and to provide a platform for them. How many educators are being treated like this and have no way to fight back? How hard is it for us to provide such a platform for those without a voice?

I’m curious to know why, why did you write these so soon? I mean, did you, why?

Can you suggest a better time to confront falsehood?

How many of these have there been in recent years, where the response is the same? Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton show up, BLM, paid coordinators and agitators get activated, materials (bricks) are deployed strategically, riots commence and (focus group approved) chants are screamed from bullhorns, while the MSM and their “if it bleeds it leads” policy beams it all to the masses.

The time to confront a lie is when it’s spoken, not after it’s taken root and caused great destruction.

Will your classes this fall be online or in person?

I have a degree in history and this is just the way human beings are.

Human beings are herd animals [or pride, tribe, whatever]. They desire uniformity. And, throughout human history, a certain segment of the population has been terrified of any diversity. Diversity in looks, dress or thought. This diversity terrifies them and they react by attempting to destroy this diversity. That is what the cancel culture is all about. It is a means to stamp out diversity, especially of thought and ideology. And, just as the anti-Renaissance and anti-Reformation movements in Europe, it is dangerous to individuals and damaging to society.
People did not attack Professor jacobson for personal reasons. They attacked him simply because he was different. he was not a member of their tribe. For that reason, he had to be driven away or destroyed. That is what is so terrifying about the counter culture attacks, they are totally impersonal. The attacked does not see a person. He only sees a difference and this represents a perceived threat which must be destroyed. It is unreasoning and can not be either ignored or changed. By its very nature, totally divorced from logic, it can only be destroyed. It sets up a self fulfilling prophesy that the diversity can only be addressed by destruction, of one party or another.

    Barry in reply to Mac45. | August 16, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    I have no disagreement with what you wrote. I will say, however, that this is the one country where people have historically been fairly tolerant of opposing views.

    That day is gone, and the first place it left is the universities. Many of those institutions are public schools, funded by the public, and located in republican states.

    So, where the hell are the republican legislatures and governors?

      jb4 in reply to Barry. | August 16, 2020 at 11:35 pm

      As I noted in another thread, in my opinion, those Republicans are similar to the Democrats of 1960 and contributing to the decline of this once great country.

      Decades ago I saw the original 1976 movie Midway with Fonda, Heston and Coburn. So, it was quite by accident that I stumbled across the 2019 remake this afternoon. My father-in-law wangled his way into getting into the Navy before he completed HS and was in the Mediterranean and Pacific. Anyway, what struck me about the Midway remake (aside from great special effects) is that it brought home to me the absence of character, courage, morality and leadership in America today. Now we have a leader like DeBlasio not allowing the twin tower light beams this year, etc.

        legacyrepublican in reply to jb4. | August 17, 2020 at 4:46 am

        Now we have a leader like DeBlasio not allowing the twin tower light beams this year, etc.

        You couldn’t have picked a more shinning and brilliant example of the lefts’ inability to cope with those moments that turn the spotlight of truthful criticism on raw reality!

        casualobserver in reply to jb4. | August 17, 2020 at 8:29 am

        Pretty sure the 9/11 ceremony is back on now. Perhaps because the revolutionaries pushed back – it’s such a great and visible opportunity for them to get yet more camera time and notice. So, he’ll probably allow them to protest while forcing every peaceful New Yorker to huddle inside.

        Or maybe it’s another example of Cuomo growing a pair and telling DeBlasio to sit down and shutup. Rare. But seems to happen more lately.

        GatorGuy in reply to jb4. | August 18, 2020 at 8:15 pm

        You get a real sense in the remake of the ineffable courage it took to dive the Dauntless at a 70-degree angle from 10-15,000 ft, slowed to an excruciating, accuracy-pursing and abated attack, courtesy of its twin drive-flaps, straight into the oncoming, ubiquitous enemy flak.

        The courage — that’s what evolution has largely replaced in our cultural institutions with a substance called CYA. Rarely is there a real fight in respective fora for principle, as if our lives and souls depend on it. In fact, they still do.

        At least at Midway, LT Best et al knew and displayed courage innately, as well as culturally, in his bones.

        CincyJan in reply to jb4. | August 20, 2020 at 1:49 am

        I had much the same reaction to seeing a rebroadcast of “Daniel Boone” on one of Kentucky’s PBS stations. The risks that man and his compatriots took when opening up Tennesse & Kentucky were incredible. In one confrontation with the Shawnee, who came down from Ohio to hunt, Daniel Boone’s son was shot through the back, but not dead, and a second man was in much the same condition. Daniel Boone and his men were driven off by the Shawnee, but remained close enough to hear the two immobilized men screaming as they were killed slowly. The next morning, Daniel Boone, et al., returned to bury their dead. I watched while sitting in my home, avoiding other people in case of covid-19 and wondering whether I had enough masks to get through the state mandated period of appearing in public only with masks.

        We don’t accept risk, we don’t accept nonconformity. Everything scares us. In which case, we do not deserve liberty, and are no longer capable of preserving it anyway.

<i?"…why do you think people are afraid of open and honest dialogue?"

Depends on who you mean by “people”. It’s the new world order being imposed on us by well-funded and well-organized tyrants who clearly understand the frail and dishonest nature of their claims to legitimacy. So frail and dishonest that they will not risk a having to explain themselves to doubters. And everything is presented as one big global crisis after another, climate change, plague (annual WHO flu shots to fend off each year’s latest version), US imperialism etc…, so the urgency leaves them no time. They are masters of the universe and have done all of the thinking for us.

IMHO, we will not be able to stop them with words. Eventually, and probably soon, we will have to start shooting these people. How many American soldiers have died killing communists overseas already? And now we will allow them just come here and seize our freedoms without a shot? For God’s sake, we have ELECTED so many these people that it may just be too late already.

We should at least be issuing “shoot to kill on sight” orders in all of our cities being razed and plundered with the approval of our governors, mayors and top national political leaders. Exactly where do we draw the line? Start with the looters/rioters and work our way up the chain of command while we still have time. There is nowhere left to run and hide. We ARE the world’s last hope!

Your theory about the why aspect, that they are not used to having their views challenged; how much of this do you think stems from the fact that today’s students are as a whole a lot more immature than previous generations? My girlfriend mentioned to me when she took her son to school last year that during the parent orientation, they were told basically that today’s 18 year old is yesterday’s 14 year old. I do not have kids of my own, but it seems there is some truth there.

Why are they afraid of open debate and dialog?

The root cause is that they are brainwashed by the communists to think that reason, facts, debate, honesty, truth, are all just pretexts for oppression, racism, patriarchy, etc. They only want to win, to shut you up. They debate, they could lose. Why risk it? Especially as they are not any good at it. Easier to throw Molotov cocktails, form a mob, chant stupid brainless slogans, call names.

amatuerwrangler | August 17, 2020 at 8:36 pm

What jumped out at me was when one of the hosts referred to the “George Floyd murder”. Any thinking person who has read the autopsy report (with tox-screen report), along with subsequent reports of body-cam footage, knows that George was not murdered, by anyone.

I guess its a plus that the Professor let that go by and addresses the man issues. He did not take the bait, if that is what it was. It might well be that the interviewers fully believe that and think everyone agrees. Regardless, it is good that they gave the Professor the opportunity to reach an even greater audience.

    HImmanuelson in reply to amatuerwrangler. | August 19, 2020 at 1:17 am

    > George Floyd murder

    I’ve read summaries of the autopsy report and summaries of the tox screen report but haven’t gone back and read everything from the primary sources.

    Having said that, consider me undecided and interested in your thoughts why this wasn’t murder.

    What I recall from back when this happened was that Floyd was probably having a heart attack not long after the encounter with the police began, long before he was being restrained on the ground. I recall that the tox screen showed he was high as a kite on at least one illegal drug, maybe two. I recall that the autopsy showed massive blockage in his arteries which explained his apparent heart attack symptoms.

    It certainly appeared possible that he would have died from the heart attack if the incident on the ground hadn’t occurred but that’s speculation at best.

    OTOH, I recall the coroner’s report stating that the cause of death was how he was restrained on the ground by the cop that had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

    You can argue the level of the charge (murder 2, murder 3, manslaughter) but based on the conclusion of the coroner, how was the cop’s behavior not murder or manslaughter?

    Convince me, my mind is genuinely open to what you have to say.

      gmac124 in reply to HImmanuelson. | August 19, 2020 at 6:03 pm

      It’s been awhile since I looked at the reports but there are 2 coroner reports for George Floyd. One done by the state and the one you are referencing that places the blame on the cops. The one blaming the cops was purchased by George’s family and done by a coroner that has a history of coming to the conclusion the purchaser wants, especially if it is anti cop.

        HImmanuelson in reply to gmac124. | August 19, 2020 at 6:36 pm

        I think there were actually 3. There was the preliminary one from the city or state that suggested things other than the cop’s knee on his neck, and a later final one that pointed to the knee on his neck. When this one came with that conclusion then that’s what I went with.

        Then there was the family’s hired one that said it was definitely the cop’s knee that ended his life which I trusted less just on principle.

Professor Jacobson, maybe now is the time to speak out against Social Media. When phones had cords attached, you had to speak to others face to face, now-a-days you can hide behind a faceless name and troll others without any dialogue or fear of being challenged. I find it a sad commentary that so many students and prior graduates were willing to sign a petition against you, without any discourse. Why is it that the BLM movement is so willing to stand up for those whose behavior is criminal?

I’ve noticed before that it is the people from California who seem to lead an amorphous movement towards resistance. American Greatness, a southern California web site, has established a secondary web site dealing with the possibility of armed conflict. Things must be very, very bad in California. I don’t think the state government is capable of maintaining the state’s infrastructure. It is ridiculous that a state with so much coast line should have water shortages. In any case, the situation in Ohio is not yet so dire.