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Lecture: “Cancel culture, as it exists now, is … really the warfare of personal destruction”

Lecture: “Cancel culture, as it exists now, is … really the warfare of personal destruction”

My online lecture today for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East: Cancel culture has “morphed into an extremely dangerous targeting of people, attempts to destroy their lives, to so-called dox them, to harass them, to harass their employers, to harass people who know them to get them fired”

I gave an online lecture today for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), a “grass-roots community of scholars” who “believe that ethnic, national, and religious hatreds, including anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, have no place in our institutions, disciplines, and communities. We employ academic means to address these issues.”

Asaf Romirowsky is the longtime Executive Director of SPME, and along with others in the organization, on June 12, 2020, issued a statement suporting me when I was the object of Cornell Law School’s two minutes of hate, SPME Stands By Professor William Jacobson:

Does the Dean not realize that such a categorical misrepresentation and dismissal of Jacobson’s opinions as “offensive” and “poorly reasoned,” is a form of punishment, another voice in the chorus of ostracizers who make life for their colleague deeply hostile?

What is happening at Cornell is part of a much larger pattern. On campuses in particular we see ongoing pressure for conformity in the name of outrage which plays a decisive role.

That public message of support was deeply appreciated, so I was happy to oblige when Asaf asked if I would be willing to speak at an online event for SPME on Cancel Culture in Higher Education.

That event was today, and we had over 100 scholars in attendance. My initial comments were just under a half hour, and the remainder of the hour was question and answer.

You can listen to the lecture and Q&A at the SPME website, and also below.

Here is a transcript of my opening remarks. (Note: Transcript is auto-generated, and may contain transcription errors. Hyperlinks added.)

Thank you for that introduction. I appreciate it. And I also appreciate being here because I’m scrolling through the list of attendees, and I actually know some people, which is really rare. Usually when I’m doing these things, I don’t really know anybody. So, Hi everybody. Good to see you.

I’m going to talk a little bit about cancel culture, and what I have perceived [as] the changes, how it’s impacted things over the years, and really what the status of it is now. Now “cancel culture” is a relatively new word. I don’t think we were using this term even three years ago or five years ago, certainly. But many of the things, many of the tactics, many of the problems have existed for quite some time, and I’ve observed them because I started Legal Insurrection website in October 2008. And that was really my first introduction to what I guess, nowadays we would call “cancel culture.”

I started it right before the 2008 election, really with no plan just because I wanted to. And I was absolutely amazing what I was writing was getting attention. And within two weeks, by the end of October 2008, the law school was already getting emails from people demanding I be fired, how terrible it was to have somebody like me because what I wrote was against the Obama candidacy, which really shocked me because it never really dawned on me that somebody would do that sort of thing. I guess I was very naïve. But it happened within two weeks within two to three weeks, which is absolutely amazing.

And that campaign to get me fired because of what I was writing on a variety of topics really continued for at least several years in a very concerted, very determined sort of effort. All of it, at that time, [came] from off-campus, from people who weren’t on the campus. And, all of it, the harassment of my colleagues, threatening boycotts of the law school if I wasn’t fired, threatening me to the extent that one graduation, the university actually assigned a detective to accompany me to graduation. And the thing is, I wasn’t writing anything really out of the mainstream of modern conservative thought. But it was unacceptable to people to have somebody on the campus and on the law school faculty who disagreed with the majority on campus. I probably was in more or less representing half the population, but at the law school, and at Cornell, a tiny fraction of the population.

And the one thing that, now that I look back upon it, is these were not, threats or really related to my work with Israel. These were not anarchists, or I guess what we would call now Antifa. These were not any of those sort of people.

The people trying to get me fired and complaining about me and harassing people at the law school about me were mainstream Obama Democrats, mainstream liberals, most of whom used their own name. I mean, there were some anonymous things, but for the most part, they felt no shame, no hesitancy in [using] their own name [to] write to the Dean of the law school about how I should be fired. It was truly amazing. And it was an intolerance that did not come from the radicals. It did not come from the anti-Israel people. It came from mainstream liberals. And I think that that is something which has gotten worse over the year.

So when I think of cancel culture, I don’t think of the instances of Antifa trying to take over a courthouse or something like that. I think of it as an intolerance from the mainstream liberal Democrat America to anyone who disagrees with them, and it’s gotten a lot worse. So that was my introduction to cancel culture. There were people who actually wanted to cancel me because what I was writing on this solo blog, that I didn’t even know anybody really would even notice. But the other thing I noticed is the history.

Since 2008, we have been following various forms of cancel culture. And while that was targeted at me, my first introduction to things, for the most part, for the early years of our coverage, most of it was anti-Israel cancel culture. It was events being disrupted by SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] and various offshoots of SJP. It was speakers being shouted down. It was students being harassed for bringing Israeli or pro-Israel speakers to campus.

And so, as I look back upon our history of covering these events, not surprisingly, it kind of started with the [targeting of] Jews. It started with the targeting, at least in my experience, of pro-Israel speakers or Israeli speakers, pro Israel students, pro-Israel events. I remember one event at Cornell. It was Israeli Independence Day. I think it was 2017, but there were many instances earlier than that, where Hillel put on an Independence Day event in a room, and SJP crashed the event and held the die in, in the middle of the room. They thought it was their right to disrupt our event. And it’s just that sort of a constant disruption of Israeli and pro-Israel speakers and students. That is the first thing that I noticed.

And this is not a precise timeline, but I think it’s a rough timeline. And then things began to shift a little bit more, and we began to see a lot more of the similar tactics used against people I would say we’re right of center. I won’t even say conservative, but people who were dissenting from the liberal orthodoxy on campuses, and their events started to get disrupted and speakers shouted down. You’ve probably seen a lot of coverage of these things, mostly or most significantly at smaller liberal arts colleges. Like Middlebury College had a famous incident where speakers were shouted off campus, and the professor was actually attacked. But it’s been many places.

At Cornell. Rick Santorum was heckled at Cornell. There was one of the original TEA Party people, Michael John Sr., whose son went to Cornell at the time, [who] was invited to a debate forum. It wasn’t even a right-wing debate forum. It was a non-partisan group on campus, which sponsors debates between speakers and students. And so they bring in speakers, and that speaker essentially debates the students from the club. And they invited Michael John Sr., who was a Tea Party founder and was vocally pro-Trump. And they had to move the location of the speech to a private location because Cornell police, with this history of disruption of conservative speakers, actually monitored social media, saw that there were planned disruptions, went to this debate group and said, we’ve picked up that there’s going to be a disruption. We will provide police protection, but it’s going to cost you $2,000. They said, well, we don’t have $2,000. [The Cornell Police] said, well, then you have to make the event private and move it to an undisclosed location, which is what they did. And the students who were protesting found out the new location, anyway (surprise, surprise), banged on the doors, to disrupt, couldn’t get into the room. And this is Cornell University. As far as I know, there was no action taken against any of those students who threatened disruption and did try to disrupt.

And so there was a lot of that on almost every campus. So it started in my observation with attacks on pro-Israel and Israeli speakers. It kind of shifted over time to right-of-center speakers. For some reason, I don’t know why, I seem to be a lightning rod for these things.

So, there was a general intolerance building on campuses, trigger warnings for certain language, and basically the concept of free speech on campuses and academic freedom devolved into, “How do I feel about this? You only have a right to speak on campus as long as I am not insulted, as long as I am not made to feel uncomfortable.” And that became the dominant ideology five years ago, whenever it was. And that has grown worse.

I had that experience at Vassar College. I went to Vassar College as a guest speaker invited by the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Student Union, which was nine students on a campus of 2,400 students. And people freaked out because I was going to speak about why hate speech is actually protected under the Constitution. And they organized protests against my coming to campus, two all campus-wide meetings, to prepare for my arrival with over 200 people, faculty, student, and staff at each one, how they could protect students. They spread false, completely false rumors that I was a white supremacist bringing my white nationalist friends to target marginalized communities at Vassar. I mean complete fabrication. They had very tight security. The students had set up safety teams. The safety teams were there to help guide students who were feeling triggered to safe locations. They established safe spaces. This is all over me coming to campus. They established safe spaces. And one of the safe spaces was the Vassar main library where they had, and I kid you not, coloring books and crayons available to students who were feeling stressed by my being on campus.

Well, my appearance on campus, which normally probably would have attracted 20 students, the nine students in the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Union, and a couple of their friends, because of this absurdity they had over me. And I think it was the largest classroom there. I think it was 200-plus capacity. It was completely overflowing. It was into the hallways. There probably were 300 students there, coming to see this horrible person coming to campus. And there were, fifty or sixty students dressed all in black in protest of my being there. And it actually turned out to be one of the greatest events on a campus I’ve ever had because they realized within two minutes that I wasn’t this monster that had been portrayed. The student government had actually petitioned the president of the university to keep me off campus too, to breach the agreement I had with them to speak, which she did not do.

And it was really actually a great night. There were no interruptions. There was a 45-minute speech on the basics of free speech and why it’s important even on campuses, and an hour and 15 minutes of question-and-answer. Students lined up long lines to ask questions. And one thing that taught me is that a lot of what we see is coming from a minority of students on campus, it’s coming from a smaller group. There were actually were several hundred students who wanted to hear what I had to say and who once I started speaking, were interested in learning, and it was very clear while it was in many ways that basic civics lesson that they’d never heard any of this stuff before, about what the First Amendment means and why it’s important. And so any conservative speaking, even little old me, was getting attempted to keep me off campuses.

And then things began to broaden out the concept of microaggressions. Again, everything focused on how things make me feel. And now it’s much worse. I mean, it is not even close to what it was years ago.

It’s the rise of Critical Race Theory. It’s the rise of Black Lives Matter movement. It is the move towards mandatory, coercive “antiracism training,” which of course, as we know, is really one of the greatest linguistic sleights of hand to call what they do “antiracism,” when in fact, in many ways it’s the opposite.

And now the atmosphere on campuses is really bad. Just about everywhere. There is close to zero tolerance for dissenting views on anything regarding race relations, anything regarding Black Lives Matter, anything regarding the topics of systemic racism, things like that.

One of the things we’ve always done at Legal Insurrection is come to the assistance of faculty who are under attack and try to get them publicity, maybe try to hook them in with legal help, whatever it happens to be.  So we see a lot of these cases, and I’ve covered many just in the last few months. We’re just since June of last year, probably eight or 10 significant cases to faculty being run off of campus, being censured, being attacked in some cases, all because they expressed dissenting views over the riots and the looting and the other things that happened after the death of George Floyd as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. So now it’s really bad. There is zero tolerance.

Many universities, including Cornell [where the Faculty Senate [will] take a vote on May 5th, imposing mandatory training for students and for faculty mandatory educational requirements. They are adopting what amounts to an official ideology, which is variations on Critical Race Theory. And it’s truly oppressive.

And as many of you know, that cancel culture visited me in a very big way, a little over a year ago, the beginning of June 2020.

We have covered, in Legal insurrection, the Black Lives Matter movement since [its] inception. We covered the George Zimmerman case. It was after that acquittal that the hashtag, Black Lives Matter, was created. But it really was the Michael Brown shooting that launched the Black Lives Matter movement to national prominence. And we were there, we were covering it, not just the riots and the looting, but the Michael Brown case itself, as well as the rise of Black Lives Matter and how anti-Israel activists were deeply embedded from the start in a lot of that activism and have sought to hijack that movement to turn it against Israel.

So I was very familiar with Michael Brown. I was very familiar of the narrative of “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” And I was also very familiar with the fact that that was actually a false narrative that the Justice Department under Obama, the Eric Holder Justice Department, after the local grand jury, refused to indict the policeman who shot Michael Brown did a thorough investigation and exhaustive investigation, as you can imagine, to determine whether there were any civil rights violations and found that there were none, that there was no racial motivation. In fact, it was a justifiable use of police force because, contrary to the narrative of Michael Brown being shot with his hands up while he was saying, “don’t shoot,” he was shot when he punched a policeman, sitting in a patrol car, in the face, reached in and tried to steal his service weapon. He was shot once, the policemen got out of the car, Michael Brown made another charge at him, and the policeman shot him again. And that was the fatal shot.

And even the Obama Eric Holder Justice Department found that, because of the physical assault, because of the attempt to steal a weapon, and because of the second charge at the policemen, who [used] a justifiable use of force, I guarantee you virtually nobody in the country knows that. Instead they know “Hands up, don’t shoot! And “Hands up don’t shoot!” became the operative narrative of the Black Lives Matter movement so much so that in the protests, after George Floyd and the riots after the George Floyd killing, people were marching saying, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”

And I knew that was false. I had written about that multiple times in the past. And so I wrote a blog post saying that, “You know, ‘Hands up don’t shoot’ is a fabricated narrative from the Michael Brown case.” And people lost their minds at Cornell. And that led to an email campaign by alumni, petitions by alumni. I was denounced by twenty-one of my colleagues who never had the courtesy, although I’d known many of them for a decade and consider them work friends, to talk to me before they signed this letter against me. Students organized a boycott of my course, which, by the way, failed. We were oversubscribed again. But 15 student groups organized the boycott. The dean of the law school denounced me, really twisted what I said, claimed that I was writing against protest for black civil rights or something like tha when it’s very clear that that post about Michael Brown and a subsequent post, or another post I had, were critical of the looting and the rioting, not black [individuals] seeking civil rights and human rights. So that really visited me.

And, I do thank the people at SPME. They wrote an open letter defending me, Some other groups did too, but not a lot on campus. I mean, a lot of people were, I think, afraid. I got a lot of emails from students who said, “You have a lot of support in the building. Don’t think these student groups actually represent everybody. It’s just, everybody is afraid to speak up.” They’re afraid of becoming a target. And I completely understand that. I got emails of support from some faculty, not a lot, at Cornell university. None from the law school. Supportive, but again, quietly.

I think that’s the campus culture we live in. It’s that everybody’s afraid, and the polling and the surveys show this, that people are afraid to speak up on campuses. And it’s, of course, moved off of campus. People are afraid to speak up at work. The campus cancel culture has very much moved off campus into the corporate world and into other aspects of society. And that’s really where we are now.

So as I look at the history, it went from anti-Israel cancel culture, to anti-conservative cancel culture. to an ideology that the most important, the only thing that matters when it comes to free speech, is how what you are saying makes me feel, not the truth of what you’re saying. Not your ability to have other views to the Critical Race Theory view of the world, which is now predominant, predominant, and evidenced, in some ways, by the Black Lives Matter movement. And the Ibram Kendi style, anti-racism indoctrination and training. And so it’s a very, very negative aspect to it.

One thing I do think has changed since the early days is that where, in the early days, people would try to stop a speaker from speaking. They might try to disrupt an event. They didn’t really try to destroy people, so they didn’t try to destroy the speakers. As long as the speaker stayed off my campus, it was their view, we’re okay. We’re not going to try to get them fired from other places. We’re not going to try to get their publishers to drop them. Now, this is morphed into an extremely dangerous targeting of people, attempts to destroy their lives, to so-called dox them, to harass them, to harass their employers, to harass people who know them to get them fired.

That was another thing you didn’t see a lot of in the early days of Legal Insurrection. You didn’t see organized attempts to get people fired that you see now, fairly frequently. So things have changed over the years for the worse.

Before I end my opening comments, ‘cause I know we have a limited amount of time, I do encourage you to think about what are some of the responses to cancel culture? Well, the most common response is, “Oh, you just don’t like being criticized. This isn’t cancel culture. You’re just thin skinned. You’re the snowflakes. You’re always complaining about [this], and you just don’t like being criticized. It’s not cancel culture.” And that of course is not true.

An author named Jonathan Rauch wrote a post, I think it was at Medium or some independent location they called “The Cancel Culture Checklist.” And then I think it’s worth looking at this. How do you know if you’ve been subject to criticism, or you were being subject to the modern 2020-2021 form of cancel culture. And he’s got a checklist of a few points, which I think are really useful.

One is Punitiveness, that they’re denouncing you to your professional groups, your social connections, trying to get you blacklisted. It’s a very punitive type of approach, as opposed to mere criticism. You’re trying to get you deplatform-ed. They’re trying to prevent you from publishing your work, from being on social media, from attending or giving speeches. So it’s punitiveness, deplatforming. Organization, the criticism is highly organized. It’s not simply people criticizing you. And that’s of course what it was in my case. It was a coordination of faculty and students in an organized manner, and alumni targeting me and trying to get me fired or trying to get me censured or something like that. It was very organized. It wasn’t just people complaining or criticizing you. It was an organized targeting. Secondary Boycotts, that there’s an implicit threat, that to go after people who were associated with you, that’s a very common factor of it. Moral Grandstanding, is his second to last factor, that they attack you in very ad hominem ways to make themselves seem morally superior. And Truthiness, that they don’t actually tell the truth about what you’re saying. They create straw-man arguments, like the argument by the dean of law school that I was supposedly casting, in his words, “broad and categorical aspersions on the goal of those protesting for justice for black Americans.” That’s a complete fabrication. There’s nothing in what I wrote that says that. So they create the straw-man arguments and then knock down those straw-man arguments, truthiness.

So cancel culture, as it exists now, is more than criticism. It’s more than stopping a single speech. It’s more than that. It’s really the warfare of personal destruction that we’re seeing across our culture more broadly now.

So with that, I will stop and answer questions.

I’ll note one comment from the audience (at 39:05):

Professor Jacobson, thank you very much. I wanted to mention that I’m a significant donor. I was a significant donor to Cornell and an alumnus. That you’re really a hero to a lot of pro-Israel and conservatives, and to just people who cherish American values. And, as of about a year ago, one or two years ago, I let Cornell know that I will no longer be donating as long as they have these restrictive policies that allow the rejection or the censorship of pro-Israel speakers, of conservative students, and basically promoting their quote unquote anti-racist policies that actually promote racism and division. And I just hope that other Cornell alumni will follow my example, because maybe that will make a difference.


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henrybowman | April 27, 2021 at 11:48 pm

“They’re afraid of becoming a target. And I completely understand that. I got emails of support from some faculty, not a lot, at Cornell university. None from the law school. Supportive, but again, quietly.”

And why is that?

Because these crybullies whose excuse is that their “feelings are directly, physically threatened by the frightening violence inherent in the words you are speaking” have no compunction about visiting you in mobs and/or by stealth and doing real, physical violence to your property, your person, and your loved ones.

And “our” governments have all but made self-defense illegal.

Throughout the 2020 year of violence and fire, thugs went in and out of the justice system like ants at a picnic. Who got the full weight of the state thrown at them? The McCloskeys. Steve Baca. Mike Strickland. Kyle Rittenhouse. People who morally and constitutionally defended their lives and property, usually without even firing a shot.

They became the people who had to be made an example of.

I hate to say it, but we are where we are now because we have allowed our various governments to constrict, pick away at, and concoct exceptions to the rights we all are supposed to have as Americans, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The criminals get all the deference, while the honest citizen gets none.

If you haven’t before been active on the preservation of gun rights, maybe it’s time to think about starting. Because it’s already become crystal clear that you’re going to be depending on those rights, sooner rather than later.

alohahola | April 28, 2021 at 6:32 am

Cancel culture is one big smear campaign with a heavy dose of bullying.

If anyone was bullied as a child and successfully survived it, they would know that, while it’s ideal to stay out of the bully’s range, it also helps to not care about the bully’s effect on how other people will see you and to say, “Go ahead. Bring it.” rather than to say “Stop it!” while providing the bully with a logical defense.

The latter never works with a bully. The former “Bring it” method often does.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to alohahola. | April 28, 2021 at 9:06 am

    What they are doing is terrorism, terrorism is just another form of bullying. Bullies cannot not be reasoned with before you kick the living crap out of them, afterwards they might listen to reason.

    Doxing needs to be taken to their doorstep. Set them up, so that their fellows destroy them.

Many are thinking about this deeply. Never has so much power been granted to a group that should otherwise have little or no say in the affairs and going ons of adults. We have given the microphone and the power to the most unstable violent group of non-thinking reactionaries ever.

Every time I get to thinking about cancel culture and the mob, I think of Adam Corolla. They would LIKE to go after him, but he doesn’t serve them and doesn’t pretend to serve them. Therefore when they attempt to cancel him- they find he has nothing they can take.
-His audience is HIS.
-His platform is HIS
-His advertisers are HIS and they know who HE serves.
-He will amputate anything that isn’t his.

The industry has tried to screw him so many times in his rise and each time he has called their bluff or otherwise outdone them.

Jimmy Kimmel, though arguably holds a more prestigious position can be canceled easily. Adam Corolla can’t.

We can’t all be Adam. Sometimes you are the Judge in the city of Seattle that tries to hold violent offenders accountable after 100+ arrests for violent crimes and the lunatics team up against you. I have no answer to that except that Seattle WILL collapse in on itself as sane people flee.

Jordan Peterson warned that this would lead to tribalism. As people flee blue states and blue cities. I don’t think he’s wrong. I know I want nothing to do with this Lord of the Flies society. I actively taunt my local officials as they bend over backwards over equity, justice with a militant cult obsession over skin color.

    alohahola in reply to Andy. | April 28, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Didn’t Jordan Peterson also say you have to actively oppose tyranny in the smallest of interactions, in the everyday?

    If he didn’t–or if someone else in the very distant past did not say it–then I say it now. This is the best way to prevent things from getting so big, and it requires constant attention and vigilance.

    Don’t leave your blue states or your blue cities, please. They are beautiful places. Your leaving them makes them ugly. Taunt away!

      Andy in reply to alohahola. | April 28, 2021 at 1:52 pm

      We have kept our kid in public school for this reason. If we leave, they win.

      At a state level I will not gamble with the safety of my family. If our state does not turn its course, we will leave. My family has been in the area for over a century so I don’t say this lightly. We hold school records. The family name is a staple in the area I grew up. We didn’t leave when they went after the baker and the florist, We didn’t leave when they first started targeting the police, We didn’t leave when they first started prosecuting the police, We didn’t leave when they legalized pot and all the homeless addicts suddenly appeared because the cartels switched from pushing weed to hard stuff. We didn’t leave when the decriminalized property crimes and drug possession. We won’t leave when they first pass the capital gains tax (we are one of the few states that doesn’t have one). We didn’t leave when they started with the SJW equity garbage. We have fought against all of this, but we are vastly outnumbered.

      But we have made the decision, we are leaving. We are going to a red state where we are not at odds with the voters and elected officials. Although I am curious about the dangers of the descent into tribalism, if there is a civil war, I prefer to be in a state where my kind are plentiful.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Andy. | April 28, 2021 at 9:13 am

    I am preparing to flee Michigan.

Ben Kent | April 28, 2021 at 8:05 am

Cancel Culture is the intellectual equivalent of ethnic cleansing.

All these SJW have become a cult. They are brainwashed into believing they are doing good in the name of the Social Justice. They think of themselves as “good people” and “morally righteous” and such people are easily manipulated. In the same way that evil men have often used religion to manipulate people to do evil things in he name of God.

People in cults do not listen to reason. Facts mean nothing to them. It is the rule of the mob driven by emotion. It takes a long time to reverse the brainwashing – usually takes days or weeks of intense one-on-one time with family and friends.

“It’s easier to fool a man – than to convince him he’s been fooled.”
— Mark Twain

The C.C. is literally exactly what the Brown Shirts did in Nazi Germany…We cannot let it continue. It is way past time to fight back…

Char Char Binks | April 28, 2021 at 10:50 am

Every person in the picture above, except for their victim, was in violation of federal civil rights law Title 18, USC, Section 241, Conspiracy Against Rights, and Title 18, USC, Section 245, Federally Protected Activities, and would be spending years in the federal pen, if not for corrupt leftist Deep Staters, and gelded RINO’s such as William Barr.

SaneInMyWorld | April 28, 2021 at 11:19 am

Cancelling someone using social media is an assault on that person. Isn’t “assault” a crime? Could a State enact such a law?

    henrybowman in reply to SaneInMyWorld. | April 28, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Probably not… but even if it were, the offenders usually hide behind a cloak of anonymity that can’t be pierced without law enforcement effort, and our corrupt law enforcement agencies will never expend it. However, when someone complains about a racist door-pull it a NASCAR garage, they send 15 agents.

BTW- What Desantis is doing in Florida to social media companies is BRILLIANT!!!!!! Ace of Spades has a good write up on the implications along with very specific examples.

Cancel a conservative running for office there and it’s going to HURT$$$$.

civisamericanus | April 28, 2021 at 2:08 pm

I see that Dean Eduardo Penalver, who posted a piece attacking Prof. Jacobson on behalf of the Cornell Law School, removed the web page in question for whatever reason.

Here is a list of the Cornell Law School faculty who attacked Prof. Jacobson (while admittedly not naming him and while, unlike Dean Penalver, saying they did not speak on the Law School’s behalf–the latter is the one thing in their favor). Nonetheless, I see their letter as highly problematic.

“We are also outraged by commentators, some of them attached to Ivy League Institutions, who are leading a smear campaign against Black Lives Matter. In describing the protests, they deliberately use terms like “wilding,” a racially loaded term coined in 1989 to describe the imagined actions of five innocent Black teenagers (Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam) who were wrongly convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms for the assault of a White jogger. These commentators express rage over the sporadic looting that has taken place amidst the largely peaceful protests, calling for organized manhunts to track down those responsible. Theirs is a form of racism that gives cover to those police who use their batons and tear gas and rubber bullets and fists to silence and maim their critics.”

No, dear snowflakes, trashing people’s places of business, including those of Black people, is indeed wilding. Same for killing police officers including David Dorn, another Black person whose life did not seem to matter. And looting and rioting are not Constitutionally protected forms of peaceful expression. I am astounded that lawyers would contend that those responsible should not be tracked down and arrested. As for the “sporadic” nature, well, fewer than 1% of the people who protested the election on January 6 committed crimes by storming the Capitol. Are these Cornell Law faculty saying they should not be tracked down either (and the Feds did indeed track them down to their home states) and prosecuted? Or maybe there are (racist) lower expectations for Black people from the Left?

I am also astounded that attorneys would begin a letter with “We are outraged by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor” before Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder–that’s why newspapers always qualify the accusation with “alleged”–and when nobody was even charged with murdering Breonna Taylor (whose death should not have happened but was accidental). A false accusation of murder is of course libelous, and the police officer who shot Taylor during what he believed reasonably to be an exchange of gunfire with a drug dealer is identifiable. This is not an isolated incident as attorneys Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren libelously accused the police officer who shot Michael Brown, who did not have his hands up, of murder. My opinion of this letter to the Cornell Sun is that it does not reflect well on those who wrote it.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to civisamericanus. | April 29, 2021 at 11:27 am

    The former Dean’s letter against me still is on the law school website. It did disappear for a short period of time after the law school rolled out a new website, but it’s back now, with a different title, seeming to reflect a conscious decision to repost it. So the institutional hostility continues.

texansamurai | May 1, 2021 at 9:48 am

have several family members who live/work in blue states–their complaints and concerns have been consistent and continuous for nearly fifteen years now–if had to put a name to those concerns would have to characterize them as “fear”–at first, not the present, physical, visceral sort of fear but more of an encroaching, growing disquiet with the slow realization that their “right to be left alone” to live their lives as they see fit is gradually evaporating, as it is for us all

not as eloquent or the deep thinker that many here happen to be, but see it as an insidious, relentless attack on our fundamental right, in a free society, to be left alone

those that characterize the activities of the progressives/fascists/cancel culture lunatics as reminiscent of the brown shirts, red guards, etc. are, in the main, being proven correct

to me, the two principal things restraining cancel culture at all remain the dubious right to free speech and the clear and visible right to keep and bear arms

hope that we realize, before things and events get completely out of control, that we are the solution, that it is up to us, that the “legal system” may or may not be able to do anything to aid us, that law enforcement are being persecuted individually and collectively for trying to do an extremely difficult and increasingly dangerous job, that few politicians possess the influence(or the will) to right the ship

it is up to us and believe it’s time to recognize that we are on our own

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