A University of San Diego Law School professor, Thomas Smith, is facing calls for his firing after he published a blog post characterizing people who defended the Chinese government’s coronavirus response as “swallowing so much Chinese c**k swaddle.”
The dean of the law school responded to the pressure to can Smith by legitimizing the idiotic charge when he opened an “investigation” into the matter.
— San Diego Union-Tribune (@sdut) April 2, 2021
Eugene Volokh, writing in the San Diego Union-Tribune, points out the danger in trying to equate racism with criticism of any government, regardless of ethnic makeup.
The title of Smith’s post is about China, and the quote refers four times to China in ways that unambiguously reference the government. Though the word “Chinese” can refer to the government, the nation or the ethnic group, here the referent is clear. If there had been any ambiguity, Smith later added a note reinforcing the ordinary reading of his words: “I was referring to the Chinese government.”
And yet, Dean Robert Shapiro wrote a letter to the University of San Diego Law School community where he described Smith’s phrase as “offensive language in reference to people from China.”
Silly man, Since when did context matter to the Visigoths invading academia? He used the word “China” didn’t he? He used the vulgarity, didn’t he?
Guilty as charged.
Some of Smith’s biggest critics wouldn’t think twice about criticizing the Israeli government for its settlement policies. Isn’t that “anti-Semitism? Apparently, not. It’s racism against the Palestinians.
It must be exhausting to be woke. It just gets harder to keep track of all these contradictions. Maybe they should start writing them down.
Needless to say, academic freedom is under threat if the barbarians win.
To say speech is protected as a matter of law is merely a starting point. Smith’s speech must be protected as a matter of academic freedom, social mores, and a culture of liberty. We must always have the right to forcefully criticize governments — American, Chinese, Israeli, Russian, Saudi or whatever else.
Such freedom of criticism is necessary so that we can help influence our own governments’ internal behavior. It’s necessary so that we can help influence our own governments’ behavior towards other governments. It’s necessary so that we can figure out the perils that these governments might be posing, to us, to their own citizens, or to their neighbors.
Those vital necessities pale in comparison to the importance of policing speech with an iron hand. Never mind that it doesn’t make any sense. Nor does it matter if there’s a logical coherence in the policing.
All that matters is to attack and destroy. The Red Guards would have been pleased with their tactics.