Joe Patrice Defends Fascist Thugs

Last year, Joe Patrice took to his blog at "Above The Law" to call for the firing of a pair of tenured professors who wrote an op-ed that offended him.  This week, Patrice used his blog to defend a group of thuggish students who disrupted a speech by Christina Hoff Sommers.

A self-described equity feminist, Sommers is best known for her harsh criticism of the modern feminist movement.  Sommers has pushed back against claims of widespread wage discrimination against women, along with feminist claims of a pervasive rape culture on college campuses.

Sommers was invited to speak at Lewis and Clark Law School by the local chapter of the Federalist Society.  Prior to her arrival, a coalition of far-left student groups campaigned to prevent her from speaking on campus, calling Sommers "a known fascist" and describing her appearance as an "act of aggression and violence."

After failing to get her appearance canceled, these students showed up at her speech waving signs and chanting.  A large blonde woman wearing a windbreaker that read, "Stay woke," marched a group of students to the front of the room, and led them in a call and response chant:

"We choose," "we choose." "To protest," "to protest." "Male Supremacy," "male supremacy." "Not give it," "not give it." "A platform," "a platform." "Christina Sommers," "Christina Sommers." "Has repeatedly," "has repeatedly." "Deligitimized," "deligitimized." "The suffering of women," "the suffering of women." "Worldwide," "worldwide." "We believe," "we believe." "Our siblings," "our siblings." "And our comrades," "and our comrades." "Woman are not," "woman are not." "Liars with victim mentalities," "liars with victim mentalities." "Rape culture is not a myth," "rape culture is not a myth." "Microaggressions are real," "microaggressions are real." "The gender wage gap is real," "the gender wage gap is real."

After the chanting was finished the singing began:

What side are you on friends?
What side are you on?

No platform for fascists
no platform at all

We will fight for justice
till' Christina's gone

The disruptive students were so obnoxious that Sommers couldn't deliver her remarks or hold a Q&A session.

Following the incident, I searched in vain for someone who would defend the disruptive students' thuggish behavior.  Their behavior was so bad that nobody seemed willing to defend them – but then one man rose to the challenge.  Like a 19th-century mountaineer attempting to scale Everest without oxygen, Joe Patrice took to his blog to defend the indefensible.

According to Patrice, Sommers was herself part of a nefarious right-wing conspiracy to suppress free speech.  Conservative student groups invite provocative speakers, and then conservatives off campus use the disruptive protests to justify a crackdown on campus speech.

From the outset, the goal was to hack the very concept of free speech.  They'd tried their hands at seeking more restrictions on free speech in the 1960s, but too many Americans balked at the idea of fiddling with constitutional freedoms just to "solve" the problem of civil rights protesting and anti-war students.  But what if they could turn the very ideal on its head?  What if the protestors played the role of the tyrannical government enforcers (somehow?) and it was instead the mild-mannered conservatives who were the true free speech heroes?

Patrice argues that the students who prevented Sommers from speaking were merely exercising their First Amendment rights, "If everyone just ignores people like Sommers, she can't complain that students exercising their free speech rights are violating the real free speech.  Frankly, it's my personal worldview."

Frankly, Joe, your personal worldview is moronic.  The First Amendment does not grant an unlimited right to make noise.  Playing the Sean Hannity show so loud that it wakes up one's neighbors may be an expression of one's deeply held political beliefs, but it isn't constitutionally protected speech.  Contrary to what Joe believes, you can be prosecuted for disrupting a public meeting or shouting down a speaker.

In 2011, ten college students were convicted of disrupting a speech by Israeli then-ambassador Michael Oren.  The students had conspired beforehand to disrupt Oren's speech.  When Oren tried to speak, a conspirator would stand up and start screaming slogans.  Once that conspirator had been removed, another conspirator would stand up and start screaming.  The students were convicted of conspiring to disrupt a public meeting.  The students appealed their convictions on First Amendment grounds and lost.

At heart, Joe Patrice is an authoritarian.  Like every authoritarian, Patrice doesn't believe that the public should be allowed to hear opinions he disagrees with.  The First Amendment makes it impossible for the government to censor Sommers, but that doesn't stop Patrice from embracing extra-legal means of censoring his opponents.

Last year, Joe Patrice took to his blog at "Above The Law" to call for the firing of a pair of tenured professors who wrote an op-ed that offended him.  This week, Patrice used his blog to defend a group of thuggish students who disrupted a speech by Christina Hoff Sommers.

A self-described equity feminist, Sommers is best known for her harsh criticism of the modern feminist movement.  Sommers has pushed back against claims of widespread wage discrimination against women, along with feminist claims of a pervasive rape culture on college campuses.

Sommers was invited to speak at Lewis and Clark Law School by the local chapter of the Federalist Society.  Prior to her arrival, a coalition of far-left student groups campaigned to prevent her from speaking on campus, calling Sommers "a known fascist" and describing her appearance as an "act of aggression and violence."

After failing to get her appearance canceled, these students showed up at her speech waving signs and chanting.  A large blonde woman wearing a windbreaker that read, "Stay woke," marched a group of students to the front of the room, and led them in a call and response chant:

"We choose," "we choose." "To protest," "to protest." "Male Supremacy," "male supremacy." "Not give it," "not give it." "A platform," "a platform." "Christina Sommers," "Christina Sommers." "Has repeatedly," "has repeatedly." "Deligitimized," "deligitimized." "The suffering of women," "the suffering of women." "Worldwide," "worldwide." "We believe," "we believe." "Our siblings," "our siblings." "And our comrades," "and our comrades." "Woman are not," "woman are not." "Liars with victim mentalities," "liars with victim mentalities." "Rape culture is not a myth," "rape culture is not a myth." "Microaggressions are real," "microaggressions are real." "The gender wage gap is real," "the gender wage gap is real."

After the chanting was finished the singing began:

What side are you on friends?
What side are you on?

No platform for fascists
no platform at all

We will fight for justice
till' Christina's gone

The disruptive students were so obnoxious that Sommers couldn't deliver her remarks or hold a Q&A session.

Following the incident, I searched in vain for someone who would defend the disruptive students' thuggish behavior.  Their behavior was so bad that nobody seemed willing to defend them – but then one man rose to the challenge.  Like a 19th-century mountaineer attempting to scale Everest without oxygen, Joe Patrice took to his blog to defend the indefensible.

According to Patrice, Sommers was herself part of a nefarious right-wing conspiracy to suppress free speech.  Conservative student groups invite provocative speakers, and then conservatives off campus use the disruptive protests to justify a crackdown on campus speech.

From the outset, the goal was to hack the very concept of free speech.  They'd tried their hands at seeking more restrictions on free speech in the 1960s, but too many Americans balked at the idea of fiddling with constitutional freedoms just to "solve" the problem of civil rights protesting and anti-war students.  But what if they could turn the very ideal on its head?  What if the protestors played the role of the tyrannical government enforcers (somehow?) and it was instead the mild-mannered conservatives who were the true free speech heroes?

Patrice argues that the students who prevented Sommers from speaking were merely exercising their First Amendment rights, "If everyone just ignores people like Sommers, she can't complain that students exercising their free speech rights are violating the real free speech.  Frankly, it's my personal worldview."

Frankly, Joe, your personal worldview is moronic.  The First Amendment does not grant an unlimited right to make noise.  Playing the Sean Hannity show so loud that it wakes up one's neighbors may be an expression of one's deeply held political beliefs, but it isn't constitutionally protected speech.  Contrary to what Joe believes, you can be prosecuted for disrupting a public meeting or shouting down a speaker.

In 2011, ten college students were convicted of disrupting a speech by Israeli then-ambassador Michael Oren.  The students had conspired beforehand to disrupt Oren's speech.  When Oren tried to speak, a conspirator would stand up and start screaming slogans.  Once that conspirator had been removed, another conspirator would stand up and start screaming.  The students were convicted of conspiring to disrupt a public meeting.  The students appealed their convictions on First Amendment grounds and lost.

At heart, Joe Patrice is an authoritarian.  Like every authoritarian, Patrice doesn't believe that the public should be allowed to hear opinions he disagrees with.  The First Amendment makes it impossible for the government to censor Sommers, but that doesn't stop Patrice from embracing extra-legal means of censoring his opponents.