The PJ Tatler

IRS Scandal: One-Way Civility in Academia

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.

As I promised yesterday, below are some of the cross posts. Hasen leads with a post from Rob Kelner of Covington and Burling:

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.

Mark Scarberry, professor of law at Pepperdine, wrote:

I couldn’t disagree more with Adams. I consider myself to be mostly conservative on election law issues, if that’s a meaningful category, and to be on the “less regulation more 1st Amendment-protective” side; and I think the list is a great “place” for discussion. Sometimes my posts get substantial responses; sometimes not. But Rick and UCI do a real service in providing this viewpoint-neutral limited forum (if that’s the right description).

“Viewpoint-neutral limited forum”? Perhaps we are mixing list-servs and oranges, but Hasen’s playground is hardly a viewpoint-neutral forum, at least his blog. He routinely ignores serious and significant stories that do not fit his narrative. The list-serv is a place where I rarely if ever venture; the only reason I was there is because of the realization that the forum is viewpoint-neutral as long as you don’t expect conservative views to be taken terribly seriously. The history of the forum is one of some conservatives posting an idea into a black hole without any response. This isn’t an accident, and I suspect Professor Hasen knows it. Sure, write it off to “nobody else found the post interesting,” but that would be a lie.

Conservatives are ruthlessly attacked in the most vicious of ways, so many tend to shut up and hide. You don’t get many calls for civility when the left’s war machine has sprung to life and targeted a conservative for an Alinsky-style onslaught. Even many conservatives duck and cover. Rarely does a liberal defend a conservative under attack. Usually, they are the ones launching it.   This imbalance is particularly acute inside the Beltway.

That Hasen went a-harvesting for praise from conservatives is nothing new. Now that the harvest is in, let’s see if he has an unkind word for the IRS emails discussing Larry Noble’s idea of criminal charges to make an example of someone. Maybe some of the conservatives on his blog can start the open, free, and impartial discussion.

Maybe the blog will move away from worrying about what I post at PJ Media, and start worrying about what is in the IRS emails.