Ilya Shapiro To Whoopi: “Let’s Talk … We Have To Disrupt This Toxic Cultural Moment In Favor Of Free Speech”
Shapiro Takes On The Mantle of Academic Freedom and Free Speech Advocate As Efforts To Cancel Him Continue
I’m not sure there’s any real news today in the saga of attempts to cancel Ilya Shapiro at Georgetown Law School, other than that the storm is still overhead.
For background, see our prior posts:
- Profile In Cowardice: Georgetown Law Dean Bill Treanor Suspends Conservative Legal Scholar Ilya Shapiro
- Georgetown Law Student Protesters Demand Ilya Shapiro Firing, Reparations, Place To Cry, End To “Originalist” Center
- Stifling Debate And Purging Dissenters At Georgetown Law Over Ilya Shapiro
I’m not privy to whatever is going on behind the scenes with Georgetown, but Shapiro does not seem to be backing down. Nor should he.
It takes great strength and support to make it through being the target of two minutes of hate. You can’t know the feeling unless you’ve gone through it. From outward appearances, Shapiro has that strength and support for him is increasing.
Shapiro lists himself in his Twitter bio as being employed at Georgetown Law, but “on administrative leave.” He seems to have a sense of humor.
Meanwhile, Shapiro is taking on the mantle of academic freedom and free speech:
.@WhoopiGoldberg let’s talk. Whether on @joerogan’s podcast, @andersoncooper’s show—anywhere and everywhere—we have to disrupt this toxic cultural moment in favor of free speech, respectful discourse, grace, and good faith.
— Ilya Shapiro (@ishapiro) February 3, 2022
There likely is a lot going on within the Georgetown administraion. Dean Bill Treanor probably is huddling with university counsel trying to figure out how to get rid of Shapiro.
But it’s not purely a legal issue. By failing to stand strong for academic freedom and free speech, and immediately and deceptively denouncing Shapiro, Treanor has damaged himself and the law school. With each day more and more people are rallying around Shapiro on principles that the student protesters don’t appreciate.
The Spectator had a good article, A law school excommunicates a heretic:
On January 26, Shapiro suggested on Twitter that President Biden should nominate Sri Srinivasan, an Indian-American judge serving the DC Court of Appeals and one of the progressive leading lights of the judiciary, to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, rather than picking “a lesser black women” because of her sex and skin color.
While admittedly poorly worded, had this statement been made in normal times, it would have been received as an unremarkable critique of affirmative action and its racialized pretenses. Affirmative action, after all, is a failed and ill-advised policy. Its programs have at best a negligible impact on the groups they are intended to assist and result in net losses for society as a whole. Choosing a judge for the highest court in the land on this basis is idiotic. It also smacks of the malignant ethnic politics that has plagued and corrupted our nation since its inception and encourages the classing of entire segments of society rather than promoting individuality….
Alas, it’s 2022. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Diversity is our greatest asset insofar as it doesn’t entail ideological heterogeneity. Reason, liberalism, and meritocracy have all been defenestrated from the ivory tower of academia. And Ibram Kendi has proclaimed colorblindness to be white supremacy.
Ilya Shapiro has no place at Georgetown Law. He never did. Heaven forbid his inclusion actually encourages students at the Law Center to entertain heterodox ideas rather than simply regurgitating the prevailing dogma. That would be an unlawful entry into terra incognita for GULC students (with the exception of a few brave souls).
There’s truth to the point that Shapiro’s big mistake was joining academia, one of the most intolerant places for dissent. Shapiro was hired for the Constitution Center at Georgetown Law, led by Prof. Randy Barnett. Such conservative centers (and there are far more on the left) are hated by many progressive professors and students. As mentioned in prior posts, some of the protesters wondered why the Center was permitted to exist at Georgetown because of Prof. Barnett’s “originalist” constitutional approach, and others admitted they were motivated by dislike of conservatives.
Deion A. Kathawa at American Greatness identifies a second Shapiro mistake, he apologized, This Is No Time for Groveling:
In the midst of this firestorm (I won’t minimize the subjective experience of it, which I’m sure is harrowing), Shapiro has apologized, once in an email to the Georgetown Law community, and then again on Twitter. It reads precisely as one would expect it to—as groveling.
Who knows if Shapiro will keep his job. Regardless, here’s what he should have said:
I have heard the calls for my metaphorical head to be placed on a metaphorical spike because of my views about the proper way to pick a nominee to the Supreme Court, that is, not by ruling out up front everyone except those who are of a certain favored race and sex. The most-qualified person should get the nod. It’s unfortunate that merely saying as much in a couple of late-night tweets can inspire such an unhinged response from a vocal, but influential, minority of people.
At this point, the “appropriate” and “decent” thing for me to do is to apologize, insist I do not have a racist or sexist bone in my body, and beg for a second chance. But if that’s what you were waiting for, you’re about to be sorely disappointed.
I will not apologize.
An apology is properly given only to those who can be trusted to accept it in good faith. Nobody currently calling for me to lose my position with Georgetown Law fits that description. Not even close.
Anyone with eyes and even a shred of decency knows that the mob is deliberately, cynically, and viciously twisting my words in an attempt to destroy me. In the current climate, calls for an apology are nothing more than the weaponization of decency against those too naïve to see what’s happening here. I am saddened that disgraceful charades like this one are now routine occurrences in this country.
But more than that, I’m deeply disappointed that so many students at one of the nation’s top law schools are engaged in such a bad-faith, malicious attack. The legal profession demands men and women of upright moral character to appear before our courts; those engaged in this smear campaign have revealed themselves to be many things, but morally upright is emphatically not one of them. Perhaps even more distressingly, members of this online mob appear to lack the reading comprehension skills of even an average seventh grader. That such people have passed through Georgetown Law’s admissions standards should alarm the law school; it needs to seriously rethink those standards.
I would rather not have this job than damage my soul by “apologizing” for something I obviously did not say. And, if Georgetown Law and I do indeed go our separate ways, I’ll at least have my integrity intact.
At Reason, Dave Kopel writes, Georgetown Law’s actions against Ilya Shapiro lack credibility which is as much an indictment of Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern who stoked the online mob based on false racism claims, as it is of Georgetown. This part was interesting:
In fact, Shapiro has said that the best nominee for the Supreme Court could be a black woman—namely D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown. In a 2016 event at the University of Chicago Law School, he listed Judge Brown as among several he would consider nominating, if he had the power. Judge Brown, who retired from the D.C. Circuit in 2017, is perhaps even more distinguished that Judge Srinivasan. She joined the D.C. Circuit in 2005, having served since 1996 on the California Supreme Court, and before that in several high-level legal roles in the California state government. But she is an originalist and therefore anathema to Biden, who led a filibuster against her nomination to the D.C. Circuit. When President Bush was considering nominating Brown to be the first black female Supreme Court Justice, Biden specifically threatened to filibuster her, and her alone.
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