Saturday, August 15, 2020
Professor John Eastman, Senator Kamala Harris, Birthright Citizenship, Newsweek, Academic Freedom, and Freedom of Speech
Professor John Eastman has been a colleague since 1999 at Chapman University. We agree and disagree on issues. I respect his right to speak out pursuant to the First Amendment and Academic Freedom. He is a principled conservative who adopts an originalism approach to the Constitution. He does not view the Constitution as an evolving document. He published an op-ed in Newsweek on Wednesday arguing Senator Harris’ eligibility for the Vice Presidency/Presidency because “birthright citizenship” does not apply to children born in the United States to non-citizens, contrary to the widely accepted interpretation of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. I remember he expressed his views on anchor babies probably a decade ago. His Newsweek essay is not a new idea for him. He rests his argument on legislative history of the drafters. His arguments are based on legal analysis and not histrionics, although he can certainly arouse heated emotions. He does not shirk from debates. He does not engage in ad hominin attacks. Newsweek has stood by the op-ed, explaining that it was neither racist nor part of “racist birtherism.” The editors explained it focused on a long-standing, somewhat arcane legal debate about the precise meaning of the phrase ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ in the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment.” Professor Eastman did not question the legitimacy of the Senator’s birth certificate or her birth in the United States. President Trump was ripped for his statement yesterday about the Professor’s statement: "I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements. I have no idea if that’s right. I would have thought, I would have assumed, that the Democrats checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice-president.” A few issues in America today arouse strong passions, especially abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, gun control, and immigration. Reasoned discourse is disappearing on many campuses with conservatives, both faculty and students, on some campuses hiding in the academic closet. Chapman University remains open to free speech. It adopted in the University of Chicago Statement on Free Speech in 2018: “In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual member s of the university community, not for the University as an institution to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not to be suppressing speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose.” “It is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” Ithaca Professor Stephen Mosher called “God Bless America” a “warmongering song.” Drexel Professor George Ciccarielo-Maher tweeted on Christmas Eve 2016 “All I want for Christmas is white genocide” He’s also said “White people and men” go on shooting sprees “when they don’t get what they want.” He added in April 2017 that he wanted to vomit when he saw an airline passenger give a first class seat to a soldier. He left after being forced out by outside pressure, as was Orange Coast Community College Human Sexuality Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox, who, like many, was incensed by Donald Trump’s upset 2016 victory. A freshman Republican taped her class. She called his victory “an act of terrorism” She also said “we’re really back to being (in) a civil war.” She labeled President Trump a “White Supremacist.” She was doxed and received vicious phone messages on her private line. Her colleagues voted Professor Cox “Professor of the Year.” The interim dean suspended Caleb O’Neill, who taped the class, for the semester and following summer. The college’s board of trustees subsequently lifted the suspension. “It was time to move on.” People on both sides politically receive death threats and other forms of harassment today. It is wrong, wrong, wrong! The death threats might, just once, be legit. The harassment makes life miserable. Professor Ray MIchalowski of Northern Arizona called President Trump “The racist in chief.” Duke Professor Jay Pearson for calling President Trump a “textbook racist”? Professor Thomas Chung of Alaska Anchorage painted Chris Evans as Captain America holding up President Trump’s decapitated head by his hair. Smithburg High School history teacher Joshua Cramer posted his rule: “Trump is a symbol of racism and bigotry. As I did last year, students wearing Trump or MAGA apparel are asked to leave. Let them come after me for it.” Fresno State Professor Lars Maischak tweeted “To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and higher, the better?” Imagine, liberals advocating lynching? Professor Maischak further tweeted “Justice = The execution of two republicans for each deported Immigrant” More from Professor Maischak: “If only Mary had an abortion! We would have been spared this Clerical-Fascist crap”? Professor Randa Jabbar, also of Fresno State, stated after the seath of Barbara Bush: “Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and racist, who, along with her husband [President George H. W. Bus] raised a war criminal. F… out of here with these nice words. “Either you are against these pieces of s… and their genocidal ways or you’re part of the problem.” She added she wanted to dance on the former First Lady’s grave. Her response to the outrage she generated: “I work as a tenured professor. I make $100k a year. I will never be fired.” Clemson Professor Bart Knijnenburg on Facebook called “all Republicans “racist” and “scum”? Professor Saida Grundy expressed her personal feelings on white racism on tweeter. She tweeted a few days after the racist video of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity at the University of Oklahoma became public: “White masculinity isn’t a problem for America’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for America’s colleges.” A white racist chant does not justify a black racist response. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. received his Ph.D. from Boston University. His “I Have a Dream” Speech spoke to the future: “I have a dream where my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Professor Grundy’s take on the distinguished BU Alum is: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses and every year I find it nearly impossible.” She also tweeted that white males are “a problem population.” Professor Susan Douglas, Chair of the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Michigan, posted an essay titled:” I hate Republicans.” She wrote that even if she seemed biased “historical and psychological research back her up, so it’s basically a fact that Republicans are bad.” She added, in case you missed her point “Republicans are really good at being mean because psychological studies show they usually have traits such as ‘dogmatism, rigidity, and intolerance of ambiguity.” I wonder today what she thinks of the leftwing maniacal looting and torching. Outrage exists on both extremes of the political spectrum. Professors Amy Wax of Penn Law School and Larry Alexander of San Diego published an op-ed three years ago in which they attacked the attack on traditional bourgeois culture. She wrote elsewhere “Everyone wants to go to countries run by white Europeans.” 33 of her colleagues wanted her removed from first year courses. The Dean complained. Other groups demanded she be terminated. One final example, out of many more, is Associate Professor Christine Fair, Securities Affair Program at Georgetown, tweeted of the Republican Senators near the end of the Justice Kavanaugh debate and vote: “Look at this (sic) chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.” The secret of academic freedom is often you only have it if you’re tenured or possibly tenure track. Limits exist on Academic Freedom. Associate Professor Cheney-Lippold at Michigan is a strong BDS supported. He refused in September 2018 to write a letter of recommendation for a student who wished to study abroad at Tel Aviv University. The University strongly reminded him of his responsibility to students. We know professors should not discriminate against students because of their political beliefs, but anecdotal evidence from conservative students shows academic discrimination. Fortunately most of law school grading is anonymous. Campuses should be cathedrals of learning rather than cocoons. The problem today with free speech on campus is this 2017 survey of 3,000 college students. 70% favored open campuses with all types of speech. However, only 56% said protecting free speech is extremely important for society while 64% believe the Constitution should not protect Hate Speech and 73% support policies to limit offensive slurs. 34% said it is appropriate to shoot down speaker. Here’s the twist. I defend freedom of speech and academic freedom for the outrageous statements of the left as I do the less common statements of conservatives. I draw the line at inciting violence. One final comment. Professor Eastman has been called both a racist and sexist for his Newsweek op-ed. Critics of Senator Harris will also be labeled racists and sexists.