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Feb 24, 201602:43 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Free speech and diversity of thought at the UW? Who’da thunk it?

(page 2 of 2)

Free speech on campus? What a concept!

Thank God (if you’ll pardon the expression) for emeritus professor Donald Downs, the motivating force behind The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy. Reserve your calendar for the weekend of March 11–12 as the good professor and his Center study threats to the First Amendment in a conference entitled “Free Speech on Campus: Old Threats, New Challenges.”

Friday, March 11, 5 p.m. —“In defense of prejudice: Why free speech is the only safe space for minorities,” Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Institute. Auditorium, Wisconsin Historical Society

Saturday, March 12, 1:30 p.m. —"Offensive environments,” Laura Kipnis, Northwestern University. Virginia Harrison Parlor, Lathrop Hall 

Saturday, March 12, 3 p.m. — “Freedom of thought on campus: 1985 to the present and beyond,” Donald Downs, UW–Madison. Virginia Harrison Parlor, Lathrop Hall

The purpose of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy is:

… to advance intellectual diversity at the University by taking ideas seriously that we believe have not always enjoyed sufficient respect on campus. Such ideas include the various strands of conservative political thought and libertarian thought, in addition to thought addressing religious liberty, foreign policy, and the role of the military in American society and on campus. We aspire to be a model of intellectual diversity in action for the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

As has well been said, young adults on today’s college campuses need “safe zones” to protect them from controversial — if offensive — words and thoughts. A little more than 70 years ago America’s 18- to 24-year-olds stormed enemy beaches, parachuted behind enemy lines, and kept the munitions factories humming.

For B-Blogge bonus points — “Ivy League crybullies vs. survivor of a Soviet labor camp; guess who needs emotional support?” — Volokh Conspiracy.

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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Feb 25, 2016 07:33 am
 Posted by  Anonymous


With your track record you really shouldn't be lecturing anybody about free speech. Your support of the current cast of clowns under the dome and their full-throttle assault on open records, local control and now the Mark Harris fiasco disqualifies you from being included in intelligent discussion. Hypocrite

Feb 25, 2016 12:09 pm
 Posted by  madisonexpat

Sifting and winnowing is hard. Better to outlaw grain crops.

Feb 25, 2016 12:47 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The illiberal atmosphere on college campuses can be traced directly to liberals' touching, child-like faith in the perfectibility of human nature. They're determined to transform campuses into prelapsarian paradises where not even the tiniest microaggression is tolerated, where not one word that could be construed (however far-fetchedly) as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., etc. is uttered, where "safe spaces" abound, where professors are obliged to include "trigger warnings" on their syllabi, and where dissent from prevailing orthodoxy is crushed underfoot the moment it raises its head. In other words, campuses have become prototypes of what liberals dream of imposing on society at large. (Does anyone take Obama seriously when he wags the occasional finger at colleges that suppress free speech ... only for the most high-minded reasons, of course?)

Want to take bets on whether Black Lives Matter or some other group that enjoys the blessing of the crypto-fascist academic elite tries to shut down the lectures scheduled at UW-Madison next month?

Feb 25, 2016 01:00 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Love the graphic but it might need explaining. The woman pictured is a journalism professor at the University of Missouri who was videotaped attempting to prevent a journalism student from covering a public gathering on campus during the recent protests by Black Lives Matter and other groups; as a result, she inadvertently became the poster girl for campus intolerance. She perfectly represents the current academic mindset that elevates one's personal crusade against racism (or whatever evil real or imagined one chooses to embrace) above the basic guarantees of free speech.

Feb 25, 2016 01:19 pm
 Posted by  AnonyBob

Yeah, Dave, 7:33 makes some interesting points. I'd only add I'll never understand your defense of Citizens United and how unlimited dark corporate cash is free speech like your personal piddly contributions (if you make any) are to the candidates of your choice.
But what I'd really like a response from you about is the Mark Harris bill. As a former elected county official, what do you think about Fitzgerald and the Senate GOP rushing thru a bill (aren't they all, now?) to stick it to a county executive who happens to be a Democrat, who is thinking about running for an open senate seat? Shouldn't the acceptability of this be left up to the voters? Fitz didn't seem to have a problem with someone serving as a county exec and in the legislature at the same time when it was Bob Ziegelbauer. Of course, he was a conservative Democrat turned Independant who voted reliably with the Republicans. Do you think that made a difference? Please, I'd really like to hear your opinion of this. Explain to me how it is not petty partisan politics and an abuse of power and of law making. (Man, do I get tired of those words with the GOP in control.)

Feb 25, 2016 03:24 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Well stated Anonymous at 7:33!

Feb 25, 2016 03:35 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Scott Who?

Trump/Kassich 2016 Boom!

Feb 25, 2016 04:08 pm
 Posted by  David Blaska

Bring It! readers will know that the Squire has already declared fatwah against the Mark Harris bill.

Feb 25, 2016 04:18 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


I am an elected county board member. Should I be prevented from running for the legislature? Or if elected have to resign the board position? Please answer that with a straight face, without fingers crossed. Thanks

Feb 25, 2016 04:45 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Predictably, you misstate the purpose behind safe zones. But why should you care? It's not like you have to actually deal with operational and practical implications of your bloviations. Your laptop, surrounded by reality.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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