2015-11-09

The Loss Of Liberty

The following appeared here, but is now only available here.
They have failed to acknowledge the hurt and pain that such a large part of our community feel. They have again and again shown that they are committed to an ideal of free speech, not to the Silliman community. 
It's difficult to know where to begin here, but let's start with this: Words are a threat to no one's community. If such a community existed that could be threatened by the mere utterance of words, then that community would simply not last very long.

Among the many things that make up a community are logic and ideas. If the free-exchange of logic and ideas must be suppressed in order to foster a community, then it is safe to say that that community is based on lies and illusions. The notion that feelings could override the importance of logical truth - arrived at by a free and robust discourse - is on the one hand infantile and on the other hand narcissistic.

But above all, it is preposterous. And, as the author of the piece, Jencey Paz, herself indicates, it is a threat to free speech.

Using Google's webcache feature, I was able to read some great comments posted beneath the op-ed. Here's an excerpt from "Tony," a self-described gay man:
Being overly sensitive is a weakness, full stop. You must be stronger than those who would do you harm. But you’re not even facing those people. You’re facing allies. When has weakness ever achieved what strength can’t?
Commentator "Patrick" leaves a comment that is damning to the author, if true:
From Yale’s “Intro To Undergrad Education”: 
“Freedom of expression is especially important in an academic community, where the search for truth holds a primary value. In 1975, a committee chaired by the late C. Vann Woodward, one of Yale’s most distinguished professors, issued the Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale, informally called the Woodward Report. This document emphasizes that the history of intellectual growth and discovery demonstrates the need to be able to ‘think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.’ The report acknowledges that such freedom may sometimes make life uncomfortable in a small society such as a college. But it also asserts that ‘because no other institution combines the discovery and dissemination of basic knowledge with teaching, few need assign such high priority to it.’ 
Yale’s commitment to freedom of expression means that when you agree to matriculate, you join a community where ‘the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox’ must be tolerated. When you encounter people who think differently than you do, you will be expected to honor their free expression, even when what they have to say seems wrong or offensive to you.”
 Here's an interesting tweet related to the topic:

It would be tempting to "pile-on" here and make Jencey Paz's life a living nightmare, especially since it is the so-called "call-out culture" to which she obviously belongs that tends most often to publicly shame and humiliate people until they are unemployable pariah's. The above post reflects my best attempt at resisting that urge. I do, however, believe that her name ought to be made public and that op-ed recorded in the internet for the future, as a testament to what the loss of liberty looks like as it happens.

Hat tip to Tyler Cowen.