IRS Scandal: One-Way Civility in Academia
My "etiquette" upsets legal scholars more than the scandal does.
April 18, 2014 - 10:51 am
Yesterday, I posted this piece about how the IRS scandal has evolved into something far more sinister than Tea Party groups having their tax exempt applications delayed. Judicial Watch had found emails that show officials at the IRS and DOJ as well as outside left-wing lawyers were tossing around ideas to criminally charge someone to make an example that would frighten other groups from engaging in speech. I also alluded to the fact that many posters (though apparently not all) at Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog are deliberately ignored if they do not agree with the orthodoxy of the left.
That’s fact. In fact, nobody disputed the facts in my piece.
What some didn’t like is the fact that I mentioned Rick Hasen’s blog, and how it is used to advance the left-wing narrative on election law. As one professor told me by email:
One of the Left’s tricks is to make calling them out seem like a breach of etiquette.
Yesterday, instead of joining in the rightful criticism of what occurred at the IRS, Hasen spent his energy rounding up notes of support from a smattering of conservatives who use his blog.
I don’t suspect we’ll see too much criticism of the IRS emails describing Larry Noble’s plot to have some people made an example of by having criminal charges brought against them. Calling Hasen’s blog out seems to be a bigger breach of etiquette than the IRS abusing the power of the state.
Rick Hasen’s listserv is an institution. A valuable one. Attacks on Rick are unfounded. Civility is the glue that holds democracy together.
I wasn’t sure if Kelner was trying to be funny. Civility and Hasen in the same sentence? Hasen hardly practices what Kelner preaches. Hasen’s blog and his writings have become a forum for repeated personal attacks on people — people who are my friends. He accuses them of deliberate deception, attaching derogatory names to them as a group — the “Fraudulent Fraud Squad.”
Here’s a sample about Thor Hearne, which Mr. Kelner could be forgiven for not having read, as it appeared at Slate. But Hasen didn’t stop with Hearne back in 2007. He repeatedly labels those with whom he disagrees part of the “fraudulent fraud squad.” If “civility is the glue that holds democracy together,” then his blog needs some glue.
Professor Jeff Milyo latched onto civility also:
You consistently achieve a balance between the goals of civility and open participation (a task none of us envy!).
I’ll give Milyo the benefit of the doubt and assume he is unaware of the very uncivil repetitious attacks by Professor Hasen on certain conservatives, questioning their truthfulness. But would it make a difference to the blog participants if they were fully schooled in Professor Hasen’s incivility and name-calling? Perhaps. Perhaps not.