Harvard Law embraces a racist attack on civil liberties

Note: I sent this to the dean of Harvard Law school on May 14.

I am deeply disappointed to read that Harvard Law School has decided to terminate its first black faculty dean because that dean is representing an accused criminal. This has serious implications for academic freedom, civil liberties, free speech and due process. Worst of all, it reinforces a racist paradigm that we should have moved past generations ago.

A basic function of our criminal justice system is that every accused criminal has the right to counsel – a right enumerated in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of these United States. Our founders knew that it was critical to our liberty to have effective representation, and that a basic principle of our system is that it is better for a guilty man to go free than for an innocent man to go to prison. We have seen horrible injustices when innocent people are convicted, from the Central Park Five to Bernard Baran and Christopher Clugston.

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Revisiting the simplistic “all or nothing” mentality

One of the worst things about politics is the simplistic “all or nothing” mentality that says “you are either 100% on my side or you are evil.” This has become more prominent with Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s leader, but goes back farther than that. I have criticized that mentality among Republicans several times, and the purpose of this post is to point out that some Democrats are just as bad.

Obviously, I fully understand that Trump is a deeply flawed man, especially in his personal life. Even as a political leader, he is far too sensitive and thin-skinned, with the urge to use the political flamethrower against anyone who criticizes him without any sense of proportion. In some ways, watching Trump act this way is like looking in the mirror, which is not a good reflection of me. Anyway, I committed to supporting Trump when he is right, and opposing when he is wrong. I have done that.

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Some vaccinations should be mandatory

I am a philosophical libertarian, so my basic philosophy is this: Unless what you do harms another person, then you should be allowed to do or not do what you please. I also believe parents’ rights should be respected by the state. The authority to raise children resides naturally with the parents, not the civil magistrate.

However, I do not believe these rights are unlimited. I am not an anarchist.

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Abortion and exceptions for the hard cases

Last week at Slate, an article purported to explain “why the anti-abortion movement stopped making allowances for rape and incest.” Let me clear something up: I have been active in the anti-abortion movement for 22 years. The movement itself has never made exceptions for rape and incest. Certain politicians have, but the movement does not. The mainstream anti-abortion organizations such as National Right to Life and the American Life League oppose these exceptions and have opposed them for decades.

What Slate is doing is conflating the compromise of politicians with the stance of the anti-abortion movement itself. This is an understandable mistake (the politicians are the ones passing the laws, after all) but it is nonetheless an inaccurate representation of the anti-abortion movement.

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Sidewalk counseling and an egomaniac politician

A state representative in Pennsylvania filmed himself harassing and threatening pro-life advocates outside a Planned Parenthood, posting the video online. Since this was an egotistical effort to virtue signal for attention, I will not name the state representative. He does not deserve the fame he seeks. I will instead refer to him as “Self-Righteous Hypocrite Stalker,” or SRHS for short.

SRHS immediately started berating a woman for picketing, engaging in the same behavior he was accusing her of committing. The sidewalk counselor was “shaming” people for doing something they have a constitutional right to do, SRHS said. Of course, abortion is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, but free speech is explicitly protected, so SRHS was attacking and shaming someone for exercising her constitutional rights.

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Going on a walk

I posted this on social media in 2016:

So the other day I am going to take the dogs on a walk.

“Tera, do you want to go for a walk?”

She ignores me.

“Tera, come on, let’s go for a walk.”

She ignores me.

“Come here Tera, we’re going for a walk.”

She ignores me.

“OK, I am taking Nano on a walk. Bye Tera! Bye!”

She starts howling and runs over to me. Tera didn’t really want to go on a walk. but there’s no way I was taking Nano without her.

The Facebook purge, revisited

When Facebook justified its ban of “far right” figures with the statement that the network has “always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate,” it did two things that are morally wrong.

First, it conflated violence and “hate.” Speech is not violence, has never been violence and will never be violence. “Hate” is a subjective term, far too often used by both Left and Right to mean “something I disagree with.” By doing this, Facebook downplays the seriousness of real violence against real people.

Second, Facebook cannot simply say nasty things about people without providing evidence. Paul Joseph Watson, at least, has some grounds to argue that Facebook defamed him with their public statements about “violence.” Will Watson file a defamation lawsuit? It would be a very difficult case to win, since his is a public figure, but in my layperson opinion he has a case to make. Even if Watson does not legally have grounds to win a defamation lawsuit, it is grossly immoral for Facebook to claim he did something he did not do.

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Traffic impeding devices

Throwback Thursday:

The West Third traffic impeding devices are a microcosm of a backwards attitude in city government when it comes to public infrastructure and moving traffic. The goal of street design should be to move traffic in an efficient and safe manner. The goal should not be to funnel traffic onto other streets to give a political favor to a specific group of people.

Source: West Third speed bumps representative of poor planning.