Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Do Not Pass Go

Apropos free speech, decency, etc. following the Trustafarian episode, what do you think of this? Apparently these were the "rules" of Illegal Immigrant Capture the Flag:

1. Team Illegal Immigrants must outnumber Team INS.
2. Team INS must play with their hands tied behind their backs.
3. Team INS plays defense the entire time.
4. Every 10 minutes, those on Team Illegal Immigrants caught by Team INS will be granted amnesty and set free.
5. All other rules apply only to team INS.

What do you think about UC Davis's Associate Dean of Law speaking against this stunt? The fact that the protesters were prevented by their peers from expressing their views--even if you think they were crass and unenlightened?

I think this 'game' was in poor taste. But I don't think that justifies blocking the right to speek freely.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a free-speech absolutist, I get so tired of this stuff. (See Stanley Fish's article in the NYT about a similar reaction to a "white heterosexual male scholarship" at Rhode Island: http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/?8qa)

Paradoxically, universities seem to be the one place where speech restrictions are more and more tolerated, whether its this thing as UC Davis, campus speech codes, giving administrators discretion to discipline outspoken students (Bong Hits 4 Jesus), the move against Columbia faculty who are too "anti-Israel," etc., etc. These days, the left seems more guilty than the right, but of course the right has historically been keenest on trammeling radical dissent (the political right, not the libertarian right.)

The Dean's comment is particularly moronic: "It's very, very insensitive to schedule [counter-speech] on day [when there is other speech going on.]"

It's hard to think of a more anti-American idea than the concept that only some people get to speak on certain *days* or at *certain times* or in certain *acceptable manners*.

Personally, I think the GOP kids were jackasses. But instead of getting in their face and trampling on their right to dissent, the pro-immigration students should have scheduled a game of "identify the xenophobe" or "act like a racist talk show host."

5/01/2007 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as you shouldn't be running a brothel if you don't like premarital sex; just as you shouldn't be a journalist if you don't like gathering facts; just as you shouldn't be a lawyer if you don't like to apply rules; just as you shouldn't be a doctor if you don't like the sight of blood; you shouldn't be administering a university if you don't like free speech. People whose ideas contravene the founding precepts of an institution shouldn't be a part of that institution.

5/01/2007 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those kids were asking for it. Given the vigilante murders in AZ and NM lately, and given the hundreds of people that die on the border every year, it's definitely in bad taste, to say the least. There are other ways to enter the immigration debate without being inflammatory and fueling the fire.

I think the INS agents w their hands behind their backs was a clever touch, but not at all indicative of the strengthened immigration policies under ICE...Even so, I'm sure they accomplished their objectives, which were to get their viewpoint across, garner some media attention, and probably win some points with conservative figures/alumni for even attempting to pull off such a stunt.

As for the King Hall asst. dean: if I understood the segment correctly, he was just voicing his disapproval of the game, not acting in his official capacity as an admin to shut the game down. He didn't restrict anyone's free speech, he just voiced his thoughts on the situation. Just because you help run the school doesn't mean that your personal opinon on the issue has to be silenced.

5/01/2007 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one's free speech was hindered. The protesters spoke, the counter-protesters spoke, and then the original protesters spoke louder. (The media clip made no mention of government-removal of the students; they made a wise choice to leave a volatile situation - WHICH THEY CREATED). Then the UCD law dean spoke. Then the media spoke. Now we're speaking. If the UCD Republicans choose to not speak again, it will be their choice. Has law school not taught you the difference between a legal vs. political process?

5/01/2007 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch the video. The smarmy GOP kid was getting pushed around. The protesters wouldn't give them space to maneuver. They grabbed at their arm bands. Would you say the same thing if the GOP kids had grabbed the original protesters' drums or blocked their path? I seriously doubt it. Has law school not taught you the difference between "speech" and a physical restraint?

No one's claiming that the government did anything, but the concept of "free speech" as a good unto itself, as a social goal, and as a political rights extends well beyond the 1A's conferral of a more limited legal right.

5/01/2007 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Thomas L. said...

In my years at UCD as an undergrad student senator and heavily involved in Sacramento, I always had to admire DCR (Davis College Republicans) for one thing: the ability to draw attention (especially media) to themselves.

If you think this event was crazy, you should have been there in 2003 when they gained nationwide prominence for "Conservative Coming Out Day" which took place none other than in the middle of Gay Pride Week. Here's the write-up: http://daviswiki.org/Conservative_Coming_Out_Day

For a real laugh, follow the links to "George Andrews" and his Daily Show interview with Stephen Colbert (pre-Colbert Report). The main highlight is Colbert using the camera angle to look like he's getting a little friendly below the camera's view with Mr. Andrews. Funnier yet in the fact that I had all my classes with him and he was a pretty nice guy (otherwise? - haha).

5/01/2007 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Thomas L. said...

Haha- my memory is failing- it wasn't Colbert- it was Ed Helms. My bad. Funny nonetheless...

5/02/2007 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if everyone agrees that the government did not restrict free speech, can someone please explain to me how free speech was restricted at Davis? Must the protesters and counter-protesters take turns listening to one other and respectfully engage in intellectual dialog in order to not impede free speech? I seriously do not understand what you all are getting at in saying that this was a violation of free speech.

5/02/2007 12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent example of the media feeding the conservative victim complex. Great catch!

5/02/2007 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Callagy,

They were able to express their views.

They just weren't able to play their game. Freedom of speech and assembly does not mean that I get to play basketball whenever and wherever I want.

5/02/2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Whatever, the college republicans got EXACTLY what they wanted. Lots of media attention and a big commotion. They just got more than they bargained for.

Though I do disagree with the assistant Dean, they picked the "best" day to pull their stunt to have their views heard.

I think the college republicans were just generally dismayed that the other side was fully prepare to be as obnoxious and disrepectful of opposing viewpoints as they were. Jackass runs on both sides of the political spectrum.

5/02/2007 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

totally off topic - can someone please provide the link to the course enrollment status website?

5/02/2007 4:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

Sidebar Anon. Sidebar.

5/02/2007 6:03 PM  
Blogger Mike M said...

I strongly defend the right to speech, even (maybe especially) if it is offensive. And I'm vehemently pro-immigration.

That being said, I don't know why a law school would dignify the opinions a bunch of asshats by acknowledging them.

5/02/2007 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

doh! Thanks Tom

5/02/2007 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bayern's website still shows Spring 2007 courses instead of Fall 2007.

5/02/2007 11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can use info bears secret method by putting this into your url bar: "http://infobears.berkeley.edu:3400/courseweb/?_InField1=RESTRIT;_InField2=PUTCCNHERE;_InField3=;"
And replace PUTCCNHERE with the CCN of the course you are interested in.

5/02/2007 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Igor said...

There is no denying that the “game” was a form of speech. It wasn’t set up as a competition or for exercise, but rather as a form of expression. Was it in poor taste? Certainly. But so is burning the American flag in time of war. Both are in poor taste, both don’t involve verbal “speech,” and both are protected under the First Amendment.

The deeper issue here is that the immigration system is in dire need of reform. So called “immigrants’ rights activists” always clamor about America needing illegal immigrants to pick lettuce, clean houses and perform other menial chores. The May 1 walkout is supposed to demonstrate how important illegal immigrants are to our society.

This argument is despicable and profoundly racist. It is akin to saying that we need African American slaves to pick our cotton. The very notion that South American immigrants are portrayed as nothing more than braceros should be offensive to these so-called “liberals.” Yet these "liberals" perpetuate that very stereotype.

Our current immigration system has created a virtual underclass of people – it makes it easy for the poorest individuals to enter the country, but then denies them access to basics, forcing them into perpetual poverty, virtual slavery, crime, etc. The system has made America an “attractive nuisance,” so to speak. And in the end, this costs the taxpayers a hell of a lot of money.

So the game was in poor taste. But the point the Davis College Republicans were making was legit – our immigration system must be rebuilt entirely. Not because it costs the taxpayers money (well, that too), but because permitting illegal immigration to continue creates a class of people with few rights or prospects.

5/03/2007 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Igor, you make excellent points, but somehow I doubt that the UCD Republicans are motiviated by your line of reasoning.

5/03/2007 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Igor said...

Anon 11:06

You're right -- the UCD Republicans probably want stricter immigration policies because they focus on the effects of illegal immigration, like crime and increased taxpayer spending.

But what they advocate is more feasible than the "immigration activists'" alternative -- telling everyone that we need illegal immigrants to do our dirty work.

Putting partisanship aside, it's important to note that immigration reform must walk a fine line between the two existing extreme views.

First, this reform MUST ensure a secure border. This must be done not only to help us control who comes into the country, but also to prevent the multitudes of deaths, robberies, assaults and other depredations that illegal immigrants endure while crossing the desert. And please don't tell me it can't be done. If the US can keep North Korean commandos from crossing the mountainous DMZ, it can keep civilians from hiking through a barren dessert.

Second, the reform MUST allow easier access to the United States. I'm an immigrant myself, so I know what a pain it is to gain legal entry. That needs to change. Then, people will be even less inclined to try to sneak across the (hopefully) secure border.

5/03/2007 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Igor, it is disingenuous to reduce the arguments of liberals to "we need illegal immigrants to do our dirty work." Most liberal activists support immigration reform precisely because our current system mistreats undocumented immigrants so badly. I have never heard any liberal activists present the racist argument that you describe. It is possible that part of the "day without immigrants" involves showing how important immigrants are to our economy, but I don't believe the idea is to demonstrate that immigrants should be maintained in an underclass. (Any more than someone who says our nation's wealth was built on the backs of slaves is endorsing slavery.)

5/04/2007 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Igor said...

Anon 1:03

I’m hardly reducing the liberal argument. Certainly, I understand that a number of enlightened individuals on the left want a reformation of the current system precisely to end the abuses illegal immigrants currently endure. But there is a mere handful of these people (just like there is a mere handful of conservatives who want stricter border control so that women and children don’t die in the desert). But talk to the average person out there who supports the Mayday walkout. Ask him why we need illegal immigrants (yes, I know it’s a biased question). And without batting an eye, he’ll tell you, “if we get rid of them, who will pick our lettuce?” I know, because I’ve asked that question.

Note that the May 1 walkout is about illegal immigrants, not all immigrants. I didn’t see anyone out there pushing for H1B visa reform for computer engineers from Bangalore. Or for giving refugee status to more ex-Soviets. No, it was specifically about illegal immigrants, mostly from South America, walking out on their jobs to show how important they are to the economy. Much of the protest had to do with not securing the border and not deporting those here without permission, rather than about making sure people didn’t die in the desert. It’s tough NOT to reduce that argument. It is, in essence, “keep the cheap, easy-to-abuse labor coming.”

There is a fundamental flaw in saying “look how important illegal immigrants are to our economy.” The flaw is in that their very STATUS as illegals makes them advantageous – employers don’t have to pay them competitive wages and can abuse them with impunity. By extension, that reasoning dictates that we should continue having illegal immigrants. That illegal immigrants are important to America is an argument AGAINST immigration reform. Hell, if they're so important, and the current system makes sure there are plenty of them, why change the system? (That was sarcasm). I’ve never heard any liberal argue: “illegal immigrants are good for the economy, so lets make sure there are no illegal immigrants.” That wouldn’t make any sense, would it?

After all, according to the “activists,” (and former Mexican president Fox) illegal immigrants supposedly do work Americans won't. Why? Because people in the country legally won’t work for less than minimum wage. And those without papers will. So, guess what? The “activists” are in effect advocating for the maintenance of an underclass, mostly composed of South American immigrants – ‘cause they’re so important to our society. That’s more than just acknowledging the many contributions immigrants have made – that’s explicitly stating that it’s good to have illegal immigrants.

My 2L year, I took an immigration law class with Angela Bean. At the beginning of the semester, she said something very profound – a person cannot be illegal; they can be without documents, but they cannot be an illegal alien. I’d like to adopt that line of reasoning here. Arguing that we need illegal immigrants, or that illegal immigrants are good for our economy, or that illegal immigrants do jobs that Americans won’t (all of these are arguments the “activists” make) is profoundly inhumane. It’s inhumane because it creates a class of people, many from South America, who must be illegal. It is NOT like acknowledging that “our nation's wealth was built on the backs of slaves.” Rather, it is like saying that we needed slaves to build our nation’s wealth. And that’s a racist attitude.

Lastly -- and I can say this as an immigrant -- immigrants need America a hell of a lot more than America needs immigrants. After all, the CIA isn’t kidnapping villages full of people, just to relocate them to the Central Valley. People come to America of their own volition, often risking their very lives. So let’s drop the “illegal immigrants are sooo important” line. They’re no more important than anyone else.

5/04/2007 3:38 PM  

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