Thursday, April 27, 2017

Heckler's Veto v Free Speech

Sent to the Albuquerque Journal.

Based on the 4/25/2017 Journal article, I see that interim UNM President Abdallah is standing up for free academic discourse rather than supporting the notion of banning speech based on its point of view. That is excellent news. The University is here to expose us to difficult ideas, not to shield us from them.  This decision helps cement that core value.

I have followed Dr. Christina Sommer's work since the mid 1990's ("Who Stole Feminism", etc) in the context of events that were unfolding at the University of Hawaii during the time I was on the graduate faculty in earth sciences and on the Board of Directors of the faculty labor union. Then, like now, there was pushback against ideas some found uncomfortable. For student groups to protest a visit by Dr. Sommers, a philosophy scholar first at Clark University and now at the American Enterprise Institute, shows a glaring lack of understanding of academic freedom and indifference to the value of listening to intelligently stated, if opposing, views.

As far as Mr. Ben Shapiro, he is not an academic like Sommers but his point of view would be as relevant on campus as anyone else from the media. The media, including organizations like Breitbart that have contributed to the polarizing of opinion, exerts a powerful influence on American politics. We need to understand the media, how it works, and how to best refute ideas that only survive in their own political bubble. That said, I don’t think the University is compelled, at least under the banner of academic freedom, to invite someone if their only credentials are those of an agent provocateur.

I do hope that these visits can occur without the violent conduct that has occurred elsewhere under the excuse of hurt feelings. As Foundation for Individual Rights in Education President Greg Lukianoff has adroitly stated, "Holding one person's expression hostage to the 'feelings' of another can only lead to arbitrary censorship and, ultimately, silence."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Solving the Immigration Problem: A Modest Proposal

 I will shortly expound on an idea of a proposal to Congress, considered after reading several letters to the editor, including this one. I am becoming convinced that we should not look at what is merely expedient or compassionate or engage in short-term thinking; we need to get to the heart of the matter: preserving America as we know it. The actions taken by our predecessors in the immigration regulatory system as far as keeping out the Chinese, “paupers and mental defectives”, and limiting immigration, via strict quotas, from countries we thought were not in keeping with our American identity, were undoubtedly carried out with "thought and reasoning" as discussed by Ms. Jones.

Therefore, we should not be debating whether to raise taxes to cover the costs of illegal immigrants using our health care or educational systems or paying for those who found their way into our criminal justice system. We much go farther. We need to worry about rebuilding America and our industries and heartland. Lastly, if we are truly to worry about Making America Great Again and Putting America First, we must concentrate all our efforts on how to preserve our Republic in this time of illegal immigrant crisis. Therefore, I give you, the proposed Robert Paul Prager Memorial Bill for the Preservation of the Homeland:


Moved by the understanding that the security and long term stability of the American Homeland is the essential condition for the continued existence of the American people, and inspired by the inflexible determination to ensure the existence of the American nation for all time, Congress shall adopt the following law:

Article 1

Marriages between illegal aliens and Americans are strictly prohibited. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent this law.  Annulment proceedings can be initiated only by a Federal prosecutor.

Article 2

Extramarital relations between Illegals and Americans are forbidden.

Article 3

Illegals present here may not employ in their households female Americans who are under 45 years old.

Article 4

Illegals are forbidden to fly the American flag. They are, on the other hand, permitted to display the colors of their national origin. The exercise of this right is protected by the law.

Article 5

Any person who violates the prohibition under Article 1 will be punished with prison with hard labor.

A male who violates the prohibition under Article 2 will be punished with prison or prison with hard labor.

Any person violating the provisions under Articles 3 or 4 will be punished with prison with hard labor for up to one year and a fine, or with one or the other of these penalties.

Article 6

The Attorney General, in co-ordination with the Dept. of Homeland Security, will issue the legal and administrative regulations required to implement and complete this law.

Article 7

The law takes effect on the day following promulgation, except for Article 3, which goes into force one year from the date of issue.

American Citizenship Law

Article 1

A citizen of the United States is a person who enjoys the protection of the American Government and who in consequence has specific obligations toward it.

The status of citizenship is acquired in accordance with the provisions of the American Citizenship Law.

Article 2

A U.S. citizen is of American or related blood, and proves by his conduct that he is willing and fit to faithfully serve the American people and Homeland.

American citizenship is acquired through the granting of an American citizenship certificate.

The American citizen is the sole bearer of full political rights in accordance with the law.

Article 3

The Attorney General, in co-ordination with the Dept. of Homeland Security, will issue the legal and administrative orders required to implement and complete this law.

Seem outlandish? A model for this approach can be found here.