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Thugs Block Free Speech at Columbia University:

Power Line has video and details. Here's an excerpt from the L.A. Times (no link because the Times site pointers seem busted):

Jim Gilchrist, the Aliso Viejo accountant who co-founded the Minuteman Project, was forced offstage seconds into his speech at Columbia University on Wednesday night by students who said his anti-illegal immigration message was not welcome in New York.

Gilchrist, who was invited by the Columbia University College Republicans, was unharmed but was unable to continue speaking as planned and was forced to leave the stage after an altercation with students....

The Columbia melee began after two students rushed from behind the stage toward Gilchrist and unrolled a banner that read in Spanish, English and Arabic, "No One Is Illegal."

Seeing the two, others in the audience ran toward the stage, including about two dozen who managed to get onto the 3-foot-high platform, past security guards and ropes, where Gilchrist was only a few words into his speech.

The lectern was knocked over and Gilchrist fell back, smashing his reading glasses....

No one was arrested. The incident was videotaped and shown on TV newscasts....

Oh, and here's a lovely quote from one of the "protest" participants, Columbia junior Ryan Fukumori (a board member of the Columbia Asian American Alliance and treasurer of the Columbia International Socialist Organization:

These are racist individuals heading a project that terrorizes immigrants on the U.S.-Mexican border .... They have no right to be able to speak here.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Jon Stewart on the Minuteman Protest at Columbia:
  2. Columbia Responds:
  3. Thugs Block Free Speech at Columbia University:
JohnAnnArbor:
Similar stuff has happened elsewhere before. Campus leftists define who's racist and "fascist"; if you are, they will stop at nothing to shut you up, including destroying whole press runs of newspapers or beating up people with signs they disagree with.
10.6.2006 6:00pm
Sk (mail):
I'm amazed you consider this news.

Sk
10.6.2006 6:05pm
Dan Hamilton:
You act like this is something unexpected. That the Left is violent when someone dares say something that the Left doesn't agree with. This is OLD news.

It is still good to pass it around.

You should have called for action. The police should have arrested the people that disrupted the speach. Then the speach should have continued.

You should be asking WHY he left? Why the police didn't clear the stage? Why the police were not ready for the violence? They should have expected it.

The Left will someday learn that it is not wise to violently stop people from speaking. That day will be when the people rushing the stage are meet with violent force. The Left does violence because they KNOW NOBODY will call them on it. They are not prepared for anything else. They have the violence of children never taught any better by permissive parents. Someday they will learn. I just hope the lession isn't fatal.
10.6.2006 6:05pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Niiiiice ... sounds like some students should be invited to pursue their educations at other institutions.

(Tho this notion in comments that the "Left" has a monopoly on violence is rather odd.)
10.6.2006 6:15pm
JB:
Dan Hamilton: More likely, the Left will learn that it is not wise to violently stop people from speaking when they are the speakers being violently shut up. Wait, that happened in the 1960s...all this shows is that power corrupts.

I agree, though--why aren't these thugs arrested for assault? Were I Gilchrist, I'd press charges as far as the law would go. Actions have consequences--teaching these thugs that lesson is more important than any particular position on the complex immigration issue.
10.6.2006 6:17pm
Steve P. (mail):
A protest is fine (that's like free speech X2). Physical assault obviously is not, and some sort of punishment should really be handed down.

A little odd to assume a few college students are indicative of 'the Left', like they're elected representatives or something. Casting stones?
10.6.2006 6:22pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
"I'm amazed you consider this news.

Sk"

WHy is that?
10.6.2006 6:25pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
As a grad student and someone who identifies as quite liberal (high progressive taxes, more immigration etc..) but disagrees strongly with some liberal positions I've been disgusted by campus activism for some time. Usually it is not as bad as this but the activists types aren't exactly interested in serious discussion of the issues or in depth argumentation.

For instance when I was part of student government I thought it was negligent the way the student government year after year gave tens of thousands of dollars to grad student minority recruitment and routinely passed resolutions supporting affirmitive action in the strongest possible terms without any examination of whether these programs were ultimately effective at addressing racial inequality or even what the programs were really aimed at doing (are they a reparation? pragmatic fix?). For instance it always seemed to me that spending money on minority grad recruitment was an incredibly inefficent use of funds because instead of increasing the number of high performing minority college grads it just tried to poach them from other universities or non-academic jobs.

However, it is important to realize these are just as much a radical fringe of the left as David Duke and other racist types are of the right. While I am disgusted by the way these people act I just want to emphasize that it is by no means reasonable to indict the left for their behavior than it is to indict republicans for the actions of crazy militias, white supremicists and christian fundamentalists who want to bring about the second coming.

I think a lot of the issue is that some people just enjoy being righteous, and getting to lock themselves to fences and indignantly break the law to stop 'horrible things'. These people naturally just gravitate to causes that let them behave this way and in college that is being on the left. I wouldn't be surprised if in 20 years a lot of the same people are calling into the equivalent of Rush Limbaugh at the time (though probably a little bit less likely to go out and protest now that they have kids).
10.6.2006 6:26pm
dimitrir:
Actually, the "Left" is not something that exists and has the power of learning. However, Columbia University, which chooses not to suspend or otherwise severely discipline the "protesters" is an entity capable of learning. If it's alums (myself included) will tolerate the Administration's (non)response, they will learn there is no cost to silence and appeasement. If the flow of donations will drop precipetously, on the other hand, they will learn that their alumni care about free speach. we'll see...
10.6.2006 6:28pm
Lawstsoul:
Well put Dan.

Now that we are living in a lawless society, it's especially important for those who wish to return to the rule of law to act in accordance with democratic principles. It may take another revolution to re-establish the republic, but violent suppression of speech only plays into the hands of the propagandists, allowing them to tar the entire opposition with the acts of a few.
10.6.2006 6:30pm
Steve:
These are kids. Conservative activism on campus manifests itself in ways that less often involves violence (perhaps because conservatives are outnumbered) but can be equally repulsive, such as red-baiting of professors. But they're kids too. It's silly to use the antics of other people's kids to cluck about one's own moral superiority.
10.6.2006 6:30pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Grr...

"The Left will someday learn that it is not wise to violently stop people from speaking."

Yah and the right will someday learn to stop trying to seduce 16 year old boys and supporting racists.

I mean jesus christ this is just dumb. We can all name people on both the left and right who are total fuckups and support horrible policies. Unless your willing to generalize from everyone who says they are a republican/conservative/right wing then it's obviously inappropriate to do it for people who say they are on the left.
10.6.2006 6:30pm
tefta2 (mail):
What are they so afraid of?
10.6.2006 6:37pm
Moral Hazard (mail):

Yah and the right will someday learn to stop trying to seduce 16 year old boys and supporting racists.


I didn't think the right supported homosexuality at all, let alone homosexual relations with those under 18.

As for supporting racists, I have found that those on the right generally oppose racial discrimination, while those on the left support it. They call it "affirmative action."
10.6.2006 6:41pm
Rich Egan (mail):
I am somewhat surprised not that this happened because after the is Columbia which is probably the leftist capital of the east coast and has been since the 60's. What surprises me though is that there were enough people who call themselves republican attending Columbia to even invite Gilchrist!
10.6.2006 6:43pm
Steve:
As for supporting racists, I have found that those on the right generally oppose racial discrimination, while those on the left support it. They call it "affirmative action."

It's amazing to watch people label MLK as a racist and try to claim the moral high ground, all in the same breath.
10.6.2006 6:45pm
Bryan DB:
Sure it's thuggery. But, did Gilchrist actually have a "right" to speak there?

Since we're on thuggery, have all those casting stones at "the Left" forgotten about the restrictive policies in place, and the casting out of Others, when Bush goes off to give a speech at one photo op or another?
10.6.2006 6:56pm
LeftLeaningVolokhReader:
Hey, didn't we just have a post on not letting that Iranian President guy speak at Columbia? In any event, why is this a left v. right thing? If you may recall, the "conservative" anti-abortion groups also have engaged in pretty silly activity. (cue more debate on nuance).
10.6.2006 6:57pm
Luke 1152 (mail):
Sounds like Gilcrist is a pussy.
10.6.2006 7:02pm
Dave Meleney (mail):
So much angst that an accountant is violently refused his chance to spell out how we should.... well, how we should violently keep carpenters and landscapers from their chance to spell out their vision of the future for their families in a pretty darn free country.

Rich Americans are so quick to tell you how bad things are for themselves, aren't they? I'll bet any of the commentors who are ready to call these people "illigals" would choose the imperfect set of freedoms enjoyed by our former accountant, over those of the day laborer from Oaxaca.

So many conservatives have turned substantially from being fans of freedom to fans of priveledge...in just the last two years. Have immigrants been ruining your life in ways that I don't see?

Are you ready for the enormous dislocations that'll come if you do get your giant fence along the border? You'd object if I called it a new Iron Curtain, but only because it doesn't inhibit your freedoms. Your passport is good anywhere but North Korea.
10.6.2006 7:02pm
Ian D-B (mail):
Nice to see a post on those leftist thugs, but complete silence on the secret service arresting people for criticizing Cheney. I thought you guys just posted on gun control when you wanted to ignore current events, but I guess criticizing the left over actions that both sides take is the new plan. Sweet.
10.6.2006 7:06pm
Amber (www):
Some in the blogosphere are eating this up:

"Love this."

"That was fucking AWESOME."

"I love this stuff."
10.6.2006 7:08pm
Kevin P. (mail):

Nice to see a post on those leftist thugs, but complete silence on the secret service arresting people for criticizing Cheney.

Can you give us an example for people being arrested for merely criticizing Cheney?
10.6.2006 7:23pm
Lawstsoul:
Drudge is now reporting that the Thugs weren't students after all. An unnamed witness reports that The Minutemen staged the brawl, using hired operatives, posing as students, in order to generate press coverage and discredit the innocent protesters.

Of course, I'm just making this up, but since something like that is within the realm of possibility, why not see if I can get a quote on the Today Show.
10.6.2006 7:29pm
jim:
It seems the real tragedy here is not that a handfull of college kids tried to stop free speech, it's that a lot more than a handful of people let them succeed. It seems to say something about the larger intellectual climate. Perhaps that reflects poorly on "the left" or a subset thereof.

logicnazi, I know your racists and pedophiles comment was meant sarcastically, but it needn't be. It does reflect poorly upon "the right" that it has not done more to distance itself from racists, and it reflects poorly on anyone who knew about the Congressman's e-mails if they decided to take no action on it.

dimitrir's point that "the left" and "the right" aren't really organizations that can learn or act with one purpose, but broad movements, should of course be factored in when assessing my previous statements.
10.6.2006 7:30pm
jim:
Dave Meleney: what makes you think any of us agree with the Minutemen?

Personally I find immigration restrictions to be bad policy, but am outraged whenever speech is stopped with violence. You'll find that many people here said the same thing about letting the President of Iran be able to talk.
10.6.2006 7:35pm
Alaska Jack (mail):

It's amazing to watch people label MLK as a racist and try to claim the moral high ground, all in the same breath.



MLK a racist? Wasn't he the guy who thought people should be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character?

That seems to me to be about the most concise description you could find of the conservative position on this issue.

- Alaska Jack
10.6.2006 7:41pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
Ian -

Mark me down as one of those who, like Kevin P., would like to see an example of someone arrested for simply criticizing Cheney. I am unaware of any such event. If you can provide such an example, I will gladly criticize it, if that makes you feel any better.

- Alaska Jack
10.6.2006 7:44pm
Luke 1152 (mail):

Drudge is now reporting that the Thugs weren't students after all. An unnamed witness reports that The Minutemen staged the brawl, using hired operatives, posing as students, in order to generate press coverage and discredit the innocent protesters.

I noticed that in all of the pictures of the "riot" that there was this guy in a green helmet in several places.

Was he the same green-helmeted poser that Bernstein wrote about staging all of that fake bombing over in Lebanon when the Lebanese people misinterpreted the Israeli Air Forces dropping of flowers and chocolates as bombs?

Time will tell.

But I agree, there is something very fishy about that videotape.
10.6.2006 7:46pm
William Spieler (mail) (www):
Steve P.:

Fukumori is at least elected, I would imagine, as a "boardmember."
10.6.2006 7:48pm
BobDoyle (mail):
The E-Vile Karl Rove machinations once again, no doubt.
10.6.2006 7:49pm
Lawstsoul:
Alaska Jack:
A Denver-area man filed a lawsuit today against a member of the Secret Service for causing him to be arrested after he approached Vice President Dick Cheney in Beaver Creek this summer and criticized him for his policies concerning Iraq.

www.rockymountainnews.com
10.6.2006 7:49pm
QuintCarte (mail):
For looking for the "arrested for criticizing Cheney" link, here is a recent example:

http://www.counterpunch.org/blair1.html

I just happened to read this a day or two ago, so remembered it.
10.6.2006 7:51pm
Steve:
MLK a racist? Wasn't he the guy who thought people should be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character?

That seems to me to be about the most concise description you could find of the conservative position on this issue.


Yeah, except conservatives seem to love that one line, while ignoring that MLK actually supported affirmative action in no uncertain terms.

Opposing affirmative action hardly honors the spirit of MLK. It's just politically convenient to try and co-opt his legacy.
10.6.2006 7:51pm
donaldk:
Seems like a lot of folks here are justifying what these progressives did, arguing "tu quoque" (always laughably nonpersuasive.) Even then, I have seen no occasions cited of conservatives (or rightists, or non-utopians, or non-haters of their county, or what you will) preventing anyone speaking.

Please leave out the blather about David Duke, or the neoNazi fringe - these are not conservatives in any respect, or by any stretch.

As for as the Iranian president, it seems to have been decided that Columbia should not invite a speaker whose best line is "Death to America". We can all have our own opinions about the wisdom of that. But, if they had invited him, you can have 10-1 odds from me that there would be no mob rushing the platform. Let me know the next time another such miserable bastard is scheduled to get on a platform; maybe you'll want to take the odds.
10.6.2006 7:55pm
Moral Hazard (mail):

It's amazing to watch people label MLK as a racist and try to claim the moral high ground, all in the same breath.

I described a political position as being racist. Are you saying that MLK is some Christ-like figure who is by definition anti-racist; rather than having to defend his actual positions?
10.6.2006 7:57pm
Steve:
Are you saying that MLK is some Christ-like figure who is by definition anti-racist; rather than having to defend his actual positions?

I'm saying that lumping him in with the racists does tend to undercut your overly glib point, yes.
10.6.2006 8:00pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
Steve -

This seems like a pretty simplistic take on it. Essentially, your criticism is that the above quote "cherry picks" one of MLKs assertions, while ignoring others. Fine, but isn't that also a critique of *your* position? I mean, you're doing the same thing -- picking and choosing those parts of MLK's massive oeuvre which conform to your own ideological biases.

Like a lot of great thinkers, that fact is that MLK said contradictory things at different times.

I am reminded in some ways of our founding fathers, who articulated principles of human freedom and dignity that we all now accept as correct, while themselves failing to live up to those principles in practice. We look back now and say it was the principles that are correct, not their practices. A conservative, I suspect (I'm not one), would say something similar about MLK.

- Alaska Jack
10.6.2006 8:04pm
Jay Myers:
logicnazi

However, it is important to realize these are just as much a radical fringe of the left as David Duke and other racist types are of the right. While I am disgusted by the way these people act I just want to emphasize that it is by no means reasonable to indict the left for their behavior than it is to indict republicans for the actions of crazy militias, white supremicists and christian fundamentalists who want to bring about the second coming.

I'll stipulate that these leftist college radicals aren't typical of left-leaning Americans in general and that radicals on the right can act just as badly, but there are two important distinctions between them and the likes of David Duke. The first difference is the fact that their positions and actions are countenanced by those in authority rather than condemned. The second difference is that they are very bright students at America's most prestigious educational institutions. That means they compose the population from which the left-leaning leaders of the future will come. Do you seriously think that "crazy militias, white supremicists and christian fundamentalists who want to bring about the second coming" are going to spawn the future leaders of the Republican Party? You yourself refer to them as being on the fringe. Looking at Congress and the Governorships, fundamentalists are significantly underrepresented considering the size of their voting block, Clergy who get themselves elected to office are overwhelmingly likely to be Democrats, and the only Klansman sits on the Democratic side of the aisle.

If Columbia and other universities don't impose some civility and discipline then how are these children going to learn not to conduct "public discourse" in this manner once they grow older and move on to the adult world?

Frankly, I wonder if colleges shouldn't prohibit protests and counter-demonstrations and instead require dissidents to either hold their own event at a different time or arrange for a proper debate. Perhaps they are government institutions to such an extent that this would be an impermissable violation of the First Ammendment, but it seems as if there is a compelling interest in preserving public safety and order here and it could be argued that nobody is actually being deprived of their right to free speech. As with permits for parades and demonstrations, that right is simply being regulated in accordance with state interests.
10.6.2006 8:06pm
Lawstsoul:
"Seems like a lot of folks here are justifying what these progressives did, arguing "tu quoque" (always laughably nonpersuasive.) Even then, I have seen no occasions cited of conservatives (or rightists, or non-utopians, or non-haters of their county, or what you will) preventing anyone speaking. "

True, they prefer to prevent people from voting -- much more effective. George Soros needs to buy one of those voting machine companies.
10.6.2006 8:07pm
Jason Fliegel (mail):
A better link on the recent Cheney protestor arrest:

10.6.2006 8:09pm
Lawstsoul:
"...spawn the future leaders of the Republican Party?"

Spawn, I love it!
10.6.2006 8:10pm
Jason Fliegel (mail):
Hmmm ... my link disappeared. Anyway, go to Google news and type "Cheney arrest denver" and you'll get about 20 articles about the incident.
10.6.2006 8:10pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
Lawstsoul:

I read the link. Turns out the guy was arrested for allegedly *pushing* the VP. He protested his innocence, investigation disclosed he was innocent (and had merely verbally criticized Cheney) and was released. He's suing for false arrest. Or, so the cited report says.

If the report is accurate, it was certainly an error, but I really don't see much evidence of deliberate suppression of speech. You shouldn't provide links if you're going to misrepresent the content (at least not on this blog).
10.6.2006 8:15pm
PooHPoohBear:
"They have no right to be able to speak here."

Nice to know what they didn't learn in High School. I'm sure Columbia will teach them otherwise (said ironically).
10.6.2006 8:16pm
HLSbertarian (mail):
Opposing affirmative action hardly honors the spirit of MLK. It's just politically convenient to try and co-opt his legacy.


Just like it was/is politically convenient for civil rights leaders to talk about colorblindness while actually pushing for preferences. Why is MLK above reproach? Affirmative action is racist in the plain meaning that it involves making assumptions about people based on the color of their skin. It doesn't develop saintliness just because MLK advocated it. Like MH said, defend the position.
10.6.2006 8:18pm
Lawstsoul:
You shouldn't provide links if you're going to misrepresent the content (at least not on this blog).

What part of "arrested for verbally criticizing" eludes your comprehension? Now run along and spawn some future Republican leaders.
10.6.2006 8:21pm
donaldk:
"...prevent people voting"

Is that the best you can do?
10.6.2006 8:22pm
Pantapon Rose (mail):
Why are the protestors holding up a sign in Arabic to protest restrictions on Mexican immigration?
10.6.2006 8:23pm
Lawstsoul:
"...prevent people voting"

Is that the best you can do?

No, but I save the less mediocre stuff for more evolved bigots.
10.6.2006 8:28pm
Lawstsoul:
"They have no right to be able to speak here."

Nice to know what they didn't learn in High School. I'm sure Columbia will teach them otherwise (said ironically).

If they do that, he'll never grow up to be Preznit.
10.6.2006 8:33pm
Steve:
I mean, you're doing the same thing -- picking and choosing those parts of MLK's massive oeuvre which conform to your own ideological biases.

No, not in the least. MLK was consistently and forthrightly in favor of affirmative action. It's just a bunch of conservative revisionists who have decided, "Wait, if you envision a color-blind society, you can't possibly be in favor of using anything other than color-blindness to get there!"

Here is an article I endorse. Look, I have no problem with anyone being against affirmative action - it's just the people who pretend that MLK would agree who bother me. Imagine if I used some quote of Ronald Reagan's to argue in favor of communism, and when you pointed out that Reagan was staunchly anti-communist, I said "Gee, maybe he just took different positions at different times!"
10.6.2006 8:41pm
Gaius Obvious (mail):

These are kids.

Unless they want an abortion. Then they automatically morph into complete adults capable of fully understanding the consequences of their decisions. Funny how that kid/adult borderline moves around based on the political argument you are trying to make.
10.6.2006 8:41pm
Micah:
The text of this post should probably be updated to reflect this by statement Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University.
10.6.2006 8:42pm
Lawstsoul:
Affirmative action, abortion; one more and we hit a wingnut trifecta. Suppression of creationism would be a good fit for this topic.
10.6.2006 8:56pm
donaldk:
"bigots" Ooh, name-calling. Shame on you. I guess that IS the best you can do.
10.6.2006 8:57pm
Jay Myers:
Dave Meleney:

So much angst that an accountant is violently refused his chance to spell out how we should.... well, how we should violently keep carpenters and landscapers from their chance to spell out their vision of the future for their families in a pretty darn free country.

Violence is the secondary basis of all law enforcement. If social pressure won't work to prevent people from violating the laws then society is left with the choice of either using compulsion or accepting lawlessness. Note that I'm not saying that lawlessness is an absolute quality when laws are allowed to be flouted, but it does create some degree of lawlessness and that is contagious. "Why should I obey this law if they can ignore that law?"

The fact remains that we have a system by which people may legally immigrate to this country. If that system needs to be changed in your mind then there exists a method by which that may be accomplished. I see no benefit to leaving the law unchanged and arguing that we should allow it to be violated at will. That violates a rule of fairness that any second grader could perceive. You don't allow people to cut in line just because they happen to be standing near the front of the line and are willing to do so; that is unfair not only to everyone already in line but also to everyone not in line who happens not to be standing near the front of the line. Aside from all other considerations, allowing illegal immigration is unjust to those who would like violate our immigration laws but are inconveniently located on some other continent.

Rich Americans are so quick to tell you how bad things are for themselves, aren't they? I'll bet any of the commentors who are ready to call these people "illigals" would choose the imperfect set of freedoms enjoyed by our former accountant, over those of the day laborer from Oaxaca.

The Mexican economy is actually the tenth largest in the world and has the highest per capita GDP in Latin America. The problem is not one of a lack of wealth but of a gross inequality of distribution. Lower income Mexicans are hamstrung by corruption and cronyism in the political system such that significant barriers are put in the way of entrepreneurs in order to favor the interests of the existing business owners and that severely limits growth and job creation. According to Transparency International, an estimated 1% of Mexico’s economic production goes to pay bribes for government officials and the poorest families can pay up to 14% of their income in bribes. Meanwhile, Mexico’s taxes are among the lowest in the hemisphere. At 12% of GDP, Mexico’s taxes are less than half of those of Brazil or the USA. This significantly reduces the amount of revenue available for basic services such as education, infrastructure, and law enforcement.

At a single dinner in 1994, the President of Mexico collected US$750 million in campaign contributions from the thirty assembled oligarchs. No sane politician would endanger those connections unless faced with widespread discontent among the masses but if the Mexican people are so poor, why are they not exhibiting exactly that kind of discontent? Because the country’s elite wave the fantasy of success in the United States under their noses and a bunch of silly gringos are helping them. Instead of agitating for change in their own nation, 6.72 million of Mexico’s 106 million person population (that's over 6% of the general population and over 9% of Mexico’s labor pool) has immigrated to the United States. (Other sources put it at 10% of the Mexican general population and 15% of the Mexican workforce but I wanted to be conservative.) Last year Mexicans in the United States sent US$20 billion back home through banking networks and are suspected to have carried an additional US$4 to 6 billion in hard currency back across the border. That means that last year these remittances were the second largest segment of the Mexican economy. Only the oil industry was larger and remittances are expected to exceed oil revenues in 2006 despite record oil prices. Over 30 nations have GDPs that are smaller than the amount of money sent back to Mexico last year by Mexicans living in the United States. That's more than sixteen times what Google is considering paying for YouTube. That's serious money and inflicts major damage on our balance of payments. And considering the budget deficit and trade deficit, and overseas expenditures for our military adventures, our balance of payments was already crappy.

So many conservatives have turned substantially from being fans of freedom to fans of priveledge...in just the last two years. Have immigrants been ruining your life in ways that I don't see?

An estimated 7.1 million Americans are unemployed. The number of non-Americans illegally working in this country is estimated to be 7.5 million. According to theories of supply and demand, this increase in available workers should act to depress wages in the US. In 1966, two years after the US ended a twenty-year guest farm worker program with Mexico, César Chávez and the United Farm Workers union negotiated a 40% wage increase from grape growers in the San Joaquin Valley.

Does that qualify as harm?

Are you ready for the enormous dislocations that'll come if you do get your giant fence along the border? You'd object if I called it a new Iron Curtain, but only because it doesn't inhibit your freedoms. Your passport is good anywhere but North Korea.

I'm ok with saying that my nation's institutions and culture are so good that we have to build a fence to keep out people from other nations that refuse to imitate our institutions and culture. If they aren't happy with their own nations then it is incumbent upon them to agitate for change because it would be paternalistic for us to step in "for their own good since they are incapable of ordering their own affairs."

If Mexicans want to be in the US so bad then why aren't they asking us to annex them as a protectorate similar to Puerto Rico?
10.6.2006 8:59pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
That is quite frankly an excellent statement by Bollinger. Dead -ass.
10.6.2006 9:01pm
Lawstsoul:
""bigots" Ooh, name-calling. Shame on you. I guess that IS the best you can do."

Oh Donald; you make feel like I'm in a pissing contest with a urinal!
10.6.2006 9:12pm
EMG:
President Bollinger's statement is a nice start, but he should go one step further -- invite the speaker back to campus and give a personal introduction, standing next to the speaker throughout the speech.

I've heard Bollinger speak on the First Amendment (which I believe is his area of scholarship) and he should use this as an example to show how serious he really is about protecting that right.

This is one of the most descpicable incidents I've heard of in a long time. The students who assaulted the speaker should be expelled from Columbia and prosecuted by the Manhattan D.A. And the smart one with the quote in the NY Sun should be forced to sit through a long seminar on the meaning on the First Amendment.

For what it's worth, I consider myself a liberal and favor an open border immigration policy.
10.6.2006 9:12pm
Constantin:
Affirmative action, abortion; one more and we hit a wingnut trifecta. Suppression of creationism would be a good fit for this topic.

And, lawstsoul, thrown in a "Bush blew up the levies" reference and you'll have covered your hippie-posing quota for the evening.

Until then, keep up the razor-sharp analysis.
10.6.2006 9:16pm
Lawstsoul:
Until then, keep up the razor-sharp analysis.

Analysis? Nah, I'm just having fun.

OBTW, Bush was completely unaware of and indifferent to any problems with the levies, so I don't know where you got the idea that he blew them up. And he only posed as a hippie back in the days when he was trying to score some blow. Now go flush yourself.
10.6.2006 9:29pm
Dean V. Wermer (mail):
Kids play-acting their parents 60's radicalism taking cues from mtv/rolling stone/etc. Sad and somewhat pathetic. All these incidents, whether instigated by conservative or liberal students, could easily be stopped by a few expulsions. Most universities don't want the bad press and inevitable litigation that such expulsions would engender (query though whether this might actually lead to some good press for the right institution), and are understandably sensitive to seriously damaging the futures of these naive kids. This would never happen at Faber College.
10.6.2006 9:34pm
Lawstsoul:
This would never happen at Faber College.

I spent two years on double secret probation, and let me tell you it was no picnic!
10.6.2006 9:40pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
Steven -

MLK was consistently and forthrightly in favor of affirmative action.

I never said he wasn't. But he certainly articulated *principles* that would seem to be belied by his advocacy of *specific policy implementations*.

I simply pointed out that the founders -- many of them, anyway -- did this as well, signing on to a document proclaiming that all men are created equal. Doing so put them in the position of weighing the long-term ramifications of those principles against the more immediate consequences to them and their loved ones. Tragically, many acted in such a way as to mitigate the immediate impacts rather than the noble principles. Fortunately, the passage of time has given us a larger viewpoint. We are not contrained by immediate circumstance as they were (or thought they were, in any case), and can more easily see that what individual founders may have seen as utilitarian necessity was in fact the wrong thing to do, regardless of expediency.

It's just a bunch of conservative revisionists who have decided, "Wait, if you envision a color-blind society, you can't possibly be in favor of using anything other than color-blindness to get there!"

Obviously you can, because many do. But don't try to pretend there's no contradiction between these two positions. Many honest AA advocates have wrestled with this. Is it, or is it not, OK to treat people differently because of the color of their skin, and for no other reason? Which is it? If it's OK, then why aspire to a "color-blind" society in the first place? Why not use race-based social engineering to accomplish a whole range of goals?

- Alaska Jack
10.6.2006 9:48pm
Constantin:
OBTW, Bush was completely unaware of and indifferent to any problems with the levies, so I don't know where you got the idea that he blew them up. And he only posed as a hippie back in the days when he was trying to score some blow. Now go flush yourself.

Thanks for proving my point.
10.6.2006 9:50pm
donaldk:
Progressing from name-calling to insults. Me oh my,whatever can be next? A duelling challenge?
10.6.2006 9:50pm
MarkM (mail):
It is certainly wrong to tar the whole left based on the actions of a few individuals. The criticism about suppression of conservative fews would only be relevant if the university did nothing to punish those responsible or prevent future disruptions from occuring. As it stands, Columbia University should be given the benefit of the doubt in sorting out what happened and finding out who is responsible.

As for the Cheney incident, in order to be arrested for pushing someone there needs to be a complaining witness. Since the facts seem to show this guy did not in fact shove the VP, the question is who complained to the police and lied about what happened (a crime in most places) to get the guy arrested? And why did the police not conduct a more thorough investigation before slapping cuffs on someone--as would happen if the alleged victim was anyone other than a high-ranking government official?

Many countries have guarantees of free speech but those guarantees are eroded either by the actions of thugs or gangs or by officials who arrest dissenters on specious legal charges (disturbing the peace, libel or corruption, for instance). Fortunately, these kinds of things don't happen routinely in the U.S. but that means when they do happen, they should be swiftly condemned by anyone interested in a free society.
10.6.2006 10:06pm
NY (mail):
wow, just wow, glad to know people can still be civil while discussing race, immigration and liberal saints.
10.6.2006 10:08pm
Lawstsoul:
"Thanks for proving my point."

Why struggle for a bon mot when a cliché is so readily at hand.
10.6.2006 10:09pm
Lawstsoul:
Many countries have guarantees of free speech but those guarantees are eroded either by the actions of thugs or gangs or by officials who arrest dissenters on specious legal charges (disturbing the peace, libel or corruption, for instance). Fortunately, these kinds of things don't happen routinely in the U.S. but that means when they do happen, they should be swiftly condemned by anyone interested in a free society.

"Interference With Government Administration" is a nice catchall charge, frequently brought against those who protest too much.
10.6.2006 10:21pm
Truth Seeker:
It is certainly wrong to tar the whole left based on the actions of a few individuals.

But the whole left allows this to happen on campuses across the country without objection or criticism. Maybe a few extremists do it, but everyone else on the left-comtrolled campuses (most campuses) accepts it.
10.6.2006 10:58pm
Realist Liberal (mail):
As someone who is definately left of center I absolutely can't stand these types of actions. There is a fringe group of liberals (although the size of the fringe seems to be growing rapidly) that is not interested in anything approaching a rational debate. If you disagree with them about anything you are immediately a racist or a facist or both.

It's important for liberals that are truly concerned with engaging the issues to want a dialogue. If someone is so convinced that their position is correct then if people have more information they should agree with the position. As president of my school's chapter of ACS I'm proud to say that all but one of the events we are hosting this year are being co-sponsored by the school's Federalist Society (all of them are debates between liberal and conservative professors on current hot topics).
10.6.2006 11:18pm
glangston (mail):
Luke 1152 (mail):
Sounds like Gilcrist is a pussy.

"Jim Gilchrist founded the multi-ethnic Minuteman Project on Oct. 1, 2004, after years of frustrated efforts trying to get a neglectful U.S. government to simply enforce existing immigration laws.
Jim holds a B.A. in newspaper journalism, a B.S. in business administration, and an M.B.A. in taxation. He is a former newspaper reporter and a retired California CPA (Certified Public Accountant).
Jim is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and recipient of the Purple Heart award for wounds sustained while serving with an infantry unit in Vietnam, 1968 - 1969.
Mr. Gilchrist is a passionate defender of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and an avid supporter of law enforcement organizations. He has appeared on over 1000 radio and TV news and commentary shows in the past twelve months, and he believes he is only one of millions of 21st century minutemen / women / children who want the U.S. to remain governed by the "rule of law" and who want proactive enforcement of our national security protections and our immigration legal code."

Feel better?
10.7.2006 12:58am
jso (mail):

Conservative activism on campus manifests itself in ways that less often involves violence (perhaps because conservatives are outnumbered) but can be equally repulsive, such as red-baiting of professors.


You mean, like disagreeing with a professor?

I guess leftists are pretty offended when someone doesn't share their exact viewpoint. So it's really not a big deal when "activist" students throw bricks and scream obscenities, they have been so tortured by these intruding opinions, wiping their (metaphorical) feet on leftist dreams. Puts that whole issue of engineered famines and re-education into a new light huh.

The REICH wing has monopolized violence for too long with their Kent State and imperialist adventures. It is time to roll back the calenders to year zero or something.
10.7.2006 1:00am
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
"I was due to speak this evening, in Manhattan, to a group called Network 20/20 comprising young business leaders, NGO, academics, etc, from the US and many countries. Topic: the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. The meetings are always held at the Polish Consulate in Manhattan

"I just received a call from the President of Network 20/20. The talk was canceled because the Polish Consulate had been threatened by the Anti-Defamation League. Serial phone-calls from ADL President Abe Foxman (left) warned them off hosting anything involving Tony Judt. If they persisted, he warned, he would smear the charge of Polish collaboration with anti-Israeli antisemites (= me) all over the front page of every daily paper in the city (an indirect quote). They caved and Network 20/20 were forced to cancel.

"Whatever your views on the Middle East I hope you find this as serious and frightening as I do. This is, or used to be, the United States of America." -- Tony Judt

As far as the bullshit in Germay in concerned (Idomeneo) if the director had included a head of Moses he would have risked charges. Free speech is limited in Germany. As far as this country is concerned, along with Judt, there's the "My name is Rachel Corrie" and also McNally's Corpus Christi.

But still, "free speech" has to do with government intervention and law, not public response. Not that I give a shit, but since you're getting huffy and that idiot David Bernstein posts here...
10.7.2006 2:15am
MrJustice:
Thomas Jefferson is a revered figure for his promotion of human freedom and the rights of the individual; yet, at the same time he owned slaves. Still few do not recognize him as having been a great man. Although, a hypocrite at times. Martin Luther King is a revered figure for his promotion of human freedom and the rights of the individual. As MLK dreamed “…people would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Yet, he supported affirmative action, a policy of judging by the color of ones skin—a hypocritical position. Nevertheless, Jefferson and King both were great men who were not perfect, but humans suffering from the same human condition — hypocrisy. Still both were great human beings.

P.S. I have not known a human being, including myself, who at one time or another has not been a hypocrite.
10.7.2006 2:33am
MarkM (mail):
But the whole left allows this to happen on campuses across the country without objection or criticism. Maybe a few extremists do it, but everyone else on the left-comtrolled campuses (most campuses) accepts it.

I am a graduate student at UC Berkeley--so if what you say is true it certainly should be evident at this prototypical left-liberal institution. It is not.

Just today, I passed by a group of people holding up pictures of dead, cut-up fetuses comparing abortion to the Holocaust. Sure, there were people arguing with them but no violence or anything of the sort. Michelle Malkin came to speak here several months ago and there were protestors who attempted to shout her down and disrupt the event but campus security was effective enough to stop them. I think those kids wound up looking pretty foolish to non-radical-left-wing types who, yes, are a majority even at Berkeley. Your claim that either the campus administration or a large proportion of the student body accepts this kind of activity strikes me as quite false.
10.7.2006 2:42am
David M. Nieporent (www):
So, Seth, in other words, assuming we believe Tony Judt, he -- well, not he, but his host -- was threatened... with criticism? And they didn't want to face criticism, so they cancelled? And this somehow relates to the violent suppression of speech how?
10.7.2006 3:53am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
jim,

Fair enough. I also think it reflects badly on the left that they don't do more to condemn this sort of behavior.

However, there is a distinction between failing to sufficently critisize and doing yourself. I just found it a bit troubling the way some comments seemed to be talking as if "the left" was some organization that took coherent positions on things like this. I agree completely with the sentiment you cited from the other commenter.
10.7.2006 5:39am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Also I want to be clear that my complaints about certain parts of the activist left did not mean to imply that most of the activists I have issue with are willing to go out and block people from speaking.

However on MarkM's point about this not being visible on UC Berkeley:

I believe there was a situation several years ago where students wouldn't let a pro-israeli speaker talk (not through violence but just chanting and the like). I think there have been some other incidents like this but they are rare and I think disapproved of by a large fraction of 'the left' on campus.

Also several years ago it was also far too common for groups to go around stealing all the daily cals/daily planets when they felt they had published something offensive. Thankfully this practice has been cracked down upon. I think (but not sure) that the city may have passed an ordinance against it (and the city of berkeley government is clearly part of the left if anyone is).

However, I should also remark that I disagree with your premise that UC Berkeley is so left leaning. Yes it has a history/reputation of being particularly leftist but as a public school it is mostly filled by people who don't really care and even has a quite large conservative contingent (some mainstream christian group is the largest campus group).

Sure there is a visible minority who tries to carry on this reputation of leftism but I don't think it is appropriate to compare the UCB enviornment to that at a small private liberal arts college in that at UC Berkeley more conservative voices do have a reasonable support base amoung students, e.g., it isn't like you can't find people on campus supporting bush. Also it's possible the free speech movement legacy has had an effect on attitudes at UC Berkeley.

In other words where I would most expect that censoring sort of behavior to be most apparent and most approved of is on campuses that are monolithically liberal which UC Berkeley is not.

However, while I think the left could do more to comdemn this behavior I doubt it is behaving any differently than the right would in a similar situation. There are plenty of supporters of the right who feel certain sorts of ideas are anti-american or whatever and wouldn't critisize someone who shouted down these ideas. Now I recognize that the more sober and respectable members of the right don't approve of such behavior and people on the right should recognize the same about the left.
10.7.2006 6:05am
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
Coercion is coercion, whether it's done by multimillion dollar organizations or 25 college students and a carload of banana cream pies. But the students have more going for them (and the ADL is nearer to being the agent of a state).

This is simple stuff, kiddo. You want to make an argument do a better job.
10.7.2006 11:22am
David Maquera (mail) (www):
Liberals always resort to shutting down their opponents' free speech when liberals are unable to articulate a winning argument.
10.7.2006 11:31am
Justin (mail):
Many countries have guarantees of free speech association and right to contract but those guarantees are eroded either by the actions of thugs or gangs unethical CEOS or by officials managers who arrest fire dissenters unionizers on specious legal charges (disturbing the peace, libel or corruption, for instance). UnfortuntelyFortunately, these kinds of things don't happen routinely in the U.S. but that means when they do happen, they should be swiftly are rarely, if ever condemned by anyone interested in a free society.conservatives.

You know, free association and everything. Corporations, much like thugs, don't have the power to coerce.

"Interference With Government Administration" is a nice catchall charge, frequently brought against those who protest too much.
10.7.2006 12:54pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Alright I'm giving up talking about blaming liberals and the left for this sort of incident. It seems clear to me that some commenters are more motivated by a desire to blame the other side than rationally debating whether or not the actions of these students reflect on the left in general.

However, I wanted to respond to some earlier points about affirmitive action and a color blind society. While I'm a pretty big critic of affirmitive action (I think it is negligent to implement it without having good reason to believe it works) it is perfectly consistant to believe in a color blind society and believe affirmitive action is a good way to get there. I mean do you think it is inconsistant to believe in a peaceful society and think that the death penalty is an acceptable way to get to that?

What many of the pro-affirmitive action people tend to believe (which I don't agree with) is that a color blind society will only be achieved when you have corrected for the discrimination of the past and that a society that started treating everyone 'equally' right now wouldn't be color blind as minorities would still be burdened by past discrimination. A second claim they make is that there is still plenty of unconcious discrimination and hence afirmitive action is just giving minorities an equal chance.

I don't find these arguments compelling. What I do find compelling is the pragmatic argument that racial inequality creates tension in society and hence ought to be corrected. Thus while a color blind society is the ultimate goal we may need to engage in non-color blind policies to correct this inequality beforehand or risk permanent racial ill will. (Now if just they could show afirm action was actually effective).

Ultimately it just comes down to the fact that they aren't using color blind in the same way you want to use it. They either mean a factually equal society or are using it as an ultimate goal after we have fixed the problems of racism. You may not agree with them but they aren't being inconsistant.
10.7.2006 2:26pm
Truth Seeker:
Affirmative action gives an advantage to people who aren't as well qualified as their peers.
What we need is to start with the little children and teach them the work ethic and drive to achieve, and interest in learning. The problem is the culture of poverty and lack of ambition that they grow up in.
10.7.2006 3:15pm
Bill_C (mail):

Hey, didn't we just have a post on not letting that Iranian President guy speak at Columbia? In any event, why is this a left v. right thing?


(I believe a rep from the columbia college gop mentioned that s/he was displeased that the Iranian president didn't speak).
10.7.2006 4:19pm
Federal Dog:
Having taken both undergraduate and graduate degrees at UC Berkeley, I am stunned by any contention that it is not monolithically left-leaning. People have repeatedly suggested a strong conservative presence there: Let's see a list of Berkeley conservatives, shall we?


Some of us actually do know the place well, you know.
10.7.2006 5:04pm
Joseph Sichspach (mail):
Affirmative action for minorities means I can't get my brother or my cousin a job anymore. It sucks.
10.7.2006 8:32pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Coercion is coercion
...and criticism is not coercion. Thanks for playing.
10.7.2006 9:11pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail):
Mr Nieporent,
Did you read the note by Tony Judt (the famous leftist)? I suggest you do.
If you did and you still chose to wrote the comment above, you're even more of an idiot than I thought
10.7.2006 11:20pm
MnZ (mail):
Why should we be surprised when left-leaning students are violently radicalized? After all, academia does have a substantial minority of Radical Leftist professors and instructors.

The problem is that too many administrators don't have the guts to say to students, "I don't care what Prof. Smith said in his 'Social Struggle and Revolution' course. You are expelled."
10.8.2006 6:49pm
markm (mail):
Were there two guys "arrested for criticizing Cheney", or did the charges change? In this account,

http://www.counterpunch.org/blair1.html

he was arrested for protesting outside of the "free speech zone." That's a distinctly Orwellian idea, complete with the inversion of meaning, so shame on Bush and Cheney for... Oh wait, it was introduced under Clinton.

Well, shame on Bush and Cheney for continuing this violation of our rights. (And I mean that seriously.) Just don't try to make a partisan issue out of it. If you've got a workable plan to create a third party that isn't full of wingnuts and actually will elect candidates that actually will protect our rights, I'm in. But until that time, treating this as liberals vs conservatives or Republicans vs Democrats is to miss the point: it's the professional politicians against the rest of us.
10.8.2006 10:50pm