WHERE HAVE ALL THE CRITTERS GONE?
San Francisco State University – a public institution, supported by taxpayer funds – is adorned with maps of the Middle East that exclude the State of Israel. Campus posters depict soup cans with labels displaying drops of blood, dead babies, and the description "canned Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license." This, of course, is the infamous "blood libel" that has haunted Jewry for centuries. Other signs equate Zionism with racism, Jews with Nazis.
Recently, SFSU Jewish students and others held a "Peace in the Middle East Rally." They spoke of their support for Israel. They sang of peace. Some wore T-shirts with the word "peace" written in English and Arabic.
Counter-demonstrators screamed epithets at the Jewish students, telling them to "go back to Russia."
Sadly, the anti-Semitic venom that has infected SFSU is today found in countless academic institutions throughout the United States. One can believe – as did author Ayn Rand, and as do I – that although it "is not very inspiring to fight for the freedom of the purveyors of pornography or their customers . . . in the transition to statism, every infringement of human rights has begun with the suppression of a given right’s least attractive practitioners. In this case [Rand was discussing obscenity], the disgusting nature of the offenders make it a good test of one’s loyalty to a principle [of free speech]." Thus, for those of us who adhere to the principle of free speech, that fealty requires that within our country anti-Semitic rant must be, while condemned, tolerated.
However, there are those who don’t believe in free speech, among them the so-called critical race theorists – the "Crits," or "Critters." Because they believe in censoring what they call "words that wound," one would expect them to be in the trenches opposing the vile anti-Semitism that spreads through our land.
In my introduction to Speaking Freely: The Case Against Speech Codes (published by Second Thoughts Books) I quoted the following words from an article entitled "Words that Wound: A Tort Action for Racial Insults, Epithets, and Name-Calling," by Professor Richard Delgado, a father of the insidious "Hate Speech Movement": ‘[A]n epithet such as ‘You damn nigger’ would almost always be found actionable, as it is highly insulting and highly racial. However, and insult such as ‘You incompetent fool,’ directed at a black person by a white, even in a context which makes it highly insulting, would not be actionable because it lacks a racial component. "Boy,’ directed at a young black male, might be actionable, depending on the speaker’s intent, the hearer’s understanding, and whether a reasonable person would consider it a racial insult in the particular context. ‘Hey, nigger,’ spoken affectionately between black persons and used as a greeting, would not be actionable. An insult such as ‘You dumb honkey," directed at a white person, could be actionable . . . but only in the unusual situations where the plaintiff would suffer harm from such an insult."
Under Delgado-speak, a plaintiff injured by "words that wound" could recover if he proved that "[l]anguage was addressed to him or her by the defendant that was intended to demean through reference to race; that the plaintiff understood [it] as intended to demean through reference to race; and that a reasonable person would recognize [it] as a racial insult.” Speaking Freely devastated this harebrained, yet dangerous, academic-inspired attack on the First Amendment and the free speech that it protects, and for the most part the Hate Speech Movement has retreated in the face of cultural and judicial disapproval. Yet the remnant is still out there, still spawning their preposterous hypothetical examples of what under their regime would be protected and actionable speech, still condemning hate speech, still professing empathy for the victims of hate speech.
All the victims, that is, except those vilified – "wounded," if you will – by anti-Semitic speech.
Somehow, in the eyes of the Hate Speechers, either Jews are not wounded or, if they are, their wounds are not serious enough to warrant the ministrations of the Critters – who experience so much angst for others; mostly, certain minorities.
When Speaking Freely was published and exposed the bankruptcy of the Hate Speech idea, we knew that the Critters were no friends of the First Amendment. Now, in view of their silence in the face of rampant anti-Semitic speech – though it be protected expression – we know also that they are no friends of common decency, nor of those who truly suffer from "words that wound."