The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Introducing Cinnamon Stillwell

Posted by iusbvision on August 28, 2008

Today the Vision is adding Cinnamon Stillwell to our blog roll. Here is an example of her work:

When Speech Becomes a Crime

by Cinnamon Stillwell

June 28, 2006

San Francisco Chronicle

  • Roman Catholic Robert Smith is fired from an appointment on the Washington Metro transit authority board by Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich for the crime of saying that he doesn’t approve of homosexuality.
  • Journalist and author Oriana Fallaci cannot visit her native country of Italy for fear of being thrown in prison because of a lawsuit brought against her by the Italian Muslim Union for the crime of “defaming Islam.”
  • British neo-Nazi David Irving is sentenced to three years in prison in Austria for a 1989 speech in which he committed the crime of Holocaust denial.
  • College Republican Steve Hinkle is found guilty by California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo) for “disruption” for the crime of putting up a flyer advertising a black conservative speaker.

What do the above examples have in common? They are the logical outgrowth of a dangerous trend sweeping the Western world: the criminalization and censorship of speech.

Outright censorship and draconian speech codes have long been a staple of Third World authoritarian regimes. But Western democracies and in particular the United States (where the First Amendment is supposed to reign supreme) have always prided themselves on protecting free speech. Yet because of the creeping reach of political correctness, one can now be put in prison, lose a job, be kicked out of school or be otherwise censored simply for uttering an unpopular opinion.

It’s called hate speech. If there ever were a more Orwellian concept, it would be difficult to find. For much like the concept of “thought crimes” in George Orwell’s novel “1984,” hate crimes and hate speech suppose intent on the part of the “perpetrator” that may or may not have any basis in reality. What is often mere criticism or disapproval is labeled “hatred” and thus made worthy of punishment. Such a perspective demands that one think only nice thoughts about others. But when it did it become law that we have to like everyone?

Cinnamon has been a champion of free speech rights and has also been a champion at exposing the flavor of antisemitism known as anti-Israelism. Anti-Israelism is often used by antisemitic activists, academics and propagandists to cloak their antisemitism in bogus scholarship. It is more than just being against Israel or opposing their policies. It is the systematic use of bad scholarship, one sided and exaggerated claims and other clearly deceptive propaganda techniques in order to demonize Jews. The US Commission on Civil Rights has recognized this flavor of antisemitism for what it is.

There are some academics on our campus who have engaged in this behavior from time to time. I am not saying that such people should be censored. This activity should be exposed when it does take place. Sometimes this version of antisemitism crosses the line into unlawful discrimination and unlawful harassment. Hopefully we will see none of that in IUSB’s future.

Cinnamon is the Northern California Representative for Campus Watch, an organization that monitors and combats antisemitism on campus. Here is Cinnamon’s blog site!

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