The American Dissident: Literature, Democracy & Dissidence

Inside Higher Ed—Free Speech in Peril

Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and will always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot. 
          —Eugene O’Neill


Censored Yet Again on Inside Higher Ed
The left has been praying for an event like the one at Charlottesville.  The left sees right-wing Nazis all over the country, and for that cannot see Muslim terrorists at all.  Finally, their prayers were  answered.  Hardcore left-wing ideology inevitably blocks out uncomfortable and unwanted TRUTHS.  What about the anti-white racist Antifa and BLM protesting instigators?  Silence!  Silence by too many shameful journalists!  After all, if the protesting instigators were not present, violence would likely not have occurred in Charlottesville.  Antifa wants violence.  Antifa got violence.  Why is that not reported?  We hear about white supremacists.  But what about the black supremacists?  Silence.  
It is really sad that so many academics like Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University (“Charlottesville, American Tragedy Redux”), prefer hardcore ideology (i.e., indoctrination and consequent censorship) to uncomfortable TRUTHS (i.e., education), including blacks were slaveholders in America; whites were slaves; Muslims are still slaveholders and traders today.  Evoke those facts and be “ad hominized" as racist and islamophobe by the ideologically manacled like McGuire.  Reading the latter's article, one would think 95% of southern whites held slaves.  Instead, the figure is more like 5%.  And what about the blacks who sold the slaves in Africa?  Uncomfortable truths!  Silence!  Censorship!  
“The greatest danger the United States faces today is not from a hostile foreign power, scary though the threats may be, but rather from our own domestic terrorists and those who aid and abet them,” argues McGuire.  That has been the left’s spiel.  And yet statistics likely indicate the greatest danger (besides increasing left-wing ideology and resultant censorship, banning, and other affronts to the First Amendment) to be Islamic jihad terrorism.  So much talk about Hitler, and almost no talk about Stalin and Mao, who had many more people murdered!  Why?  Left-wing ideology!  Moreover, Hitler was a devout left-wing socialist, who the left has been trying to turn into a right-wing conservative.  Mussolini, uber-fascist, was a devout Marxist.  
“We must continue to promote education as the best, perhaps only, means to confront our national tragedy of racism,” concludes McGuire.  Education or rather indoctrination?  Promoting ideology inevitably means demoting TRUTHS, including the other side of Affirmative Action (e.g., unprepared blacks intellectually overwhelmed in college).  What might the result of incessant ubiquitous hardcore focus on racism be?  Certainly, the reality has been the increasing divide among the left and right (and blacks and whites) that resulted from 8 years of Obama.  For the left, increasing Stalinist indoctrination is the only way to somehow solve the racist problem, and that includes heavy and constant emphasis on making all whites feel guilty and all blacks feel victimized.  Will it work?  Let's hope not!    “Charlottesville was yet another act in a long-running saga of racial hatred, writes Patricia McGuire, and the mobs of white men on the march have made the best possible case for affirmative action,” notes a faceless Inside Higher Ed journalist at the very top of McGuire’s article.  Not very objective for a journalist!  Yes, finally we have “mobs of white men.”  But what about the “mobs of black men” in the past riots from Baltimore to UCal?  Was it put that way?  Of course not!  Journalists are the shame of America today because of their egregious lack of objectivity.  Well, will this comment be censored?  Perhaps…  Thus is the way of higher ed today.  [And unsurprisingly, the comment was censored (i.e., removed after it was posted).] .......................................................... From: George Slone 
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 6:48 PM
To: Subject: Censoring comments on Inside Higher Education
To Editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Education:  
Perhaps you ought to at least inform people, whose comments are censored on your website, as to why your decisions were made.  Wouldn't that indeed be helpful in the realm of "let's have a conversation," as opposed to "let's not counter the accepted narrative"?   You have censored other comments I'd made over the years and w/o notification or explanation.  Does that sound like democracy to you?  It sure doesn't to me.  In fact, have I been banned from commenting all together?  My censored comment figures below and will be posted on my website with or without your response.  And I do expect no response.

From: George Slone 
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 7:08 PM
Subject: Re: Censoring comments on Inside Higher Education To Patricia McGuire, President, Trinity Washington University:
I suspect you are a partisan of censorship of viewpoints you do not like.  If so, that's not very surprising for higher education in this sad day and age of increasing groupthink.  In any event, below is the comment I posted regarding your Inside Higher Education article.  Unsurprisingly, it was censored or moderated as the euphemists like to call it.  And of course it angers me that censorship seems to be the way of higher education today.  But one must still fight on!   You will note, no swear words, no sex, and no threats in it at all.  Ah, but you will also note that it rigorously challenges your assumptions and blindspots.  Thank you for your attention.  BTW, how about getting your library to subscribe to The American Dissident, where your students could actually read and be exposed to such opposing viewpoints.

From: Pat McGuire
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 8:33 PM
To: George Slone
Subject: RE: Censoring comments on Inside Higher Education
Dear Dr. Slone:
Thank you for your message.  However, you are wrong on many counts.  I have nothing to do with the comment moderation of, but I can tell you that the comment you offer below [above, not below:  "Censored Yet..."] is incoherent and certainly not publishable for that reason.  As for me, you insinuate a lot about me that’s simply not true, but I have learned through long experience that there’s no point responding to such vituperation other than to thank you for letting me know your thoughts.
With best wishes, Pat From: George Slone


Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 8:58 PM
To: Pat McGuire
Subject: Re: Censoring comments on Inside Higher Education
Hi Pat,
Thanks for responding.  I didn't think you had anything to do with censoring out my comment.  BUT I did think you wouldn't care about the comment being censored and would likely not request the two editors not to censor it.  So, I was not really wrong at all on that account.  And at the end of your email, you definitely argued in favor of the censorship incident.  
As far as my comment being "incoherent," how could it possibly have been coherent... for the alt-left?  Also, if it were me, I'd certainly cite an example or two in an effort to back my criticism of lacking in coherence.  You didn't do that.  You simply put forth a general dismissal of all of my comments with one word, "incoherent."  That sort of reaction sadly seems to be widespread amongst academics whenever criticized.  In essence, it is akin to ad hominem.   To argue my comments "not publishable" is really a non-argument, especially when you fail to cite one particular comment that is "incoherent" and thus "not publishable."    
You ought to really contemplate your usage of ad hominem-like argumentation, which is really not a counter-argumentation at all.  It is simply an indirect form of shooting the messenger in an effort to kill his message.  
Why, one must ask, did you purposefully exclude from your article mention of Antifa, which was definitely a part of the Charlottesville problem?  Was that remark "incoherent"?  Why didn't you mention that the cops did nothing to quell the confrontation between the right-wing Nazis and left-wing Antifa fascists?  Was that remark "incoherent"?  Your article really did fail to evoke a lot of what really happened at the Charlottesville riot.  
What precisely did I insinuate about you personally that was false?  Again, you do not stipulate.  Are you not staunch left-wing?  Thus, I cannot even apologize if indeed I were wrong about that or anything else.  Proven wrong, I have no problem at all admitting it openly.  Do you?  
Your final sentence is typical of far too many academics who hate vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy: "there’s no point responding to such vituperation."  Again, you use another ad hominem-like term, "vituperation," and fail completely to disprove anything at all written in my criticism of your article.  It is a great shame that academics like you and academic journalists like those at Inside Higher Education seem to seek to push only one point of view, while crushing any other viewpoints, including mine, that might question and challenge that point of view.  
Anyhow, thank you for responding.  From my rather lengthy decades-long confrontations with academics across the country, responding is quite rare... and thus I sincerely commend you for it.  BTW, I am a libertarian (i.e., staunch advocate of the First Amendment and vigorous debate, cornerstones of democracy).  
Best, G. Tod
[No further response received.] was founded by a former manager of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Doug Lederman (depicted in the watercolor on the right), who has to date censored my comments on a number of different occasions, though I made no threats and didn't even use those nasty four-letter words.  In a democracy, should higher education and its diverse organizations, both private and public, be in the censoring business?  Of course not!  Yet it clearly is and continues to be (see, for example, for numerous examples of censoring institutions of higher learning).  Higher education should be in the business of spine building, not in that of protecting the spineless.  This page serves to denounce censorship and, in particular, that effected by Herr Lederman.  The first incident of censorship concerned my comment on the following poem by Laurence Musgrove, associate professor of English at Saint Xavier University (Chicago, IL):  Syllabus 
On the first page just after the required novels
And before the list of learning outcomes
I’d paste a photo of me from ‘73
Scraggly hair and wire-rimmed glasses
And then torn from my long gone journal
Some half poem or worry on the day
So they might see me and not me
Who could be their dad or worse
With these handouts and so much to read
How jealous I am I am almost crying
How much I love them.
My commentary was the following.  Sure, I suppose, I could have been more courteous and less critical, but should paucity of deference, positivism, and bourgeois etiquette merit censorship?
Why publish such a lame poem? Well, it is indicative of the general state of professors in higher education today, where few have the courage to openly question and challenge the various hands that feed and otherwise fatten them into submissiveness. Democracy is at stake in America today, so let's write a poem about the syllabus! For poems et al decrying the state of higher ed that Inside Higher Ed would likely never publish, see Vigorous debate is the cornerstone of democracy... but not in higher ed, where speech codes, collegiality, and cutesy wit rule!
After I'd informed Lederman of my disappointment in his choice to play the censor and my sending him the above watercolor depicting him as a modern-day Comstock was:  "Thanks for the heads-up, Tod."  Weeks later, I noticed I was no longer receiving his InsideHigherEd email.  Thus, I wrote him wondering if I'd been rendered persona non grata because of the watercolor.  His response was the following:
Stop being so frickin' paranoid. I have a much thicker skin than that.
We revamped our web site and email and some email programs don't like it. I'd check your spam filter, but will check when I get back to the office.
And calm down, will you?
Life is too short.
But, as I brought to his attention, how not to be "so frickin' paranoid" when censored right and left by well-meaning academics of the corporate-co-opted ilk?