Simpson: Speech is Not Violence; An Argument Is Not a Gun

Free speech guru Steve Simpson at the Ayn Rand Institute has an excellent piece on Why our campuses are boiling over in left-wing rage instead of discourse | The Hill:

To fight these ideas and the culture they’ve spawned on campus will require more than complaining about college “snowflakes” or political correctness. We need to defend the ideas on which free speech depends, most notably reason and individual rights.

The purpose of the right to free speech is to protect our right to think for ourselves and to communicate with others, which are two of the pillars of a modern, free society. True, people can and often do say absurd and horrible things. But it’s false to equate even hateful speech with use of force.

Force is qualitatively different from speech. No matter how harsh speech is, you are always free to ignore it and walk away. Not so with force. If you doubt this, ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Flemming Rose, or the many other individuals currently on jihadist hit lists whether they would prefer to live under the threat of death or the threat of hateful speech.

That’s not to say that speech can never be used in the commission of a crime. It is entirely proper to criminalize actual threats, incitement to violence, and the like. But that’s because what is being threatened is the use of force. If those who use offensive or hateful speech cross the line into actual threats or incitement, then it is proper to prosecute them. But short of that, they must be free to speak.

Ayn Rand once said that “a gun is not an argument.” The reverse is also true: an argument is not a gun. If we forget the difference, we will end up with guns settling our disputes, rather than arguments.

Simpson’s article is excellent and the entire piece is worth a read as well as the collection of essays he has put together in his book Defending Free Speech.

Mossoff: FTC is Threatening Property Rights

Years of FTC reports and litigation have shaped patent law with and without Congress – Watchdog.org

“There has always been a tension between the antitrust laws and patent law,” Adam Mossoff, co-founder of the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property and professor at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, told Watchdog.org. “[A]ntitrust authorities have historically been very skeptical [of innovative companies] and have tended to find so-called monopolization activities when in fact it’s just the evolution and development of a new market that never existed before.”

Mossoff and others worry that the commission has undermined property rights, threatening companies’ incentives to invest and innovate and encouraging foreign countries to disregard IP protections, all the while basing its enforcement actions on theoretical injury to consumers, rather than demonstrated harm.

[…]

“Caught up in a ‘moral panic’ over IP, the FTC is trying to remedy uncertain consumer ‘harms,’ Mossoff said, while threatening innovative companies’ research-and-development-driving revenue streams. By calling the stability of intellectual property rights into question, the FTC could undermine the ‘web of commercial transactions, thousands of commercial transactions’ that go into every smartphone, ever car, and many more products. Those commercial webs depend, he said, on companies knowing whose IP is what, and what it’s worth.”

Bosch Fawstin and Amy Peikoff To Create a Graphic Novel Based on Ayn Rand’s Best Selling Novel *Atlas Shrugged*

From Voices for Reason – Graphic Novel Based on Atlas Shrugged to Be Published | The Ayn Rand Institute

Work is well underway on a new graphic novel based on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, to be published in the next couple of years by New American Library (NAL), a division of Penguin Random House with the approval of Leonard Peikoff. The designer and artist is Bosch Fawstin with a script by him and Amy Peikoff, adapted from the novel. The graphic novel will most likely be published in three volumes over a period of a few months after it is completed.

As is necessarily the case when adapting a novel to a new medium, considerable condensation is required in a treatment appropriate for that medium. The publisher is now reviewing some substantial early work by Mr. Fawstin and Ms. Peikoff in order to determine the appropriate length of the work.

NAL, a division of Penguin Random House, will not make any public announcement about the project until the editorial issues are finalized, covers are designed, etc. Knowing the interest that the project will generate among Ayn Rand’s readers, they have kindly given us permission to informally make ARI supporters aware of the project.

We look forward to letting you know more about the project as it develops. We expect you will be as excited as those now working on this new opportunity to bring Ayn Rand’s artistic achievement to a wider audience and a new generation of young readers.

Bosch Fawstin is the author of the controversial Infidel graphic novel and is the winner of the award-winning cartoon of Mohammed contest. His image that was self-censored in reporting by the American media when the contest became the target of Islamic State in Garland Texas. Thankfully the two Islamic terrorists were killed before they could kill anybody. Professor Amy Peikoff is a philosopher and lawyer who specializes on privacy issues and runs a podcast: Don’t Let It Go! She is also currently working on a book, Legalizing Privacy: Why and How, which discusses the value of privacy for the virtuous life and the proper means of protecting it.

Read Bosch’s interview at Cap Mag: Art Against Jihad: An Interview with Bosch Fawstin Creator of The Infidel and Pigman!

You can order The Infidel online at Amazon and Comixology.

Obamacare: Repeal and Replace Should be Two Separate Processes

Senator Paul, Rep. Meadows: Let’s fully repeal ObamaCare, then have an open debate on how to replace it | Fox News

We should debate all of these replacement ideas on the same day we pass Repeal, but we will have to separate the debate into at least two different bills because there is no consensus with leadership on replacement. While the vast majority of Republicans have come out in favor of the principals of our replacement bill, some in leadership have offered starkly different ideas.

Republican leadership wants to keep several variations of ObamaCare:

1.  Leadership wants to keep ObamaCare-like subsidies to buy insurance but rename them refundable tax credits (families will be given up to $14,000 dollars of other people’s money)

2.  Leadership wants to keep the ObamaCare Cadillac tax but rename it a tax on the top 10% of people who have the best insurance.

3.  Leadership wants to keep the individual mandate but instead of mandating a tax penalty to the government they mandate a penalty to the insurance company (can it possibly be Constitutional to mandate a penalty to a private insurance company?)

4.  Leadership wants to keep $100 billion of the insurance company subsidies from ObamaCare but call them “reinsurance”. (Why?  Because insurance companies love guaranteed issue as long as the taxpayer finances it!)

Conservatives don’t want new taxes, new entitlements and an “ObamaCare Lite” bill.  If leadership insists on replacing ObamaCare with ObamaCare-lite, no repeal will pass.

Well said Senator Paul.

UCLA Law School Apologizes to Ayn Rand Institute Over “Anti-Free Speech” Administrators

Last month the Ayn Rand Institute and the UCLA School of Law chapter of the Federalist Society organized an event “Is Free Speech Under Attack?.

Eugene Volokh tells us that the “event was quite successful — I’m told that about 140 students attended — and generally went off well. There was no disruption of the event itself (which ought to go without saying, but unfortunately doesn’t always, these days)”

Before the event, though, the Institute had set up a book display on a table in the hallway and offered the books for sale. There were four books, including “Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond,” by the Institute’s Onkar Ghate and Elan Journo…

Some students disapproved of the book and started arguing with the Institute people. And then a law school administrator demanded that the Institute remove the book, apparently on the grounds that it was “inflammatory.” That, I think, was clearly wrong, and indeed a violation of the First Amendment. Public universities can’t bar groups — student groups or others — from displaying books on the grounds that the viewpoints are “inflammatory.”

Fortunately, the incident ended up with a happy ending. Writes Volokh:

I’m glad to say that the dean has written to the Ayn Rand Institute “to extend my [i.e., the Dean’s] apologies” and acknowledged that the administrator’s action was “not in keeping with UCLA Law’s — or my — vigorous commitment to support free speech and respectful debate.” “It also failed to adhere to our commitment that university policies be applied in a content-neutral manner.” And the dean stressed that the school was taking steps “to prevent such occurrences,” by beefing up training and procedures. I know the dean pretty well, and I think she’s quite sincere about this.

Three Cheers to the Dean of UCLA School of Law for their principled defense of freedom of speech.

***

Those interested in reading the censored book can find a copy here: Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond.

UCLA’s Intellectual Castration of English Majors

Heather Mac Donald opines on how UCLA ” decimated its English major” under the banner of ““alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class” in our excellent article The Humanities and Us | City Journal:

[T]he UCLA English department—like so many others—is more concerned that its students encounter race, gender, and disability studies than that they plunge headlong into the overflowing riches of actual English literature—whether Milton, Wordsworth, Thackeray, George Eliot, or dozens of other great artists closer to our own day. How is this possible? The UCLA coup represents the characteristic academic traits of our time: narcissism, an obsession with victimhood, and a relentless determination to reduce the stunning complexity of the past to the shallow categories of identity and class politics. Sitting atop an entire civilization of aesthetic wonders, the contemporary academic wants only to study oppression, preferably his own, defined reductively according to gonads and melanin.

[…]

W. E. B. Du Bois would have been stunned to learn how narrow is the contemporary multiculturalist’s self-definition and sphere of interest. Du Bois, living during America’s darkest period of hate, nevertheless heartbreakingly affirmed in 1903 his intellectual and spiritual affinity with all of Western civilization: “I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas. . . . I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension.”

[…]

[T]he only true justification for the humanities is that they provide the thing that Faust sold his soul for: knowledge. It is knowledge of a particular kind, concerning what men have done and created over the ages. The American Founders drew on an astonishingly wide range of historical sources and an appropriately jaundiced view of human nature to craft the world’s most stable and free republic. They invoked lessons learned from the Greek city-states, the Carolingian Dynasty, and the Ottoman Empire in the Constitution’s defense. And they assumed that the new nation’s citizens would themselves be versed in history and political philosophy. Indeed, a closer knowledge among the electorate of Hobbes and the fragility of social order might have prevented the more brazen social experiments that we’ve undergone in recent years. Ignorance of the intellectual trajectory that led to the rule of law and the West’s astounding prosperity puts those achievements at risk.

For those wish to understand what is wrong with today’s universities The Humanities and Us is a must-read.

C. Bradley Thompson: Trump Won Because of the “Forgotten Men and Women”

C. Bradley Thompson, professor of political philosophy and executive director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, explains why Trump won the election in his essay Donald Trump and the Revolt of the Unseen. (Hint: It was not because of the Russians.)

For better or worse, November 8, 2016, will go down in American history as a watershed election. Donald J. Trump’s victory represents a profound realignment in American politics. This much seems certain: the ancien régime is dead.

Our challenge is not to praise Trump’s virtues or to condemn his vices, but to understand why tens of millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump—the unlikeliest of candidates—to become the president of the United States.

In his inaugural address, President Trump voiced a theme that ran throughout his campaign:The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Trump’s political genius was to find the lost, the forgotten, the dispossessed, and the invisible.

Ironically, the billionaire from Manhattan became the voice of the Forgotten Man—the man who works hard, pays his taxes, supports his family, and volunteers in his community as a soccer coach and a Boy Scout leader. When Trump said “We will make America great again,” he spoke to the deepest aspirations of ordinary Americans who love their country but see it crumbling all around them. He waged war on their behalf.

And now his supporters have fundamentally altered the traditional left-right political spectrum. A social-political-ideological realignment is underway, transitioning the country to a new party system that has been developing, mostly unseen, for two or three decades. The new political spectrum is less ideological and more cultural. It is divided between the Ruling Elite and the Deplorables. […]

Read the rest of Donald Trump and the Revolt of the Unseen.

Whistleblowers of Corrupted Climate Science Speak out

Lawrence Solomon: Finally it’s safe for the whistleblowers of corrupted climate science to speak out | Financial Post

Whistleblowers at the U.S. government’s official keeper of the global warming stats, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), claim their agency doctored temperature data to hide the fact that global temperatures plateaued almost 20 years ago.

[…]

None of the billions spent on research amounted to anything — none of the models proved reliable, none of the predictions were borne out, none of the expected effects materialized. The Arctic ice cap hasn’t disappeared, polar bear populations haven’t declined, hurricanes haven’t become more common, malaria hasn’t spread, temperatures haven’t continued to climb. What did materialize was fraud after fraud.

[…]

Likewise, a much heralded claim that 97 per cent of scientists believed the planet was overheating came from a 2008 master’s thesis by a student at the University of Illinois who obtained her results by conducting a survey of 10,257 earth scientists, then discarding the views of all but 77 of them. Of those 77 scientists, 75 thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produced the 97-per-cent figure that global warming activists then touted.

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