All Bullies Great and Small

“I don’t recall this happening here before, a picket outside the home of a political contributor,” reporter Stewart Ledbetter said on WPTZ.

protestBurlington’s Lenore Broughton is a wealthy Vermonter and the sole contributor to the new Vermonters First SuperPAC. Her group is running an anti-ShumlinCare TV ad campaign. A small group of political activists who favor the single-payer plan marched through the hill section of Burlington, ending up at Broughton’s home; she was out of town. Tayt Brooks, Vermonters First’s executive director, called the picketing a “bullying tactic.”

Erm. No.

It is only bullying when Repugs (the power structure) do it to Dems (the professional victims) so Mr. Brooks probably can’t claim bullying.

It is a popular tactic of the left. See, any disagreement with the one true path is not deserving of American protections because it would ruin their perfect hairdos.

Mayor Thomas Menino (D-Boston) and Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago), for example, tried to bully the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain straight out of business because its president, Dan Cathy, supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Even the liberal Chicago Sun-Times and the Boston Globe strongly criticized that “anti-conservative bullying.”

Meanwhile, vandals spray painted some Romney signs in Greensboro, NC, last week. The red paint formed the well-known circle crossed by a diagonal line across the candidate’s name. Reports say Obama “community organizers” were in the neighborhood at the time. That kind of personal vandalism may be becoming more prevalent by Democrats.

I’m thinking that, particularly in the anti-Lenore Broughton case, there’s a fine line between free speech/right of assembly and attempt at suppression of same. The marchers were definitely trying to stop her from expressing herself.

That’s the story I’d take to the public and, since she has the bucks, I’d make sure the news video footage (or better, jerky cellphone video) makes it into an ad and over to the network news desks with the copy that this is how the left tries to quash democracy.

Federal, state, or locally, we will get exactly what we vote for in 22 days. Let’s be careful out there.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that almost 70% of students believe it is not safe “to hold unpopular views on campus.” An example quoted merely to amplify the point about bullying turns out to have distracted us from that issue. The discussion centered on whether the numbers were accurate rather than who was the bully. It’s a good question which we will take up separately next week.

21 thoughts on “All Bullies Great and Small

  1. Herr Blogmeister, there is absolutely no guarantee that we will get what we vote for. Skeptic is my middle name.

    –George S. Poleczech

  2. The protestors — bullies or not — have the right to peacefully assemble and march to someone’s home provided they stay off of private property. The someone whom they are protesting has the right to rebut.

    The trouble is that when you get a mob, any mob, it becomes more difficult to control and it’s reasonable for an individual to feel alarmed and threatened.

    The Left needs to remember that sometimes all it took to suppress Blacks was to gather, wearing white hoods, and assemble in front of a black man’s home, or talk quietly to the black man’s wife or children.

    Ditto public ridicule. The Left might recall the young gay man who committed suicide after being publicly shamed.

    Those are dangerous tactics to use.

  3. The University of California at Berkeley is one of the most liberal institutions of liberal arts in the entire U.S. of A.

    The U.S. Department of Education has launched an investigation into whether a “pervasive hostile environment” that bullies Jewish students at Berkeley is violation of federal civil rights laws.

  4. A previous version of this article stated that a 2010 study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities noted that suppression of free speech has become common in liberal colleges. The study sampled 24,000 college students found that slightly more than 64% believe it is not safe “to hold unpopular views on campus.”

    I’ve changed the example used but the commentary is still germane.

  5. The study you cited didn’t acutally say what you said it did.

    I looked up the actual study Here’s what it said:

    “A large percentage of students generally agreed that it is safe to hold unpopular positions on campus, with 80.6 percent either strongly agreeing or agreeing somewhat with this item.”

    That would be exactly the opposite of what you said, wouldn’t it?

    The study made no distinction between colleges being liberal or conservative. It did, however, include this statement:

    “Professionals Do Worry That Certain Points of View—Conservative Views in Some Cases, Liberal Views in Other Cases—Are Marginalized on Campus.”

    The study, rather interestingly, didn’t even use the words “free speech”, and mentioned nothing about its suppression.

  6. @Evan: “That would be exactly the opposite of what you said, wouldn’t it?”

    No, the actual words from the study were “the data in this report indicate that while roughly three-fifths of students in the sample of 24,000 strongly agreed that they came to college having respect for diverse perspectives, approximately half felt as strongly that their understanding of difference expanded while in college. Also, less than one-third of students surveyed strongly agreed that their campus peers are respectful of one another when discussing controversial issues or perspectives, while just over one-third strongly agreed that it IS SAFE for students to hold unpopular positions.” [Introduction to the Series, page x]

    In the data proper, we find that some 35.6% students across all campuses strongly agreed that ‘it IS SAFE to hold unpopular views on campus.’ [TABLE 7, page 15]

    The converse of that statement is that nearly 2/3 believe it is NOT safe to hold those views. More worrisome yet, the study showed that their feeling of safety declines from from a high of ~40% as freshman to ~30% by senior year [FIGURE 5, page 7] and that the faculty and other professionals are even more pessimistic (81.5%). [TABLE 8, page 16]

  7. As someone who has taken many such surveys for a variety of reasons, I wish to note that usually respondents are required to fill in a value within a five point scale.
    1 – strongly disagree
    2 – disagree somewhat (or disagree)
    3 – neither agree nor disagree (or neutral)
    4 – agree somewhat (or agree)
    5 – strongly agree

    Thus any response above 3 is “agree”; any answer below 3 is “disagree.”

    If 1/3 “strongly agrees” it does not follow that 2/3’s “disagree.” There is no “converse” when only one out of five data points is reported.

    It further broke down the data by role and year, still specifying only the “strongly agreed” category, noting that only 1/3 of all students “strongly agreed” while only 20% of the employees of the university felt that way.

    It should be noted that academia is long held to be a place where holding unpopular opinions makes it toxic to *work* there.

    The Finding in the study is misleading. The study authors are skewing the data by leaving some out.

  8. Also, I mistrust authors who write like this:

    “The inventory that was used in 2007 is comprised of two surveys […]” — “Instrumentation” page 25

    Ho-lee fuck, people!

    I do want to note that it is on that page they make a mention that four responses comprised the possible data set. There is no “neutral”. I did not read the study thoroughly. They may well have revealed the raw data in its entirety, or provided a link to the raw data thus backing up their decision to report only the “strongly agrees”

  9. My point was that that the study doesn’t provide support for a claim that “suppression of free speech has become common in liberal colleges.” It silent on suppression of free speech, and silent on whether colleges are liberal or conservative.

    (By the way, what makes a college liberal? Providing a liberal education?)

  10. @Evan: “By the way, what makes a college liberal? Providing a liberal education?”

    It’s an interesting question and perhaps one we can’t make an entire blanket of. Sociologist Neil Gross made the case that the academic liberalism is driven by “self-selection“; more liberals than conservatives pursue graduate degrees and find themselves back at those very schools because that’s where the jobs are. Ultimately, if the faculty is liberal, some of their philosophy will find its way into curriculum and classroom and quad.

    I’m not (totally) convinced that our engineering colleges at technical universities like Stevens or M.I.T. are quite the bastions of liberal thinking as, say, Marlboro, Swarthmore, or Bennington.

  11. Back to bullying: Liberals pounded actress Stacey Dash viciously last week when she announced she would vote for Romney. Vulgarities. Hate mail. Death threats.

    That reaction reinforces my original point that any disagreement with the one true path is not deserving of American protections — whether of free speech or from hate crimes — because it would ruin their perfect hairdos.

  12. @George, I believe the quote you wanted was “Democracy can only remain a viable economic system until it learns that socialism will bail it out.”

  13. “Liberals pounded actress Stacey Dash…

    Not to be a wet blanket, but I have two words for you:

    Dixie Chicks.

    “During a London concert ten days before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, lead vocalist Maines said, “we don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States [George W. Bush] is from Texas”.[1] The positive reaction to this statement from the British audience contrasted with the boycotts that ensued in the U.S., where “the band was assaulted by talk-show conservatives”,[2] while their albums were discarded in public protest.[2]”

    Lest our Polish friend here bash the source, I’m sure he knows someone smart who can help him look it up in various news sources that are more to his tastes.

  14. But, if you are interested in examples of bullying that seems more heavily weighted toward the ideological left, look at smoking in public, charges of racism leveraged against politicians who adopt a race-neutral stance, and situations where someone uses a term that offends the “politically correct” among us.

    If your point is that the Left leverages claims of bullying against the Right and yet engages in bullying itself, I’d agree. If your point is that the Left is composed of bullies and the Right is the downtrodden, I’m afraid I’ll have to mock you.

    Oh, and shouting down a politician does NOT constitute bullying of any sort. Just sayin’.

  15. The Association of American Colleges and Universities describes a liberal education as “a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a stronger sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement … characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, and more a way of studying than a specific course or field of study.”

    Now… how might one describe a “conservative education?”

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