November 10, 2017

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: in a post titled “Bray New World,” Mark Steyn profiles Mark Bray, the professor who recently wrote Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, and who “passes for the intellectual wing of Antifa.” Steyn writes, “In The Chronicle of Higher Education Nell Gluckman offers a glowing paean to the man she dubs ‘The Button-Down Anarchist:’”

In fact, there’s a point Mr. Bray made in an interview that Mr. Scott often finds himself citing. “We don’t look back at the Weimar Republic today and celebrate them for allowing Nazis to have their free-speech rights,” he says. “We look back and say, Why didn’t they do something?”

Steyn responds:

It is a testament to the wholesale moronization of our culture that there are gazillions of apparently sane people willing to take out six figures of debt they’ll be paying off for decades for the privilege of being “taught” by the likes of Professor Bray. The reason “we don’t look back at the Weimar Republic today and celebrate them for allowing Nazis to have their free-speech rights” is because they didn’t. A decade ago, as my battles with Canada’s “human rights” commissions were beginning, I lost count of the number of bien-pensants insisting that, while in theory we could permit hatemongers like Steyn to exercise their free-speech rights, next thing you know it would be jackboots on the 401. As I said way back when:

“Hateful words” can lead to “unspeakable crimes.” The problem with this line is that it’s ahistorical twaddle, as I’ve pointed out. Yet still it comes up. It did last month, during my testimony to the House of Commons justice committee, when an opposition MP mused on whether it wouldn’t have been better to prohibit the publication of Mein Kampf.

“That analysis sounds as if it ought to be right,” I replied. “But the problem with it is that the Weimar Republic—Germany for the 12 years before the Nazi party came to power—had its own version of Section 13 and equivalent laws. It was very much a kind of proto-Canada in its hate speech laws. The Nazi party had 200 prosecutions brought against it for anti-Semitic speech. At one point the state of Bavaria issued an order banning Hitler from giving public speeches.”

And a fat lot of good it all did.

Or to put it another way:

The problem is, the Weimar Republic had such laws. It used them freely against the Nazis. Far from stopping Hitler, they only made his day when he became Chancellor. They enabled Hitler to confront Social Democratic Party chairman Otto Wels, who stood up in the Reichstag to protest Nazi suspension of civil liberties, with a quotation from the poet Friedrich Schiller:

“‘Late you come, but still you come,'” Hitler pointed at the hapless deputy. “You should have recognized the value of criticism during the years we were in opposition [when] our press was forbidden, our meetings were forbidden, and we were forbidden to speak for years on end.”

As the College Fix noted, in a post Glenn linked to earlier today, “Majority of Americans say colleges aren’t properly teaching ‘the value of free speech.’” And they’re not properly teaching history either. But they are teaching the value of violence: “When Bray recently appeared on Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd told him ‘You seem to be a very small minority here who is defending the idea of violence,’ Bray did not deny it.”

I wonder if Bray has ever asked himself or his Antifa buddies, “Are we the baddies?”

Related: Professor who erased pro-life messages will pay $17,000, receive First Amendment training.

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